Financial centre strategy: Federal Council confirms approach

Bern, 22.02.2012 - Today, the Federal Council held talks on a credible financial centre strategy and confirmed the approach adopted. The Federal Council wishes to propose corresponding concrete measures by September 2012.

The report on the strategy for a credible, tax-compliant and competitive Swiss financial centre sets out the steps that can be used to flesh out and specify the Federal Council's financial centre strategy.

At a first level, past tax problems should be settled, in particular cases of clients living abroad whose assets have not been correctly taxed. This occurs by regularising the assets from existing client relationships from a tax viewpoint, thereby lowering the legal risks for banks.

On a second level, international cooperation and the future taxation of investment income and capital gains is ensured. This is comprised of three parts:

  • International withholding tax agreements as an effective means of taxing taxpayers in accordance with the regulations of their country of domicile while safeguarding their privacy. Despite the fact that some issues have not yet been fully resolved, there is international interest in this approach and it will be pursued by the Federal Council beyond the agreements already negotiated with Germany and the United Kingdom.
  • Improved administrative and mutual assistance in accordance with international standards. The corresponding standards are laid down in double taxation agreements (DTAs). The implementation of these agreements is further clarified in the new Tax Administrative Assistance Act. In the future, serious tax crimes should be taken into account in the fight against money laundering.
  • Extension of the due diligence requirements of financial service providers as a complementary component. Banks' existing due diligence requirements are to be extended in order to prevent the acceptance of untaxed assets more effectively. The focus is on enhanced due diligence requirements for banks when accepting assets as well as a requirement for foreign clients to make a declaration on the fulfilment of their tax obligations.  

The Federal Council's aim is to create favourable framework conditions for the Swiss financial centre that boost its competitiveness and at the same time are accepted worldwide. Abuses of bank client confidentiality should be prevented insofar as possible.

The Federal Council has instructed the FDF to prepare concrete measures by September 2012.

Address for enquiries

Mario Tuor, Communications, State Secretariat for International Financial Matters SIF,
+41 31 322 46 16,


The Federal Council

Federal Department of Finance