How to Invest in Switzerland as a Foreigner
(A Beginner’s Guide)

If you are investing in Switzerland as a foreigner, you are not alone.
30% of all offshore money in the world is invested with Swiss banks.
All these offshore investors owning so much money can not be wrong. Switzerland is a safe-haven country.

You can choose among 286 banks and 2,500 independent asset managers.

With such a large choice, you may ask yourself:

  • Which Swiss banks are safe?
  • What is the best Swiss bank for me?

In this Article, I will guide you through the investment jungle and how to invest in Switzerland as a foreigner but successfully. I will show you a tested way. You will discover the safest way to invest in Switzerland as a foreigner.

I advised a few hundred happy clients who became successful investors in Switzerland. Stay with me.

My name is Enzo Caputo. I am an asset protection and banking lawyer advising private clients from all over the world. I am the owner of the boutique law firm Caputo & Partners and the founder of swiss-banking-lawyers.com, the place where successful international business people find tips and solutions to better protect their assets with Swiss banks and pay less tax.

Your

Autor: Enzo Caputo
Banking Lawyer since: 1986

Position: Founder & CEO of the
Boutique Law Firm Caputo & Partners

Updated on: 13.05.2022

We are the leading asset protection boutique law firm in Switzerland with a proven track record.

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I had a fantastic consultation with the Caputo brothers. They gave me expert advice on asset management, banking strategies, and wealth management. The session was really insightful, covering everything from investment returns and fee structures to why external asset managers can be a better choice. I really appreciated their honest and transparent approach, pointing out the conflicts of interest in traditional banking and offering practical solutions for better financial management. Their knowledge is pretty impressive, to say the least :) Highly recommend!
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of speaking with the senior partner and council for the firm, Enzo Caputo.We spoke about a number of issues involving wealth Management, diversification of assets, diversifying fund composition, and the survivability of wealth in family office planning.Of course, dealing with a solicitor is not the same thing as dealing with an asset manager. Lawyers are required as a matter of ethics to only make suggestions to clients which in their view is beneficial to the client, and not self-serving.These types of ethical considerations do not exist with real estate agents, fund managers, Banks, financial institutions or other agents. So it was quite refreshing to hear Mr Caputo's analysis on fund diversification.We also spoke at length about the security of Swiss banks, and how the government protects investors and depositors in case of Bank defaults.We also spoke at length about relocation to different countries, and he provided me his honest opinion on the various jurisdictions that were available including the pros and cons of each jurisdiction.This is a completely unsolicited review. On the basis of full disclosure, I have not been paid, or otherwise compensated for making this review other than the fact that I was invited to write this review if I so chose.
Habe meinen ersten Anruf in der Kanzlei getätigt und direkt von Herrn Caputo eine kostenfreie erste Kurzberatung -ohne Schnickschnack- zum Thema privater Kontoeröffnung und Empfehlungen zu Steuerprofis aus seinem Netzwerk bekommen. Klar, freundlich und kompetent, so wie man es sich wünscht. Im Bedarsfall sehr zu empfehlen!
Mr Caputo knowledge of the Swiss system helped me to quickly identify the best solution suitable to my needs! Highly reccomended!
Wir waren heute bei Herr Caputo und sein Partner Roberto, Top professionale Beratung !!!Es wird alles gründlich erzählt, nimmt viel zeit. Top Profissionele Beratung !!
Herr Enzo Caputo hat mich sehr gut und kompetent beraten. Seine fundierten Kenntnisse und sein professionelles Auftreten haben mir das Vertrauen gegeben, dass ich die richtige Entscheidung treffe. Er nahm sich ausreichend Zeit, um meine Fragen umfassend zu beantworten und ging auf meine individuellen Bedürfnisse ein. Die Beratung war nicht nur informativ, sondern auch angenehm, da Herr Caputo eine freundliche und zugängliche Art an den Tag legte. Seine Expertise hat mir geholfen, die bestmögliche Lösung für meine Anliegen zu finden. Ich kann Herrn Caputo uneingeschränkt weiterempfehlen und bin mit seiner Dienstleistung äusserst zufrieden. Vielen Dank für die exzellente Beratung!
We have contacted Caputo & Partners AG when we needed a legal advise on a quite unusual matter.Mr Enzo Caputo kindly provided us with a very comprehensive response which really helped us in outlining our point of view.
Dear Enzo,dear Alessandro,Hope all is well.We got our bank account thanks to you and we would like to thank you a lot for that.It was a long process to complete the Know Your Customer enquiry and convince the bank that our net worth was legit.We hope to have you on our side if,later on,some problem show up with that relation.You are doing a great job and we will recommend you to anybody looking to open an account or solving a problem with a bank.Thanking you again.All the best.Albert
Habe Herrn Caputo, als zuverlässigen, Kompetenten und aufrechten Geschäftsmann kennen gelernt. Weiter so !!!
I miei genitori avevano un conto in Svizzera. L' avvocato Caputo ha accompagnato le complesse procedure di diritto internazionale. Ha condotto le trattative con la banca svizzera. Non dare mandato a Caputo per problemi con banche svizzere é un errore grave. Posso solo raccomandare lo studio Caputo & Partners di Zurigo.
