End of banking secrecy could cost UBS wealth division CHF30bn

UBS is bracing itself for outflows of CHF12-30bn as a direct result of international pressures from the US and the EU to end Swiss banking secrecy and conform to new tax rules.

Juerg Zeltner, head of UBS Wealth Management, told Schweizer Bank magazine: “As a consequence of the realignment of the financial centre and the planned withholding tax, we assume that a total of hundreds of billions of francs will flow out of Switzerland.”

Zeltner said UBS had suffered withdrawals of CHF200bn during the financial crisis.

However, Sergio Ermotti, UBS chief executive, put the bank’s potential losses into some perspective when he said that UBS estimates total net inflows for the past 18 months to be CHF60bn.

His comments follow an admission by Credit Suisse that it expected clients in Western Europe to withdraw up to $37bn in the next few years due to pressure on the tax issue.

According to Reuters, German financial services consultancy Zeb/Rolfes Schierenbeck Associates estimates Swiss banks could see European clients pull up to CHF200bn by 2016 of the CHF789bn it believes they currently hold in untaxed assets.

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