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03 November 2000
The new federal law will have two main purposes. Firstly, it will provide for an exemption from Swiss stamp duty on transactions for institutional investors that are defined under the new law as public institutions (ie, confederation, cantons, communes and central banks), investment funds, life insurers and pension funds. Secondly, it will exempt Swiss securities dealers who are members of foreign stock exchanges from stamp duty on transactions concerning Swiss securities which are traded on these markets.
This new revision of the Swiss stamp duty regulation is one of a series of measures intended to increase the competitiveness of the Swiss financial market. The Parliament is expected to adopt it quickly due to pressure from the Swiss Stock Exchange (SWX) and the Swiss banks, who want to prevent institutional investors from continuing to use foreign banks for their transactions on the SWX or from leaving the Swiss market altogether.
The second revision of the stamp duty regulation aims to protect the competitiveness of Swiss banks with regard to transactions on the new electronic trading platform (VIRT-X), with which the SWX will become associated in the first trimester of 2001. Without this exemption from stamp duty on transactions involving Swiss securities (Swiss blue chips), foreign members of VIRT-X in Switzerland, who are not subject to this stamp duty, would have a serious advantage over Swiss banks.
At this stage, complete exemption from Swiss stamp duty on transactions for all types of investors is not envisaged for political reasons. However, due to international competition and the swift evolution of financial markets worldwide, there is a good chance that a total exemption of Swiss stamp duty on transactions will be adopted during the next few years.
For further information on this topic please contact Thomas Keller or Guy-Philippe Rubeli at Pestalozzi Lachenal Patry's Geneva office by telephone (+41 22 80 94 500) or by fax (+41 22 80 94 501) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Alternatively, contact Robert Furter at Pestalozzi Lachenal Patry's Zurich office by telephone (+41 1 217 91 11) or by fax (+41 1 217 92 17) or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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