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Editorial

Index of tables

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Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Private client clients in Switzerland using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Bär & Karrer Ltd. covers international wealth and estate planning, litigation, estate administration and execution, charity foundation, relocation, pre-nuptial agreements, M&A, tax planning and art collection advice. Team lead Tina Wüstemann, Daniel Leu and Daniel Bader are the main practitioners. Tax expert Christoph Suter joined the Geneva office in October 2017 from EY Law AG, while Robert Danon left to found Danon & Salomé at the start of 2017.

The ‘outstandingLenz & Staehelindistinguishes itself from other firms in providing specialist advice on succession law, taxation, family governance and cross-border estate planning through a dedicated, multijurisdictional team’. The ‘holistic’ practice is also recommended for its ‘stable relationship with preeminent Swiss financial institutions’ and focuses particularly on regulatory issues, dispute resolution as well as relocation and inheritance matters. Recent highlights include advising Schroder Trust and Schroder Cayman Bank & Trust Company on the transfer of trust portfolios of two bank-owned trust companies. ‘Superb litigator’ and head of the Lausanne and Geneva team Lucien Masmejan ‘cuts through all issues and finds a novel strategic solution’, while ‘inspiring great confidence among clients and colleagues’. His counterpart in Zurich, Heini Rüdisühli ‘is recognised as a leading expert on personal taxation and complex cross-border issues’. Also recommended are Mark Barmes, who ‘gives clients the best possible advice’ and is ‘deeply experienced in working with trust companies’, Stefan Breitenstein, Shelby du Pasquier and tax experts Jean-Blaise Eckert and Frédéric Neukomm.

The ‘well-established and broadly experienced practice’ of Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is ‘ahead of other firms in terms of quality, efficiency and rapidity of its services and personal attentiveness’, especially in connection with ‘complex cross-border tax planning matters and significant trust and estate litigation’. Other focus areas include estate planning and administration, real estate, transport and pre-immigration advice. The team represented family members in an international shareholder dispute concerning the family-owned corporation. Clients recommend the ‘very knowledgeable’ Bernard Vischer, the ‘pragmatic and straightforward’ David Wilson, ‘superb litigator’ Manuel Liatowitsch, ‘strong transport lawyer’ Grégoire Wuest, as well as ‘attentive and user-friendly’ counsel Andrea Dorjee-Good.

Proactive and attentive’ firm Walder Wyss Ltddemonstrates strength and depth’ and utilises its ‘unparalleled combination of private client expertise and professional advice across all major centres in Switzerland’, thereby also exhibiting an ‘understanding of international law’. Recent matters include assisting with the creation and registration of Fondation Concours Menuhin, which sponsors young, world-class violin players, and advising Rothschild Trust on a Swiss voluntary disclosure procedure concerning Swiss and Brazilian assets. The ‘charming and capable’ Philippe Pulfer is an ‘excellent listener and litigation strategist’ and ‘one of the very few top lawyers who understand the Anglo-Saxon environment well’, especially in relation to ‘international wealth structuring, succession planning and charitable foundations’. Clients equally recommend ‘trustful and sensitive estate and inheritance expert’ Kinga Weiss, who provides ‘compound and deep analysis’, taxation specialist Stephan Neidhardt, as well as ‘savvy litigator’ and ‘rising star’ Olivier Sigg, who is ‘sought after for his personable manner and precise answers given in record time’.

Baker McKenzie’s particular strengths in the private client area are its ‘depth of expertise and global networking capabilities’, due to which the firm provides ‘service quality irrespective of regions or individual lawyers’. The practice advises families, family offices, wealth managers and financial institutions on wealth, tax and succession management, as well as governance issues, trust and succession disputes. The ‘client-focused’ Marnin Michaels has ‘comprehensive US tax and wealth-planning knowledge’ and gives ‘pragmatic advice on the spot’ and Stephanie Jarrett is ‘technically strong’.

