Banking in Switzerland

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Banking in Switzerland

Banking in Switzerland

Banking has a long history in Switzerland. It all began back in the eighteenth century, when the oldest bank in Switzerland Wegelin & Co. was established in 1741. Another world famous banks Lombard Odier and The Pictet Group were both founded a few years later. Ever since Swiss banks have represented safe havens for the wealth of the world’s richest individuals and enterprises.

Currently an estimated one-third of all worldwide offshore funds (funds held outside their country of origin) are kept in banks within Switzerland. Banking in Switzerland is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA). FINMA is responsible for supervision of Swiss banks, stock exchanges and insurance companies. FINMA is functionally and institutionally independent from the central federal administration and reports directly to the Swiss parliament.

Two Big Banks

In 2007 the volume of assets managed in Swiss banks reached US$2.7 trillion, which was a record figure. As a total there is over 320 authorized banks operating in Switzerland. The two largest banks – Credit Suisse and UBS – also called the “Two Big Banks” both have a wide branch network throughout the country. UBS, headquartered in Basel and Zurich, maintains seven main offices around the world. Credit Suisse, based in Zurich, was founded in 1856 and nowadays the bank has about 40’000 employees.

Banking secrecy

Strong bank secrecy in Switzerland guarantees private and corporate clients’ assets full protection. The Banking Law issued in 1934 made it a criminal act for a Swiss bank to reveal the name of an account holder. An account in Swiss bank can be opened in the name of an individual or a legal entity.

If you are interested in bank account opening in Switzerland, please contact our sales department.

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