Despite hard times in 2022, the Swiss banking sector has maintained its stability and appeal to foreign clients. Switzerland has always been an internationally focused financial center, offering a diverse range of banking services to meet various needs. In 2023, there are plenty of Swiss options to choose from, whether you’re looking for basic or specialized financial products in the Swiss Confederation.
Take advantage of our turnkey services and products to open a private/personal or corporate non-resident Swiss account with a bank in Switzerland. You can do so remotely.
FREE EXPERT CONSULTATION
with seasoned professionals on international
banking and where it is best to open
non-resident corporate accounts.
with seasoned professionals on international banking and where it is best to open non-resident corporate accounts.
Types of Banks in Switzerland
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) grants authorization to financial institutions and plays a crucial role in regulating the overall banking sector in Switzerland. If you’re a non-resident seeking information about international and Swiss banks in the Confederation that cater to your needs, we’re here to assist you.
The banking system in Switzerland is composed of various types of international and Swiss financial institutions, including
- major Swiss banks and Swiss branches of renowned international banks
- international banks of different sizes and profiles
- cooperative banks (such as Raiffeisen Group)
- private banks
- digital banks (also known as neo-banks) offering mobile app-based services
- cantonal Swiss banks that are state-owned commercial banks (that make up approximately 30% of Switzerland’s financial institutions).
There are nearly 250 licensed (FIMA-authorized) financial institutions in Switzerland, the top 15 of which include UBS Group AG, Pictet Group, St. Safra Sarasin, and some other major banks in Switzerland recommended by InternationalWealth experts in our recent article.
Given the specifics of different banks in Switzerland, you need to consider several key criteria when selecting the most beneficial bank for your Swiss account and purposes.
Those of you who are considering moving permanently to or starting a business in Switzerland need to understand how the relevant banks rank by safety, asset protection, ease of payment settlements, and promptness of transactions. To learn more about the Swiss banking system, please feel free to ask our experts.
Benefits of a Bank’s High Rating
An evaluation carried out by a worldwide agency to determine a bank’s capacity and willingness to fulfill its financial commitments on time is known as a credit rating. This metric can also serve as an early warning system for potential default and imminent crisis, prompting individuals to spread their investments across more stable and secure institutions to mitigate risks.
The credit rating of a bank not only signifies its creditworthiness in meeting financial obligations but also indicates the credit risk linked to its debt instruments, including loans and bonds. Consequently, it is crucial to consider this aspect when selecting a foreign bank in Switzerland or any other country.
Typically, credit ratings are represented in alphanumeric format and appear as codes assigned by various agencies such as S&P, Fitch, Moody’s, and DBRS. The rating system ranges from AAA (highest) to C and D (lowest).
Please note that if some foreign bank has a representative office and subsidiaries in Switzerland, the credit rating assigned to the main representative office also applies to its Swiss branches.
Top Banks’ Creditworthiness in Switzerland in 2023
You can rely on the credit ratings assigned by S&P rating agency when you need to assess some bank’s creditworthiness level, which can impact the institution’s liquidity. The Swiss list of top-rated institutions is shown in the S&P’s rating table given below (last update of April 2023), with Zurcher Kantonalbank assigned the highest rating in Switzerland.
|long-term ratings||short-term ratings|
|Banque Cantonalede Genève||AA-||A-1+|
|Cembra MoneyBank AG||A-||A-2|
|Credit Suisse AG||under review||under review|
|Bank J. SafraSarasin Ltd.||A||A-1|
|LGT Bank AG||A+||A-1|
|VP Bank AG||A||A-1|
You can browse our catalog of current offers or ask for updates and professional advice during a free online private session with our expert.
PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FROM INTERNATIONAL WEALTH
Best Banks for Asset Protection in Switzerland
The private, cantonal, and regional banks in Switzerland differ by size and the services they provide. While the famed Swiss banking secrecy has historically been a clear hallmark of Switzerland, there is the growing pressure from international regulators and a shift towards greater transparency in the global banking industry. This trend has prompted some changes in the banks’ approach to banking secrecy, so no reputable financial institution can promise absolute customer anonymity nowadays. As a result, banks in Switzerland have had to seek alternative Swiss methods to attract capital, with asset management becoming a primary focus.
The questions of who owns banks in Switzerland and the amounts of money held in their Swiss accounts is frequently asked. However, there can hardly be a valid comprehensive answer, due to special Swiss laws regarding the confidentiality of Swiss accounts and bank clients. These laws and regulations prescribe harsh penalties such as arrest and imprisonment for individuals who disclose confidential information. This is a key factor in upholding the Swiss banks’ long-standing reputation for their strict adherence to banking secrecy and discretion.
