Fiduciary Services in Switzerland

Fiduciary Services in Switzerland

Updated on Tuesday 09th July 2024

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Fiduciary Services in Switzerland
Fiduciaries are individuals or companies specialized in offering representation services to various private and corporate clients. In Switzerland, fiduciary solutions are used in numerous areas and industries and can be general or tailored based on several aspects.
Below, our law firm in Switzerland explain what the most requested fiduciary services are in this country and also present some of the areas in which we can provide such solutions.

Who can provide fiduciary services in Switzerland?

There are two perspectives to consider the services of a Swiss fiduciary:
  • the general one, in which a close person or a specialized agency can be appointed to represent a client in one specific matter or in several aspects or a short or long term;
  • the special one, in which authorized companies are employed for offering tailored services which require the attention of a specialists in a certain field.
In Switzerland, both options can be used. However, this country has a long-standing tradition in investment fund and trust administration, case in which such services are usually provided by trustees. In such cases, they fall under the provisions of the Trustees Act.
Our Swiss lawyers can also provide such services in relation to specific matters. For example, we can help you open a company in Switzerland without your presence. All you need to do is enter a representation contract or grant one of our colleagues a power of attorney for this purpose.

Duties and responsibilities of fiduciaries in Switzerland

All fiduciary solutions are provided based on a contract that clearly specifies the duties and obligations of the service provider. These will usually imply:
  • the obligation of representing the client in accordance with his/her wishes and instructions;
  • the obligation of acting in good faith and at the best interests of the client;
  • the duty of care and due diligence;
  • the duty of confidentiality.
A fiduciary will have both ethical and legal duties towards its clients. The same principles are respected by our lawyers in Switzerland.

Swiss fiduciary services

The fiduciary services provided by an individual or company in Switzerland can be defined as management and protection services for a client’s properties or money. Fiduciary services can also be defined as trustee services in Switzerland. The duties of fiduciary agents consist in the protection of the clients’ assets and all their actions will be performed for the advantage of the beneficiary. Swiss courts do not define fiduciary relationships, which is why the duties and limitations imposed to such relations are established by the beneficiary and the agent. Among the fiduciary services our lawyers in Switzerland provide are:
  • nominee shareholder services,
  • nominee director services,
  • asset management services,
  • custodian services.

Nominee shareholder services in Switzerland

Swiss companies are required to have at least one shareholder. There are no requirements for the shareholders’ nationality according to the Swiss Companies Law, which is why a nominee shareholder can be appointed in order to represent the owner’s interests within the company. The nominee shareholders of Swiss companies may be an individual or a legal person. The company registration procedure in Switzerland requires the shareholder to make certain information available to the public. The fiduciary services of a Swiss agent imply that the nominee shareholder discloses information about him or herself, thus protecting the identity of the owner. The Swiss nominee shareholder will provide all the required information according to the Commercial Code. In order to appoint a nominee shareholder, the beneficial owner and the fiduciary can sign a Declaration of Trust containing all the duties and powers attributed to the fiduciary.
In Switzerland, contracting a nominee shareholder is often related to contracting a nominee director.
You can also rely on us for registering a trademark in Switzerland.

Nominee director services in Switzerland

The Swiss Corporate Governance Code allows a company to appoint a nominee director to represent the company in relation to third parties. The nominee director will also be required to disclose certain information with the Commercial Register in Switzerland. The nominee director will represent the company’s director without actually controlling the business’ activities, bank accounts or any other managerial duties. It is also simpler to appoint a nominee director in Switzerland by drafting a power of attorney. The duties of the nominee director will end upon the expiration of the power of attorney, if it is drafted for a limited period of time.

Statistics on fiduciary transactions in Switzerland

In Switzerland, most fiduciary services cover the financial industry. As such, the Swiss National Bank gathered the following data on fiduciary transactions for 2023:
  • the value of transactions in CHF was 13.457 billion;
  • the volume of transactions in USD was 114.189 billion;
  • the value of transaction in EUR was 38.775 billion.
Our local law firm is at your disposal with various fiduciary solutions, among which we also mention representation in opening a Swiss bank account.
For notarial and fiduciary services you may contact our law firm in Switzerland.