Swiss Banking Alternatives

We’ve all heard a lot recently about the supposed downfall of banking privacy in Switzerland. I’ve personally been contacted by many clients of UBS who have been notified that their Swiss bank accounts are being closed because of the recent scandals in the US.  Many clients undoubtedly chose UBS thinking it was “too big to fail,” or maybe just because they had hundreds of sales reps in the USA, not realizing that UBS was also “too big and too exposed.”

UBS actually describes itself on its website as “one of the world’s leading financial firms”…  and therein lies the problem! It’s not really a Swiss bank at all… it’s a global bank just like JPMorgan or Citigroup.

All the signs are saying that Credit Suisse will have similar problems soon too. If your money is in Credit Suisse, you have been warned! It’s too easy for foreign governments to put pressure on big international banks to give up their secrets.

So what are you to do if you want to bank in Switzerland? For starters, you could go for either one of those ultra-discreet private banks. They are so discreet they don’t have websites, they don’t even have their names outside their offices. But they are certainly a dying breed. Besides, they are overrated in my view – charging enormous fees for service that as a sophisticated investor you probably don’t need or want. In the last few years many have been taken over by bigger banks like UBS and the large Swiss Private Bank Julius Baer.

A better option in my view would be one of the Swiss Cantonal banks. These are banks owned by Swiss local governments (cantons) which means they are both very strong, and very focused on their local markets. They are good for three reasons:

1. They don’t have too many overseas clients – that makes them less of a target in the first place for foreign governments.

2. They often don’t have any offices outside Switzerland – which makes it much harder to apply pressure on them

3. Being associated with the government gives them additional political clout.

Many little cantons have their own banks and the best way to open accounts with them is to get on a plane. If you feel like paying a sizeable fee for a referral, a company called Micheloud & Cie has made quite a business out of bank introductions and is currently busy promoting Cantonal Bank accounts.

One of the bigger Cantonal banks, for example,  is Zuercher Kantonalbank, from Zurich. Here’s a link to ZKB’s Private Banking division, but the site is only in German. I’m sure they speak impeccable Englis – but not having English language publicity on the internet is undoubtedly  a calculated decision about the clientele they are seeking. You probably need a good local referral and a sizeable deposit to get in the door, but this is the kind of Swiss bank you should be looking for if your aims are privacy, class and good service at a fair price.

Many Swiss banks, of course, will no longer accept accounts from US or EU citizens at all. Who can blame them, given the recent pressures. In this case it may be necessary (and a darn site better privacy wise) to look for alternatives outside Switzerland. Neighboring Liechtenstein is no longer desirable, given that it is signing agreements with the US treasury and is working on a ‘swift agreement’ with UK tax authorities amongst others.

Austria is known as “where the Swiss go for private banking” and indeed Austrian banks have world class wealth management services. However, their membership of the European Union could be a problem. Austria is also a great place to buy gold bullion offshore.

Indeed I think to find real banking privacy today it is necessary to go further afield. Not so much to specific countries, but to banks that realise that jurisdictional arbitrage is one way to enhance their clients’ privacy. The modern boutique private bank will have highly qualified private bankers who are able to open accounts at subsdiary banks in several different jurisdictions. As an additional layer of both privacy and asset protection, offshore corporations and foundations are always a useful way of handling offshore accounts too.


The Best Way To Get Student Loans With Bad Credit

If you are facing financial issues and also end up having a bad credit score, you would have thought that getting student loans would have been next to impossible for you. True as it may sound, it gets very difficult for you to secure your student loans if you have a checkered credit history. You read it right. It is difficult but not impossible for you to get student loans even if you have a bad credit history.

It is all on how you trace information of these sources so that you could find out sources in spite of you having a bad credit history. Student loans with bad credit is a read for you to know the sources of such loans. Read about these sources and be prepared to apply for these loans.

In most cases, these are grants offered by the government. Some of these are titled as Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, pell grants. Some financial non-credit organizations also extend these student loans to students who have a bad credit rating.

Stafford Loans

Stafford Loans are provided in two routes – subsidized and unsubsidized Loans. Both these work on essentially the same concept with one big limitation that these are limited amount loans. Of course, these are bad credit student loans. Most importantly, students who avail of these loans are granted these based on their economic needs.

The amount of these loans is so minuscule that students often take multiple student loans. When you suffer from a bad credit, understand that getting a loan itself could be an arduous task. In such a scenario, Stafford Loans come as a valuable rescue option.

Perkins Loans

Perkins loans is one of the best loan programs for undergraduate and graduate students. The scholarship amount cannot exceed more than $20,000 for the education program. This is essentially a federal award, the loan amount for which cannot be greater than $1000 to $4000 per year.

Non-credit Based Loans

A lot of financial institutions provide student loans for students with bad credit history. This is given to students who are disadvantaged and who are in need of completing their education. The application and approval process for these non-credit based is exhaustive. Plan ahead for the approval of these and get ready to complete your education.

