custody fees comparison
Investing & Retirement

Swiss Custody Fees Compared

January 24, 2024 - Benjamin Manz

Custodial fees for the safekeeping and management of stocks and bonds vary broadly between Swiss banks. Comparing these can save you a lot of money.

Custody fees, also known as custodial fees, are fees that banks charge you to hold and manage your assets in stock brokerage accounts and other safekeeping accounts. These fees may apply when you use an online trading account or an asset management service, for example.

Custody fees vary broadly between banks

Depending on which bank you use, the custody fees you pay just to hold investments can be very high. Comparing custody fees when choosing a bank to invest with can save you a lot of money.

The interactive broker comparison on lets you easily compare custodial fees along with stock brokerage fees. Just select the Individual profile option and enter the amount of assets you expect to hold in the “Securities in custody” field. Comparison results also automatically account for the valued added tax (VAT) on custody fees.

Banks may have different custody fees for different kinds of assets

Some banks charge different custodial fees for different types of securities. For example, banks may have special, lower custody fees for their own medium-term notes or their own investment products.

Some custodian banks also differentiate between securities held in a Swiss central securities depository (CSD) and those held in foreign CSDs. Banks that make this difference charge higher fees for securities held in foreign CSDs.

Some Swiss banks charge non-resident fees to customers who live outside of Switzerland.

Many banks charge VAT for custody fees separately.

Savings potential of thousands of francs

If you have a large investment portfolio, the custody costs can easily run into thousands of francs per year. Example: If your bank charges a custody account fee of 0.4 percent per year, and you have assets worth 500,000 francs in your account, you will pay 2000 francs per year just to hold your assets, not accounting for VAT.

Raiffeisen charges a basic custody fee of 0.25 percent per year, with an additional 0.1 percent markup for certain kinds of assets. The custody fee is charged on a quarterly basis, with the minimum fee being 1.25 francs per investment position per quarter.

UBS has a custody fee of 0.35 percent for account balances up to 10 million francs. A higher custody fee of 0.55 percent applies to assets held in foreign CSDs.

The Zürcher Kantonalbank has a custody fee of 0.3 percent for assets held in Switzerland, with a minimum custody fee of three francs per asset title and month. A higher custody fee of 0.4 percent, with a minimum fee of four francs per month, applies to assets held in foreign CSDs.

You can find the exact custody fees charged by Swiss banks using the interactive stock brokerage account comparison.

Swiss banks with online trading platforms

The custody account fees charged by Swiss banks that specialize in online trading are generally lower than those charged by the other banks.

  • Cornèrtrader only charges custody fees for bonds, but not for other assets. There is an inactivity fee of 10 francs (plus VAT) which is charged if you do not buy or sell any assets within a quarter. That means you can pay up to 40 francs (plus VAT) per year if you do not make any investment transactions at all.
  • Flowbank charges a custody account fee of 0.1 percent per quarter (0.4 percent per year), with a minimum custody fee of 10 francs and a maximum custody fee of 50 francs per quarter.
  • Postfinance has a basic, ongoing account fee of 72 francs per year (VAT included) which is charged on a quarterly basis at the rate of 18 francs per quarter. You receive credits equal to the account fee that can be used to cover brokerage fees for investment transactions. Unused credits expire at the end of the quarter.
  • Saxo Bank charges a custody account fee of 0.22 percent per year for stocks and ETFs. Platinum customers are charged a lower fee of 0.15 percent, and VIP customers pay 0.12 percent per annum. Custody fees are capped at 10 francs per month. There are no custody fees for bonds.
  • Swissquote charges custody fees of between 20 and 50 francs per quarter, depending on the value of your assets.

You can find the exact custody fees of each bank on the information pages of offers included in the interactive stock brokerage account comparison.

Swiss neobanks Yuh and Neon also provide stock and ETF investment services, albeit with a limited selection of assets. Both of these neobanks do not charge any custody fees at all.

Fees for transferring assets from one bank to another

Migrating to a new stock brokerage account at a different bank is relatively simple, but in Switzerland you often pay high fees to transfer your assets. Transfer fees are typically between 50 and 100 francs for electronic transfers, but can be as high as 200 francs. That fee applies per securities title, and not per account.

Many banks also charge you additional fees for delivery versus payment. Markups also generally apply when you withdraw physical securities certificates, with some Swiss banks charging 500 francs per certificate. You can find more information on this topic in the guide to bank transfer fees.

More on this topic:
Compare Swiss online brokers (including custody fees)
Compare Swiss wealth management services (including custody fees)

Expert Benjamin Manz
Benjamin Manz is CEO of and an independent expert on banking and finance.
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