Banks are part of Swiss culture since 16th century, therefore there is no surprise that the Swiss banking system is one of the biggest strengths of the country. The Swiss banking system is different than other European banking systems because it is based on the universal banking concept. This concept refers to offering all the banking services both commercial and investment. This is so that the risk to be spread over a greater number of business and customers.
In the international ranking of private banking, six private banks in the top 20 worldwide are Swiss banks. The Swiss bank UBS was named the world’s top private banker in 2013, managing more than $1.7 trillion for individuals with high net worth. In 2015, the number of employees in the banking system was more than 100000, according to the Swiss Bankers Association, meaning almost 5.8% of the Swiss population.
The Swiss bank secrecy, one of the most known aspect about the banking system, it has been diminished by the large number of agreements, regarding the information sharing, signed by Switzerland in order to align with the international environment. Starting 1934, the Banking Law considered the revealing of the name of an account holder to be a criminal act. The bank secrecy is intended to protect the citizen finances from unauthorized access by third parties or by the State itself, unless there is a case of criminal acts related to the owner of the bank account.
For an entrepreneur, the bank account opening it is an important step in the company formation process. The main Swiss banks that should be considered in Switzerland when opening a bank account are UBS, Credit Suisse Group and cantonal banks
In Switzerland, everyone can open a bank account with the condition to be at least 18 years old and have a valid passport. Depending on the bank, the earning source might be requested as well as a minimum capital.
The type of the accounts that can be opened in Switzerland are:
• Personal account,
• Investment account,
• Savings account.
The account can be opened in almost any currency.
The main Swiss banks that should be considered when a bank account is to be opened are UBS, Credit Suisse Group and cantonal banks.
UBS is the world’s largest bank unit in wealth and asset management as well as in investment banking services for private, corporate or public clients from all over the world. Founded in 1998, after the merge between the Union Bank of Switzerland and Swiss Bank Corporation, UBS is also a leading bank in Switzerland for individual and corporate clients. With headquarters both in Zurich and Basel, it has 4 offices in United States, 1 in London, one in Tokyo, one in Hong Kong and branches on 5 continents.
Credit Suisse Group is the second largest bank of Switzerland. The services offered by this bank include aside from private banking and investment banking asset management services that are divided into 4 divisions: Private Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management and shared Services Group.
In Switzerland there are currently 24 cantonal banks. Owned by Swiss government, they are specialized in savings and mortgage products. With a total number of 800 branches in Switzerland, the cantonal banks held about 30% of the banking sector from Switzerland. Though established as a cantonal bank, Zürcher Kantonalbank is considered to be the third largest bank in Switzerland.