UBS, Credit Suisse hold bulk of Indian money in Switzerland
21 June 2014
Just two of Switzerland's biggest banks - UBS and Credit Suisse - appear to be holding almost two-thirds of the total money held by Indians in the Swiss banking system.
According to the latest official data disclosed by the Swiss National Bank, the country's central banking authority, Indians' money in Swiss banks rose by 43 per cent last year to 2.03 billion Swiss francs (nearly Rs14,000 crore), despite growing global pressure on Switzerland to share details of their bank clients.
A further analysis of SNB data shows that the two banks account for 68.2 per cent or about 1.4 billion Swiss francs (close to Rs10,000 crore) of the total money belonging to Indian clients of Swiss banks.
There are a total of 283 banks in Switzerland, out of which only two - UBS and Credit Suisse - have been classified as 'big banks' by Zurich-based SNB. There are also 93 foreign-controlled banks operating in the country.
The amount held by Indian clients in 'savings and deposit accounts' of Swiss banks is comparatively less at about 63 million Swiss francs (less than Rs500 crore) and accounts for just about three per cent of the total exposure of Indians to the Swiss banking system.
Swiss banks classify a major portion of their clients' money as ''other amounts due to customers'' and such funds due to their Indian clients stand at nearly 1.6 billion Swiss francs (over Rs11,000 crore).
The 'other' avenues through which clients park their funds with Swiss banks include ''trading portfolios, financial investments and participating interests''. Besides, banks are also said to be promoting 'precious metals' among their clients for parking their funds.
A small portion of clients' money is also held by Swiss banks through other banks in the foreign countries. For Indian clients, such funds stood at about 94 million Swiss francs (about Rs650 crore) at the end of 2013.
The total Indian money held in Swiss banks includes 1.95 billion Swiss francs held directly by Indian individuals and entities, and another 77.3 million Swiss francs through 'fiduciaries' or wealth managers at the end of 2013.
The funds, described by SNB as 'liabilities' of Swiss banks or 'amounts due to' their clients, are the official figures disclosed by the Swiss authorities and do not indicate towards the quantum of the much-debated black money allegedly held by Indians in the safe haven of Switzerland.