Switzerland attracts many foreign investors that want to set up companies due to its foreign investments policies. The first step to open a Swiss company is to register the business with the competent authorities, represented in Switzerland are by the Commercial Register (Handelsregister / HR in German, Registre du Commerce in French).
The Commercial Registry was enabled according to the Swiss Code of Obligations and contains data about the structure of companies, their shareholding structure, representatives and liabilities. All information registered with the Swiss Trade Register must be published in the Official Gazette of Commerce, unless the law allows partial publications. The Commercial Registry in Switzerland is an official information channel that contains data about registered companies but it is also the main tool companies must register with. The Swiss Commercial Register is divided into federal and cantonal agencies. The cantonal trade registers must keep and update the entries under the supervision of the federal government. Each canton will appoint an authority that will be in charge of maintaining the registry and a supervisor.
The core functions of the Swiss Trade Registry are to grant public access to information about companies and to register newly formed companies. The Trade Register in Switzerland will also issue updated certificates at the request of companies registered with it. The Federal Office of Justice keeps all the data registered by the cantonal authorities in a program named Zefix.
The types of companies that are registered with the Trade Registry in Switzerland are:
The database with these types of Swiss companies contains information about:
The first step for company incorporation in Switzerland is to choose a name for the company and submit it with the federal Register of Commerce. Upon the approval of the company’s name, the following documents must be submitted with the cantonal Trade Register where the company will be incorporated:
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