The Swiss Federal Council has announced plans to amend the law requiring banks to automatically disclose bank account information to other countries, in accordance with the OECD Global Forum’s (the Forum’s) latest demands.
Switzerland began using the OECD’s automatic exchange of information (AEOI) standard to disclose account data to certain countries in January 2017. Failure to do so would have meant being placed on the OECD’s blacklist of non-transparent jurisdictions.
Since then, the Forum has been monitoring various jurisdictions’ adoption of AEOI into domestic law, in preparation for another series of peer reviews beginning next year that will examine their actual practice in exchanging bank data. As part of this process, the Forum in December reviewed the Swiss legal basis for AEOI, and issued further recommendations. These concern certain due-diligence and registration obligations; the maintenance of a document retention obligation for reporting Swiss financial institutions; and some definitions and exceptions.
The amendments are subject to the outcome of a consultation that began this week and will end on 12 June. They will also be debated in the Swiss parliament this spring. If approved, they should become law on 1 January 2021.
Last November, the Swiss government agreed to abolish bearer shares, in accordance with the OECD Forum’s Phase 2 peer-review report in July 2016. The decision to abolish was made despite strong opposition from the country’s financial sector.