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Swiss Financial Centre Plan Unveiled

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Switzerland’s ruling Liberal party, the FDP, has announced its intention to adopt a more developed and concrete strategy for the Swiss financial centre, in order to address the challenges it faces and to proactively strengthen its position.

According to the FDP, Switzerland currently faces new challenges: firstly, as a result of increased competition from rival financial centres, such as London and Hong Kong, and secondly as a result of mounting pressure from debt-ridden countries, eager to source additional tax revenue.

Consequently, the FDP is determined to develop a proactive strategy to enable Switzerland’s financial centre to successfully overcome these new challenges, and to consolidate its negotiating position.

The FDP’s proposed strategy centres around three axes:

  • At national level, the FDP aims to establish a clear distinction between tax evasion and fraud by the end of 2011.
  • At international level, the FDP intends to launch a “white monetary strategy” (Weissgeldstrategie), agreed with individual member states of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) by the end of 2011. The FDP also aims to implement the OECD’s standards included in bilateral double taxation agreements, to propose the introduction of withholding taxes in bilateral agreements, and to refuse illegal money from abroad. In return, market entry and an amnesty are sought. The FDP is also seeking to renew negotiations with the European Union regarding the Savings Tax Directive.
  • A further proposed initiative outlined by the FDP includes a plan to progressively abolish stamp duty by 2015. The FDP also intends to toughen penalties for data theft and industrial espionage, and to strengthen the position of its Financial Market Supervisory Authority.