Thursday, Sept 3, 2009
HSBC Holdings Plc’s Swiss private bank says more rich foreigners are inquiring about moving to Switzerland, spurred by rising taxes at home and concerns about the erosion of banking secrecy for non-residents.
Switzerland’s decision to increase cooperation with the U.S. and neighbors such as France and Germany on tax evasion hasn’t dulled the Alpine nation’s allure for those who are able to take up residence, said Alexandre Zeller, chief executive officer of HSBC’s Swiss bank.
“We’re not talking about thousands of people because we’re talking about people with a certain wealth, but it’s significant,” Zeller said in an interview in Zurich. “They come above all from countries which have substantially increased taxes. There’s a direct correlation between taxes and the desire of a wealthy person to want to establish themselves elsewhere.”
Switzerland is home to expatriate millionaires including seven-time Formula 1 racing champion Michael Schumacher, Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad and singer Tina Turner. Wealthy residents who don’t have Swiss income can negotiate individual tax deals with regional authorities in Switzerland.