Cone Marshall Swiss Trustees (cont.)

Geneva, Switzerland

Cone Marshall Swiss Trustees offers trusteeship and family office services to individuals and families who want to protect their wealth, and organise the transmission of that wealth to the successive generations.

Cone Marshall Swiss Trustees offers a complete range of services, including professional trusteeship and company administration and management.


Switzerland is one of the most attractive countries in the world in which to live, work, and run a company. It offers a combination of political and economic stability, confidentiality, a clean and safe environment, top-quality money management, and lower personal and company tax rates than most other European countries.

Switzerland has entered into double taxation treaties with 94 countries, more than 30 of which are based on the OECD model, and has over 120 bilateral investment treaties in force.

Lump-sum taxation

Foreigners who take up residence in Switzerland either for the first time or after an absence of more than ten years may opt into a special tax regime based on their expenditures, as opposed to their income and wealth, provided that they do not carry out any gainful activity in the country. This special regime is generally known as “lump-sum taxation” and involves the payment of a fixed amount of tax every year (save additional Swiss source revenues resulting from investments, which will be added in), based on the presumed total of expenditures agreed with the tax authorities, and not correlated to the income or wealth of the applicant. Those expenditures must be no less than seven times the rental value of the applicant’s residential property. We assist clients moving to Switzerland and seeking to apply for the lump-sum taxation regime.


Switzerland is a civil law jurisdiction and does not have a body of domestic trust law. However, Switzerland ratified the Hague Convention on the Law Applicable to Trusts and on Their Recognition in 2007, and Swiss courts have expressly recognized the validity of foreign trusts.

Swiss-based companies may administer trusts governed by the laws of any jurisdiction. Switzerland does not have any central trust register. Switzerland does not tax foreign trusts settled by non-residents, unless there is Swiss-sourced income. The same applies for residents if they set up an irrevocable trust prior to taking up residence in Switzerland. A tax ruling can be obtained for Swiss residents wishing to create a trust.

Cone Marshall has a Swiss corporate trustee employing qualified trust officers based in Geneva and Lugano and servicing wealthy families from throughout the world.

Charitable foundations

Switzerland has one of the highest densities of charitable foundations in the world, with a total of over 13,500 as of the end of 2021 In Geneva alone, charitable foundations hold a combined wealth of over 13 billion Swiss francs.

Swiss legislation regarding private foundations is open and business-friendly, and the Canton of Geneva leads amongst the locations where international foundations are established.


Swiss companies are governed by the Swiss Code of Obligations. Beneficial ownership information for companies is not public in Switzerland, and there is no public register of persons with significant control.

We can incorporate and manage two types of Swiss companies, in any canton.


Switzerland Stock Corporation – (AG/SA)

  • Used mainly for medium to large businesses
  • Minimum share capital of 100,000 Swiss francs
  • At least 50% of share capital to be paid up, in cash or in kind
  • Possibility of nominative or bearer shares
  • At least one director must be a Swiss resident.
  • Can be used as holding company (particular tax status)
  • Can be used as domiciliary company (foreign-controlled and managed from abroad, with a registered office in Switzerland but no physical presence or staff in Switzerland)

Swiss Limited Company (Sarl/GmbH)

  • Used mainly for small to medium businesses
  • Minimum share capital of 20,000 Swiss francs
  • Total share capital to be paid up, in cash or in kind
  • At least one director must be a Swiss resident
  • Shareholder(s) indicated on the commercial register but nominee agreement possible
  • No restrictions on foreign ownership