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Bank client confidentiality

Legal basis: The Swiss bankerís professional duty of client confidentiality is rooted in Article 47 of the Federal Law on Banks and Savings Banks, which came into force on 8 November 1934. The article stipulates that anyone acting in his/her capacity as member of a banking body, as a bank employee, agent, liquidator or auditor, as an observer of the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC), or as a member of a body or an employee belonging to an accredited auditing institution, is not permitted to divulge information entrusted to him/her or of which he/she has been apprised because of his/her position.

Although the Federal Law refers to "banking secrecy", it is important to note that this duty of discretion is not intended to protect the bank but the client. In that sense, the terms "bank client confidentiality" or"financial privacy" are much more appropriate.

Swiss legislation also guarantees respect for privacy in other areas of professional activity, e.g. for doctors or lawyers. It is a question of protecting personal privacy, a basic right established under the Swiss constitution (Art. 13).

Although a desire for privacy can play an important part in an investorís decision to deposit his/her assets in a Swiss bank, it is not the sole factor in the decision. One should not forget that Switzerlandís political and monetary stability, its excellent infrastructure and the professional know-how and experience of its bankers are also attractive factors.

Bank client confidentiality and the Swiss tax system

Switzerland's banking secret is mostly for tax issues. Bank do not provide information on to tax authorities.


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