Switzerland: Regional 2024 Doing Business In Update

Published on May 16, 2024

2024 Switzerland Regional Update

Firm Name: CMS Switzerland
Author: Franziska Hammer

1. How is the political environment impacting business in or with your country?

On the one hand, the political system stands for stability with (i) a high involvement of the Swiss people via direct democracy and (ii) a system of consensus in our government, the federal counsel. To elaborate on the latter, the seven members of the federal counsel are composed of representatives of the main parties according to their representation in the parliament (more or less) over the years. Once a majority decision is passed by the federal counsel behind closed doors, all members of the federal counsel have to stand up for such a majority decision, irrespective of the view of their respective party. Therefore, contrary to other countries where decisions might be reversed if the opposition wins elections, there is no real opposition in Switzerland since the main parties from the left to the right are involved in the government. The resulting political stability is highly valued by investors.

On the other hand, the relationship with the EU has already been under negotiation for a long time, and the uncertain outcome might unsettle business players.

2. Which countries have you previously collaborated with and do you see potential for future collaboration with on cross-border matters within the region?

Switzerland has strong business relationships with Germany, but we also collaborate with many other European countries and the USA regularly. Many holding companies have their registered office in Switzerland and are thus in regular exchange with operating group companies abroad. Our work includes cross-border mergers other group reorganizations, and financial restructurings

3. What legislation has recently changed or is changing that a potential international client should be aware of?

Switzerland, not being an EU member, adapts in various fields with some delay in its legislation to the EU legislation, such as, e.g., the tightening of the legal requirements on the disclosure of the ultimate beneficial owner, which is currently discussed and will most likely extend to the lawyer-client relationship even when the lawyer does not act as a financial intermediary.