Black Money

Indians have ‘relatively few’ deposits in Swiss banks, says bankers’ association

Switzerland had on Friday ratified automatic exchange of financial information with India and 40 other jurisdictions.

A group of private bankers from Switzerland has said that Indians hold “relatively few” deposits in Swiss banks when compared with countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, PTI reported on Sunday. Money held by Indians in Swiss banks declined to a record low of 1.2 billion franc (about Rs 80 billion) at the end of 2015.

Switzerland had on Friday ratified the automatic exchange of financial information with India and 40 other jurisdictions. In this regard, the Geneva-based Association of Swiss Private Banks had said there was no particular concern about India, as “the rule of law seems to be properly upheld there”.

The association’s manager Jan Langlo said that it was simply more “practical” for Indians to open accounts in an Asian financial hub rather than in Switzerland.

According to data from the Swiss National Bank, funds held by Indians with banks in Switzerland fell to 1.217 billion franc at the end of 2015. It was the highest in 2005-06, when Indians held Rs 6.5 billion franc (Rs 430 billion) in Swiss banks. The quantum of money held by Indians has been falling since then, except for jumps in 2011 and 2013.

After Switzerland ratified the Automatic Exchange of Information on Friday, India will be able to access transactions by Indians with Swiss banks after September 2019. India and Switzerland had earlier held talks for introduction of the AEOI on tax matters under the guidance of the G20 countries, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and other world bodies. However, details of Swiss bank accounts held before 2018 will not be made available to India.

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