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Swiss Bank Account FAQ
The following page contains instructions, information, guidelines and tips about opening a Swiss bank account.
Who can open a Swiss bank account?
Theoretically, anyone can open a Swiss bank account. Swiss banks have a reputation of strength, safety and integrity. So, as expected, they have a duty to accept only clients who they feel will not hurt the reputation, safety and integrity of the bank itself or the Swiss banking industry, in general.
A bank needs to be reasonably assured that the source of the potential client’s funds come from legitimate, legal sources. The law forbids a Swiss bank from opening an account if they know or suspect that the proceeds are from criminal activity.
In addition, you can open a Swiss bank account inside of your own corporation or limited liability company. The company that holds the account can be formed in any jurisdiction worldwide and need not be a Swiss entity.
Sophisticated and knowledgeable Swiss bank account holders, who desire substantial privacy, do just this. They own their accounts in their offshore company names. A common jurisdiction in which to form the offshore company for the purpose of owning a Swiss bank account is the Caribbean island of Nevis. A Nevis limited liability company (LLC) offers a respectable combination of legal protection and privacy. Money transfers into banks usually leave electronic or paper trails. When money is wired into a Swiss bank account and the account is owned by a company, however, enhanced privacy is achieved. This is because the electronic trail will show that the money was wired to a company rather than to an account the individual’s name. The owner of the Nevis LLC remains private. A Nevis LLC can be formed in 24 hours.
For more free information, call Companies Incorporated at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303.
How can I open a Swiss bank account from my home country?
The best advice is to contact an organization with experience in opening Swiss bank accounts. Swiss banks have strict guidelines when it comes to opening accounts regardless of your home country. Recent “know your customer” laws have made the process more involved now than it was previously. Moreover, the bank is required to identify the customer by seeing verified government documentation. Many banks in Switzerland will not open accounts for foreign residents. So, because there are several hundred banks available it is important to seek guidance.
Companies Incorporated, the company behind OffshoreCorporation.com has been in business since 1977 and has years of experience in opening Swiss bank accounts. Companies Incorporated can help you quickly and easily open your account without leaving home.
For more information about opening a Swiss bank account without leaving home, call OffshoreCorporation.com at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303.
How long will it take to open my Swiss bank account?
This depends on a number of items including the amount of time it takes you to complete and return the application and provide the required due diligence documents. Once you fulfill your requirements the account is usually opened within 48 hours to three weeks after the bank receives your application.
For more information about the time it takes to open a Swiss bank account or to begin the process of opening an account, call OffshoreCorporation.com at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303. If you have a special situation that requires expedited service, we can accommodate most needs.
Can I open a Swiss bank account entirely through the Internet?
No. The Swiss banks must follow customer identification procedures in order to comply with Swiss law. Therefore, at the present time, opening an account must be done with some degree of human interaction. The Due Diligence Agreement (CDB 03), adhered to by all Swiss banks requires them to confirm the identity of the potential client and gather detailed information about the signers as well as information about the type of account desired.
For a free consultation, call OffshoreCorporation.com at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303.
What information do I need to provide in order to open the account?
First, you will need to complete the applications that are required by the bank. This is done in order to fulfill the legal requirements of the bank and to meet all of the bank’s due diligence and “know your customer” responsibilities. You will be asked to provide proof of identity of the owner of the assets. If the account is opened in a company name, company documentation must be provided in addition to the identity information required of the person or people behind the company.
You will need to show proof of source of funds. If you are depositing money for someone else you will need to show proof of identity of the person for whom you are depositing funds. You may be required to show evidence of your profession and your typical financial transactions.
For the bank to be able to offer you the best type of account for your needs, you will discuss your future plans; such as your intent to start a new business, sell a business, retire, or purchase real estate.
Since the best historical returns are achieved with managed accounts, they will need to know financial growth objectives and your safety tolerances. The more you let the bank know about your desires the better they can help you meet your financial goals.
Which documents to I need to provide?
