Asset Protection Solutions
A Swiss trust company is the ideal solution for any asset protection needs because it combines two unique benefits unregistered bearer share ownership and stringent Swiss banking secrecy laws. As a result, a Swiss company used as an asset protection trust is a vehicle the principal owners of which cannot be traced (due to unregistered bearer share ownership), and the assets of which cannot be disclosed (due to Swiss banking secrecy laws). This unique combination of benefits makes Swiss trust companies a commonly used component of numerous asset protection strategies.
Why use a Swiss trust company for offshore asset protection?
The following unique benefits make Swiss trusts the preferred asset protection solution:
- Unregistered bearer share ownership ensures complete legal separation of assets, making it impossible for third parties to prove that you are the beneficiary owner of the asset protection trust. This creates a layer of impenetrable protection in cases of legal battles and disputes.
- Stringent Swiss banking secrecy laws prohibit disclosure of the nature and value of assets held in a Swiss offshore asset protection trust. This guarantees that, even if your beneficiary ownership of the trust is somehow proven, it will still be impossible to place any valuation on the assets held in the trust.
- 0% income and capital gains tax is levied on asset protection trusts that operate outside of Switzerland and maintain no physical presence in the country (with the exception of a mailbox address). This allows you to manage and grow your trust's assets without subjecting yourself to attrion through taxation.
- 0% withholding tax is levied on payouts to foreign nationals.
- Debit and credit cards can be issued in the name of the trust thus allowing you to access funds held in your asset protection trust without first depositing them into your own bank account. This helps prevent unwanted exposure and ensures that your assets never become subject to litigation while in your personal bank account.
- Various assets - including cash, real estate, and securities - can be held by a Swiss offshore trust company, ensuring their complete protection from litigation. Additionally, Swiss asset protection trusts can also own other companies, allowing you to create complicated asset protection schemes to minimize any damage from litigation.
Asset protection strategies using unregistered bearer shares
Protecting assets with a Swiss trust is a very straightforward process. Because the main attraction of an asset protection plan involving a Swiss trust is the legal separation of ownership from the assets of the principal, the most important thing clients need to keep in mind is that bearer share ownership works best when as few people as possible know the true identity of the principal. For example, if you are creating a contingency asset protection strategy for a potentially devastating divorce battle, it is essential that you keep the fact of your ownership of bearer shares secret from your spouse (or, indeed, any other potential litigating party. This ensures that, even in the event of a court case, the pressure will be on the claimant to prove that you are the owner (or, at least, the principal) of the asset protection trust in question. Therefore, the only party that truly knows the beneficiary owner of an asset protection Swiss trust company is First Fidelity Trust AG - and, by law, we are precluded from sharing, or otherwise disseminating, that information (except in cases of investigation of offences considered criminal under Swiss law.
Protecting your assets through Swiss banking secrecy laws
Should, however, you find yourself in the precarious situation of having your ownership revealed by a third party (for example, someone who has access to your documents), your asset protection strategy will still remain sound through the second layer of benefits that a Swiss trust company confers - that of banking secrecy. A Swiss trust is bound by the same stringent privacy laws as a Swiss bank. In much the same way as a Swiss bank would never willingly provide information about your bank balance to third parties, no one can discover the nature or value of assets held in a Swiss trust (except for the aforementioned exception governing investigations of offences considered criminal under Swiss law). Therefore, even if the fact of your ownership of a Swiss trust is proven, the claimant will still have to find a way to place a value on the assets held in the Swiss trust - a practically futile exercise given that no such information is readily available.
Tax benefits of Swiss trust asset protection solutions
Using a Swiss trust for asset protection also allows clients to benefit from unique tax exemptions associated with this offshore strategy. Specifically, a Swiss asset protection trust which operates outside of Switzerland (in other words, one that does not maintain physical offices and personnel in Switzerland - with the exception of a mailbox address) receives full exemption on income and capital gains taxes. And in cases where clients do choose to maintain physical presence in the country, they will still benefit from Switzerland's traditionally low tax brackets which vary depending on the canton of domiciliation and start as low as 3.5% in the Canton of Zug. Additionally, disbursements made by a Swiss asset protection trust to foreign nationals or offshore locations are fully exempt from any and all withholding taxes.