We are a market leading award-winning law firm with offices in Switzerland’s business hubs: Geneva and Zurich.
Our Swiss offices combine local experience with international reach. We advise companies and resident individuals with domestic investments and business interests, alongside our international legal services. Our multi-disciplinary team specialises in advising wealthy families, family businesses and family offices. Our particular strength is that we offer integrated services and assist in the international structuring and protection of their wealth. We assist corporate groups, asset managers, commodities traders, sport federations and not for profit organisations on corporate and commercial matters and with cross border issues. When disputes arise, we leverage our litigation, arbitration and investigations capabilities to identify the best path forward.
Very few law firms combine all these services in the leading centres for wealth management. We undertake some of the Switzerland’s highest value transactions and cases and our partners are consistently ranked as leading lawyers in their respective fields in directories such as Chambers High Net Worth and Legal 500.
Our highly ranked lawyers, composed of multilingual advisers who can draw upon the resources of our expert teams in our European and international offices where necessary, working seamlessly together and providing very hands-on and practical advice. Our two offices are permanently staffed by lawyers with both local and international experience who are actively involved in the wider Swiss business community and who can advise on Swiss, English, New Zealand and BVI legal matters. We work in French, German, English, Italian and Turkish.
As preferred advisers to private investors, families and to the wealth management industry we in a unique position. Clients come to us for clear, commercial and practical advice. Our aim is to build a close relationship with each of our clients.
With offices in the four major European investment and wealth management marketplaces – London, Luxembourg, Paris and Switzerland – as well as in the Middle East and Hong Kong, Charles Russell Speechlys is one of the few firms able to provide comprehensive and integrated advice.
Many of our clients’ needs are purely domestic. Others come from all over the world and include families, entrepreneurs, family offices, trust companies, trustees and banks. Advice is often required within short timescales, and across several time zones.
Whether advising you on domestic or international wealth structuring, managing family wealth issues or disputes, acquiring real estate, commercial transactions, establishing a family office or facilitating philanthropy, we ensure that your family and personal wealth goals are aligned with your commercial objectives.
We have established expertise advising on:
- Swiss, UK and cross-border tax matters
- Tax disclosures, investigations and cross border tax reporting (e.g. Common Reporting Standard (CRS) and the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and compliance regimes (e.g. the EU Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive)
- International wills, tax and estate planning, including transnational structuring where family members or assets are located in multiple jurisdictions
- Cross-border succession matters
- Inheritance disputes
- Good governance in relation to family wealth
- Immigration matters
- Family law matters
Corporate & Commercial
Whether you’re a company, entrepreneur, family office, trust company, shareholder, executive or part of a management team, our team can work with you on a comprehensive range of legal services.
We can advise you on the full scope of corporate activities, from structuring, growth capital and acquisitions to reorganisations, sales and liquidations.
Our work encompasses Swiss and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and divestments as well as restructuring of solvent and insolvent companies.
We can advise on Swiss and English law corporate and commercial matters from our Swiss offices. Other areas on which we advise include:
- All legal aspects related to Swiss financial regulatory matters such as licensing proceedings before the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA) as well as on finance transactions
- Asset management matters and investment law, such as setting up, licensing and distribution of Swiss and foreign collective investment schemes, fund management companies
- Corporate governance, shareholder arrangements and commercial contracts
- General corporate and private capital-related transactions with a specific focus on private acquisitions and disposals, corporate reorganisations (often cross-jurisdictional and relating to private wealth holding structures), joint ventures and fundraisings
- Employment contracts as well as employee and senior manager incentive arrangements
- Contentious issues relating to commercial and contractual disputes and between shareholders/investors and/or directors
BVI (British Virgin Islands)
We can offer in-house BVI advice through our team of BVI qualified partners and associates and our network of local contacts in the BVI. Our work typically involves general corporate structuring and trust-related advice, economic substance and preparing and issuing BVI legal opinions.
For more information, please contact Rupert Ramsay.
Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Disputes have the potential to damage businesses, reputations and relationships, so our clients value our pragmatic approach to handling them.
Our Litigation & Dispute Resolution team works with both corporate and private clients, advising and representing those involved in a wide range of private wealth, commercial, sports and regulatory issues.
In the corporate area, we can assist you with commercial disputes arising out of asset management, asset tracing, recognition of foreign decisions and arbitration awards, corporate contracts or transactions including acquisitions, investments and re-organisations, shareholder arrangements, directors’ duties and insolvencies. We have expertise in art and cultural property, tax and trust disputes, particularly in circumstances involving the interaction of common law and civil jurisdictions.
