Why Is Switzerland So Rich?

We did some (gold) digging to find out.

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How rich is Switzerland?

In total, 800,000 millionaires reside in a country



Data from the Swiss National Bank shows Swiss residents have assets averaging CHF 460,000.

A report by Credit Suisse in 2020 found Switzerland had the highest wealth per adult in the world.

In total, 800,000 millionaires reside in a country of fewer than nine million people.

Most remarkably, the report found that Switzerland accounts for 1.7% of the world’s wealthiest 1% of people.

This is despite Switzerland having just 0.1% of the world’s population.

Industrialization and innovation

The country was ahead of the game as an early industrialized.



When you think of Switzerland’s finest creations, you might think of chocolate and clocks, but the country has a long history of innovation.

Switzerland is renowned for having a strong and varied export market. Pharmaceuticals, gems, chemicals, and machinery are the main contributors.

Another key factor is Switzerland’s focus on its own industries.

Neutrality and political stability

Investors & rich foreigners see the country as a safe place to store and spend money.



Stability is key to Switzerland’s long-term success.

First of all, the country’s neutrality in major wars and conflicts means it hasn’t suffered some of the economic devastations that many of its European neighbors have endured.

Secondly, a stable democratic system and efficient work ethic have enabled the country to weather political and economic issues.

This stability means investors and rich foreigners see the country as a safe place to store and spend money.

Banking and finance

Switzerland’s favorable tax system has enabled it to attract companies and high-net-worth individuals



Banking isn’t at the historic center of Swiss financial success, but it’s been a key driver in the last century.

Switzerland’s favorable tax system has enabled it to attract companies and high-net-worth individuals over a long period, massively increasing wealth in the country and creating one of the world’s biggest financial centers.

Switzerland has long been accused of being involved in the more murky and secretive side of banking, but it has made strides in bringing in more strict regulations in recent years.

Inheritance

Many of the richest people in the country having inherited money from longstanding family businesses.



Inheritance is a significant factor in Switzerland’s wealth, with many of the richest people in the country having inherited money from longstanding family businesses.

Switzerland has a preferential inheritance tax system compared to some other European countries, making it easy for the richest to maintain and pass on wealth.

Has Switzerland gained wealth from Nazi gold?

In 1996, the Swiss National Bank acknowledged it made a profit on its wartime dealings



Switzerland has long faced accusations of benefiting from its neutrality in the Second World War by allowing the Nazis to deposit huge quantities of confiscated gold into Swiss bank accounts.

In 1996, the Swiss National Bank acknowledged it made a profit on its wartime dealings with the German Central Bank, estimating it gained CHF 20 million.

A 1997 investigation by the Bergier Commission found 76% of German gold transactions went through Switzerland.

The Commission said the Swiss National Bank bought nearly $400 million of Nazi gold, worth billions in today’s money.

The same report accused the Nazis of stealing $146 million in gold from holocaust victims.

Stephen Maunder

Senior Digital Money Writer



The Switzerland of today might be known for its banking industry and favorable tax system, but the country’s wealth is actually rooted in innovation.

Still, with 40 of the world’s billionaires being Swiss citizens, you might be wondering exactly how this little alpine country became a hot spot for the mega-rich.