SME Forum supports introduction of trusts in Swiss law

A businessman signing a document.

(11.05.2022) A new legal structure - the trust - may shortly be introduced into Swiss law. To this end, the Federal Council has submitted a draft amendment to the Code of Obligations for consultation.

The SME Forum, which is committed to ensuring that the federal administration pays special attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, is supporting the introduction of a Swiss trust. According to the commission, this legal institution, which derives from Anglo-Saxon law, is flexible, reliable, and particularly suitable for the holding and transfer of assets.

The creation of a Swiss trust would generate new business opportunities and discourage Swiss clients from setting up trusts abroad, as is currently the case. The SME Forum cites a study conducted by BASS consultancy on the impact assessment of the project, which estimates a total gain of around CHF 459 million per year for service providers and clients in Switzerland.

In its recommendations, the committee makes two requests. Firstly, it would like to see clear documentation on the new company transfer opportunities under the Swiss trust – a crucial issue for SMEs – in the Federal Council's future message.

Secondly, the SME Forum requests that the entire section of the project relating to the taxation of trusts, i.e. the amendments to the federal tax laws, be deleted. According to the commission, should this component be retained, the Swiss trust would in all probability not be used. Furthermore, there would be a risk that settlors, trustees, and beneficiaries of existing trusts set up abroad and recognized under the Hague Convention would leave Switzerland because of these new tax rules, which would be less advantageous than those currently in place.


Last modification 11.05.2022

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