Can a trustee charge whatever he wants when providing offshore trusts?

Clearly not and you should not pay exorbitant trustee fees.

In fact, the trustee could breach his duty to the beneficiaries by charging exorbitant trustee fees. He is entitled to a "reasonable" compensation only. What is reasonable however?

Our Approach

At IAP, our goal is to meet an agreed level of service in the most cost effective manner. As such we can offer our services at more competitive prices than many of our peers. This is mainly due to IAP's lean and efficient operational setup as well as Switzerland’s efficient regulatory regime. We have optimized our workflows utilizing the latest technology to provide you with the best customer service. Furthermore, we have built strong relationships with banks over the years and are dedicated to finding you the best bank to fit your needs.

Fair And Transparent

We believe that fees should not only be fair but transparent and have thus established a very unique fee schedule. Our annual trustee and activity fees have fixed rates; that is to say that no percentage-based nor time-based fees are charged. You expect a certain service level from us and you should not be bothered to decide who in our company will perform the activities best for you and what their hourly rates are. You will also not need to ask for a cost ceiling. Stability, reliability and continuity of our business are our top priorities.

Effective Communication

Our trust officers have all gained profound experience in banking, accounting and secretarial activities before joining us. At IAP, they are trained for the job as trust officer and attend trust management courses enhancing their abilities to administer trusts. Their broad expertise allows them to be your single point of contact handling all your requests and inquiries. You can communicate with us via phone, email, Skype or WhatsApp. We also regularly meet with our clients to stay abreast of their needs and to accomodate new conditions.

A Ten-Minutes Walk Away

When we deal with trustees based in the Caribbean, the Channel Islands or in Mauritius, we often experience that they are facing difficulties in accessing the trust's bank account which can result in severe disruptions to beneficiaries. Switzerland manages around 27 % of global assets managed cross-border and it only takes a ten-minute walk for us to visit your bank if needed. We know whom to contact and how to approach every situation. Clients expect us to act fast when their businesses and investments face deadlines.

Moderate Legal Charges

The onboarding of clients is often facilitated by references from reputable partners that make our services available to their clients. This makes the onboarding of clients faster and more economical. When we seek advice in areas outside of our main focus, it is important to closely manage the cost of outside counsel services as tax or legal issues often become more complex and time-consuming than originally anticipated. We pay only for a limited amount of time – as soon as the project is over, there will be no further costs.

Don't hesitate to give us a call and discuss your options

If you feel that a trustee fee was excessive, we encourage you to do the following:


  • Obtain an overview of the expenses and compare fees between competing trust companies. Get a quote!
  • Check if a fixed fee can be negotiated instead of ad valorem fee (e.g. a percentage-based fee such as 1% on the trust assets).
  • Compare different jurisdictions. Select sound but avoid over-regulated jurisdictions which have become unpractical to operate in.
  • Propose a more cost-efficient restructuring (avoid too complicated structures if not deemed necessary).
  • Verify if the original purpose of the trust still meets its goal or benefit. Trusts in the past were often sold by salespeople like insurance policies.
  • Ensure that the trust assets are still sizeable enough so that it still makes economic sense.
  • Seek for help from independent advisors or accountants who often have a good understanding of trustees fees.
  • If a protector is appointed, he may be entitled to question the fees charged by the trustee and negotiate a reduction.
  • Complain to the ombudsman.
  • Remove the trustee if all else fails.

Or get in touch today

    Contact Us
    +41 44 283 60 30

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