FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
(1) Knowing that the Ratification of the Hague Convention on the law applicable to trusts and on their recognition was soon to be signed by the Swiss government, STEP and the founders of SATC wanted to pave the way for a reasonable and practical regulation of the trust business in Switzerland. Prior to the setting up of SATC there were talks that Berne was thinking about registering trust whereas internationally, the registration or licensing of trustee companies was seen to be a more useful tool to control and influence the activities of the trust industry. Hence, SATC sees itself as a pathfinder for future regulation of trust services or trust companies in Switzerland.
(2) Due to the fact that there is no licensing process for trustees in Switzerland (yet), trust companies based in other jurisdictions who did not wish to go through a licensing process, chose to set up trust companies in Switzerland, many of these trust companies were not providing high quality service, with a potential for damaging the reputation of high quality trust service provision in
- set and reinforce high professional and ethical standards
- become the quality ‘bench mark’ for trustee activities within the Swiss Financial Market
- become the bridge-builder between the industry and the Swiss government in tax and regulatory matters and to prepare for a future regulation of trust companies
- promote Switzerland as a first class jurisdiction for trust related services
- open a dialog within the industry on the issues of transparency and confidentiality
- create benefits of membership to SATC members and their representatives
SATC members must be full members of a Swiss recognised self-regulating organisation or under the direct supervision of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.
Further requirements are set out in the SATC Membership Regulations which may be downloaded from our website or obtained from the Secretariat in Zug.
Apart from above mentioned benefits Members – through their representatives – get access to important know-how and information. Especially if specialists from Members are part of one of the technical committees.
SATC has commenced to engage in promoting its activities, its Members and Switzerland as a jurisdiction for trust administration nationally and internationally through events, articles for high level journals and newspapers and advertisements.
The SATC Membership Regulations contain further information for Guest Members and can be downloaded from our website or obtained from the Secretariat in Zug.
Details as to the composition of the Committee and the Advisory Board can be found on our website or obtained from the Secretariat in Zug.
The logo has been lodged and registered with the Swiss Federal Institute for Intellectual Property.
On the other hand, STEP, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, is the international professional, educational and disciplinary body for individuals working in the Trust industry, its mission is mainly educational in Switzerland, although it has a strong lobbying function out of London and Brussels. Membership of STEP is only available through a test of professional competence.
STEP was instrumental in the establishment of SATC to meet the needs of corporations involved in the Trust industry in Switzerland and the two organisations closely cooperate on trust issues in Switzerland.
SATC sees itself as bridge-builder between trust industry leaders and the Federal administration and will further its cooperation whenever opportunities arise.
In June 2012 SATC issued its White Paper on the regulation of trustees in Switzerland and submitted this to the relevant Government Departments and Agencies.