Switzerland – a land of economic freedom. Or so you thought. A Swiss pension fund manager recently found out otherwise.
Peter Tenebrarum, an independent analyst and economist/social theorist, recently drew attention on his website, acting-man.com , to a situation in Switzerland that has alarmed people who are concerned about economic freedom and the power of central banks.
Tenebrarum’s essay, “The ‘War on Cash’ Migrates to Switzerland,” examines the experience of a Swiss pension fund manager who learned a hard lesson about negative interest rates. The essay has been posted on David Stockman’s “Contra Corner” website , expanding its visibility.
One reason the situation is especially alarming, Tenebrarum noted, is that Switzerland typically ranks among the top three countries with the most economic freedom.
He says the Swiss National Bank’s policies have led to negative deposit rates at commercial banks. In Switzerland, negative interest rates have become so pronounced that it has become worth it to remove cash from an account earning negative interest and put it into an insured vault.
Since Tenebrarum’s essay posted, personal financial freedom advocates have commented in several forums that the Swiss situation is yet another sign of central bank policies undermining investors.
Many advocates of economic freedom view bitcoin as a liquid asset that allows investors a refuge from the ramifications of central bank policies.
The Swiss pension fund manager determined he would save at least 25,000 CHF per year on every CHF 10 m. deposit by putting the cash into a vault. Hence, he told his bank he planned to make a big withdrawal.
“After all, as a pension fund manager he has a fiduciary duty to his clients, and if he can save money based on a technicality, he has to do it,” Tenebrarum wrote.
The bank, however, refused to pay out such large sums.
Tenebrarum says the bank is breaking the law, as there is nothing in the Swiss legislation that states that banks are allowed to refuse or delay servicing withdrawals from demand deposits upon request.
“Indeed, although we all know that fractionally-reserved banks literally don’t have the money their customers hold in demand deposits, the contract states clearly that customers may withdraw their funds at any time on demand,” he commented.
Tenebrarum concludes that depositors in Swiss banks have become victims of collectivism. “Collectivism is of course precisely what informs all central planning endeavors,” he says. “Obviously, property rights count for nothing if the central planners can revoke them at the drop of a hat.”
“Consider yourself warned,” Tenebrarum said.
“As the modern day fiat money system inevitably cruises toward its final denouement, individual rights will come increasingly under attack as the world’s ruling elites and centrally directed banking cartels begin to batten down the hatches.”