for security by stashing away assets for bad times – or
that there is a strong belief that other tax havens will be
under similar pressures within a short period of time’.
Therefore, there is a strong argument that ‘flight into
jurisdictions like Singapore will only be a temporary
measure’. At the same time ‘ there is a stronger competition for the declared assets held with Swiss banks
which will require them to continue developing the
strengths on which Swiss banking was built’ she adds.
However, while private client work in Switzerland has
long been viewed as the thrust behind the market, this
is debatably a false image of the current business environment. ‘The majority of lawyers practising in
Switzerland are by no means doing private client work’
notes von Rechenberg. ‘It's actually quite a small proportion. Switzerland still has an edge, however, and it
will always be a haven for private clients. It has a strong
reputation as a service provider jurisdiction – there is
lots of know-how here, along with great language skills,
reliability and responsiveness. It continues to be attractive for high net worth individuals’.
There can be little doubt that major global financial
hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong have been
increasingly appearing as viable and potentially more
lucrative alternatives in the consciousness of investors
recently, and the movement of assets out of Switzerland
towards Asia has been noted. However, as Gähwiler
points out, ‘given that there is a global trend towards
tax transparency it is expected that such new hubs will
find themselves under pressure to take measures against
undeclared assets in the short to medium term’.