Davos/Zurich: As Swiss banks lose their secrecy tag, some bankers here are coming up with innovative ideas to lure rich clients from India and other countries by providing services like 'cash courier' as well as by offering large metal vaults to store currency notes, gold, artworks and other valuables. Also on the platter is advice to put money in virtual currencies, especially in the wake of Bitcoin ATMs becoming operational in Zurich.
Many bankers admitted, on condition of anonymity, that such meetings are scheduled to be held on the sidelines of WEF summit in Davos, as also in Zurich over this week. The meetings include those with representatives of their Indian clients as well.
While representatives from the large banks said they are advising their clients about potential risks associated with keeping their hidden wealth here, those associated with many smaller banks claimed risks are relatively lesser when using the services of cash vaults, which however come with a higher price tag in terms of service fees, maintenance charges and rentals.
None of the bankers are willing to talk on record with regard to their dealings with rich clients from abroad, which also includes a significant number of Indians. Bankers are also offering to show their prospective clients a visit to the banks' cash vault sections, where large metal boxes are placed within the bank premises and at third- party designated places to safely store wades of currency notes as also other valuables.
In the meantime, a new trend seem to be catching up where human couriers are being used to carry large amount of cash, although it is a riskier venture. Airport officials admit that many such couriers have been apprehended in recent months.
These developments assume significance in the wake of Swiss banks gradually losing their safe-haven status every passing day due to ever-growing global pressure on Switzerland to demolish their secrecy walls that have historically helped in keeping details about their clients and money off the limits for authorities in respective jurisdictions. At the same time, India and many other countries have stepped up their surveillance on people and entities suspected to be dealing with Swiss banks.