Thursday, September 03, 2009

Farewell America

Bank Wegelin's most recent investment commentary by the same title is remarkable. It provides an extensive explanation of the US taxation risks involved when investing in US securities as a non-US person. The fact that the status of US-person is left (intentionally?) unclear is of particular concern to Qualified Intermediaries (i.e. foreign banks) because they assume liability for their clients' putative tax liability. This is the reason why Wegelin is actively advising its clients to exit all US securities and may not sign the more rigorous QI Agreement. Wegelin's move receives particular attention in Switzerland because its Managing Director is also Chairman of the Swiss Private Bankers Association.

Non-US pension funds (and listed entities) may be eligible to an exemption from a new 30% compulsory withholding tax on US securities held by non-US companies, as explained by the Green Book.

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