A foundation is an entity with legal personality. One of its essential characteristics is that its assets are intended for use in pursuing an ideal goal. Rules on foundations are governed by articles 80 et seq. of the Swiss Civil Code.
The foundation must be set up by a public deed signed before a notary. A foundation is created by allocating assets for a particular purpose and is subject to oversight by the public law corporation (Confederation, canton or commune) to which it belongs by virtue of its purpose. This oversight body ensures that the foundation’s resources are used in accordance with its objectives.
This is a relatively rigid legal structure. Once the objectives have been adopted at the time of incorporation, they cannot be changed without the approval of the oversight authority.
According to the practice of the Swiss Federal Supervisory Board for Foundations, the minimum initial capital is CHF 50,000.
The foundation must have:
- a Foundation Board
- an Audit Board
In order to acquire legal personality, the foundation must be registered in the Commercial Registry. Foundations that operate internationally can also register with the International Geneva Welcome Centre (CAGI) . Foundations that operate internationally can also register with the CAGI.