Are your clients due cash back from Swiss retrocessions?

The issue

Many UK individuals have historically invested funds in Swiss bank accounts such as UBS, Credit Suisse and Julius Baer. When these banks invested their clients’ money in a fund, they received commissions from the fund manager. In the UK this practice (known as ‘retrocession’) is illegal and in 2006 Swiss courts ruled it unfair and said any commissions should belong to the investor.


If asked to do so banks must hand any commissions they received back to investors plus 5% late payment interest. According to Swiss National Bank Swiss banks hold around £320billion of UK clients money and so it is likely that significant refunds are up for grabs (in fact it is estimated that refunds of £3billion could be due).

Any reclaims need to be made quickly because there is a 10 year statute of limitations (eg refunds for part of 2010 are now out of time) and potential reclaims decrease with each day that goes by.

Forbes Dawson view

We are still considering the optimal approach for claims but it is clear that anybody who has had a Swiss bank account in the last 10 years should be investigating the scope for a claim. We are happy to provide an initial view on the chances of success on provision of the following information:

1. Name of bank and/or asset manager that managed the funds
2. Approximate amount of CHF held in the Swiss account
3. Approximate duration of money invested with the Swiss bank (eg. 2006 – 2016)

Hopefully there will be scope to get some cash out of the Swiss banks and into the UK economy!




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