It seems exotic and dangerous and exciting when we hear someone has a Swiss bank account. It’s for ultra-dangerous super spies or mega-rich Hollywood stars. Truthfully, there’s nothing illegal or particularly glamorous about having money in a Swiss bank. In fact, Swiss banks are very eager to have outside account holders especially those from western countries such as the United States. There’s nothing illegal about holding a Swiss account and one of the main reasons for wanting a Swiss bank account is the almost unearthly privacy associated with an account.
With some of the tightest regulations in the world concerning who gets access to your account, the privacy of Swiss account holders and their accounts is legendary. The process of opening an account is identical to any other bank but if you want to start with a large amount of money do it in person. For even more privacy be sure and send your deposits by money order or bank drafts. For further protection find a lawyer to execute a “power of attorney” over the Swiss account; Swiss law considers a “power of attorney” legally binding even after death. This protects your assets and ensures they are parceled and handled in the manner you chose after your passing. If the idea of leaving a power of attorney with the bank leaves you squeamish, discuss other alternatives with your legal counsel.
To be truthful, Swiss banks offer the same range and variety of services as other banks including checking and savings accounts. As an added bonus they will also hold other items of value (for a fee) such as stock certificates, precious metals and the like. Just like your banking account these items are protected from prying eyes under Swiss law, unless of course you’re participating in any illegal criminal activities. Making a withdrawal also works much the same except it can be paid out in any currency of your choice: Swiss francs, American dollars, etc.
No one, private citizen or legal representative, can gain access to knowledge about your Swiss account. Except under extreme instances neither the bank’s officers or employees are allowed to reveal anything regarding the account holder or contents – not even to the Swiss government! The exceptions (and these are extreme instances, indeed) are for suspected organized crime, drug trafficking or the insider trading of securities. Even in these types of occurrences, the Swiss justice system has the final say on if the information is revealed.
The main reason for anyone to open a Swiss bank account is to protect their investments. The financial and business oriented laws of the Swiss legal system certainly protect the privacy of the account holder and this is also a reason many offshore Swiss accounts are opened: secrecy. By keeping one’s assets secret they remain safe. As secretive as a Swiss account is it isn’t shady or difficult to open one to protect your assets. And it’s certainly worth a look when considering an offshore investment opportunity.