Why I Use Swiss Banks... And Never Look Back

Using Swiss banks evoke a wink-wink, nudge-nudge, reaction from many people. When they hear that I use a bank in Switzerland they seem to assume, for some reason or another, that I must be some black hat artist!

In all fairness, I probably also had that kind of view about people banking in Switzerland. The suspicion must have been based on stories of numbered accounts and the famous banking secrecy of Switzerland. In reality thousands of average people have Swiss accounts and don't really understand what the fuss is all about!

In 1974 my employer at that time seconded me to a research and development project in Milan, Italy. My young family and I found ourselves in a large European city with customs very foreign to us. Amongst other things I had to deal with my employer's Italian bank for drawing our monthly allowance in Lire... which was a nightmare. And I opened my personal bank account at an Italian bank closer to my residence... and that was an even worse nightmare.

Italy, at that time, was in even worse political and economical turmoil than today. Their postal services were on an extended strike for most of that year. To communicate with our families back home we had to make use of the excellent Swiss postal services just across the border at Chiasso.

After a few weeks we got used to the lifestyle and wanted to purchase a used car to explore Northern Italy over weekends. I needed to transfer funds from my home account, but my bank manager indicated that they would not want to attempt transferring the funds to my Italian bank account. He then suggested one of the large banks in Chiasso, Switzerland. All this correspondence was by surface mail via Chiasso, but it took only a couple of days to get a return response.

In no time the account was opened and to my surprise I could do all my banking through the Swiss account. In English. The efficiency and ease of operation surpassed even my home bank's operation! And that's how I got hooked.

Many years later I had to open and operate business bank accounts in North America, Europe, and Africa. But I opened our main accounts in Switzerland. On a business level too, the banking efficiency and service of the Swiss outstripped all the others.

When we moved to Southern Switzerland in 1998, Switzerland was still very much a cash society. I opened a personal account at a community bank close to our home and was once again amazed at the efficiency and service levels compared to personal bank accounts I had to open and operate in other European countries.

This Website is about retirement planning. What has my rambling about Swiss banks to do with that? Well, my entire personal retirement structure was designed by my bank in Switzerland at my request. The portfolio is managed by a Swiss advisor. Even though we don't live in Switzerland anymore.

Would it work for you? I don't know, but of all the colleagues and partner businesses I referred, or introduced, all are still operating through their Swiss banks.

If you operate in the so-called Global Village, you can't do better than a Swiss bank.

If you live in a country with unstable government and banks don't even think twice. Through the Internet you can open and operate your account from anywhere in the world.

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