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Swiss Banking has long been associated with professional, discreet, secure banking in a jurisdiction renown for its neutrality and adherence to the principles of banking confidentiality. Individuals looking to safeguard substantial assets from public scrutiny or heavy-handed taxation have traditionally looked to the Swiss Bank consortium as a very attractive option.
And these services are nothing new. Thanks in no small part to political unrest and civil strife, Swiss bank accounts have been the leader in international banking for literally hundreds of years–from the days of Louis the XIV, to the days preceding the French revolution and on through both World Wars, if safeguarding assets and capital from untoward taxation or suppressive governments was the goal, the discerning depositor looked to Switzerland to provide those services.
The reason that Swiss banking has developed this praiseworthy reputation is based squarely on the fact that Switzerland has very sophisticated legislation and regulations in place, dictating specific parameters for its banks and favoring the securing and confidential-keeping of its foreign-deposit accounts. Further enhancing this reputation is that Swiss banks offer unprecedented professionalism and utter reliability in arguably the most stable banking environment in the world.
The History of Modern-Day Swiss Banking
Modern day Swiss Banking confidentiality can trace its origins to the Swiss Banking Law of 1934. The law was enacted in large part because of the looming German Nazi threat and political turmoil in France–both entities attempted to press Swiss banks into divulging depositor information in the name of the “good of the state.” The Swiss responded with the Banking Law of 1934. This law basically outlined the rules of account confidentiality, provided a legal basis for such, and provided for criminal penalties from those who would undermine the confidentiality of depositor accounts. This resulted in the current situation that basically (and simply put here) holds the rules and regulations to be inflexible with respect to deposit and transactional confidentiality, and the identities of depositors or account histories are not relinquished lightly–there must be a substantial criminal allegation before a governmental agency, especially a foreign one, can pierce this confidentiality shield.
Even an accusation of tax evasion would hardly be enough to pierce through the confidentiality regulations of a Swiss bank. The accusation simply isn’t a serious enough offense in Switzerland, amounting to nothing more than a misdemeanor and certainly not enough to compromise its rules. The accusation must be of a serious nature in order for a Swiss bank to even consider compromising its rules. That being said, we highly recommend tax compliance with your jurisdiction of residence and/or citizenship.
By most estimates or measures, Swiss banks hold a full third of all monies held in offshore accounts. Considering the sheer number of Offshore, haven jurisdictions in existence, this is a remarkable figure. Holding this estimated $2 trillion US plus is a de facto statement that Switzerland is still the absolute standard when it comes to providing a stable, confidential banking environment.
Numbered Swiss Bank Accounts
The exotic-sounding “numbered bank account” is nothing more than an account that is linked to a number rather than a depositor name. And Swiss banks set the standards for numbered accounts. Even so, there must be an actual named person linked to a numbered account, but this identity is closely held and unbeknownst but to a few senior banking officials in the Swiss bank in which it is held. These accounts obviously provide for an even deeper-level of confidentiality, and can be quite useful, for example, to a corporation or famous entity on the verge of a major acquisition or transaction that is amassing the assets without wishing to alert competitors, the media, or other potentially hostile entities. As should be obvious from the reading above, even with a numbered Swiss bank account, absolute anonymity or secrecy can never be assured by any bank–but the Swiss numbered account is as close as an account can get to complete discretion.
Swiss Banking Today
While some older institutions may wither and die with changing technologies and techniques that obsoletes their purpose or methodology, this is absolutely not the case with the Swiss banking institution. Swiss banking has adapted rapidly in response to the whirlwind technological pace set by today’s world. From electronic funds transfers, to the mega-bit encryption security technologies, Swiss banks are at the forefront of the modern banking practice. Mostly gone are the days of hard signature cards and suit-case in hand meetings, replaced ever so incrementally with electronic signatures and internet-based “wire” transfers of assets.
It should be obvious that Swiss banks continue to provide real world, attainable solutions to the many issues facing today’s successful businessman or woman when it comes to safeguarding their liquid assets. Whether it be protection from undue regulation, political turmoil, economic uncertainty, or even a litigious former spouse, a Swiss banking account may just be the solution you were looking for.
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