UK bankers flee to Switzerland to avoid taxes

BRITISH bankers migrating to Switzerland surged by almost a third last year, as its low personal and business taxes lured workers to the alpine territory.

A total of 383 British citizens working in banking and financial services moved to Switzerland in 2010 – marking a 28 per cent increase on 2009, according to official figures from the Swiss Federal Migration Office. Including insurance and consulting industries in the financial sector, 1,379 Britons gained permission to work in Switzerland in 2010 – a 29 per cent increase over the 2009 figure.

The increase in the rate of immigration of British bankers exceeds that of other nationalities, according to the Federal Migration Office, suggesting that the 50p top rate of tax on earnings above £150,000, and bonus restrictions are driving workers out of the UK.

Matthaeus Den Otter, of the Swiss Funds Association, said: “These figures sound very plausible. There has been a steady influx of skilled workers. We estimate that some 20 to 25 firms of UK hedge funds have set up offices in Switzerland over the past year, and the banks will have sent over some specialised staff as well.”