With the exception of Sigma Kreditbank, all Liechtenstein banks have a universal banking license. However, their core business has always been private banking* and wealth management** in which the banks are distinguished by many years of practical knowledge and expertise. The banks do not engage in investment banking and take on comparatively low risks.
Banking clients appreciate the reliability and quality of client care. Professional advice and a high quality of services are among the traditional strengths and success factors of Liechtenstein banks. The banks are able to draw on a pool of specialists both at home and abroad.
Thanks to Liechtenstein's membership in the EEA, Liechtenstein banks also enjoy full freedom to provide services within the entire European single market and are thus able to offer their services and products in all EEA countries without additional licenses. Combined with the Swiss franc as the official currency in Liechtenstein, Liechtenstein banks are able to offer attractive diversification options to globally oriented investors.
Banking in general and private banking and wealth management in particular are governed by a range of laws in Liechtenstein. You can find a comprehensive collection of laws here.
The Financial Market Authority (FMA) Liechtenstein is responsible for supervision of the banks. The FMA's website includes references and links to all laws and ordinances relevant to financial intermediaries.
* Private banking for wealthy clients refers to services that are more intensive and personalized than normal client business. It is divided into financial advice and asset management. The asset thresholds used to qualify as private banking differ from provider to provider. A special type of private banking is the family office, which makes sense only for very large assets and offers services that go beyond merely taking care of the client's assets.
** Wealth management is an expanded form of private banking in which care and services are much more in-depth. The entry thresholds are significantly higher.