Trust enterprise (Trust reg.)

The trust enterprise, which is often called „trust reg.” has a structure similar to the establishment. A trust enterprise has a legal personality. Its` will is manifested by the supreme corporate body, the settlor or its successor. The settlor´s rights can be inherited or transferred inter vivo by assignment.

The trust enterprise is based on the trust articles, which are equivalent to the articles of association of other company forms. The entry into the commercial register is required for the trust enterprise in order to obtain legal personality. The minimum capital required is CHF 30.000,-. Only the trust enterprise´s assets are liable for its debts. The beneficiaries are appointed in by-laws through the settlor or his successor. If this is not done, it is assumed by law that the settlor himself or his successor is the beneficiary. The trust enterprise is managed by the board of trustees. The board represents the trust enterprise externally, and is authorized to sign for it.

The trust enterprise “with settlor´s rights” as described above is one possible form of trust structure.

Another form would be the trust enterprise “without settlor´s rights”, which is similar to a foundation. In this version the powers of the supreme corporate body are vested in the board of trustees, and there are no settlor´s rights. Accordingly, there is no supervision of the board of trustees by a supreme corporate body. It is however possible to appoint a protector for that purpose.

This trust enterprise with “expiring settlor´s rights” is a mixture of the trust enterprise with settlor´s rights and the trust enterprise without settlor´s rights. In this version, the settlor´s rights that have come to effect when the company was formed will expire at a certain point in time determined in the by-laws such as upon the death of the holder of the settlor´s rights. That way, this trust enterprise obtains a foundation like character at a pre-determined point in time.

The appointment of auditors is compulsory if the trust engages in commercial activities or if its trust articles allow so. The annual accounts are examined by auditors, and the trust enterprise must submit its annual accounts to the tax administration. If no commercial activity is conducted, only a minimal statement has to be submitted to authorities.