A land rich in chocolate, languages and Alpine magnificence, it’s no wonder that nearly a full quarter of Switzerland’s population has come from elsewhere.
Now that the days of the country’s renowned banking secrecy have been replaced with transparency and bilateral tax-collection agreements with other countries, it may well be that the “world’s largest offshore wealth center” could lose some of those trillions.
On the other hand, Switzerland’s move to eradicate tax evasion and money laundering might encourage an increase in foreign investment and development projects. To do our bit, we’ve made up a list of lawyers and tax specialists, real estate agents, bankers, insurance agents and wealth management consultants, all experts in their fields and ready to help investors from abroad.
Lawyers and Tax Specialists
A lawyer specialising in real estate and construction law, Dr. Stefan Gerster is a partner in the Zurich-based law firm of CMS von Erlach Poncet Ltd. A member of the American Bar Association as well as the Zurich and Swiss Bar Association, Dr. Gerster’s expertise extends to real estate development projects in addition to investments in hotels, shopping and entertainment centers.
Baker & McKenzie
The law firm of Baker & McKenzie is truly global, with 77 offices in 47 countries. It’s also one of the largest law firms in Switzerland, with offices in Zurich and Geneva, and has been serving clients there for over 50 years. The legal team, well-versed in Swiss law, is also known for handling “large, cross-border venture capital and corporate M&A deals.”
Bär & Karrer
The Swiss law firm of Bär & Karrer has more than 150 lawyers in its offices in Zurich, Geneva, Lugano and Zug. The lawyers deal with cross-border transactions, with notable expertise on listed investment products, giving advice on a range of investment funds, as well. The firm was ranked by Legal 500 as Switzerland’s “most recommended” law firm in 2014 and 2015.
The clients who seek counsel from Walder Wyss, a law firm that specialises in selected commercial sectors, range from multinational corporations to individual investors. The organisation has grown from one office in Zurich back in 1972 (now its headquarters) to an organization with offices throughout the country, most recently opening offices in Geneva and Lausanne.
Real Estate Companies
If you happen to be looking specifically for a ski property in Switzerland, you may wish to start your search online at Skiing Property. The team at Skiing Property say that they source new-build and off-plan chalets and apartments from leading developers. If you are buying the property as an investment, the various financing options on both leaseback and classic freehold properties may be attractive.
Walde & Partner
This family business has been handling investment properties as well as residential property transaction in the greater Zurich area since 1985, with offices in Zollikon, Uster, Thalwil and Lucerne. With Thomas Moser as head of investment properties, the Walde & Partner team can assist in decisions regarding renovations, construction potential and rental income.
Engel & Völkers
Engel & Völkers, based in Germany, has a number of licensed franchisees in Switzerland, such as Engel & Völkers Commercial Switzerland in Zurich. Services offered here include assisting both private and institutional clients interested in buying or selling investment properties in addition to leasing commercial, office and retail space.
Offering services that include property management in addition to sale, leasing and consulting, Ginesta Immobilien also acts as consultants to project developers. The team will assist, for example, in optimising unit sizes and floor plans for best sales, and consults on real estate gains tax declarations, as well.
Insurance and Banking
An insurance company in Allschwil, near Basel, iBroke Swiss also offers other services related to property, including management and financing. Experts on liability insurance as well as issues that include prevention or technical and legal risk management, iBroke Swiss offers consultations to medium and large companies.
A private bank headed in Liechtenstein and with offices in several countries, including Switzerland, VP Bank Group specialises in asset management services and is rated “A-” by Standard & Poor’s. The bank prides itself on its impartiality of advice, writing that “its investment solutions are based on the principle of ‘open architecture,’ in which best-in-class services and products of third parties are taken into account in the decision-making process.”
This private Swiss bank, majority-owned by the family that founded it in 1924, specialises in asset management and investment solutions. Led by its head of investment banking, Roger Studer, Vontobel works to increase the wealth of both its private clients and institutional investors.
Julia Gushchina, a senior banker at Credit Suisse in Zurich, specialises in wealth management and structuring as well as strategic asset allocation. With an MBA from London Business School and an Executive Masters in Art Market Studies from the University of Zurich, Julia Gushchina advises (in four languages) on financial products, cross-border lending, hedging solutions, and even fine art and private collections.
Wealth Management Consultants
The CEO of Ameliora Wealth Management, a Switzerland-based investment consulting company that focuses exclusively on US clients, Rainer Nigg recently spoke to Americans Welcome. He said that American investors on the whole tend not to be internationally diversified, which means that they miss out on investment opportunities abroad. His advice is that they hold a portion of their assets outside of the United States in top-quality European securities for best long-term results.
Swiss Global Consulting
This Swiss-registered company provides financial advice to both local and international individuals living and working in Switzerland. In addition to protecting your assets, the SGC Group, made up of experienced investment managers and financial planners, write that they “build and monitor strong sustainable returns over time.”
Originally focusing on real estate in the Swiss market when it was founded in 2008, DCD AG has developed into a company that manages all types of assets and wealth, including real property in Switzerland and abroad. Wealth services include financial analysis and asset administration together, and using a network of taxation and legal experts to check those aspects of wealth management.