FBT Attorneys-at-Law > Geneva, Switzerland > Firm Profile

FBT Attorneys-at-Law
1211 GENEVA 6

Switzerland > Banking and finance: Geneva Tier 2

Excellent firmFBT Attorneys-at-Law specialises in banking and finance regulation, including collective investment schemes, derivatives and market infrastructure as well as asset management and anti-money laundering. The practice is headed by ‘excellent lawyerFrédérique Bensahel, a specialist for financing issues who is ‘extremely well versed in investment funds‘, and includes Marco Villa who specialises in banking contract law and mergers and acquisitions of financial institutions. A particular area of expertise of the firm is the fund sector where members of the team are active in working groups and as lecturers.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Excellent firm with personalised services. The firm has a human size that favors exchanges and enables a quick access to the relevant partners.’

‘The attorneys are genuine experts in their fields and have a very good knowledge of industry’s need. They are accessible and deliver with efficiency.’

‘Deep knowledge of banking and financial law, both from a regulatory and contractual perspective, which allows them to come up with pragmatic results-driven solutions.’

‘Frédérique Bensahel is extremely well versed in investment funds and her deep understanding of the practical issues met in the banking sector makes her advice very relevant.’

‘Excellent professionals and very good cooperation with the law firm.’

‘Frédérique Bensahel is an excellent lawyer who is always reliable and very cooperative with the bank.’

‘Immediate response to any enquires and request and more than helpful partners.’

‘Michel Abt has always been more then helpful. You may always rely on him which I appreciate highly.’

Work highlights

  • Advised two Swiss private banks on the implementation of the Financial Services Act (FinSA), including the review of the entire bank’s internal documentation and drafting new internal directives on all new topics not yet been covered by the internal documentation.
  • Successfully accompanied a major Swiss insurance group seeking a FINMA licence for its asset management company managing over 6 billion of insurance and pension funds assets, securing issuance of the licence, one of the first licences under the new Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) for an asset manager of Swiss pension schemes.
  • Represent a Swiss bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over $350m.

Switzerland > Leading firms: French-speaking Switzerland Tier 3

The ‘efficient‘ team at FBT Attorneys-at-Law has strengths in dispute resolution, tax, banking and finance, mergers and acquisitions as well as family estate law. Co-founder and chairman Jean-Luc Bochatay is the team’s specialist for tax and regulatory matters. Frédérique Bensahel, Jean-Louis Tsimaratos and Michel Abt are the key contacts in banking and finance matters and Serge Fasel handles dispute resolution.


‘Pragmatic approach, efficient, very much skilled, available upon short notice.’

Work highlights

  • Represented a very large Swiss bank in an international dispute where the bank is sued for over USD 250 million.
  • Accompanied a Swiss major insurance group seeking a FINMA licence for its asset manager of over 6 billion of insurances and pension funds assets.
  • Advised a Swiss bank on a EUR 100 million secured loan. Foreign corporate guaranties and securities were granted by the borrower.

Switzerland > Private client Tier 3

FBT Attorneys-at-Law ‘offers a very personalised service‘ to high-net-worth individuals, their families, family offices and trusts as well as financial intermediaries and financial institutions with respect to private individuals. Core services relate to relocation of individuals, estate planning and wealth preservation, structuring of trusts and foundations, advice regarding family businesses and succession planning, execution of wills and estate administration as well as assistance with the setting up of wealth management businesses. The team further assists with related litigation and arbitration, such as inheritance, asset management and trust disputes. Michel Abt, Jean-Luc Bochatay, Pascale Cano and Frédérique Bensahel are the practice heads with specialisms in tax, patrimonial family law and private banking matters.


‘The banking and finance team is staffed with specialist lawyers dedicated to banking and finance regulations and contracts with an excellent knowledge of the international environment. Moreover, FBT offers a very personalised service (as this is well known in the market).’

‘Each lawyer with whom we have had the opportunity to work is bright, knowledgeable and available. All have an extremely good knowledge of the banking & finance and asset management regulations. They really understand the asset management industry.’

‘Pragmatic and practical approach to client problem-solving based on solid legal knowledge, particularly in banking and financial transactions, including regulatory issues regarding international financial information exchange and anti-money laundering legislation.’

‘Ability to achieve results for clients and a network of close contacts with Swiss regulatory authorities which facilitates successful outcomes. In particular Jean-Luc Bochatay and Frédérique Bensahel.’

Work highlights

  • In the context of estate planning, advice to a family, whose members are domiciled in several countries, that owns protected real estate (historical monuments) in France; several tens of millions euros at stake.
  • Advice to a strategic minority shareholder in a group active in distribution of goods on the future devolution of his estate with children he had with two different wives and said children opposing notably to choose the matrimonial regime of separation of property, stakes in excess of €100m.
  • Providing estate planning advice to a family who owns, via a trust, an international group in the field of fossil energy, paying particular attention to the matrimonial regime of certain members and risks in the event of divorce or death, stakes of several hundred million euros.

Switzerland > Tax Tier 4

FBT Attorneys-at-Law is instructed by HNWI, banks, investment managers, trust companies and family offices for a variety of tax matters. Beyond traditional queries, the group advises on the framework of exchange of information, tax transparency and tax criminal proceedings. Jean-Luc Bochatay is a specialist in the latter in addition to his focus on multi-jurisdictional tax planning. He jointly leads the practice with Michel Abt, whose banking and finance know-how stand out. The Swiss group works in close collaboration with the firm’s Paris office.

Practice head(s):


‘Tailor-made solutions and in-depth knowledge of the needs of their clients. Close monitoring of the transaction from its inception until its conclusion.’

