On 9 May, the Swiss Federal Council requested that parliament ratify the agreements with Hong Kong and Singapore.
At the same time, it proposed implementing the exchanges on a multilateral basis, which would mean information flowing back to Switzerland.
According to the Society of Trust and Estate Planners (Step), recent legislative developments in the two jurisdictions have opened the possibility that they will exchange account data with Switzerland under the OECD’s multilateral exchange agreement.
The Federal Council also proposed activating automatic exchange of information (AEOI) agreements with other financial centres on a multilateral basis, with the first sets of data exchanged from 2020.
However, the majority of the financial centres that the council wishes to implement the AEOI with only apply it on a non-reciprocal basis; namely Anguilla, Bahamas, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait and Nauru.
Meaning that these countries receive data but refrain from providing it.
The AEOI is to be introduced on a reciprocal basis with Panama. This also applies to the Caribbean overseas communities of the Netherlands (Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba), which are not covered by the scope of the existing AEOI agreement with the EU.
“It is important for the Swiss financial sector that the same competitive conditions exist all over the world,” said the Federal Council.
It wants to ensure “a level playing field worldwide”, so that Switzerland does not cede a competitive advantage to rival financial centres.