We advise and represent:
- Swiss and foreign clients before Swiss courts in internal and international arbitration.
- Swiss and foreign clients before the Swiss and English courts, through our team of Swiss and English qualified lawyers.
- On pre-litigation or settlement negotiations, preferring ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution Services) to keep disputes out of formal proceedings wherever possible.
- Financial crime
Tax: Swiss & UK
Whether you’re an individual or company facing private or corporate tax issues in Switzerland, our team can help you.
If you’re a corporate client, we can advise you on tax structuring/restructuring and Swiss and cross-border tax considerations for companies from incorporation right through to liquidation. We can assist you with the tax implications of corporate transactions such as acquisitions financing and sales, working collaboratively with our corporate and commercial teams in Switzerland and internationally.
If you’re a private client, we can assist you with wealth and estate planning and more specifically can advise on Swiss wealth, income, real estate and withholding taxes, regardless of the canton of residence. In collaboration with our market-leading Private Wealth team, we advise clients on the tax implications of moving to and from Switzerland, including the negotiation of the relevant tax ruling with the authorities. We can also assist with tax regularisations in Switzerland, ensuring tax compliance. We often advise on Switzerland’s network of double tax agreements and how this may affect an individual’s tax position.
We also advise on operational tax compliance, tax disputes and disclosure for both corporate and private clients.
Our market-leading UK team advises global wealthy families, their businesses and the institutions that service them, all from within Switzerland.
Our location in Switzerland means that we are the first port of call for many Swiss-based asset managers, financial institutions and trustees, who may have UK-connected clients or face UK tax issues. We regularly advise clients on the tax implications of moving to and from the UK, or the acquisition of property in the UK whether that be through a structure or in a personal name. We also advise on the remittance basis of taxation for non-domiciliaries. UK tax disclosures for private clients can also be handled by our team in Switzerland.
Sport is increasingly a global business requiring a global perspective. As the world of sport has converged with the commercial, new technologies, media and lifestyle sectors it is, now more than ever, much more than a niche sector.
The professionalisation of sports bodies and the growing demands in terms of ethics, athlete protection and governance are further generating exciting and necessary reforms and orientations for governing bodies.
With most international federations and major sport institutions based in Switzerland, the sports team - combining Swiss and international legal expertise available locally - is in an ideal position to provide specialist sports law advice.
Our international sports team works with and are go-to advisers for governing bodies, major sports clubs, elite athletes, international federations, brands and agencies.
Our skills cover areas such as:
- governance in sport
- contract negotiations, in particular of sponsorship agreements, athletes’ employment contracts, buy-out & release clauses, agents’ contracts and intellectual property rights
- dispute resolution, including arbitration
- wealth and estate planning for athletes
- establishment of foreign players in Switzerland or abroad, in particular in common law countries, France and the United Arab Emirates.
Our previous work includes advising sports federations and clubs on governance and contracts, negotiating sponsorship agreements and international transfers of players.
Immigration: Swiss & UK
Our Corporate Immigration Team provides advice and assistance to companies looking to recruit personnel to work in Switzerland or the UK or transfer personnel across borders. We also conduct internal immigration audits to ensure compliance of companies with Swiss and UK immigration rules and provide training to HR teams on immigration compliance and best practice.
Strict rules and complex procedures apply to people seeking to relocate to Switzerland and the United Kingdom, especially since Brexit. Individuals wishing to relocate to Switzerland or the UK face an ever-changing maze of rules and procedures and must meet specific criteria to obtain the right of residence for them and their family. Our private client immigration team is on hand to advise on the relevant criteria and can assist with all steps of the process to give your application the best possible chance of success. From advising on the requirements for visitors, obtaining the right of residence and an indefinite stay in either Switzerland or the UK, we can also advise on the requirements for Swiss and British Citizenship.
Family & Children
Each situation involving family and children is unique.
Our team of specialised lawyers advises in all areas of family law, adult and child protection, as well as in succession planning and proceedings.
We can assist you with legal representation and advice in relation to all complex legal issues concerning marriage, matrimonial property regimes, registered partnerships, pre and post-marital agreements, cohabitation agreements and divorce.
We will advise you on child law and child protection matters, including contact arrangements and in cases of relocation abroad. Our expertise also includes the law of parentage and cases involving surrogacy arrangements, medically assisted reproduction and adoption.
We have significant experience in international cases, from foreign marriages to abductions and adoptions of children abroad.
We are committed to achieving the best result for you by finding pragmatic solutions where possible. We handle cases in English, French, Italian, Turkish and Greek.