Monday 14 October 2019

Rich Britons stash wealth in Switzerland to escape impact of Brexit and Corbyn

Stock photo: PA
Stock photo: PA

Angelika Gruber

SWISS private banks have seen a sharp rise in British clients who are moving assets offshore to escape a chaotic Brexit, several sources familiar with the situation told Reuters.

"In recent months, the number of accounts opened from Britain has trebled," one person at the wealth management arm of a large international bank in Switzerland said.

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Swiss banks do not disclose details of clients, but sources said most of the accounts opened by British-based clients were for wealthy nationals wanting to shift some assets to the safe haven.

This trend had clearly intensified in recent weeks, a source at a large bank said. Wealthy Britons wanted to protect their assets also against the possibility of a high-tax Labour government coming to power soon, another source said.

The pound has lost 17pc to 18pc against the dollar and the euro since the vote on EU membership in June 2016.

With just weeks to go before Britain's deadline to leave the EU on October 31, the terms of the departure, and possible ramifications for its economy, are still unclear. One private banker said his bank had also drawn more customers from Britain over the past three to six months.

A source at the Swiss wealth management arm of a second international bank said rich Britons were particularly afraid that the Labour Party, led by Jeremy Corbyn, would win an expected UK election soon, and find ways to get a share of their money.

"More than anything else, people are afraid of Corbyn," the person said.


Irish Independent

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