We’ve recently been on a whirlwind tour of Switzerland, meeting with a number of Swiss bankers, financial professionals, wealth managers and precious metal businesses. This reinforced our existing perception: despite the upheavals in terms of private banking confidentiality, Switzerland is still a good place to manage your money.
In our opinion the bankers in Switzerland are the most professional in the world. Switzerland may no longer be a place to hide your money (they don’t want that business any more) but it’s still a great place to manage your wealth in full compliance with your local laws. And despite what you hear about Europe’s financial problems, walking past the stores and banks on the Bahnhofstrasse you would never realize that much of the world is in the midst of a global depression.
It was therefore interesting to read in BFI’s Mountain Vision newsletter this week their comments on the future of the Swiss Franc. The Swiss franc has confirmed its safe haven currency status over the past year, gaining 14% against the Euro and about 10% against the US dollar. Swiss politicians, and exporters, have been whining about this… but ultimately, as Frank Suess says. “… in the long-term, a strong currency is good for a country; it´s the reflection of a strong economy. Countries with strong currencies are forced to be innovative, cost-efficient and offer high quality products and services.”
We agree wholeheartedly with this statement.
So… How to open a Swiss private bank account? For US citizens, this has become extremely difficult. If you’re not a US citizen, it’s easier than ever – you don’t even need to travel to Switzerland, since some banks are now opening accounts via video-conferencing (see the 2011 Practical Offshore Banking Guide for further information)
You can, however, still benefit from Switzerland’s safe haven status in a number of ways even without opening a Swiss bank account. One way is to buy and hold Swiss Francs (currency code CHF) through a financial institution outside Switzerland. US residents, for example, can open Swiss Franc bank accounts at Everbank. Everbank also offer many other flavors of foreign currency bank account as well as non FDIC insured gold or precious metals accounts (gold and silver)
Of course, Everbank is still a US bank. One of your reasons for seeking to protect your assets internationally may well be that you don’t trust the US banking system. You would be right. Even Alan Greenspan is now talking about how ‘some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced’ in this video.
In this case, why not consider buying gold in Switzerland? In our members area you will find some very specific and disconcerting information on what we call ‘digital gold’ – for example the GLD exchange traded fund. Basically, it’s a fraud. If you want to keep your wealth in hard money, completely outside the financial system, we will give you the right contacts and recommendations to get this done. Switzerland is the ideal place to do it. And, since this is not a financial account, it’s accessible to everybody – including Americans – and there is no reporting obligation.
Q Bytes, our free newsletter, will be back tomorrow with an update on our recent trip to South America, taking in Uruguay, Paraguay and Panama. If you are not yet on the list to receive it, sign up here for Q Bytes. Remember, it’s free and without obligation.