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  1. Wealth
April 28, 2010

WSJ: Swiss banks turning nose up at suspicious clients

By Spear's

ZURICH—Swiss banks such as UBS AG are getting tougher with European clients they suspect of dodging home-country taxes, a move that could mark the beginning of the end of this country’s mysterious yet lucrative global franchise.

ZURICH—Swiss banks such as UBS AG are getting tougher with European clients they suspect of dodging home-country taxes, a move that could mark the beginning of the end of this country’s mysterious yet lucrative global franchise.

Many Swiss banks conspicuously kicked out their American clients last year after U.S. authorities discovered employees at UBS were helping Americans avoid the tax man.

The banks, which have long allowed foreigners to evade taxes by hiding behind stiff Swiss bank-secrecy laws, weren’t as rigorous with European clients who represent a much larger part of their business, industry experts say.

Now, other European governments appear bent on following the U.S. lead to break Switzerland’s status as a tax haven. That pressure is prompting Swiss banks to become snoopier with clients in Europe—even as such prying represents a change from the banks’ legendary discretion and can cut their profitability.

To read the full story, visit wsj.com

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