Switzerland has the ability to attract US clients without offering them banking secrecy, says the chief executive of Reyl Overseas, a newly-formed unit at the Swiss bank designed to attract US clients.
Switzerland has the ability to attract US clients without offering them banking secrecy, says the chief executive of Reyl Overseas, a newly formed unit at the Swiss bank designed to attract US clients.
Banking secrecy is a constitutional right in the Alpine state and an intrinsic part of the country’s banking tradition. However, the concept is heavily under attack by revenue-hungry governments around the world, led by the US, going after tax evasion, which has resulted in fines against many Swiss banks and has led to many turning away US clients.
By stark contrast, the Swiss private bank Reyl has come out and said that it wants to tap this market. "For Reyl Overseas, this is not an issue, because when signing the forms to become our clients, they agree to exchange of information with the US authorities,” Roger Groebli told this publication. “In our business model, there is no banking secrecy."
Groebli joined the bank from ABN Amro in March as CEO of the unit, which was set up in 2011. "Out of all the business units at Reyl, this is currently the smallest, and I have started to build it up, since I joined in March,” he says. “We are in the process of hiring new staff and are looking to double in assets this year. We have some projects in the pipeline looking to attract tax-compliant US clients from other banks."
The subsidiary currently has SFr62 million ($63.2 million) in assets under management and plans to grow to SFr100 million by the end of the year. Over the next five years, the plans are even more ambitious, as the parent group aims to double in client assets and reach SFr10 billion. "Growth should at least be at around 10 per cent of the group's assets over that timeframe,” Groebli says. “But you cannot make a five-year plan, because you do not know what is coming, for example the impact of FATCA (the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act). It is quite important who will be the next president, as Romney is a former banker he might be a bit more realistic (with regards to FATCA) than Obama. But what you can do is to try to break even, and that should be achievable within two years."