Ticino has always been an interesting and sought-after destination for personalities and families from the international jet set. This is a demanding type of clientele, which in most cases prefers to maintain its privacy and visit the most exclusive and sought-after properties.
Do you get special treatment when the requests come from well-known faces, I'm thinking of the latest arrivals of sportsmen and women or people from the world of entertainment?
Not really. In order to be able to work at the top of luxury - in the long term - you have to be able to offer a consistently high quality of service to all clients, both famous and less famous. The difference is that famous people, in our experience, have very tight schedules, so we have to be careful to respect the timeframes set for visits to the minute.
Ticino has always hosted important names, I am thinking of the Thyssen family at Villa Favorita in Castagnola, Helmut Horten with his famous property in Croglio, but also sporting and political personalities, not forgetting the many artists present in the area. How come?
The reason is manifold: on Lake Lugano and Lake Maggiore we find splendid properties of a size suitable for families accustomed to great luxury. In addition, in Switzerland - and of course in Ticino - we have a stable political system, we are a secure nation, with a state-of-the-art public and private healthcare system. We have internationally recognised schools and we are located in the centre of Europe, in a Mediterranean climate that offers a rich and quality culinary experience. Last but not least is the privacy factor: a few weeks ago Roger Federer was in Ticino, and apart from a few spontaneous autographs, he was able to move freely, a freedom that is unthinkable in other countries, such as Italy.
And is Ticino still attractive for tax purposes?
Less and less. Sportsmen and women certainly have a tax advantage, in Germany and Austria you pay almost 50% tax... and as I said, you don't have the comfort and privacy that Ticino offers. However, we are seeing that more and more other countries are creating special tax programmes where Switzerland can no longer compete: Cyprus, Malta, Portugal, England, even Italy, and recently Greece. Our strength, however, remains stability, which is lacking in the fiscal and political programmes of the above-mentioned countries, and, for now, the Canton of Ticino seems to remain the favourite Swiss destination.
What about others?
The family or the person who arrives in Ticino and works in Switzerland is taxed in exactly the same way as any Swiss, with a fixed percentage of earnings. However, there are also a number of people who arrive with the status of globalist, meaning that they are not allowed to carry out a gainful activity on Swiss territory, and enjoy flat-rate taxation. It must be said, however, that unfortunately we have fewer globalists than in the past, since Swiss tax policy does not encourage the arrival of large amounts of capital. Zurich, for example, has abolished flat-rate taxation and many globalists have moved to other cantons willing to compromise. Ticino, for the time being, maintains this type of taxation, but on the other hand it seems to be unwilling to favour local and international companies, such as those linked to fashion, important companies that we have lost and this is a shame.
But does this mean that families with large assets are not well liked?
It's hard to say, maybe there is still this closed mentality and maybe a bit of jealousy. However, it is surprising that more and more countries in Europe are making an effort to attract the wealthy and we are acting as if nothing happened. We must not forget that wealthy foreigners in Ticino send their children to school here, do their shopping here, go out to our restaurants, use our services - of all kinds from the gardener to the beautician - and very often they are people who do not need to go across the border to do their shopping, but do it close to home. Moreover, and this is something that is sometimes forgotten, globalists do not take away anyone's work, as they do not have the right to work on Swiss territory...
Are there currently many VIPs, let's call them that, in Ticino?
We could certainly name many important families who have bought their properties from us, but - first and foremost - the privacy and confidentiality of the client is very important to us. In general, we can certainly say that we have had important Italian industrialist families, but not only that, we have also had Germans, English, Scandinavians, families from Eastern Europe... there are of course some sports personalities, but also many artists.
Do you think we should facilitate the arrival of foreign families? I'm also thinking about permits, which take longer in Ticino than in other cantons...
No, not in general. But it would be desirable to create effective instruments to attract wealthy people and families. We have to understand that the more there are, the more the whole economy benefits and therefore the life of the individual improves.