I have been touch base with Mr. Caputo recently and I have been very surprised how keen this person was to answer my questions and give good advice without asking nothing in return, to be noted that Enzo was just recovery from a surgery can you imagine what this person can do in a normal day life?Bravo!!!
Excellent, fast, reliable , honest, human and spot on professional - Bravo - 5 stars 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟👏
Ho sentito l'avvocato Caputo telefonicamente, molto professionale e gentile.Mi ha dato ottimi consigli su come risolvere il problema
Highly recommendable. Friendly and competent advice for company and account opening in Switzerland - directly from the owner (no secretary or junior partner as usual)
Highly recommended! I had a bad case during the holidays where I couldn't contact with any lawyer, luckily when I called Mr. Caputo he picked up the phone right away and listened to my problem and explained the issues. Right after that he gave me his a cell phone number and remind me if there is a problem call him immediately. Thank you very much!
The company has a competent and personable owner. We were able to quickly familiarize ourseves into the topics. Thank you for the syphatic and professional consulting. Respectfully yours, C.J
Enzo Caputo has an ability to cut to the essentials of an issue extremely quickly. His advice is practically based, and skillful.His experience in the sector has been very helpful, and he is not afraid to tackle difficult problems.Enzo's approach has been professional, and he was able to provide help in pointing out the key factors for success. He has been a very helpful ally. Also, Alex's operational experience was invaluable. Setting up any financial relationship correctly to avoid conflicts of interest is absolutely crucial. These conflicts are not always aobvious. Caputo and Partners have some very useful knowledge.
Coming to Switzerland and dealing with the local banks as a foreigner is a challenging task. However, if you are equipped with a proper advice the task is certainly doable. If you are solely dealing with the Swiss banking system and frustrated, look no further – call Alex or Enzo. What I personally like about this firm is that it is a one stop shop. What I mean by that? Alex and Enzo provide a sound advice not only on legal issues you may have but also, they are well seasoned bankers and trained as tax advisors. All the common issues could be resolved in one office, I did not need to go to multiple firms, everything covered in house. By the way, your coffee shop suggestion made my day. Well brewed and tasty coffee. Thanks Alex and Enzo!
We have a problem at the bank. Mr Caputo managed to solve the problem with the Swiss bank and we received the money back after his intervention with the bank. He figured out all compliance issues with the Swiss bank. We are happy to recommend his law firm for any issues connected with a Swiss bank.Not hiring Caputo & Partners will be a mistake. The compliance issues are complex today. You really need to engage an expert like Mr Enzo Caputo.
I highly recommend this trust worthy professionals, who are always there for you when you need them. And Mr.Caputo is the professional, who gets you the results you wanted.
Enzo Caputo is extremely professional, clear, quick, analytic and precise in his response in English and German. Client was very impressed.
I can report the best about Mr. Caputo. When it comes to highly complex and international structures, he is the lawyer I trust. Clear in his statements and very helpful to illuminate all aspects accurately and in depth.
Sehr empfehlenswert! Herr Caputo hat uns persönlich sehr gut beraten und geholfen (nachdem uns zwei andere Anwälte sehr viel Geld gekostet hatten ohne Resultate und wir nicht mehr weiter wussten). Er half rasch, unkompliziert und kompetent. Vielen Dank, Herr Caputo!
Enzo was very helpful in answering my questions about citizenship and investments. He spent time with me going over the options of Italian citizenship as well as other EU countries and giving me guidance as to what would be the best for me economically. His knowledge of Swiss banks is very helpful as well and I will be looking forward to working with him in the future to finalize my investment plans. His website and YouTube channel are great resources as well. Thanks again, Enzo!
Ciao Enzo,we wanted to thank you again for your quick and professional support for our request.And as we have already told you personally, we have saved you in our database as the first address for all financial transactions that we will and want to carry out in Switzerland, even if it is only when we need professional advice, we will contact you primarily, as we have greatly appreciated your work.Thank you again for your quick, human and smooth support in our case.my best regards Umberto
Ich hatte heute eine kurze und effektive telefonische Beratung von Firma Capito, und er war profi und konkret ! danke euch nochmals von Tip Top Immobilien
Außergewöhnlich: man bekommt Herrn Caputo direkt als richtigen Ansprechpartner ans Telefon!Kompetente Auskunft ohne Umschweife, kein "Mauern" oder "Taktieren", dass man erst etwas bezahlen oder ein Info-Produkt kaufen muss...Er hat mir direkt im ersten Telefonat einen wichtigen Tipp gegeben, der mir weiter hilft! Super, vielen Dank!
An exceptional firm with highly competent and knowledgeable professionals . Mr Caputo ‘s knowledge of the Swiss Tax system is second to none and I would recommend this firm highly .
I sent a doc thru an email and called Mr. Enzo for a verification. He verified immediately. His swift verification is truly valuable ! Thank you so much !!
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This article is based on the following video:

[1.] Remember: time, not timing, is what matters

Is now a good time to start investing or should you wait until the economic situation has changed?

The truth is that nobody knows the right time.
Experts are making forecasts that you can consider but even their timing can be wrong.

For example, 20 years ago, experts judged Google and Amazon as high-risk investments. Anyone who invested in Google and Amazon stocks in the early days became a millionaire.

Picking the next winning stock can be like finding a needle in the haystack. This is why successful Swiss asset managers always recommend the buy-and-hold strategy with well-diversified high-quality investments.

Do not invest in one shot. Do it step by step, based on installments in different periods.

Remember: diversification helps against volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity.

[2.] Timing the market vs buy and hold

Your circumstances are much more important than the markets. It is important to understand that your money may be invested and blocked for a long time. You should invest money you don’t need to pay your bills.

If you invest in the stock market, you need a substantial amount of money for at least 5 years. You have to be sure that you won’t need that money for at least the next five years.

If you don’t feel comfortable with a long-term investment, it is not the right time for you to invest. It’s important to know that you are never too young to start investing. If you start early, this will have a positive impact on your wealth.

Based on the historical performance of investment accounts, you can expect to make an average return of 7% per year.

Leaving your money in your bank account means that your savings lose value over time. The prices increase faster than the return you’ll get from the money in your savings account. Leaving your money in a savings account means reducing the purchasing power of your money over time.

During the last 13 years, my best-in-class asset managers made 8 to 12% a year on average. I will explain more about how to find an external asset manager who gets results later in this Article. However, opening an investment account is imperative if you want to protect the purchasing power of your money.

[3.] Investment opportunities in Switzerland

Before making investments, you need to know the most common investment opportunities in Switzerland like:

  • Real Estate
  • Gold & Silver
  • Cryptocurrency
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • ETFs

I will explain these very common asset classes in this Article.

More exotic investment opportunities such as commodities, art, luxury watches, classic cars, historical documents, Roman gold coins, and diamonds are excluded or explained in my other videos.

I will show you the pros and cons of the most common asset classes.

What’s the best way to invest in Switzerland 2022?
Read this Article until the end to find out how my non-resident and very happy clients are successfully investing in Switzerland. Find out how they found the safest Swiss bank and an asset manager that delivers results.

