Swiss citizens oppose sharing of bank client details: Survey

Wegelin

Against the global pressure for tearing down the high walls of secrecy that surround banks in Switzerland, a majority of Swiss citizens have favoured protection of clients' financial details from third parties, and do not want the nation to yield to international pressure on this issue.

As per the survey conducted by Swiss Bankers Association (SBA), protection of financial privacy remains important for people in the country with 86 per cent of respondents believing that the financial details of bank clients must be protected from third parties.

The survey results also found that a vast majority of people do not want Switzerland to yield to global pressure.

"The Swiss do not want to be forced into any measures by foreign governments, and they expect the same from the Swiss authorities," the country's apex banking body said today while announcing the survey results.

When asked as to what the Swiss government is doing to protect bank client confidentiality, respondents in 2013 were somewhat more critical, with 38 per cent believing it is not doing enough, compared to 34 per cent in 2011.

However, the percentage of respondents favouring concessions for foreign countries increased to 31 per cent, from 27 per cent in the previous survey conducted in 2011.

The percentage of the respondents favouring continued protection of financial privacy has also come down from 91 per cent in 2011 survey.

This year's survey included an explicit question about bank client confidentiality for domestic clients and 72 per cent of respondents said they do not want to see it weakened.

"The Swiss population wants to retain bank client confidentiality for domestic clients, underscoring the fact that the Swiss still deem the protection of financial privacy a valuable asset," SBA said.

Switzerland has often been accused of providing safe haven to entities from India and other countries for their untaxed assets and retrieving any information about such funds has been mostly difficult due to strong secrecy measures put in place by Swiss banks about their client details.

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