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Liechtenstein: Country and Foreign Investment

Trust Enterprise

The Trust Enterprise is set up by a Trustor (settlor) through a Deed of Trust which is equivalent to Articles of Association, and must specify the name and purposes of the Enterprise, the identity of the trustees, the composition of the trust fund, and (if the purposes are commercial) the identity of the auditors. As usual, 'commercial' does not include asset management or holding operations. The Deed of Trust is filed with the Registrar of Trusts. The minimum trust fund is CHF30,000 (at the time of writing). The participants in a Trust Enterprise are largely shielded from creditors of the Enterprise, who have access only to its own assets.

A Trust Enterprise can be created either without legal personality, and is then called an 'active trust' (eigentliche Geschaftstreuhand), or with legal personality, in which case it is called a 'non-active trust' (uneigentliches Treuunternehmen). Only non-active trusts have gained currency in Liechtenstein, and they are frequently used to hold investment assets, for instance in merger situations, and for the distribution of income from real estate holdings. The legal form of the Trust Enterprise is close to that of the American 'Massachusetts Trust'.

One of the trustees must be a resident of Liechtenstein holding a recognised professional or other qualification. In the case of a non-commercial (ie unaudited) Trust Enterprise, this person certifies to the Registrar that the Trust has kept proper books and that no commercial activities have been carried out. This is the only reporting that is required.



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