Bank formation in Switzerland

Informations - Swiss Banking

Already during the 15th century, a banking center developed in Switzerland. After World War II Swiss banks were even spoken of as a “safe haven”. This status and the high quality level of infrastructure and political stability resulted in the placement of approximately one-third of the world’s assets under Swiss management. Because world-wide assets continue to grow, so will the need for investment opportunities. Today, approximately 300 banks with different business purposes are domiciled in Switzerland today.

Especially for foreign high-net-worth individuals, the formation of new banks in Switzerland is an exceptionally attractive option. Swiss capital markets and regulatory law enjoy high reputation but nonetheless differs from European legislative and regulatory standards such as those enforced by Bafim, FSA and others. The key difference is that the license to operate a bank is a police authorization in Switzerland. Thus, applicants are entitled to a banking license if they meet regulatory requirements.

It is important to note that only the core bank activity (asset management) requires a license, while money transfer, commodities trading, and trade finance are not deemed core banking activities and do not require a banking license. A credible and substantiated business plan as well as personal trustworthiness with regard to proper conduct of business operations are key for obtaining a new banking license. (Swiss Banking Law, Article 3).

According to regulatory standards, a minimum of CHF 15 million minimum paid-in capital is required. Our law firm offers the founders full support and a turnkey solution for the overall structure. Besides filing of the license application and drafting regulations for the board and executive committee, this also includes business plan, IT- and compliance planning and direction of the overall development of the bank. Our experiences with bank formation ensure professional advice and processing.


Please read how to open a swiss bank account here: