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Swiss banks face withdrawals due to tax clampdown
[ZURICH] Wealthy clients in 2016 pulled out almost US$30 billion of untaxed assets from three of the world's biggest private banks, UBS, Credit Suisse and Julius Baer, taking advantage of government programmes letting them pay tax on undeclared money.
With tax amnesty programmes in countries like Argentina, Brazil and Indonesia, these so-called regularisation outflows come from clients taking money out of their accounts to pay taxes and penalties. Those who decline to participate in amnesty programmes often have to move their accounts.
Swiss banks are still recovering from European and US clients withdrawing tens of billions of dollars following a post-financial crisis clampdown on tax dodging. The tax clampdown has eroded Switzerland's bank secrecy rules, which for decades pulled in money from the world's super-rich.
UBS and Credit Suisse flagged further withdrawals in 2017 due to these amnesty programmes as well as the introduction of the OECD's Automatic Exchange Of Information, a financial data sharing initiative.
"We expect Wealth Management's net new money growth rate to remain around the lower end of our 3 per cent to 5 per cent target range for 2017," UBS chief financial officer Kirt Gardner said last month.
Credit Suisse CFO David Mathers said on Tuesday the bank expected gross outflows of around 9 billion Swiss francs (S$12.7 billion) in 2017, though part of this will also come from a pruning of relationships with external asset managers at its Swiss business.
These outflows at Julius Baer should tail off in 2018, the bank's chief executive Boris Collardi said earlier this month.