Student loans with bad credit is one of the best ways needy students can get finances to fund their education. This is an excellent alternative for students who need money but cannot get money due to their bad credit history.


Put The Old Dog Down? Marketing for Small Business

When do you determine its time for a trusted old friend to go? Here’s the dilemma. Marketing for small business and professionals has undergone significantly change during the last decade. In general, business has begun to move away from ‘old dog’ traditional marketing to a ‘new dog’ inbound marketing. In this article we will take a look at traditional marketing and the new inbound marketing.

Traditional Marketing The Old Dog

Lets begin by defining “traditional” marketing. Old dog traditional marketing relied primarily on sending one-way signals to get the attention of consumers. When the consumer attention was peaked it then pushed a message onto the consumer without knowing whether the consumer had interest in receiving the message. And for many years (we’re talking a century) this type of marketing seemed to work.

The delivery of the message is still important to the process of marketing, but with the adoption of the internet as the main communication channel (between sellers and customers) how the message is delivered and how it is received has changed the foundation of modern marketing.

Inbound Marketing The New Dog

Inbound marketing is a form of digital marketing designed to get customer to find the message. With inbound marketing a message is crafted to elicit the interest of a customer. When the customer ‘wants’ to hear a message they search to find the message. When the customer is returned your message you’ve been found digitally. The customers desire to hear the message increases the odds the message will resonate with the customer. Through this process of finding, receiving, and resonating messages a customer may start to develop a bond of trust with the sender of the message and begin to view the sender as an authority figure on the subject.

The message is not the only incentive for choosing the new dog over the old dog. The digital delivery channels for inbound marketing open up possibilities for two-way communication with potential customers. This two-way communication dramatically alters the formatting possibilities for delivery of the message. Instead of relying on the onetime one-way message that traditional marketing offers inbound marketing encourages two-way communication between the sender and customer.

The inbound message is crafted to inform, support, and enhance customer knowledge on a subject. And because the digital delivery channels allow two-way communication the message may help the customer engage with the sender of the message.

There is another important element doesn’t get much attention. And that is proactive outbound marketing. This outbound marketing is the response actions taken to ‘further’ qualify and engage with potential leads obtained from inbound marketing.

Marketing Definitions

Traditional marketing is signaling for attention and then pushing unwanted messages onto unsuspecting customers. We define inbound marketing as the origination of a digital action to elicit interest or engage with potential customers e.g. on page Seo, blog articles, reports, white papers, and social media messaging. Outbound marketing is defined by any proactive action to ‘further’ the engagement with the potential customer. This would include proactive marketing initiatives such as off page Seo, email marketing, local search management, online meetings, and social media interaction.

Networking Similarities

Inbound marketing, in its most rudimentary form, existed long before the modern term took root. When I first began in business a form of it was better known as networking. In networking (we’re not referring to MLM) people earned respect and trust by engaging with others and this trust advanced mutual benefit. Because there was an element of trust involved these relationships could, did, and do drive considerable business.

To be clear, the two are not exactly the same. On the contrary, one begins on a personal level while the other begins through digital interaction. The point is there are similarities between the two. These similarities provide a better point of reference as to why inbound marketing is thought of so highly today, and why it works. Networking is still around and going strong, but is slowly being supplanted by inbound marketing. The way parties meet and the style of earning trust changes with inbound marketing. But the core principal’s of networking, relevant two-way communication, trust building, and authority status development exists in inbound marketing.

How Companies, Brands, And Non Profits Communicate

The internet has changed the way companies, brands, and non-profits engage with others and conduct business. I’d be willing to place a bet that at some point in time you’ve run across a blog post or article that interested or repelled you so much you left a comment, or if you didn’t you wanted to leave one. This engagement with the senders message ( with or without response) is the way companies, brands, and non profits develop relationships with customers.

There is market moving ‘power’ in being able to move people into action. The relationships (where there exists a positive connotation) that develop have a greater chance of turning into trusted relationships once the customer has granted authority status to the sender of the message for the subject matter.

Like in networking, when trust is established the customer is more open to hearing the message and the call to action. Likewise, if the customer and sender enjoy a reciprocal relationship there exists some probability the call to action will be heard and possibly acted upon. Taking it one step further, with a relationship based on trust the receiver of the message (customer) may now also influence the original sender of the message with their own mutually beneficial call to action.

Relevance Core To Inbound Marketing

Relevance is the core competency in inbound marketing. If a company, brand, or nonprofit can deliver a relevant message to a prospective customer then an opportunity exists for both to receive mutual benefit. There’s not much more to say about relevancy except to say without it you will not reach the parties you wish to reach. These limitations could be detrimental to marketing efforts. Keep your message relevant and you’ll likely find success.

Quality Over Quantity

A relevant well crafted message will help you get good traction. An excellent crafted relevant message will rock! When considering content always remember the quality of the content should remain steadfast over the quantity of content. If given a choice between 100 good articles Vs 10 excellent articles don’t hesitate to choose the 10 excellent articles.

