VIRTUE TRUSTEES (SWITZERLAND) AG is a Swiss trustee company acting as trustee for international trusts. Our renowned professionals have proven and profound experience in managing trust structures wherever the trust assets are located or the members of the family reside.

We are at your side to structure, preserve and help expand your wealth for today's and future generations.

Why a Swiss trustee?

Switzerland has ratified the Hague Trust Convention on the Recognition of Trusts in 2007, which essentially provides that trusts are recognised and enforced in Switzerland in accordance with the laws chosen to govern a trust. The introduction of specific clauses in various Swiss legal acts provides certainty for a settlor that the trust will be recognised and respected in Switzerland.

Most international trust laws allow for a service provider from another jurisdiction to act as trustee. It is therefore possible to combine the advantages of a flexible and well recognised common-law trust with the advantages attached to Swiss professional service providers acting as trustee. Some advantages of having a Swiss based trustee are:

A reliable, stable and predictable legal, economic and political environment.

Under the new law in force since 1 January 2020, Swiss professional trustees are subject to regulatory supervision and must be authorized to carry out their activities in addition to complying with structural, organizational, business conduct and audit requirements. This ensures a high degree of professionalism and excellency in the administration of trusts governed by the laws of any jurisdiction.

Highly qualified staff with excellent education.

High degree of responsiveness and commitment thanks to the Swiss “client-first” approach.

As substantial trust assets may already be held or managed by Swiss banks and asset managers, the engagement of a Swiss trustee can present further benefits. A Swiss trustee is in a better position to supervise bank activities and to safeguard the trust assets custodied by the Swiss bank or asset manager. The Swiss trustee’s familiarity with the Swiss legal system and high degree of competence linked to long time experience of an international environment will undoubtedly benefit the beneficiaries of a trust.

There are a variety of reasons why a client may want to establish a trust. Some major reasons are:

Estate and succession planning

Trusts give a settlor confidence in how assets will be used in the future. Trusts offer a means of holding and managing bankable assets or property for beneficiaries who may not be ready or able to manage these assets themselves but who shall still be able to benefit from them. Trusts can be created to benefit family members who are not even born yet, most often the Settlor’s grandchildren and further issue. Trusts are also a great tool for succession planning in family businesses.

Consolidation of family wealth

Wealthy families often own a variety of assets in several jurisdictions. Real estate, company shares, collectibles, bankable assets, yachts, intellectual property rights and other types of assets can be held in a trust to keep the family wealth together. Different assets classes can be segregated for risk and liability purposes by allocating them to different companies owned by the trust. Both the jurisdiction of the trust and of the underlying companies must be chosen carefully to achieve the desired goals of each trust structure, while being fully compliant with international tax, legal, and regulatory requirements.


Trusts are highly flexible instruments adaptable to a multitude of purposes, both in the private as well as in the business area. To increase their effectiveness, trusts are often combined with other legal instruments. Depending on the types of assets and jurisdictions involved, these could be holding companies, alternative investment funds, wills, insurance policies and others. Through letters of wishes the settlor will be able to guide the trustees in fulfilling their duties in changing environments and contexts.

Protection of vulnerable persons

Trusts are often established for the benefit of vulnerable persons, to ensure their financial needs are covered and professionally taken care of.


Many families consider philanthropy to form an integral part of their legacy. Trusts allow for the implementation of charitable and philanthropic long-term strategies in accordance with the families wishes and goals.

Regulatory, legal and tax compliance

With the introduction of the worldwide automatic exchange of information, beneficial owner registers, economic substance requirements, general anti-abuse rules and other worldwide initiatives, regulations and laws, the ownership, management and oversight of international assets has become highly complex. The consolidation of international assets within a trust structure administered and managed by a professional trustee will bring relief and certainty to the settlor and his or her family that all assets are owned and managed in a fully compliant manner.

Trust Services

As professional Swiss trustees, we guide settlors and their families through the entire process of planning and establishing bespoke trust solutions. We fully commit ourselves to administer and manage each trust and the assets held under it in full compliance with international taxation laws and regulatory requirements.

