Panama Asset Protection vs Swiss Asset Protection
Making a decision as to where you will protect your assets can be difficult. Asset protection in Panama is the best alternative to Switzerland today.
Although Switzerland was once the offshore asset protection capital of the world, it has caved in to pressure from the US and other countries. Switzerland now regularly co-operates with tax authorities from other countries under a myriad of tax treaties. It also co-operates with tax evasion investigations. Bank secrecy in Switzerland is all but gone. Panama, however, having no tax treaties, does not co-operate with any other countries inquiries. Panama does not consider tax evasion a crime and as such does not help other countries in their investigations. This includes MLAT requests.
Switzerland was once "down to earth", protecting those oppressed by offering them numbered accounts. Those days are long gone. Now Switzerland bankers walk around with their "noses in the air". Minimum deposit requirements are now at a staggering $250K for the well established banks. Even the small banks require a $10k minimum balance.
Swiss bankers do not like a declining balance over several months. If you operate your account in this way, depending on the age of your account, you may be asked to close your account. This is a very snobbish attitude, but very real. A new Swiss bank account holder should be wary of this restriction. Panama banks do not take issue with a large deposit followed by regular withdrawals.
The banks in Switzerland are large and well respected. They do provide a safe place to store your money. The problem is that bank secrecy in Switzerland has eroded so much that they now ask you for social security number (if you are US citizen). Panama, of course, does not have this requirement and has strong bank secrecy laws, both on the books, and in practice.
The Swiss banks, under Swiss law, must exchange tax information freely, under their many tax treaties (including a USA - Swiss Tax Treaty). Sadly, this has caused the demise of the once world famous Swiss bank secrecy. Today Panama is the new Country of choice when it comes to asset protection and bank secrecy. Panama does not co-operate with any countries and has no tax treaties. Only in severe criminal investigations is bank secrecy lifted. Panama doesn't recognize tax evasion as a crime, since it is not a crime in Panama.
Although Swiss banks are larger than Panama banks, many people are now choosing Panama to protect their assets. Panama has much stronger bank secrecy laws, both on the books, and in practice. Panama banks are also very large and well established by anyone's standards.