Stop wasting your time researching on the internet.

Speak to Mr. Enzo Caputo personally today and benefit from over 30 years of experience in Swiss private banking.

We help you invest your assets safely and for the long term.

[4.] How to buy gold and silver for investment

People have been investing in gold and silver for 5,000 years, and this will become even more popular as the world is becoming more insecure.

Gold and silver are widely known as safe investments in uncertain times. It’s one of the few investments where you can’t lose everything. It’s impossible to end with a total loss.

Gold is a safe-haven currency similar to the Swiss franc.

Pros:

  • Long-term track record: Gold and silver have maintained their value since ancient times. You should invest at least 20% of your wealth in physical gold.

  • Safety: Physical gold bars and gold coins are safer than gold and silver on paper. Switzerland is the best place for physical gold storage in a private vault out of the banking system.

Cons:

  • Cost: Storage and insurance are minor for gold but must be considered for silver due to the volume of silver.
  • No real income: Precious metals are not generating income. You can use gold as collateral for a cheap loan.
  • Impact of gold: Gold mining in third-world countries can harm the planet. Soon, the provenance of gold will be tracked based on blockchain technology.

In this video, I talk to a good friend of mine, Olivier Chédel (Swiss wealth manager with over 30 years of experience), about how to invest in physical gold:

[5.] Invest your Money in Investment Funds

What is an investment fund?
A fund is a collective investment company where your money and the money of other investors are pooled together. The fund manager is managing the fund. He makes the buy and sells decisions for you.

Let’s assume that you have a UBS non-resident bank account. It’s a tremendous mistake to not outsource the asset management services to an external asset manager. You can be pretty sure that your portfolio will be overloaded with indirect investments, with the funds issued by UBS.

Conflict of interest situations will destroy the performance of your portfolio. Your UBS private banker will look after his bonus. He will sell exclusively the financial products and investment funds issued by his bank.

According to my case studies based on 115 real existing portfolios, direct investments in the best Swiss stocks are outperforming indirect investment in funds by far.

Indirect investments are super expensive. They make money for the bank but not for you. The bank will collect the intransparent fees and destroy your returns.

Read what I discovered after having analyzed 115 real existing portfolios.

Pros:

  • Diversification: You will have low investment risks because of well-diversified investments. The risk of losing money is minimized but the returns are low.
  • Liquidity: You can sell your investment funds at any time if you buy liquid funds. Liquid funds issued by a big bank like UBS are very liquid.
  • Returns: You will not lose money but the returns will be modest. Passively managed funds can outperform actively managed funds because of substantial expenses.

Cons:

  • Hidden fees: Due to their complex and intransparent structures, funds are notoriously known for hidden fees. My case studies uncovered that funds can destroy the returns.
  • Illiquid hedge funds: When investing in funds, you have to be very careful with hedge funds. They can be very illiquid and risky.

[6.] How to buy Swiss stocks

Buying Swiss stocks means participating in a company’s success by being a co-owner of the company in Switzerland. Thanks to digitalization, the Swiss stock market has become easier and more cost-effective.

Stock investment in Switzerland with the best Swiss stocks is a low-risk investment. Companies like Roche, Novartis, and SwissRe are dividend-generating Swiss blue-chip stocks for the long run.

Please check my video on how to invest in the Swiss stock market.

Pros:

  • Attractive returns: Attractive as a long-term investment with a 7% return per year on average.
  • Excellent liquidity: Immediately after having sold your stocks the money will be credited instantly to your account.
  • Simplicity: Unlike derivatives and funds, there are no hidden fees and intransparent structures with other intermediaries. Americans with Swiss bank accounts can buy US stocks in Switzerland very easily. Americans with Swiss bank accounts should engage a best-in-class asset manager. You will get much better results with an external asset manager.
  • Full transparency & control: You compose your portfolio with direct investments by picking the best Swiss stocks.
  • Sustainable investment: You can instruct your external asset manager to exclude companies that you do not wish to support, for example, tobacco, mining, weapons, or climate-changing industries.

Cons:

  • Volatility: Stock value moves up and down. Therefore, it is crucial to have different stocks in your portfolio. Diversification is king. Minimize the risk of your investment.
  • Risky short-term investments: Do not speculate with stocks. Time, not timing, is what matters. You should follow a buy and hold strategy holding your stocks for at least five years.

[7.] Are Bonds a Good Investment in 2022?

Buying bonds in Switzerland was considered a safe investment. Swiss government bonds are the safest bonds you can invest in.

Swiss government bond yields are very low. Investing in corporate bonds is much more lucrative but there are more risks involved.

Bonds are debt obligations. You loan an amount of money to a company or government and you will receive the same amount back after a certain time, including a yield. The difference is that you can buy and sell bonds on financial markets at any time.

Because of the low-interest rates, investing in bonds is not attractive. As the interest rates are increasing simultaneously with growing inflation, bonds will become much more attractive again.

However, I would not invest in bonds in these uncertain times of war in Ukraine and inflation. I would wait until we will have peace in Ukraine and we will have a more clear picture of inflation.

Pros:

  • Volatility: Bonds are more stable than other investments.
  • Low Risk: The risk depends on the quality of the issuer of the bond.

Cons:

  • Difficulty: Bonds are long-term investments with a large minimum investment. You can circumvent the difficulties of investing in bond ETFs.
  • Returns: Bonds have very low returns because of low-interest rates.

We help protect what you’ve earned.

We’ve been advising people with asset protection and estate planning for over 30 years.

Are your assets really safe? Let’s find out and speak with Mr. Enzo Caputo today.

[8.] How to Buy ETF in Switzerland (Exchange Traded Funds)

ETFs are very popular. Are you looking for the best ETF in CHF as an investment in Switzerland?

What is an ETF in stocks?
An exchange-traded fund (ETF) is security with pooled investments that operate similarly to a mutual fund. ETFs in stocks is an exact copy of an index like the S&P 500.

In Switzerland, you can buy ETFs as a foreigner. There are no restrictions for foreigners.

Pros:

  • Diversification: ETFs have a high level of diversification.
  • Ownership: You own a share of a fund owning the stocks.
  • Cost: As they are passively managed, ETFs are less expensive than traditional funds.

Cons:

  • Complexity: Sometimes, ETFs can be sophisticated investments with complex risks difficult to access.
  • Sustainability: When investing in ETFs, be aware that sustainable ETFs are often less sustainable than they claim to be.

[9.] Is it Smart to Invest your Money in Real Estate right now?

Switzerland has very high rents compared to Europe. A lot of people in Switzerland are considering investing in their property. You should buy a house for your family without treating it as an investment.

As a non-resident foreigner, you are not allowed to buy your own home. You can invest in commercial properties only.

The returns from real estate investments in Switzerland are modest. Smart investors are very selective about the location of the property. If you choose to invest in a central location, you will realize a substantial capital gain. Choosing the right location is of exceptional importance. 

Good investments are accessible only off-market. As a foreign investor, you need professional advice.

Pros:

  • Low volatility: The pricing for real estate is stable.
  • Capital gain: If you live on your property you will save a lot of money on rent.

Cons:

  • Illiquid investment: If you need money, you are forced to sell your property. You have to find a suitable buyer. This will take months or even years under particular circumstances.
  • High risk due to leverage: If you buy real estate with 80% third-party money and 20% own money, your investment can be at risk if the prices go down.
  • Lack of diversification: Buying real estate in Switzerland is expensive. If you are not in a position to invest your money in other investments, you may not survive the next real estate crisis.
  • Restrictions: As a non-resident foreign investor you can invest only in commercial properties. As a foreigner resident in Switzerland, there are no restrictions.

[10.] Invest your Money in Cryptocurrencies

Are cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoins, Ethereum, Tether, Binance Coin, USD Coin, Terra, and XPR a hype that you should avoid, or is it an imperative investment for the future?

As some investors became millionaires very quickly investing in cryptocurrency, many others have lost everything. If you invest your money in cryptocurrency you have to be very careful.

Because of the low level of regulation, there are many scam artists and other criminals involved in cryptocurrencies. In my view, investing your money in cryptocurrencies is equal to wild west banking.

Governments can declare cryptocurrency investments illegal overnight. You can lose your investment in cryptocurrencies instantly. There is no protection against it.

Pros:

  • Easy going: Doing transactions is very easy and very fast.
  • Blockchain technology: Decentralized payment systems are an interesting alternative to traditional payments common in banking.

Cons:

  • High volatile market: The cryptocurrency market is going up and down fast.

  • No return: Similar to gold and silver, cryptocurrencies are not generating returns. It is a speculation on capital gains. Due to the tremendous volatility, you can generate substantial capital gains in a short time.

[11.] You can Invest your Money in your Bank Savings Account

Many people are convinced that keeping money in a bank savings account has nothing to do with investing. That’s not true.

Let me give you an example:

When the Euro was launched in January 1999, one Euro quoted one Swiss franc and 61 cents. We will have parity. One Euro is quoting one Swiss franc only. Just by investing your capital in Swiss francs, instead of Euros, in your bank savings account and leaving it without investing in stocks, the capital gain is 61%.

Since many people are just keeping their life savings in their Savings bank account, my advice is to invest in Swiss francs, a safe-haven currency.

Pros:

  • Guaranty of the government: In case of bankruptcy, you will be covered for up to CHF 100,000.
  • Liquidity: If you need to spend your money within the next year or two, keeping it in a savings account in Swiss francs is a great option.

Cons:

  • Negative interest rates: If you keep substantial amounts in Swiss francs there are negative interest rates.
  • Losing buying power: Without investing money you end up losing wealth. The buying power will diminish. A good independent asset manager will make sure to preserve the buying power.

[12.] So, how to invest in Switzerland as a foreigner?

As a foreigner, you are not familiar with Swiss banking. Most customers do not know how to judge the safety of a bank. The best Swiss bank account for foreigners has to be opened with one of the safest Swiss banks.

We at Caputo & Partners know how to measure the safety of a bank. We are focused on the safest Swiss banks only. Our Swiss private banks do not have a leveraged balance sheet.

Only the strongest capitalized banks with a tier-one capital ratio exceeding 20% are good enough for our clients. UBS and Credit Suisse have a tier-one capital ratio far below 20%.

For our clients, we suggest Swiss banks not be involved in derivatives, not in investment banking, not in risky lending activities, not issuing letters of credit, no bank guarantees, etc.

We prefer Swiss private banks with the core business of wealth management. Avoid using an offshore company as the account holder. The Swiss bank account has to be opened directly in your name. It will ensure direct control over the assets.

We propose Swiss private banks tailor-made to your needs and expectations. Normally, we propose 3 to 5 very strong capitalized Swiss private banks. You will make the final choice.

Don’t blindly follow the advice of the big bank’s advisors.

I have seen significant losses in the millions of dollars and hidden fees that have destroyed many assets of wealthy entrepreneurs.
Be smart and learn from other millionaires’ mistakes.
Speak to Mr. Enzo Caputo today and let us analyze your situation.

[13.] What is the minimum balance to open a Swiss bank account?

You need a diversified portfolio with a multi-currency account.

The minimum balance should be 500,000 CHF to ensure proper diversification.

Spreading your direct investments across countries, sectors and industries is imperative. To achieve a suitable diversification with direct investments you need a minimum capital of 500,000 CHF.

[14.] Why are the family offices managing the money of wealthy families engaging external asset managers?

The answer is very simple.

External asset managers are delivering much better results than banks.

We tested the performance of the last 10 years of 115 real existing portfolios.

We discovered that external asset managers, also known as independent asset managers, are performing 4 times better than asset managers employed by the Swiss banks.

Of the best portfolios outperforming the benchmark, only 20% were banks while 80% were independent asset managers.

Our best-in-class asset managers generated between 8 and 12% return per year on average, for the last 13 years.

If you are interested in knowing the exact figures, please read our article “Independent Financial Advisor in Switzerland”. What we have discovered will shock you!

The external asset managers have a limited power of attorney on your account. They are allowed to manage your wealth but they are not allowed to take money away. The asset management agreement with the asset manager can be cancelled at any time.

Simplified-Set-Up-External-Asset-Manager