Legal Business

Beneficial ownership in Swiss PE acquisitions

Bär & Karrer’s Christoph Neeracher and Luca Jagmetti advise on the new rules.

As part of a new Swiss legislation aimed at preventing money laundering and tax evasion, any entity acquiring 25% or more of a non-listed Swiss company must inform the latter regarding the acquiring entity’s beneficial owner and update such information in case of changes.

In standard private equity structures, the administrative burden of the new legislation can be minimised by implementing a practicable solution compliant with the rules. As typically the general partner (GP) takes the relevant decisions regarding the fund and its portfolio companies, the individuals controlling the GP (respectively controlling the ultimate shareholder of the GP) should be disclosed as beneficial owners. If such individuals cannot be determined, the top executive officer (chair or chief executive) of the GP, or respectively of its ultimate shareholder, may be disclosed.