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Duties and Risks of Directors of Public Limited Companies in Switzerland (SA/AG)

Directors of a Swiss public limited company (SA/AG) have the duty to serve the company's best interests and act with diligence and competence. They must comply with laws, manage prudently, and avoid conflicts of interest, under the risk of personal liability, financial penalties, and damage to their reputation.

Duties and Risks of Directors of Public Limited Companies in Switzerland (SA/AG)

In Switzerland, directors of a board of a public limited company have a set of significant obligations, duties, and risks to consider. Here is an overview of the main obligations and risks associated with this role:

Obligations and Duties:

1. Fiduciary Duty: Swiss Resident Directors must act in the best interests of the company and its shareholders, setting aside personal interests and acting loyally towards the company.

2. Duty of Diligence: Directors must exercise a duty of diligence and competence, making informed decisions based on their skills and knowledge.

3. Duty of Information: Directors must ensure that shareholders are properly informed about the company’s affairs, providing transparent and accurate information about the financial situation, risks, and prospects of the company.

4. Duty of Compliance: Swiss Resident Directors must ensure that the company complies with applicable laws, regulations, and standards. They are responsible for the proper legal and regulatory management of the company.

5. Duty of Prudent Management: Directors must manage the company’s affairs prudently and responsibly, taking steps to minimize risks and ensure the long-term viability of the company.

6. Duty in Case of Insolvency: In the event of insolvency risk, directors must take measures to protect creditors’ interests and avoid decisions that could worsen the company’s financial situation.


1. Personal Liability: Directors can be held personally liable for breaches of their duties, including actions in civil liability or even criminal sanctions in certain cases.

2. Liability to Creditors: In the event of bankruptcy or insolvency of the company, directors can be held liable to creditors if their actions contributed to the company’s financial difficulties.

3. Liability to Shareholders: Directors can be sued by shareholders if their decisions or actions have caused financial losses to shareholders.

4. Regulatory Sanctions: In the case of non-compliance with laws and regulations, directors can face financial sanctions or other regulatory consequences.

5. Conflicts of Interest: Directors must avoid conflicts of interest and disclose any potential conflicts. Non-compliance with these rules can lead to liability actions.

6. Reputation: Management errors or inappropriate behavior can damage the personal reputation of directors and the reputation of the company.

It is strongly recommended that directors seek appropriate legal and financial advice to fully understand their obligations and the risks associated with their role.

Taxation Duties and Risks

As a director of a Swiss company, the taxation-related risks you may face include:

1. Tax Liability: Directors can be held responsible for the company’s tax non-compliance, including non-payment of taxes, inaccurate statements, or fraudulent manipulation of tax data.

2. Aggressive Tax Planning: If the company is involved in aggressive tax planning strategies considered abusive by tax authorities, directors could be held responsible for implementing such practices.

3. Tax Evasion: If the company is involved in tax evasion activities, directors could be prosecuted for complicity in tax evasion, which can result in criminal and financial penalties.

4. Non-Declaration or Inaccurate Declaration: Directors must ensure that the company accurately declares its income and assets. If income or assets are not correctly declared, directors may be held liable.

5. International Income Transfer: Regulations regarding income transfer between foreign and Swiss subsidiaries can be complex. Mishandling these transactions and not following the rules could result in tax penalties for directors.

6. Failure to Pay Taxes: Directors must ensure that the company pays its taxes on time. If the company fails to meet its tax obligations, directors may be held responsible for unpaid tax debts. The risks are also significant regarding indirect taxes such as VAT or withholding tax.

7. Tax Audit/Control: During a tax audit, errors or irregularities in tax declarations could be attributed to directors, exposing them to fines and refund claims.

8. Regulatory Compliance: Directors must ensure that the company complies with all applicable tax regulations. Ignoring or misinterpreting these rules could result in financial and legal sanctions.

It is important for directors to be aware of their tax-related responsibilities and to surround themselves with experts to ensure compliance and proper management of the company’s tax obligations.

Contact us to start your initial consultation now. We would be delighted to get to know you and define the next steps to appoint the Swiss resident director of your company in Switzerland.

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