Exceptional firmCharles Russell Speechlys AG fields ‘uniformly capable lawyers from senior to junior’, who have ‘solid knowledge in private client issues, including related litigation’ and impress with ‘highest work standards and timeliness’. The broad practice scope spans wealth structuring, governance and succession issues, international tax planning as well as regulatory, immigration, trust and family law matters. The ‘totally dedicated and practical’ Mark Summers, who ‘has good judgement and availability’, jointly heads the practice with the ‘extremely smart’ Michael Wells-Greco, who is ‘at ease when it comes to understanding clients’ needs’. David Cooney, who joined from Ogier in February 2017, has ‘expertise in Cayman trust law’ and Grégoire Uldry is a ‘diplomatic family litigator’.

Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd (MLL) is comprised of ‘extremely personable and able lawyers with a high degree of technical ability and particular expertise in complex cross-border estates, including tax planning and post-death administration’; the team also handles relocation matters, business succession planning, inheritance disputes and asset management. The ‘very knowledgeable, responsive and professionalSerge Calame leads the Geneva practice, while ‘well-connected, seasoned practitionerPatricia Guerra, who ‘uniquely combines charm and class with experience, knowledge and persistence’, is the main contact in Zurich. Further recommended are ‘pragmatic’ inheritance and tax partner Nicolas Didisheim, ‘bright’ relocation and family law expert Maud Udry-Alhanko and counsel Jean-Charles Roguet.

Bratschi Ltdhas strong capabilities in the cross-border taxation area’ and is ‘organised to efficiently face the challenges of the international market’; expertise is further displayed in trust and foundation, estate planning and asset management matters. The ‘reliable and flexible’ Ingmar Snijders and the ‘extremely experienced and knowledgeable’ Walter Boss are recommended.

Homburger assists high-net-worth individuals and family offices with estate planning, tax and regulatory matters as well as the whole spread of contentious issues. The group continues to advise the executor on the administration of the late Marc Riche’s estate. The ‘client-centric’ Gabrielle Nater-Bass is ‘a force to be reckoned with’, while ‘rising star’ Claudia Suter ‘is a very good tax lawyer’. Estate planning lawyer Harold Grüninger leads the practice.

Long-established firmPestalozzihas truly managed to keep up to date on private equity structures for high-net-worth individuals and philanthropic organisations’; the practice also advises on relocations, regulatory services for family offices, yacht and aircraft registration, inheritance, divorce law, as well as trust and foundation disputes. Highlight work included the continuing assistance of various respective family members with the restructuring of Porsche’s ownership structure and representing a Pakistani citizen in an improper currency transaction management claim against his bank in Switzerland. Private equity expert Oliver Widmer and litigator Thomas Rohner are recommended. Christophe Emonet is the main contact in Geneva.

In 2017, Python handled an increasing number of inheritance disputes, while also providing advice on asset protection, tax, estate planning, domiciliation and family office matters. Jean-Christophe Hocke and Thomas Steinmann head the team, while Philippe Kenel, Nicolas Hoffmann and Ingrid Iselin Zellweger are other active partners.

Staiger Attorneys at Law Ltd handles estate and succession planning, inheritance contracts, family and matrimonial law, real estate isssues, tax matters and the establishment and management of foundations and trust. The team provided restructuring and tax planning advice to Nesinco Group and also regularly assists fashion brand Escada with all its legal needs in Switzerland. The ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ Michael Hamm ‘has the ability to see the bigger picture beyond technical aspects’. Gian Andri Töndury and Hans-Rudolf Staiger are other names to note.

Borel & Barbey covers estate planning, succession law, family office services, foundation and trust law, as well as tax matters. The ‘very assured, experienced and knowledgeable’ Luc Hafner is recommended, as is Stéphanie La Roche-Dunant, who ‘has a pragmatic approach and is extremely devoted to her clients’. Estate and succession planner Olivier Dunant, immigration law specialist Marc Fischer, charitable adviser Louis Boissier and international taxation partner Laurent Kyd are other key members of the team.

