Trusts in Switzerland - CDBF ?· TRUSTS IN SWITZERLAND 177 Trusts in Switzerland: Ratification of The…

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  • 5SOMMAIRE

    Sommaire

    Avant-propos.............................................................................................. 7

    Remerciements .......................................................................................... 9

    Trusts en Suisse:Adhsion la Convention de La Hayesur les trusts et codification de la fiducie

    I. Introduction .................................................................................... 11

    II. Le trust ...........................................................................................18

    III. Aperu de la Convention ................................................................ 29

    IV. Lacunes du droit international priv suisse .................................... 35

    V. Trusts et droit successoral, en particulier les rservessuccessorales .................................................................................. 44

    VI. Trusts et rgimes matrimoniaux .....................................................61

    VII. Excution force .............................................................................65

    VIII. Droit de suite des bnficiaires et responsabilit de tiers .............. 91

    IX. Registres publics .......................................................................... 117

    X. Fors ...............................................................................................131

    XI. Article 13 ...................................................................................... 134

    XII. Rserves et autres dclarations permises par la Convention........ 138

    XIII. Rserve de la souverainet fiscale................................................ 140

    XIV. Fiducie suisse: opportunit dune codification ............................ 141

    XV. Projet de codification de la fiducie .............................................. 153

    XVI. Rsum des propositions lgislatives ...........................................165

    Trusts in Switzerland:Ratification of The Hague Convention on Trustsand Codification of the Law of Fiduciary Transfers

    I. Introduction .................................................................................. 177

    II. Trusts ............................................................................................ 184

    III. Overview of the Convention ........................................................ 195

    IV. Lacunae in Swiss Private International Law ................................ 200

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  • 6 SOMMAIRE

    V. Trusts, Inheritance and Indefeasible Shares ................................. 209

    VI. Trusts and Matrimonial Property Rights ...................................... 225

    VII. Enforcement ................................................................................. 230

    VIII. Beneficiaries Right to Trace Assets and Third-Party Liability... 255

    IX. Public Registers ............................................................................ 281

    X. Jurisdiction ................................................................................... 294

    XI. Article 13 ...................................................................................... 297

    XII. Reservations and Other Declarations Permittedby the Convention ........................................................................ 301

    XIII. Reservation of Fiscal Sovereignty................................................ 303

    XIV. Swiss Fiduciary Transfers: Ripe for Codification? ...................... 304

    XV. Draft Codification of Fiduciary Transfers.................................... 316

    XVI. Summary of Legislative Proposals ............................................... 328

    Zusammenfassung der vorgeschlagenen gesetzgeberischennderungen .......................................................................................... 341

    Convention relative loi applicable au trustet sa reconnaissance Convention on the law applicableto trusts and on their recognition bereinkommen ber dasauf trusts anzuwendende Recht und ber ihre Anerkennung ........ 351

    Principes de Droit Europen du Trust - European Principlesof Trust Law ......................................................................................... 379

    Abrviations Abbreviations .............................................................. 383

    Bibliographie Bibliography .............................................................. 385

    Table des matires Table of contents ............................................... 395

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  • 177TRUSTS IN SWITZERLAND

    Trusts in Switzerland:Ratification of The Hague Convention on

    Trusts and Codification of the Law ofFiduciary Transfers*

    I. Introduction

    The Swiss legal system, courts and Swiss economic operators haveincreasingly frequent contacts with trusts validly constituted abroad. Owingto increased personal mobility, many citizens of Anglo-American states,although resident in Switzerland, choose their national law for successionpurposes1 and organise their succession wholly or partially by means oftrusts constituted during the testators lifetime (inter vivos trusts), or on hisor her demise (testamentary trusts). Trustees acting in that capacity nowcontrol substantial assets deposited in Swiss banks. Furthermore, Swissbanks advise their foreign clients in this field and frequently offer trusteeservices through subsidiaries established in offshore jurisdictions.

    However, the contacts between the Swiss legal system and foreign trustsare not limited to family trusts, established by wealthy individuals wishingto organise their assets, or for succession and tax planning purposes. Owingto increased capital mobility, Switzerland receives significant inflows offunds held in trust. Many foreign institutional investors (particularly pen-sion funds) active in the Swiss capital markets are organised in the form oftrusts. Numerous foreign investment funds are also organised as trusts: suchfunds are marketed in Switzerland and their units are purchased by Swissprivate and institutional investors. In volume and in value these financialtrusts far exceed family trusts.

    Swiss companies and their subsidiaries, traditionally active abroad, alsoresort to foreign trusts in many circumstances. These include bond issuesin a foreign market (indenture trusts), securitisation transactions (e.g., as-

    * Translated by Margaret Tschanz-Norton, Barrister-at-law.1 Federal Act on Private International Law of 18 December 1987 (the SPILA; RS291) Art. 90 par. 2.

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  • 178 LUC THVENOZ

    set-backed securities) and other financing transactions as well as staff pen-sion plans.

    The increasing importance of such trusts in international legal rela-tionships connected to Switzerland highlights the lacunae in Swiss privateinternational law, which does not include trusts.

    Trusts are characteristic of Anglo-American property law and derivefrom the remedies granted over time by Englands Lord Chancellor andequity courts in cases where the courts of common law did not protect cer-tain promises, not binding in the strict legal sense. Trusts as such are un-known in Swiss law2 and in the legal systems of most countries with aRomano-Germanic legal tradition3. Consequently, when a Swiss court mustcharacterise a foreign trust according to the lex fori, to determine whichchapter of the SPILA contains the applicable conflict rules, it must usuallychoose between characterising the trust as a contract4 or as an organisedestate (patrimoine organis, organisiertes Vermgen) 5, for which the legalconsequences are substantially different. Nor does choosing one or the otherresolve all difficulties in particular the choice fails to define precisely theeffects that Swiss law confers, within the Swiss legal system, on trusts because the characterisation of a trust as a contract or a corporation re-mains an analogy and fails to take account of the trusts unique features.Although a scattering of Swiss legal texts recognise the existence of trusts6,the only rules of private international law specifically dedicated to the

    2 ATF 96 II 79, Harrison c. Crdit Suisse, JdT 1971 I 329 obs. REYMOND, ASDI 1971223 obs. VISCHER, Clunet 1976 695 obs. LALIVE: it is impossible to create a trust underSwiss law; the deed designed to ensure the maintenance over time of certain benefits to aspouse and descendants must be converted into a mixture of contract types (agency, fidu-ciary transfer of ownership, promise of gift and a third-party beneficiary clause).3 For historical reasons, owing to their extreme proximity (Scotland, Quebec), or theirenclosure (Louisiana) within a common law geographic region, or British colonisation(South Africa), trusts infiltrated several Romano-Germanic legal systems, gradually earn-ing a place among the civil law institutions familiar to civil lawyers. Motivated by practi-cal considerations, mainly involving competition between legal systems, other civil lawcountries (Japan, Liechtenstein, Malta, various Latin American states) legislated to trans-plant a trust directly inspired by English law into their national legal systems.4 SPILA, Art. 112 et seq. See ATF 96 II 79, Harrison, mentioned in note 2.5 SPILA, Art. 150 et seq.; see SC 3.9.1999: SJ 2000 I 269.6 See, in particular, the decree of the Federal Council allowing protective measures forcorporate entities, partnerships and individual businesses, of 12 April 1957 (RS 531.54),which enables Swiss companies to protect their assets from spoliation by a foreign powerin time of war by establishing trusts (art. 18 et seq.).

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  • 179TRUSTS IN SWITZERLAND

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