  • Analysis
    We analyse existing trust structures, your situation and circumstances as well as any current or future regulatory requirements in order to set up or take over a trust that can deliver the results you expect.
  • Implementation
    Within the KENDRIS group, to which VIRTUE TRUSTEES belongs, we work in interdisciplinary teams and take a cross-divisional approach. We can set up proposed structures in-house and/or coordinate the set-up with external professional firms. Depending on your needs and preferences, we can also work with external partners selected by you. We are flexible in every respect.
  • Administration
    Once your trust structure has been established, we take care of the day-to-day administration of the assets held by the structure, managing purchases and sales, acquisitions and other related transactions as required. We have experience in the administration of a wide variety of asset classes, including cash and investment portfolios, residential and commercial properties and development projects, family-owned companies, private equity investments, intellectual properties, yachts, aircraft, artwork and antiques. In managing your trust, we provide the continuity and stability you expect from a professional trust company in today's fast changing world.
  • Monitoring
    To ensure that your long-term plans are implemented in the best possible way, we monitor the structures put in place and systematically analyse whether improvements and changes need to be made to keep a structure in the best shape from all relevant aspects. We regularly review the impact of regulatory changes to keep a structure both robust and compliant with applicable laws. We will keep an eye on all your financial investments, consolidate the assets held by the structure against chosen benchmarks and review the performances achieved. We conduct audits of the fees charged by banks and financial institutions to ensure they are in accordance with the fee agreements concluded.

There are different types of trusts that VIRTUE TRUSTEES offers. The most important ones are the following:

Discretionary Trusts

A discretionary trust is a trust in which the trustee has full discretion to decide on the share of trust capital and income each beneficiary can receive, and when they should receive it. It is the most common type of trust used in international wealth planning. Discretionary trusts are usually accompanied by a letter of wishes written by the settlor and which provides guidance to the trustee as to the exercise of their discretion.

Fixed Interest Trusts

A fixed interest trust is a trust where the interests created are readily identifiable from the terms of the trust and which will give rise to a particular beneficiary having a fixed entitlement to the income and/or capital of the trust property.

Reserved Powers Trusts

A reserved powers trust allows a person or persons (usually, but not necessarily, the settlor or the protector) to retain certain powers in respect of the trust. Depending on the power holder’s tax residency, a reserved powers trust may not be suitable.

Charitable Trusts

A charitable trust must have both a charitable purpose and a public benefit, such as the relief of poverty, the promotion of education, the advancement of health and saving of lives.

Purpose Trusts

Purpose trusts are neither charitable nor for the benefit of obvious beneficiaries. They are settled for a particular purpose, for example, to own the shares of a specified company, for example, a private trust company.

A special solution: the Swiss Private Trust Company

The Swiss Private Trust Company (PTC) is a powerful solution to optimize a family’s wealth, governance and succession planning strategy. Using a PTC as trustee allows the family members to maintain oversight of the trustee’s activities and to be included in decision-making processes.

In addition, using a PTC as trustee ensures ongoing and consistent administration of the family trusts. At Virtue Trustees, we advise and accompany families in setting up and in running their own Swiss Private Trustee Company.

How we work

Regardless of what you need support with: We offer the right and suitable services for your trust and the administration of your trust structure. Together with you and our legal experts and international tax consultants, we will determine the necessary steps to implement your roadmap for preserving your family legacy and assets over generations.

  • VIRTUE TRUSTEES provides the full range of trust establishment and administration services, with the exception of asset and investment management. We believe that a strict segregation of the role of the trustee and the investment/asset management function is crucial to avoid any conflicts of interest that could potentially come to the detriment of the beneficiaries.
  • We operate two main models to deal with investment and asset management responsibilities. The choice of model depends on various factors and needs to be analysed and determined within each individual client's context:

    The directed trust model: An investment committee, usually consisting of the settlor, beneficiaries or a protector, takes responsibility for the trust's investment management and directs the trustee on how to invest the trust assets, usually pursuant to a defined investment policy. As this model relieves the trustee from all investment responsibilities, it permits greater investment freedom than would ordinarily be permissible in a «regular» trust.

    The delegated trust model: The asset/investment management is delegated to your choice of professional and reputable external asset managers. The external asset manager's performance is closely monitored by us as trustees, and their performance measured against the agreed trust investment policy.
  • We work in interdisciplinary teams. Each client has their dedicated team, managed by a seasoned trust professional, who will accompany you and your family along the way as your trusted advisors and administrators.
  • Our objective is to create a trustful and long-term relationship with you and your family, to help you govern, and grow over generations.

Contact Persons

Sonja Kamenzin
Deputy CEO


Thomas Frey
Board Member




Wengistrasse 1
8021 Zürich