High-quality law firmBurckhardt Ltd. fields ‘specialised lawyers in different fields’, who impress with ‘good networking skills’; the practice is also recommended for being ‘especially strong in inheritance and foundation matters, also on an international basis’ and further handles asset structuring, transfer, administration and distribution matters. In a recent highlight matter, the team handled the execution of a will made by a French citizen residing in Switzerland, concerning assets in France and North America. The ‘profoundly experienced and committed’ Jacqueline Burckhardt Bertossa in Basel ‘presents excellent solutions with a business-oriented approach’. Further recommended are international wealth planning partner Mark Eichner and tax attorney Noëmi Kunz-Schenk.

CMS is ‘well known in the Zurich area, especially for cross-border estate matters between Switzerland and Germany’, during which the firm ‘impresses with fast, high-quality service and its very good and approachable international network’. A more recent focus was the European Succession Regulation, which also affects Swiss individuals, families and entrepreneurs. The creation of bespoke living wills due to legal incapacity is another source of work additionally to divorce or post-mortem matters and disputes. The ‘smart, committed, reliable and experienced’ inheritance specialist Tobias Somary is recommended, as is senior associate Louise Lutz Sciamanna.

Excellent and well-reputed law firmFBT Attorneys-at-Law provides ‘impeccable services’ in fund and wealth management matters, but is also ‘very helpful in resolving transnational tax and legal issues to the utmost client satisfaction’. The focus further lies on family business restructuring, succession planning, relocation, estate planning and administration, will execution, real estate, philanthropy advice, private banking and dispute resolution. Frédérique Bensahel and Jean-Louis Tsimaratos are both ‘analytical, thorough, highly available and risk-managing’; the ‘organised, professional and empathic’ Michel Abt and tax practice head Jean-Luc Bochatay are also recommended.

The ‘outstanding, flexible and very professionalFroriep provides a ‘very good and timely service to private clients, with special expertise in the art and non-profit sectors’; cross-border estate and tax planning, relocation and litigation advice are other mainstays of the practice. The client roster includes Jean-Claude Gandur, the human rights organisation Fondation Act on Your Future and the Philippe Hatem Foundation for a Happy Childhood. The ‘clear and prompt’ Julie Wynne has a ‘broad experience in the charity and social enterprise sector’ and ‘exceeds clients’ expectation beyond the legal support’; counsel Oliver Arter is ‘capable and academically impressive’.

Lalive has ‘impressive experience in advising on wills and related areas across international jurisdictions’ and also handles tax, trust, estate planning and marital property issues; special expertise exists in the field of art law and inheritance disputes. Alexander Troller is representing an individual in proceedings regarding the recovery of assets from a Swiss private bank after the client’s offshore company accounts had been blocked due to alleged tax compliance and money laundering issues. The ‘highly competent, dedicated, committed and knowledgeable’ Werner Jahnel and ‘careful listener’ and associate Marion Binder recently represented several heirs in an estate succession dispute, which also concerned the release of funds.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliancehas profound expertise and know-how in private client matters and offers an excellent level of competence in business succession law’ as well as ‘a high service level and an outstanding work quality’; inheritance law and the financial aspects of matrimonial law are equally important core areas for the team. ‘Insightful and trustworthy strategic thinker’ Balz Hösly is ‘very experienced and hands-on in succession planning for small and medium-sized companies’ and senior associate Alexandra Geiger is also recommended for her inheritance and estate planning expertise.

Competent and professional’ firm Niederer Kraft & Frey AG is ‘easy to work with’ and delivers ‘efficient, helpful, timely solutions which cover all the bases’. The practice combines estate planning, matrimonial property law, divorce law and philanthropy expertise with longstanding experience in tax matters and is thereby particularly noted for its’strongly business-oriented outlook’. Key figures are ‘reliable and pragmatic tax expert’ Thomas Graf and the ‘talented, practical and thorough’ Catherine Grun Meyer, who ‘always asks the right questions’ and is ‘effective in driving projects forward’. Thomas Sprecher is ‘very experienced in advising on foundations’.

