Does numbered bank accounts really exist and what’s the recent history?
Yes numbered accounts really exist.
Until 1992, it was possible for an attorney to open a Swiss bank account on behalf of a client, without revealing the client’s identity to the bank. Effectively, the bank had no idea whose money it handled. The same practice continued in Liechtenstein until 1999.
Because the bank had no information as to the account holder’s identity, there was no way to refer to the account except by its number — hence the term numbered account. In 2004 Switzerland was forced to introduce new money laundering regulations which spelled the end of the numbered account, obliging all account holders to be properly identified.
Until 2009 the Swiss wire transfer regulations displayed a specialty which made it possible for anonymous wire transfers to be received legally in Switzerland.
Where exists numbered bank accounts?
Numbered bank accounts exist only in Switzerland and Liechtenstein
How can I open a numbered bank account on-line?
The procedure for opening a “numbered” account is exactly the same as for any other type of account. The bank must verify your identity and establish the identity of the beneficial owner. “Numbered” accounts are certainly not anonymous. With a “numbered” account your business within the bank is carried out not under your name but under a number or code. This is simply an internal security measure to restrict knowledge of the customer’s identity to a small group of employees in the bank and apart from this a “numbered” account enjoys no additional privileges in terms of confidentiality. You will have to envoy the bank an envelope containing all the required documents, in accordance with the Due Diligence Agreement (CDB 03), the bank verifies the identity of the contracting partner by obtaining a certified copy of an official identification document (e.g. passport and confirmation of residential address). The certified copy may be provided by a branch, representative office or group company of the bank; by a correspondent bank; by a financial intermediary specifically appointed by the bank; or by a notary public or public office that customarily issues such authentications. The bank also checks the address of the new customer through an exchange of correspondence.
Is a numbered account completely anonymously ?
No, that is not possible. Banks follow so-called “know-your-customer” rules which require staff to identify the person opening an account and, where necessary, to establish the identity of the beneficial owner. Incidentally it was the banks themselves who drew up the extremely strict, internationally recognized rules for verifying the identity of their clients as a deterrent to money of criminal origin.
Who can open a numbered bank account?
Everyone can open an account at a bank in Switzerland or Liechtenstein. However, banks reserve the right to reject customers. For example, a bank might refuse to offer banking services to a so-called “politically exposed person” who the bank believes would pose a “reputation” risk if he or she were to become a client. A bank might also refuse to start a banking relationship if it has doubts about the origins of the potential client’s funds. Swiss banks are forbidden by law to accept money which they know or must assume stem from crime or any illegal activities.
How long does it take to open the numbered account?
From few working days up to 3 weeks.
What are the fees applied by the bank?
Numbered bank accounts are the most expensive. Account maintenance would cost 300-500€
How can I withdraw money from my numbered bank account?
ATM card and credit card valid in all the world.
What documents are required to open the numbered personal bank account?
- Copy of utilities must be no longer than three months old. You may need to have these documents certified.
Can you open the numbered account without having to visit the bank personally?
Of course, we have different type of numbered accounts. It’s your choice to opt for the physical presence or not.
What means certified/notarized documents?
Certification means that a bank official, cpa, attorney at law, notary public, attests that the documents are true. As example, for each documents he writes: “I hereby certify this is the true copy of Mr. First Name, Last Name”. This comes with signature, date and professional stamp
What bank client secrecy means?
Bank client confidentiality means that the banks have a duty to keep confidential all facts that involve their customers. At the same time, it is a right of the customer, for it is the customers not the banks who are entitled to the protected data. Bank client confidentiality protects the clients’ privacy and is thus comparable to the discretion exercised by lawyers or doctors. The right to privacy is a mainstay of the Swiss legal system, and it is laid down in the Federal Constitution (section 13).
Does bank secrecy shield criminals?
No. Bank customer confidentiality has never been absolute. Swiss, Liechtenstein, Andorra and Austria banks are obliged, for example, to disclose information in criminal proceedings against their clients. This is an absolute obligation, regardless of whether the offence was committed in Switzerland or abroad. Compared with other countries Switzerland has always been very successful at combating organized crime and money laundering. Switzerland is one of the cleanest financial centers in the world.
How safe are banks in Switzerland?
All banks operating in Switzerland must be licensed by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. The FINMA, which is a member of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, regulates and supervises all banks in Switzerland according to the Basel Committee’s standards. These standards cover not only equity and capital adequacy but also the entire scope of prudential and behavioural rules. As an additional safety measure, Swiss law demands capital adequacy standards even higher than those required by the Basel Accord. Swiss banks can therefore certainly be counted amongst the safest in the world.
How secret are swiss banks?
In Switzerland great importance has traditionally been attached to the protection of an individual’s privacy, and this has always included financial privacy. Surveys consistently show that the vast majority of the Swiss people want to maintain this protection. However, the high level of confidentiality Swiss banks offer both their domestic and foreign customers is not absolute and certainly does not shield criminals. As a matter of principle the rights to privacy can be suspended when a criminal investigation is underway. Our aim is to protect the privacy of the honest bank client while exposing criminals to the full force of the law.
Does the account have on-line banking?
Yes all account have on-line banking 24 hours/ 7 days always available.