Outstanding forum. Thanks for creating this, MP! Born and raised in rural Switzerland, moved to Zürich at 16 for KV Lehre. Married at 21, still married 24 years and six children later. Moved to California in 1996, back to CH three years ago. Studied Economics in US, worked for Morgan Stanley as financial advisor. Have my own small asset management firm in SF Bay Area that my son runs now. Know both, the US financial system and Swiss system. Filing taxes both in US and CH. Lots of trial and error in my life, having kids early defers your saving and defers your compounding. But at least we put our kids to work early… Three of them work in the business now. Relationship with my wife is key. Divorce was never an option for us. Besides, it’s too expensive… Now, I am building a neo bank in Liechtenstein. Goal is to have intuitive user interface for financially disinterested person. Looking for others to help with this.
Hanniss, welcome back in CH / FL. Question for you: I’m currently stuyding Finance at UZH, am Swiss but love the American Business culture and have a strong network there. Would you consider moving to the US again if you were in your twenties? Would you say business opportunities, particularly in finance, are bigger in the US or is Switzerland on par? Thank you.
Merlin. Yes, I would move to US again in a heart beat. Business opportunities as a young person are bigger in the US in my opinion. As a 26-year old, I was able to acquire clients. Certainly, the Morgan Stanley name helped. But in CH you need to have grey hair and have an average appearance before people entrust you with money. Making connections is a lot easier in the US. Swiss people tend to be more loyal once they know you. Most Swiss people are risk averse. They are very good at providing infrastructure, but the risk capital often can more easily be obtained in Asia or US.
Sounds like a great story. Unfortunately it seems to be pretty difficult to go to the US with a swiss or EU citizenship. How did you do it in 1996? Is your wife a US citizen? It would also be interesting to read more about your current project.
I was lucky enough to have been born with a US passport. My dad was a US citizen when I was born (has since given up his US passport). Yes, it is tough to get into the US. I think the student rout is the most feasible way.
Our bank project is focused on intuitive banking, offering “no brainer” solutions to account holders in a way that is non invasive and creates momentum. Will share more once we have more concrete plans. Right now we only have the AG formed but we are only partially funded.
Hi Hanniss, impressive story of yours. How do you handle the double filing of taxes… privately or through a corporation. I would recon that a corporation i.e. Holding would make things easier or no?
I personally would love to learn more about your bank project. My work revolves around technology and innovation in the FS sector and I’m highly interested in what’s going on in the market (and be part of it).
Thank you Hanniss, I will keep you updated on my journey. I’m planning on doing an exchange semester in the US next year as I luckily have strong contacts established there. Love their mentality. My dream is to setup a private equity business in Switzerland and then expand to the US eventually.
All the best for your banking project, happy to discuss / test your offerings and provide feedback for refinement.
I file both in the US and CH. I pay the full US income taxes on my US income. I could file under the CH-US double taxation treaty. It’s too much of a hassle relative to potentially lower taxes. With all the kids and business expense plus rental deductions from the US, plus SEP IRA and IRA contributions as well as 3. Säule, we have enough deductions. The Swiss tax authorities take the combined income in order to arrive at my tax bracket.
Regarding the fintech endeavor: Given that you are active in the US and in CH, it may be of interest to you that we have startup in the US that my son heads up as well as one in CH/Liechtenstein that I am moving forward. Can send you some basic info. What I can tell you is that the US retail client has a lot more room for improvement. Their finances are usually pretty disorganized as most Americans are focused on consumption and not deferred gratification. Also, Americans are usually responsible for their 2. Säule, whereas in Switzerland it is the employer’s responsibility. I don’t want to spam this forum by publishing websites and such, so shoot me an email and I can send you more info. email@example.com