As an international fiduciary, HIGHVERN is entirely client-led as to jurisdictional preferences for establishing trusts, foundations, funds or corporate structures. With offices in six jurisdictions including Switzerland, Cayman, Guernsey, Ireland, Jersey and the UK our wealth experts work as one cohesive team to implement the most suitable solution for each individual client.
Since the September 11 attacks in 2001, the Swiss fiduciary industry has undergone significant positive changes, particularly in terms of regulation and licensing requirements. Many of these changes were needed to keep pace with the evolving regulatory environment and in order to tackle global terrorist financing and money laundering.
More than 20 years on, Swiss trustees have emerged as a preferred choice for clients who seek established, trustworthy and efficient management of their trusts and companies.
Switzerland itself is a major onshore financial centre, providing Swiss trustees with direct access to a wide range of financial services including but not limited to private and corporate banking, legal and tax advice, investment management as well as real estate and insurance services. The onshore financial sector itself is highly regulated and has a reputation for stability, which helps ensure that trust assets are well managed and protected.
Since 2022 there has been a requirement for Swiss trustees to be fully licensed by FINMA, the Swiss financial regulatory authority. This licensing requirement ensures that Swiss trustees are highly trained and experienced professionals who have the expertise to manage trusts effectively. Continued professional development through STEP, as well as training and support through the Swiss Association of Trust Companies SATC, further ensure a high level of quality, integrity and the adherence to professional and ethical standards in the Swiss trust industry.
The Swiss law and its historic culture of confidentiality offer Swiss trustees yet another advantage, providing a high level of protection for trust assets and private clients. Barring AEOI and criminal liability Swiss trustees are required to maintain strict confidentiality over any information relating to their role, which is essential in protecting the interests of the beneficiaries.
Switzerland is known for its stability, both politically and economically, making it an attractive jurisdiction for trust management. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2022 WEF REPORT, Switzerland ranks as the second most competitive economy globally. This stability and reliability are vital factors in choosing a trustee jurisdiction and essential to maintaining the trust’s assets and ensuring that they are managed according to the trust deed.
The trust industry has progressed to such an extent that there is even talk of Switzerland implementing its own Trust regime, something entirely unthinkable back in the early noughties. Whilst this is an interesting step for the Swiss fiduciary industry, many of the provisions of the Swiss Trust Law remain under discussion, but until Switzerland has its own trust law, Swiss law does provide for the recognition and enforcement of international trusts via the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on their Recognition or the Hague Trust Convention , which came into force in 2007.
HIGHVERN is an independent, manager-owned trustee with 130 employees globally. Whether in Switzerland or abroad, we adhere to the same group standards – to deliver exceptional levels of client service, bespoke to each and every individual. We set ourselves apart from the competition by delivering value with adding complexity, working towards our clients’ goals with a flexible, robust and transparent approach. Having won various awards for our Private Wealth proposition, we are excited that alongside the Channel Islands, Ireland, the UK and Cayman we can now deliver those same HIGHVERN values from the heart of Switzerland.
For further enquiries please contact Hugh O’Donnell.