General information on search for assets
People who believe they may be entitled to assets deposited at a bank in Switzerland have always had the option of contacting the bank in question or individual banks directly. Moreover, since 1996, guidelines of the Swiss Bankers Association have made it possible to undertake a centralised search for dormant assets, via the Swiss Banking Ombudsman’s office. In addition, assets that have been dormant for a long time are being published online since December 2015, so that entitled parties might learn of the existence of these assets and claim them before they are to be turned over to the state.
Client relationships that were closed by authorized persons or because there was an insufficient balance are not considered dormant assets or assets without contact and therefore cannot be located through a centralised search. Thus, closed client relationships are not subject to the publication.
Additional information of a general nature on assets without contact and dormant assets is available on the website of the Swiss Bankers Association.
Who is authorised to initiate a search for assets?
Anyone who credibly claims to be a client or heir of a deceased or missing client of a bank or a representative of such but does not know the name of the bank can ask the Central Claims Office to make inquiries and conduct a search for dormant assets. Therefore, the Central Claims Office requires:
- A credible claim that there is a client relationship with a bank in Switzerland;
- The name of the person under whose name the account, passbook, custody account or safe-deposit box was held;
- Documentary evidence of the entitlement of the claimant to any account, passbook, custody account or safe-deposit box that may still exist, specifically their identity and inheritance status.