Inbound marketing differs from the ‘old dog’ outbound marketing because of the way the message is sent, received, and in the manner in which parties can communicate. There are many additional benefits over traditional outbound marketing some process related, others financial. So now that we’ve had a chance to diagnose the dilemma are you ready to put the old dog down?

For an overview of inbound marketing Vs outbound marketing you can view this info-graphic originally posted in Mashable


Insurance Benefits of a Dashboard Cam for Your Car: Current Perspective and Outlook


A dashboard cam is a camera that is placed on your windshield or dashboard and is continuously recording everything that happens while you are driving the car. More advanced version of the cameras can also record rear views; some are equipped with infra-red sensors to enable recordings in the dark too. The camera automatically switches on and begins recording as soon as the car engine starts. It saves all video data to a memory card. Some cameras are capable of recording in High Definition and deliver great video quality.

This is a particular technology that can be quite interesting for many drivers. It is mature and extensively used technology in several countries where accident and insurance fraud appears to be a problem (e.g. Russia, China).


Is it a good idea to have such a device on board of a car? I think so! The camera is your objective witness and can “speak” for you should something happen. It can be an accident due to an unexpected maneuver from the car in front of you or a fraudulent accident that is almost impossible to recognize or simply a situation that will require a detailed examination later. Whatever it is, a dashboard cam will be there to contribute to finding out the truth.

Is data privacy a concern in this case? I do not think, as long as the video stays with the car and is not transmitted elsewhere. At the moment most dash cams use a memory card which is constantly being re-written since video is recorded in a loop. This results in only the last few hours or days of the video available (depending on memory card’s size).


There are two organizations that would probably benefit the most from such a device being used by consumers: insurers and law enforcement. This is because a dash cam can greatly contribute to the resolution of traffic accidents and claims.

I am not sure how police sees the idea of dashboard cams in ordinary cars but police cars are equipped with this technology to document road situations. I would imagine they would embrace this technology as it would only facility their jobs.

The situation with insurers is a bit different. I am not aware of any insurers rewarding their clients with lower premiums for having a dashboard cam in their car. In fact, when I was talking to one insurance company asking if they recognize the evidence via a dashboard cam in consideration in their claim assessment process, the reply was very general: “We welcome any additional information that would contribute to correct assessment of an accident and to handling of a claim. But we do not have any particular perspective on a dashboard camera usage in the cars though; it’s quite new to us… “

My hypothesis is that you should make use of dash cam data in discussion with police or in the court to make sure that you are not considered to-be-at-fault. Not being considered at-fault after an accident could help prevent your insurance premiums from increasing. Additionally, a dash cam can help to preserve a clean driving record.


Is there any future for a dashboard camera? Absolutely! I think it can contribute to both the correct assessment of traffic accidents and to better driver behavior. You’ll get a “trustful” witness who always “sits” in your car and can prove your points but the same observer will ensure that you are not making any mistakes since these will be recorded as well and the data could be used against you.

Insurance discounts: One of the scenarios that I could imagine is the appearance of insurance products linked to having a video camera in your car e.g. dash cam insurance discount for those drivers who decide to install such a device. In fact, dash cam material can significantly reduce claim-processing time for insurers since claim adjudicators can find out the truth much faster.

New insurance product for consumers: Tape-as-you-drive insurance can be also more attractive for consumers if they get the feeling that their case will be assessed very precisely with help of a camera instead of using a predefined 50-50 rule for handling cases as many insurers do today. An example could be a side collision of two cars on a road when it appears that both were on or over the center line (so called “sideswipe”) and there is no way to prove it without a video recording.

Built-in car option: Furthermore it’s possible that adapted versions of dashboard cams could find their way into mass car production as a special feature. Having such a car with an officially certified camera could be recognized in insurance premiums like winter tires, alarm device or hybrid vehicle. Just think about other means of transportation such as planes or ships – they are all equipped with a black box recording everything that happens. Why should a car be any different?

Extension of pay-as-you-drive solution: There is a so called pay-as-you-drive insurance that is being successfully offered by several insurers. Pay-as-you-drive insurance calculates premiums according to an individual’s driving behaviour, rewarding secure driving while tracking and increasing insurance costs on dangerous driving styles. A “black box” device installed in the vehicle tracks key parameters of the journey and transfers the data to the insurer, who then regulates the premium rate. Dash cam is a logical extension of this insurance that can complement it with more data and insight.

Fun, fun, fun: One fun use of a camera in a car is when doing a road trip – you could easily create a nice road trip video combining the best video pieces. Dashboard cams can get a lot of work done for you!


Well, I got mine couple years ago via eBay. I believe you can get dash cams now both on Amazon or eBay. A decent camera would cost around couple hundred dollar, there are also cheaper options but obviously the quality (especially battery) is not that high.