Switzerland news: private banker association to split in two

Vaterland.li reports that the Swiss private banker association is to split. On the one hand the Association of Private Bankers (Vereinigung Schweizerischer Privatbankiers) will continue to exist, for banks with shareholder liability. A new association, the Association of Private Banks (Vereinigung Schweizerischer Privatbanken) will be formed as of January 1st 2014.

“The change was necessary because the four private banks Pictet, Lombard Odier, La Roche and Mirabaud changed their legal status and no longer fit the statutes of the Banker Association. The change in legal status of these banks comes one year after the destruction of the private bank Wegelin, which had to pay fines and damages of USD 74 million for enabling tax evasion in the US”.

“Unlike conventional private banks, whose partners are liable with their personal assets, they will become limited liability companies”.

Pictet and Lombard Odier are (or rather were) the largest banks within the Association they are now leaving.

The new association wants to “play an active role to achieve and maintain optimal frameworks for private asset management”. The seven banks left in the existing association will form “a structure with more modest goals”.

According to Reuters Lombard Odier is still “evaluating what to do” about the FATCA agreement with the US, with three weeks to go until the legal deadline, while Pictet is part of a group of banks already under criminal investigation, with “settlement talks with U.S. justice officials frozen pending a solution for the wider industry.” (hat tip: Tax Justice Network blog).

(Note: original vaterland.li article in German, translated with some help from google).

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