It's Relatively Secret
Switzerland has some of the tightest banking secrecy laws in the world. Law prohibits a Swiss banker from revealing information about your account to anyone except if legally ordered to do so. This makes a Swiss bank account an excellent vehicle for shielding assets from prying eyes and civil lawsuits.
It's Not For Everyone
According to the article "Swiss Bank Accounts: Separating Fact From Fiction" from August 20, 2008, on the CNBC website, most Swiss banks are interested in investing the money deposited in their banks, not just providing a small amount of interest to depositors. Depositors, therefore, may be given a minimum amount with which to start an account, a figure often close to $250,000.
Given the high floor on starting an account and the large amount of paperwork required, Swiss bank accounts only make sense for those with an interest in hiding a large amount of money. However, according to the article "Silence Is Golden," published on September 8, 2002, on the "Time" magazine website, a Swiss bank cannot accept money it believes to have criminal origins.
- OpenEdition Books. "2. The Implications of the SWIFT Affair for Switzerland." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- CiteSeerX. "Swiss Banking Secrecy: Origins, Significance, Myth," Page 55. Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- Swiss Bankers Association. "The Fight Against Money Laundering." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- U.S. Department of Justice. "Justice Department Reaches Final Resolutions Under Swiss Bank Program." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- Swiss Bankers Association. "FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act)." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- CORE. "Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Civil Judgments in Switzerland." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
- Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. "Combating Money Laundering in the Context of Financial Market Supervision." Accessed Sept. 8, 2020.
Michael Wolfe has been writing and editing since 2005, with a background including both business and creative writing. He has worked as a reporter for a community newspaper in New York City and a federal policy newsletter in Washington, D.C. Wolfe holds a B.A. in art history and is a resident of Brooklyn, N.Y.