Swiss to end secret bank accounts

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URICH, Switzerland, March 14 (UPI) — Switzerland is bowing to international pressure, agreeing to end its policy of allowing secretive banking, officials said.

The Times of London reported Saturday that the move means Switzerland will join Liechtenstein, Luxembourg and Andorra, which also agreed this week to share limited information on their accounts on request from foreign governments.

The newspaper said Zurich’s decision to end its 300 years of banking secrecy precedes the G20 meeting, where British Prime Minister Gordon Brown plans to press for international tax havens.

Switzerland has said it would share information on bank accounts with other countries on individual cases. Swiss Finance Minister Hans-Rudolf Merz said despite the change, there would be no “fishing expeditions” for information.

“It’s an enormous change, the most fascinating development since the end of the Second World War,” said Jay Krause, a partner at Withers. “The Swiss continue to say that banking secrecy remains. That is in part true but it is for ever changed.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. “Guess which country, alone in the industrialized world,has not faced a single bank failure, calls for bailouts or government intervention in the financial or mortgage sectors? Yup, it’s Canada. In 2008, the World Economic Forum ranked Canada’s banking system the healthiest in the world. U.S. ranked 40th and Britain 44th.
    Canada has done more than survived this financial crisis. Canadian banks are well capitalized to take asvantage of opportunities that American and European banks cannot seize. So what accounts for the genius of the Canadians? COMMON SENSE. Over the past 15 years, as the United States and Europe loosened their regulations on their financial industries, the Canadians refused to follow suit, seeing the old rules as useful shock absorbers. Canadian banks are leveraged at 18 to 1- compared to U.S. banks at 26 to 1 and European at 61 to 1. Partly this reflects Canada’s more risk-adverse business culture, but it is also a product of old fashion rules on banking.” Fareed Zakaria
    Is it possible that we should be studying NOW the regulations, policies, oversight and methods employed by this system in Canada, rather than waiting on the recovery of the economy? Might we take 6-8 persons: from the Central Bank, the Jr. Minister of Financeand the Shadow Minister,a member of the Senate, Regulators, a Back Bencher from each side of the House on a six week study tour of Canada’s banking system? Upon their return, might they take a day to inform the House of their findings , have a question and answer period and then have a committee struck to further study our system and implement the rules and regulations that best fit the Bahamas system. This in preparation for the next turndown in the economy that surely will come. is it not better to be prepared than to always act in a crisis mode?

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