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Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments in Switzerland

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • 17 February 2017: Auris Medical's Public Equity Offering

    Auris Medical Holding AG (NASDAQ: EARS) issued and priced its public offering of 10,000,000 common shares and 10,000,000 warrants, each warrant entitling its holder to purchase 0.70 of a common share.  The common shares and warrants are being sold in units comprised of one common share and one warrant at the public offering price of USD 1.00 per unit. The warrants will be immediately exercisable at a price of USD 1.20 per common share and are exercisable for five years. In connection with the offering, the Company has granted the underwriter a 30-day option to purchase up to 1,500,000 additional common shares and/or 1,500,000 additional warrants at the public offering price less underwriting discounts. The offering is expected to close on or about February 21, 2017, subject to customary closing conditions. Roth Capital Partners is acting as sole book-running manager in the offering. Maxim Group LLC is acting as a financial advisor in the offering.
  • 16 February 2017: Credit Suisse successfully launched its new subsidiary Credit Suisse (Switzerland)

    Credit Suisse (Switzerland) Ltd. was incorporated with the purpose to be organized as a Swiss bank. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Credit Suisse AG. The transfer of assets and liabilities according to Swiss merger law became effective on 20 November 2016. The transfer was aimed to evolve the legal entity structure of the Credit Suisse Group to meet regulatory requirements for systematically important banks.
  • 14 February 2017: BASF acquires Rolic Group

    BASF acquires Rolic, a Swiss based group offering innovative and forward-thinking solutions, particularly in the display and security industries as well as the optical film business.
  • 15 February 2017: gategroup CHF 300 mio. bond issuance

    gategroup successfully raised CHF 300 million through the issuance of a fixed rate 5-year senior bond with a final maturity on February 28, 2022. The bond with a coupon of 3% p.a. has been issued by gategroup Finance (Luxembourg) S.A. and is guaranteed by its parent company gategroup Holding AG. gategroup will apply for the listing of the new bond on the SIX Swiss Exchange.
  • 17 February 2017: RWS acquires LUZ, Inc.

    RWS Holdings plc, a world leading provider of intellectual property support services (patent translations, international patent filing solutions and searches), commercial translations and linguistic validation, has completed the acquisition of 100% of LUZ, Inc., a market leading Life Sciences language services provider based in San Francisco, for a cash consideration of USD82.5m.
  • 17 February 2017: Cembra Money Bank acquires invoice financing provider SWISSBILLING SA

    Cembra Money Bank has reached an agreement to acquire 100% of the shares of SWISSBILLING. The transaction is expected to close within the first quarter of 2017. The transaction consideration was below CHF 10 million and is expected to have a negative impact of 0.1% on the Group’s CET1 ratio as at closing.
  • 7 February 2017: TPF closes private offering and bank financing

    Transports publics fribourgeois Trafic (TPF TRAFIC) SA closed the financing of its maintenance and exploitation centre in the canton of Fribourg. The financing was partly made through a CHF 40 mio. private placement, a CHF 32 mio. secured bank loan and a CHF 55 mio. unsecured bank loan.
  • 3 February 2017: Migros acquires Tipesca

    The Migros Group, through Mérat & Cie. SA, has acquired Tipesca SA, a company incorporated in the canton of Tessin. Tipesca offers a wide range of fish products.
  • 24 January 2017: Sharp Corporation and Skytec Group Limited enter into strategic business alliance

    Japan-based Sharp Corporation, part of Taiwan’s Foxconn Group, enters into a strategic business alliance with Skytec Group Limited (“Skytec”) regarding the manufacture and sale of Sharp branded products and services in Europe. For that purpose, Sharp acquires a majority stake of 56.7% in the newly incorporated joint venture Skytec UMC Ltd.
  • 25 January 2017: Zug Estates CHF 100 mio. Bond

    Zug Estates Holding AG (SIX: ZUGN) has successfully issued its first CHF 100 mio. fixed-interest bond with a 0.7% coupon and a 5-year maturity.

