By Lisa Jucca and Rupert Pretterklieber
ZURICH, Feb 2 (Reuters) – Swiss private bankers say attacks on the country’s treasured bank secrecy law turned 2009 into an “annus horribilis.”
A fresh German offensive against tax cheats does not make 2010 look any better for the key guardians of Switzerland’s multi-trillion-dollar wealth management industry.
Despite a settlement in the United States aimed at ending a tax probe against Swiss bank giant UBS and Switzerland’s pledges to help foreign authorities hunt down tax dodgers, the pressure on already weakened Swiss bank client confidentiality refuses to subside.
Germany’s announcement on Monday that it was prepared to pay for data on clients of a Swiss bank touted by a whisteblower has sent shivers across Swiss banking.
“This is a case that affects the whole of the Swiss financial market place because confidentiality and privacy is one of the pillars of the Swiss private banking model,” said Rainer Skierka, senior analyst at private bank Sarasin.