Whether in use by corporations worldwide or as depicted in criminal usage throughout cinema and other popular entertainment, the question persists as to why people use Swiss bank accounts. There certainly exists an implication that, for some reason, Swiss bank accounts are especially attractive to more illicit operations, and are apparently popular for illegal purposes. Even with law-abiding questions aside, Swiss banks are often portrayed as among the premiere financial institutions on Earth, catering to the wealthiest people and companies that the global fiscal scene has to offer.
Unlike many media portrayals, the mass usage of Swiss banking by both questionable and legitimate clients alike is actually based in reality; as recently as 2009, the financial sector represented over 11% of Switzerland’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and employed almost 200,000 people, over 5% of the total Swiss workforce, not to mention employing over 100,000 people abroad. In 2001, Swiss banks managed $2.6 trillion American dollars. That number has decreased for numerous global market reasons, but is still strongly impressive and impressively strong.
In light of an obvious popularity and widespread reputation, what truly are the reasons why people use Swiss bank accounts?
The primary difference between Swiss banks and otherwise is that banking institutions in Switzerland incorporate stringent confidentiality policies, which makes this likely the primary reason why people use Swiss bank accounts. Unlike countries such as the U.S., Swiss banking officers regard their relationships with their clients much like lawyers and doctors, even priests, maintaining an absolute level of privacy, with penalties if such confidence is discovered to be broken. This makes it easier for illicit banking to occur, especially for means like tax evasion, where all that is needed is a deposit account without its amount being easily available; but also, such privacy can be appealing to even the most upstanding citizens who wish for their records to be safe and secure.
Switzerland has a somewhat unique European distinction of being rather neutral on the worldwide political scene, not having taken a side in either World War, and not even becoming a member of the United Nations until 2002; in fact, this neutrality is one of the more subtle reasons that people use Swiss bank accounts. This positions it as advantageous for long-term investment operations, unlike other secrecy-laden banking countries, such as in Africa and the Middle East that, though they pose the appeal of privacy, also harbor the unfortunate red-flag reputation of financing terrorism, war, etc., and thus usually garnering more investigative attention. Switzerland has the advantage of, metaphorically, being somewhat like the friendly dog that does not bother anyone and thus nobody bothers it in return.
Beyond the already stalwart reputation that Swiss banks have, one of the reasons why people use Swiss bank accounts is simply the high quality of the service and services provided. Some of the larger Swiss banks have been around since the early 19th century, and due to the enhanced notoriety and prestige of working for Swiss banks, their officers tend to be among the most well-trained and competent banking workers in the world, offering a measure of high standards that few other regions can meet.
Although new measures are introduced every once in a while that relax the secrecy of Swiss banking for law enforcement and international investigative reasons, as long as the Swiss government places an emphasis on secrecy, Swiss banks will remain popular monetary destinations and these reasons will persist as to why people use Swiss bank accounts.