Liechtenstein's financial sector has developed to become one of the most important pillars of the country's economy. But it is not only banks that find Liechtenstein an attractive business location. Insurance firms, asset management companies as well as the fund and trust industry know the advantages Liechtenstein has to offer.
The Principality of Liechtenstein is home to a specialised and stable financial centre with strong international connections. It is supervised by a strong monitoring authority. Financial services form the second-largest economic sector in Liechtenstein after industry.
Banks are the main player in the financial services sector, but Liechtenstein is also an attractive location for insurance companies, asset management firms, funds and trusts. In total around 6’000 people are employed in the financial services sector, which corresponds to 16% of the country's workforce.
As a member of the European Economic Area (EEA), Liechtenstein applies the same legal provisions to financial market participants as other EU countries. An important measure to support the country's competitiveness and attractiveness as a business location is the timely imlpementations of EU Directives in line with market conditions.
The Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein (FMA) is internationally recognised and represented in all European financial market supervision authorities as well as important global organisations. The financial services sector in Liechtenstein is characterised by high standards and an effective system for combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism. The Principality also applies global standards developed by the OECD on transparency and exhange of information on tax-related issues.
While Liechtenstein provides an excellent environment for doing business in many different areas, the Principality is also home to a number of conditions that are of particular benefit to companies operating in the financial services industry.
Liechtenstein has been a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) since 1995. This means that companies based in Liechtenstein are free to provide services in all countries of the European Union and the EEA. At the same time, the Principality also enjoys traditionally close relations with Switzerland. The customs and currency treaty signed between Liechtenstein and Switzerland means that financial intermediaries in Liechtenstein have privileged access to the Swiss market. Among the benefits are access to the country's financial market infrastructure, including its financial transactions system and stock market as well as trading and storing securities. For Swiss financial market participants, Liechtenstein is a nearby hub for accessing EU and EEA markets.
With the Swiss franc as its official currency, Liechtenstein is a state in the heart of the euro area with solid legal and social provisions and an excellent quality of life. Sound public financial policies, simple administrative procedures as well as transparent and forseeable fiscal and legal conditions contribute to making Liechtenstein an attractive location for businesses. The AAA credit rating awarded to Liechtenstein by Standard & Poor's underlines this reliability. In the financial sector, the strong and internationally recognised Financial Market Authority Liechtenstein (FMA) plays its part in strengthening the Principality's reputation. Together with Luxembourg, Austria, Hong Kong and Singapore, Liechtenstein has received top marks in the Banking Industry Country Risk Assessment (BICRA).