How to buy US stocks in Switzerland

Swiss can easily buy US stocks from Switzerland but it can be a little confusing to start - this helpful guide explains how it works and clears up any misunderstandings.

Can I invest in US stocks from Switzerland?

Yes, it is entirely possible to buy US stocks from Switzerland. Non-US citizens are entitled to buy US stocks. While the laws that govern US stock markets are American, you do not need to be an American to invest. I.e. You can be Swiss and invest in America by buying US stocks. The same applies to other investments like US government bonds or corporate bonds, as well as US property.

The US stock market is the largest in the world and offers some of the best investing opportunities. For foreigners, investing in the US also has the benefit of giving you ‘global market exposure’ to your investing portfolio.

Can I buy US stocks in Switzerland?

You needn’t open a US brokerage account to buy US stocks. Swiss banks and brokers offer accounts in which Swiss people can buy US stocks.

FlowBank offers trading in 1000s of US stocks and ETFs listed on the New York Stock Exchange, Nasdaq and BATS with a commission of just 0.15% (minimum 6.50 USD). This can all be done from the ease of the FlowBank app or desktop trading platform.

Some of the most popular stocks to buy on the New York Stock Exchange and Nasdaq tend to be the largest. 

Here are the top 10 US stocks by market cap:

Rank

Name

Ticker

Market Cap

Price

(on 9/9/2021)

1

Apple

AAPL

$2.574 T

$155.73

2

Microsoft

MSFT

$2.262 T

$301.03

3

Alphabet (Google)

GOOG

$1.921 T

$2,895

4

Amazon

AMZN

$1.793 T

$3,542

5

Facebook

FB

$1.065 T

$377.74

6

Tesla

TSLA

$760.58 B

$759.24

7

Berkshire Hathaway

BRK-A

$631.16 B

$419,810

8

NVIDIA

NVDA

$559.75 B

$224.62

9

Visa

V

$501.48 B

$228.53

10

JPMorgan Chase

JPM

$476.28 B

$159.39

Source: Companiesmarketcap.com

 

An alternative for Swiss to buy US equities is to invest into an index like the S&P 500 or Dow Jones Industrial Average. This can be done by buying a US index fund, index ETF or indices CFDs.

NOTE: Pink sheets and US small cap stocks tend to have very low liquidity and are not suitable investments for most investors and tend not to be available though large multi-asset Swiss brokers.

Can I buy US stocks in euros or Swiss francs?

Yes, all modern trading platforms and investing apps will offer the ability to deposit in one currency and convert it into foreign currency like US dollars to buy foreign stocks. Once the trade is closed, the US dollars can then be converted back into Swiss francs directly through the investing app.

Watch this video to see the ease at which a trade is made in the FlowBank app.

2021_Flowbank_EdcationAPP-01_How-To-Place-A-Trade_v3_210611

Can I invest directly in US stocks?

You might be wondering How can I buy US stocks from overseas? Remember that in the digital age, shareholders will typically not have a physical copy of their share certificates. You can own the stocks, while the bank or broker takes custody of the certificates, either physically or digitally, and charges you a nominal quarterly fee for doing so.

There are two options to consider when investing in stocks from Switzerland. Taking ownership of the stocks directly - or using CFDs for speculation and avoiding direct ownership.

Read our blog on CFDs vs stocks to understand more about the differences between the two and which might be right for your investing journey.

Do Swiss pay tax on US stock trading?

Always one of the biggest considerations for investing is what tax will be owed on any earnings. Naturally a concern for Swiss investing in the US is the possibility of double taxation. Thankfully this is not the case.

As a so-called ‘non-resident alien’ i.e. a non-US citizen who doesn’t live in the United States, you would not be obligated to pay US capital gains tax - this would be paid in your home country of Switzerland. A W-8BEN form will be filled in when you start trading in US stocks as a foreign national to avoid being subject to extra US taxes.

However, even as a non-US citizen, Swiss will be obliged to pay dividend tax - just like Americans. But don’t worry, this happens automatically. Every time a company pays you a dividend for owning their stock, the Swiss bank or broker will withhold the necessary tax and pay you the rest.

*** Note: Taxes are subject to individual circumstances and are subject to change. It is always a good idea to consult your tax professional.

US stock market trading hours in CET (Central European Time)

If you are investing in US stocks in Switzerland, one consideration will be the time difference and Stock Exchange opening hours. When investing from Switzerland, you will not be able to buy US stocks in the morning, only in the afternoon and evening.

9:30 AM to 4 PM Eastern time (ET) on weekdays (except stock market holidays)

When do US stock markets open in Swiss time?

4:30 PM to 11 PM Central European Time

(CET) during winter (November to April) and (CEST) when its 'Daylight Saving' Time (May to October)

How to open a trading account to invest in the NYSE & Nasdaq

How to start investing? There are some simple steps you can take to invest in US stocks from Switzerland:

  1. Go to FlowBank.com
  2. Open an investing account (all FlowBank accounts have access to US stocks)
  3. Fund the account
  4. Research US stocks to buy (using the Research portal)
  5. Place the trade
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