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Indian money in Swiss banks falls, hits second-lowest level in two decades

Money parked by Indian individuals and enterprises in Swiss banks, including through India-based branches, fell by nearly 6 percent in 2018 to 955 million Swiss francs (about Rs 6,757 crore) to hit its second-lowest level in over two decades, Swiss National Bank data showed Thursday.

Aggregate funds of all foreign clients of Swiss banks also fell by over 4 per cent to CHF 1.4 trillion (nearly Rs 99 lakh crore) in 2018, as per the annual banking statistics released by the Zurich-based central banking authority of switzerland.
However, the ‘locational banking statistics’ of the Bank for International Settlement (BIS), which the Indian and Swiss governments had said last year was a more reliable measure for deposits by Indian individuals in Swiss banks, showed a greater fall of 11 per cent for 2018.

According to the SNB, its data for ‘total liabilities’ of Swiss banks towards Indian clients takes into account all kinds of funds of Indian customers at Swiss banks, including deposits from individuals, banks and enterprises. This includes data for branches of Swiss banks in India, as also non-deposit liabilities.

The funds, described by the SNB as ‘liabilities’ of Swiss banks or ‘amounts due to’ their clients, are the official figures reported by the banks and do not indicate the quantum of the much-debated alleged black money held by indians there.The official SNB figures also do not include the money that Indians, NRIs or others might have in Swiss banks in the names of entities from different countries.

The SNB data had shown the total liabilities of Swiss banks towards Indian clients rising by over 50 per cent in 2017 to CHF 1.01 billion (Rs 7,000 crore), reversing a three-year downward trend.

However, the quantum of such funds has fallen again in 2018 to CHF 954.71 million, which includes about CHF 15 million held through fiduciaries or wealth managers. This is the second-lowest total since CHF 723 million recorded over two decades ago in 1995. The lowest ever amount of CHF 675 million, ever since Switzerland began making the data public in 1987, was recorded in 2016.