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Swiss Private Trust Company – the Ideal Vehicle for a Family Office Structure

Key Advantages

The key advantages of a Swiss Private Trust Company (PTC) are the additional elements of control and discretion which the PTC can provide. A PTC is the ideal structure for high net worth families to use as part of their wealth structuring.

Important Considerations: Professional Trustee or Private Trust Company

One of the first things to consider when establishing a trust is who to appoint as trustee. This is a sensitive question as the settlor is often unwilling to give away control of the assets to strangers in another jurisdiction. A number of individuals may prefer to establish their own private trust company, rather than to use a professional trustee.

A PTC is a standard privately owned company whose sole purpose is to act as trustee of one or more trusts, usually connected to one family. In principle, PTCs do not offer services to the general public. Usually the PTC holds shares in a family company or in an investment company.

PTCs and the Role of a Professional Licensed Trust Company

Like any other company, a PTC is run by its board of directors who make the trust decisions. The PTC allows the settlor and/or family members or trusted persons, to act as shareholders or to be members of the board. As such the settlor or family members are able to appoint or dismiss the directors of the company.

PTCs are often set up and administered by an existing licensed professional trust company, which advises the board members of the PTC, in terms of corporate governance and trustee issues. In some cases, a representative of the professional service company will sit on the board of the PTC together with family members. This combination of family and professional advisers allows the PTC to react quickly to the needs of an extended family and to meet its best business interests. 

Specific Characteristics of Swiss PTCs

A Swiss PTC ensures privacy, when it is formed as a Limited Company. It makes it easier to control access to and disclosure of confidential information. It also allows for  rapid commercial decisions to be made.

A Swiss PTC does not have to be licensed as a professional trust company.

Switzerland as a Family Office Jurisdiction

Switzerland is a, if not the main, hub for family offices.

 Discretion, expertise and security together with one of the best jurisdictions in the world for asset protection and for asset management makes it arguably the best place for a high net worth family to conduct its estate management and control of its assets.

Dixcart Switzerland

Dixcart Switzerland has been providing Swiss Trustee services for over twenty years, is a member of the Swiss Association of Trust Companies (SATC), and registered with the Association Romande des Intermédiaires Financiers (ARIF)

The Swiss Federal Act on Financial Institutions (FINIG) came into effect at the start of 2020, and professional trustees must now gain mandatory approval. Dixcart Trustees (Switzerland) SA meets all of the required regulatory obligations and continues to do so.

Additional Information

if you would like additional information regarding Swiss Private Trust Companies, please contact Christine Breitler at the Dixcart office in Switzerland: advice.switzerland@dixcart.com.

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