‘The partners are really involved in the files. Practical and flexible approach. Friendly contact.’

‘Personalised approach, capacity to work in a team with a non-firm partner on the client files. Large expertise in the tax field.’

‘Excellent follow-up and expertise.’

The firm: FBT Attorneys-at-Law (FBT) is a multidisciplinary law firm, based in Geneva and Paris, which operates in the financial and commercial sectors as well as in niche activities, with a predominantly cross-border dimension.  FBT was founded in 1993 in Geneva by Serge Fasel, Jean-Luc Bochatay and Jean-Louis Tsimaratos. Nowadays, FBT counts ten partners out of a total of 33 lawyers. From a generalist Swiss law firm, FBT opted back in the 90s to specialise in four, now six, specific legal domains.

FBT also decided from the very beginning to provide its clients with specialised advice on cross-border transactions with France. From this perspective, it chose to work closely with another law firm in Paris. A few years later, FBT decided to open its own offices in France with the French lawyers that had accompanied the Swiss firm successfully from the beginning of its special focus on Swiss-French cross-border issues. Besides this special  focus on Swiss-French cross-border issues, FBT has developped a network of lawyers around the world, enabling it to mobilize and coordinate specialized teams in many countries.

Areas of practice: FBT is organised in six specialised and complementary legal teams which advises its Swiss and foreign clients on domestic and cross-border issues in the following areas:

Banking and finance:

  • Banking and financial regulations, including authorizations  and FINMA enforcement procedures
  • Collective investment schemes and other similar structures
  • Private insurance
  • Asset management
  • Financing
  • Financial litigation


  • Individual taxation, including top executives taxation
  • Corporate taxation
  • Taxation related to financial activities
  • Real estate taxation
  • Tax procedures and litigation, including international assistance in tax matters

Corporate and commercial:

  • Corporate affairs
  • Entrepreneurs’ legal framework
  • Shareholders’ legal framework
  • Contractual law
  • Corporate asset protection
  • Assistance to companies in critical financial situations

Litigation and arbitration:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Banking and financial litigation
  • Arbitration
  • Forced execution
  • Economic crime
  • Mutual assistance in criminal and administrative matters

Labour and social insurance:

  • Individual and collective litigation
  • Collective labour agreement
  • transfers and relocation
  • Work permits

Family estate:

  • Wealth structuring and estate planning
  • Unions (marriage and partnerships)
  • Philanthropic activities
  • Succession
  • Residence transfer (expatriation and impatriation)

Each group is led by a partner highly experienced in the group’s field of activity. A constant exchange among the practice groups allows the sharing of up-to-date information in each field of specialisation. Depending on the case, FBT sets up a ‘multidisciplinary legal team’ capable of devising a pragmatic overall approach to the various aspects of the case, responding rapidly while maintaining a high degree of legal safety and ensuring optimal cost control.

Banking and finance Frédérique Bensahelfbensahel@fbt.ch+41 22 849 60 40
Tax Michel Abtmabt@fbt.ch
Tax Jean-Luc Bochatayjlbochatay@fbt.ch
Corporate and commercial Marco Villamvilla@fbt.ch
Litigation Serge Faselsfasel@fbt.ch
Litigation Michaël Biotmbiot@fbt.ch
Private clients Frédérique Bensahelfbensahel@fbt.ch
Private clients Jean-Luc Bochatayjlbochatay@fbt.ch
Michel Abt photoMe Michel AbtMichel Abt is the co-head of FBT’s Tax Group and a member…
Charlotte Andrey photoMe Charlotte AndreyCharlotte Andrey is a Lawyer with FBT and a member of its Litigation…
Romain Baume photoMe Romain BaumeRomain Baume is a Lawyer with FBT and a member of its Tax…
Frederique  Bensahel photo Frederique BensahelFrédérique Bensahel is head of the banking and finance group of FBT…
Jean-Luc Bochatay photoMe Jean-Luc BochatayPartner with FBT in the Tax Group; co-founder and chairman of FBT.…
Sara Charfadi photoMe Sara CharfadiSara Charfadi is a Lawyer with FBT and a member of its Litigation…
Veronique Chatelain Gomez photo Veronique Chatelain GomezAssociate and member of the Banking and Finance Group. Véronique Chatelain Gomez…
Jean De Skowronski photoMe Jean De SkowronskiJean de Skowronski is an Attorney-at-Law and holds an MBA from INSEAD. He…
Serge Fasel photoMe Serge FaselFounding partner and head of the Litigation and Arbitration Group. Serge Fasel…
Théo Goetschin photo Théo GoetschinThéo Goetschin is a Lawyer with FBT and a member of its Litigation…
Jean-Marie Kiener photo Jean-Marie KienerJean-Marie Kiener is an associate with FBT and a member of its Banking…
Julien Le Fort photoMe Julien Le FortJulien Le Fort  is a Lawyer with FBT and a member of…
Sophie Moreillon photo Sophie MoreillonSophie Moreillon is a lawyer and a member of FBT’s Litigation and…
Aurélie Moyal-Azra photoMe Aurélie Moyal-AzraAurélie Moyal-Azra is a lawyer and member of FBT’s Banking & Finance group. …
Jean-Louis Tsimaratos photoMe Jean-Louis TsimaratosPartner and member of the Banking and Finance Group. Jean-Louis Tsimaratos advises…
Marco Villa photoDr Marco VillaPartner – Marco Villa is a leading contract and commercial law expert.…
Olivia de Weck photoMe Olivia de WeckAssociate and member of the Litigation and Arbitration Group. Her fields of activities…
Number of lawyers : 28
at this office : 21
Other offices : Paris