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Liechtenstein banks should focus on asset management and attracting inflows from wealthy Asian clients to rebuild their business, according to the head of the Alpine country’s financial regulator.
“To get earnings back to where they used to be we need to implement new business ideas,” Financial Market Authority Chief Executive Officer Mario Gassner said, citing asset management, alternative investment funds and Asian customers. “With classic private banking it will be difficult to attract net new money.”
Liechtenstein’s wealth management assets have dropped almost a fifth to 166 billion Swiss francs ($173 billion) since Germany used data stolen from the principality biggest bank, LGT Group, in 2008 to prosecute tax evaders. The country of 36,000 people agreed in March 2009 to meet international standards to avoid being blacklisted as a tax haven by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The principality’s tax authority last month wrote to customers of Liechtensteinische Landesbank AG (LLB) that the U.S. had sent an information request covering accounts that contained at least $500,000 at any time since the beginning of 2004. Liechtenstein’s second-biggest bank, also known as LLB, is one of 11 financial firms, including Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN), being investigated as part of a U.S. probe of offshore tax evasion.
“With the OECD’s new tax standards there will be more information requests,” said Gassner.
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