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Swiss Bank Secrecy under Attack - Case Study Example

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"Swiss Bank Secrecy Under Attack" paper analyzes Swiss banking legislation and how it impacts the aspects of bank secrecy and security of clients’ accounts. The paper provides a perspective analysis of Swiss private banking development in the context of recent changes in security policies. …
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Swiss Bank Secrecy under Attack
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Download file to see previous pages Switzerland is a country famous for political neutrality and financial stability. Swiss banks have long been the ultimate symbols of banking privacy, which was the biggest attraction to foreign clients (Starchild, 1996). Private banking still remains the backbone of the Swiss economy. However, the centuries-old traditions are bound to cease, as a sea change is sweeping Switzerland's core industry. In the times of the financial crisis and shortage of cash, governments of developed countries realized that billions of dollars are missing from their budgets because of tax evasion and offshore accounts. Therefore, they turned their attention to tax havens and, first of all, to Swiss private banks. Switzerland holds about $2 trillion in offshore accounts, which equals, as Barber (2008) suggests, to 40% of the world’s offshore capital. In February 2009, for the first time in the history of Swiss banks, UBS, the world's biggest private bank and one of the two Switzerland's largest banks agreed to disclose 4,450 personal accounts of American citizens to the U.S. tax authority. This will definitely transform the perception of what private banking means and the future of bank secrecy too. In this paper I will argue that wealthy clients around the globe will be facing more and more difficulties trying to find a perfect tax haven, bank privacy laws of Switzerland may be changed in the foreseeable future, and Swiss banks may slowly but gradually lose their reputation as “bankers to the world”.

According to Browning (2009a), UBS gave in to the pressure from the IRS and announced in July 2009 that it will shut 19,000 accounts that belonged to alleged American tax evaders. The total balance of these accounts was estimated to be $18 billion, which U.S. federal prosecutors claim resulted in unpaid taxes of $300 million each year. The history-breaking deal between the U.S. I.R.S. and the Swiss government made a significant impact: banks in Switzerland and across Europe began closing the accounts of U.S. citizens, citing 'policy decisions'. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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