During its meeting of 12 October 2022 the Swiss Federal Council decided that a bill shall be drafted by the Federal Department of Finance in collaboration with the Federal Department of Justice and Police until June 2023, with the goal to facilitate the identification of the beneficial owners of Swiss legal entities. By increasing the transparency of legal entities, the Federal Council wants to combat financial crime in line with its anti-corruption strategy and raise the integrity and reputation of Switzerland as a financial center and business location. This development is an approximation to the international level of transparency regarding the identification of beneficial owners of legal entities.

Among other measures a central register of beneficial owners shall be introduced, in combination with new obligations on risk-based updating of information on effective ownership. The exact outlines of the draft legislation should be available by mid-2023.

Switzerland does currently not have a central or public UBO register. Only the shareholders of limited liability companies are publicly visible in the commercial register. In addition, shareholders and UBOs of corporations are listed in company internal registers which are not publicly accessible. Meanwhile, all European Union member states have a central UBO register which is publicly available. However, unlike the EU UBO registers, it is currently intended that the Swiss UBO register shall not be accessible to the public but only to relevant authorities.

In conclusion, Switzerland is taking further steps to enhance the identification of UBOs of legal entities. These steps are an approximation to the international development of increasing transparency. See press release here.