Switzerland is a confederation (confederation Helvetica) of 26
states with around 3,000 municipalities. Bern(e) is the capital and
seat for federal authorities, while the country's economic centres
are Geneva and Zürich. These cities are also rated as enjoying the
second and third highest quality of life in the world. The country
has a long history of neutrality, and hosts many international
organisations such as the Red Cross, The World Trade Organisation
and the United Nations. Switzerland is not a member of the European
Union but it is a part of the Schengen Agreement.
Geneva is the second largest city in Switzerland behind
Zurich and the most international city in Europe with over 40% of
its population coming from outside Switzerland. The main industries
are banking, inter- and non-governmental administration,
technology, and tourism. Geneva prides itself as being one of the
most beautiful and cultured cities in the world, combining the
splendors of nature with a rich palette of historic and
Geneva has maintained its distinction over the centuries as a
leading international financial centre. Structures governed by laws
of other jurisdictions are professionally administrated in this
multi-lingual and multi-cultural region.
The long awaited ratification on the Law Applicable to Trusts
and Their Recognition (relating to the Hague Trust convention) was
entered into, and came into force in Switzerland on 1st July
As a consequence there has been an influx of foreign Trust and
Company businesses into Switzerland over the last two years.
Switzerland looks after a third of the world's private banking
wealth, and is renowned for the quality of services provided, its
banking confidentiality, as well as currency and political
The currency in Switzerland is the Swiss Franc (CHF, SFr.), the
Euro is also accepted.
Switzerland has four official languages: French, Swiss German,
Italian and Romansh. French is the predominant language spoken in
Geneva, but most citizens speak at least one other language.
Taxes are levied not only by the confederation but also
at a cantonal and municipal level. Nevertheless profits after tax
are often higher in Switzerland compared to other countries because
of the low Swiss tax rates.