Press Releases in Switzerland

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Copernicus Holding on the Establishment of its Structure and Obtaining a FINMA

    Copernicus Group is a financial service provider in the canton Ticino for institutional and private UHNWI clients, offering also family office and wealth planning services. The group consists of Copernicus Asset Management SA and Copernicus Wealth Management and Services SA. On 20 March 2018, Copernicus Asset Management started operating as a fully licensed Swiss asset manager of collective investment schemes.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Allianz Suisse on the Acquisition of DAS Switzerland

    On 3 April 2018, Allianz Suisse Versicherungs-Gesellschaft AG has acquired all shares in DAS Rechtsschutz-Versicherungs-AG. Through this acquisition Allianz Swiss becomes one of the largest providers of legal protection insurance in the Swiss market.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises XO Holding on Sale of Priora to Eiffage Construction

    XO Holding AG sold Priora AG, a leading Swiss project developer and general / total contractor (GC/TC), to Eiffage Construction SA, a French company forming part of the Euronext listed Eiffage group.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Axcel on the Acquisition of Invima

    The Danish private equity company Axcel has acquired all shares in Invima AB, a Swedish corporation, with its subsidiaries including two Swiss subsidiaries. Under the IsaDora brand, Invima AB is one of the Nordic region's leading manufacturers and distributors of cosmetics, with sales in approximately 5,000 stores in forty different countries. The seller Ingvar Vigstrand with family will remain as a minority owner in the new group.
  • Bär & Karrer Welcomes New Tax Counsel

    Bär & Karrer is pleased to announce Prof. Dr. Andrea Opel as a new counsel to the firm. She joined the tax team in Zurich on 1 March 2018.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised Orior on the Placement of Shares by Way of an Accelerated Bookbuilding

    Orior AG successfully placed 592,499 new shares by way of an accelerated bookbuilding in a private placement with institutional investors. The placed shares are sourced from the company's existing authorized share capital and the pre-emptive rights of the existing shareholders have been excluded.
  • Bär & Karrer Advised HQLAx on the first Live Securities Lending Transaction Using R3's Corda Blockc

    On 1 March 2018, financial technology innovator HQLAx together with Credit Suisse and ING completed the first live securities lending transaction using R3's Corda blockchain platform. The transaction included a basket swap between Credit Suisse and ING of value EUR 25 million using the HQLAx Corda-based collateral lending application. During the transaction, Credit Suisse and ING transferred legal ownership of Dutch and German government securities on the platform using HQLAx Digital Collateral Records (DCRs) while the underlying securities remained static.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises Novartis on the Placement of EUR 2,250,000,000 Guaranteed Notes

    Novartis Finance S.A. completed the placement of EUR 750,000,000 Guaranteed Notes due 2023, EUR 750,000,000 Guaranteed Notes due 2030 and EUR 750,000,000 Guaranteed Notes due 2038. The 2023 Notes were issued at 99.655% of their principal amount with an interest of 0.500% and will mature on 14 August 2023 at their nominal value. The 2030 Notes were issued at 99.957% of their principal amount with an interest of 1.375% and will mature on 14 August 2030. The 2038 Notes were issued at 99.217% of their principal amount with an interest of 1.700% and will mature on 14 August 2038. The Notes are guaranteed by Novartis AG. They have been provisionally admitted to trading at the SIX Swiss Exchange and are expected to be listed there as well.
  • Bär & Karrer Advises EGSB on the Purchase of a Majority Stake in Bauwerk Boen

    EGS Beteiligungen AG (EGSB) has acquired all shares in Bauwerk Boen AG held by ZM Opportunity II L.P. (a fund advised by Patrimonium Private Equity) and is thus majority shareholder of the company. The Bauwerk Boen Group is a leading manufacturer of premium parquet flooring.
  • Promotions at Walder Wyss

    We are pleased to announce that our employees  Alexandre Both ,  Michael Cartier ,  Michael Feit ,  Hubertus Hillerström  and  Olivier Sigg , who have been with us for many years, have been appointed as partners in our firm, effective from 1st of January, 2018.