According to studies conducted in 2022, the top 50 global financial institutions in terms of the total assets on their balance sheets included 4 banks in Switzerland. These banks have been rated as the largest in Switzerland for more than a decade:
- UBS Group AG, Switzerland – 982.34 billion euros
- Credit Suisse Group AG, Switzerland – €729.04 billion (on merger with UBS Group AG in 2023*)
- Raiffeisen Gruppe Switzerland – 274.41 billion euros.
- Zürcher Kantonalbank, Switzerland – 185.30 billion euros.
*Experts believe that if the merger of Credit Suisse with UBS Group AG goes ahead as expected in the second quarter of 2023, Credit Suisse’s ratings are likely to be upgraded. This is because the merger is expected to bring about improvements in Credit Suisse’s franchise, business model, risk management, funding, and liquidity profiles.
The top 10 major banks in Switzerland were considered the best banks in Switzerland in 2022 (with their performance outside the country not taken into account):
- UBS Group
- Credit Suisse
- Raiffeisen Gruppe Switzerland
- Zürcher Kantonalbank, Switzerland
- Julius Baer Group
- Banque Cantonale Vaudoise
- EFG International
- Basler Kantonalbank
- Luzerner Kantonalbank
- Galler Kantonalbank.
When choosing a bank for opening an account for personal or corporate needs, you should pay attention to the national domestic policy of the jurisdiction, its attitude towards local and foreign clients, as well as the likelihood of adverse events. To open an account abroad safely and protect your money from sanctions and risks, you are welcome to rely on advice from our experienced experts.
Swiss Accounts’ Prestige
There are several reasons why many foreigners can’t resist opening Swiss accounts and consider them a must-have vehicle for ultimate wealth protection. Here are the 3 popular answers to ‘whys’:
- Low financial risk — banks in Switzerland are commonly seen as low-risk financial institutions with state guarantees for the full Swiss account balance of up to 100,000 Swiss francs in the event of bankruptcy.
- Economic stability — Switzerland’s conservative economic policies promote and maintain a consistent and steady level of economic growth over time, with minimal fluctuations in its key indicators. This approach may not result in rapid economic growth, but it mitigates the risks of inflation, currency fluctuations, and extended recessions in Switzerland.
- High-level banking secrecy — banks in Switzerland are known for their strong emphasis on confidentiality built on trust. Swiss bankers consider protecting their clients’ information and identities as a core professional value. This principle remains a top priority for them, regardless of any international sanctions or diplomatic tensions.
To learn more about the benefits of Swiss accounts, please read our article on how non-resident millionaires view Swiss banks for wealth protection and reliability in 2023.
Swiss Accounts for Non-Resident Clients
If you are a foreign private person looking to open a Swiss account, there are several options to consider. However, opening a bank account in Switzerland as a non-resident can be a challenging task due to strict terms, criteria, and minimum deposit requirements, which are set at 250,000 Swiss francs. Here are a few solutions to access the services of the best banks available to non-residents in Switzerland:
- Non-banks or digital banks offer the best accounts in Switzerland for foreigners who want a Swiss account in Swiss francs and other currencies without commissions.
- Local banks like UBS, Valiant, and PostFinance also welcome foreign clients in Switzerland:
- UBS offers cross-border clients low fees, free debit cards, investment products, and many other attractive services
- Valiant is recommended for non-residents from certain countries not bordering Switzerland (services are available in French and German)
- PostFinance offers very affordable banking services.
- For applicants from outside the EU, especially if their home countries are on the high-risk or sanctioned list, it can be very challenging and costly to open an account with a bank in Switzerland. However, they can consider multi-currency accounts setup with banks or payment systems in other countries.
Our experts can provide comprehensive assistance and guidance to help you find a bank in Switzerland or any other country that aligns with your financial objectives and capabilities. Please contact our experts today to explore the best options and take the first step towards diversifying your assets with a safe and profitable bank account abroad.
Choosing a Bank in Switzerland and Opening a Swiss Account
When choosing a reliable bank in Switzerland, it’s important to determine your Swiss account goals and objectives. Will it be for personal use, corporate needs, investments, or broker’s services? To make your decision easier and safer, we invite you to sign up for a free consultation with our experts by clicking the form above.
Please find details and updates on banking, taxes, business, life, and other relevant issues, as well as our services in Switzerland – in our topical posts.