On January 17, 2018, the Swiss Federal Government opened the formal consultation process aimed at implementing the most recent recommendations by the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes (Global Forum). The draft law proposes the conversion of bearer shares into registered shares as well as a sanction system for breaches of pertaining duties.
On July 26, 2016, the Global Forum published its report on phase 2 of the country review for Switzerland. The report contains several recommendations on further transparency of legal persons and the exchange of information.
The draft law proposes the mandatory conversion of bearer shares into registered shares and a system of penalties in the event that shareholders violate their duty to notify beneficial owners or companies of their duty to maintain records of shareholders and beneficial owners.
Furthermore, it is planned that authorities and financial intermediaries may inspect the corporate stock ledgers and other directories as far as this serves the fulfillment of their statutory duties. The draft law also contains provisions on the confidentiality of requests for assistance and on the party and process capacity of parties requiring information in mutual assistance procedures.
The consultation will last until 24 April 2018. The proposed bill shall be submitted for parliamentary consultation in the winter of 2018. Switzerland's next country review by the Global Forum begins in the second half of the year 2018.
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