You will need to complete a bank account application. You will also need to show your identification. The banks prefer a face-to-face meeting. Companies Incorporated has agreements with many banks in Switzerland. In many cases, they can arrange to have the bank representative fly to you to meet with you in your home or place of business either before or shortly after the opening of your bank account. As mentioned previously, Swiss banks are required to confirm the identity of their clients. So, naturally, the bank will need to see a current passport, driver’s license or other government issued identification documents. The bank may also need to see proof of source of funds such as the contract for the sale of a business, a recent bank statement from your existing bank or a receipt from the sale of stock.
Can I open an “anonymous” account?
Yes and no. You can open an account that is protected by Switzerland bank secrecy and privacy laws. However, the bank must know who you are.
Can I open a “numbered” account?
A numbered Swiss bank account is where the account is not under one’s name but is assigned a number. Banks are very reluctant to open this type of account. So now most people who desire privacy open their account in the name of their own offshore company. One type of entity that provides substantial privacy is a limited liability company filed in the Caribbean island of Nevis. The company formed in Nevis will then own the bank account held in Switzerland. A company can be formed in Nevis in 24 hours.
Even in the unusual case where a numbered account is allowed, the numbered account is often owned by one’s offshore company rather than by the one who opens the account. This will avail oneself of additional privacy.
The way in which a numbered account is opened is precisely the same as any other type of account. The bank must verify the identity of the account signer. Numbered accounts or accounts owned by one’s private offshore company are private to the outside world. However, the people within the bank will know the identity of person pulling the strings. So a numbered account offers no added secrecy over an account in one’s company name.
Companies Incorporated can help you open a Swiss numbered account or establish an offshore company for you that will own your Swiss bank account. Call for more free information at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303.
What is the minimum deposit?
For most banks there is a minimum of $500,000 US to $2.5 million US. However, some banks will open the account for $100,000 US or less. Most banks would like to see the potential to grow the account to the $1 million US mark or more.
In which currencies can I hold my Swiss bank account?
You can hold your account in US dollars, euros, Swiss francs, or other currencies.
How much interest will I earn on my money?
It depends on the kind of account you choose as well as the going interest rates and market conditions. Swiss managed accounts tend to show substantially better long-term returns than standard interest bearing accounts, often in the 8-15% range. Note that this is an estimate based on historical trends and is neither a guarantee nor is it to be considered financial advice.
Which bank do you recommend?
It depends on your financial needs and the amount of capital you have available. Call Companies Incorporated, the company behind OffshoreCorporation.com and we can help you find a bank that meets your financial needs. Call us at 1-800-830-1055 or +1-661-253-3303.
How safe is a Swiss bank account?
All banks in Switzerland must have a Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC) license. The SFBC is a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, an international authority which sets guidelines for sound financial practice in the banking industry. The international body sets guidelines and if the Swiss regulators agree with the guidlines they are included in the Swiss code and are enforced by the SFBC. The SFBC impliments regulations and oversees the entire Swiss banking industry according to Basel Committee’s requirements as well as local Swiss law. The regulations dictate that the banks must keep adequate equity and capital on hand. The also prescribe a broad range of sound financial requirements and monetary discretion guidelines. Moreover, the laws in Switzerland command even higher capital requirements than those dictated by the Basel Accord. The capital requirement regulations are some of the highest worldwide. Swiss bank accounts, therefore, can be considered among the safest bank accounts worldwide.
How secret is a Swiss bank account?
Banks in Switzerland are bound by longstanding privacy laws to protect the identity of its accountholders. Surveys taken of the Swiss public show that the vast majority of the populous wants to maintain the privacy laws. On the other hand, officials in Switzerland do not want to tarnish the country’s shiny reputation as a respected banking center. Therefore, as in any respectable jurisdiction, the Swiss banking system will not allow itself to be a safe haven for the proceeds of criminal activity. So, privacy can be suspended in a foreign criminal matter. The case will be brought before a Swiss judge. If the judge in Switzerland determines that the crime is also considered a crime in Switzerland then the privacy can be suspended. Whereas tax evasion is not a crime in Switzerland and information will not be revealed solely in the event of tax evasion, it is still recommended in the strongest terms that you follow the tax laws of your jurisdiction. The main secrecy benefit in possessing a Swiss bank account is the privacy offered when protecting money from civil litigation.
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