A castle in Montreux
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Gustav Mannerheim (1867-1951)

The Finnish general and hero of the winter war retired in Montreux after his mandate as President of Finland (1944-1946). Many Finns come and visit his statue in a lovely park on the lakeside in Montreux. Mannerheim died in Lausanne in 1951 and was given a national funeral in Helsinki.
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Recently retired from Finnish telecom giant Nokia, where he was a top manager, Mr. R. wanted out of Finland. Tired of his country's long and depressing winters, he was looking for a country with better weather and a friendly tax environment. Mr. R. came to see us with his wife in May 2000 to see how that could be possible.

Take the first you see
Having decided to live in the Montreux area like Finnish General Mannerheim, they first wanted to investigate accommodation. Mr. R. retained our house search services to find a new home. Within a few days our team had located several attractive apartments and we arranged the visits. Mr. and Mrs. R. were so pleased with the first apartment they saw that Mr. R. decided to follow his mother's wisdom  ("You always end up taking the first you see"), and signed the lease immediately. Was he right? Judge by yourself:


The living room came furnished with antiques © Micheloud & Co.

Castle with a view
The apartment spreads over 3 floors of a 15th century castle in Montreux, formerly owned by the Count of Savoie:

A six-room apartment with over 370 sq.m of living surface, stunning view overlooking Lake Geneva and a splendid private garden. The living room only is 70 m2. The apartment came fully furnished with antique furniture, 18th century paintings and a medieval wine cellar connected to the master bedroom by an elevator. The 500 sq.m garden ends with a two-car garage accessible from the road. Oh, yes, the rent. A very reasonable rent of Sfr.5,000 a month.

A fast application
Once the lease signed, we had to fill out his application quickly. With the high effectiveness of Scandinavian executives, Mr. R. sent us all the documents we needed within 10 days and we filled out an application for a Swiss Fiscal Deal residence permit in June 2000.

We kept in touch with the R. by email as they were enjoying their summer in the South of France. Soon we got the fiscal administration to approve a lump sum taxation agreement ("forfait fiscal"), which allowed our clients to pay a reasonable, fixed tax every year, with no relation to their non-Swiss wealth or income.


The terrace with an overlooking view over Lake Geneva © Micheloud & Co.

The Swiss administrations were almost as fast as Mr. R. in processing his application. In less than two months we received approval from municipal, cantonal and federal authorities, a record.

Moving in
Once the resident status was secured, Mr. R. was eager to solve as many practical details as he could before moving in. Communicating by email, we asked about his needs and began to arrange personal and house insurance, electricity, Internet connection, ISDN telephone lines, the painting of the apartment, etc.

Especially important was the selection of a reliable and reasonably-priced gardener for the apartment's splendid garden, a totally private haven overlooking the lake and planted with centuries-old oaks. Click to see Mr. R.'s gardening tool cellar from outside and from inside , and the public cellar with its motto ( For he who undestand, few words are necessary ).

Mr. R. private garden (© Micheloud & Co.)

A Jaguar fan
As a car connoisseur, Mr. R. always dreamed of buying a car without having taxes double the price. Living in Switzerland, he had two options. First, he could buy a car in Switzerland, where only 7.5% VAT is charged. Second, he could take advantage of Finland's attractive export prices for cars, among the lowest in Europe, and import a car from Finland to Switzerland. Mr. R. asked us to bargain prices with local Jaguar dealers to get their best offer, and we compared the price difference between Swiss prices and the total cost of importing a new Jaguar from Finland. However, the model Mr. R. wanted was ready to ship in Helsinki and he decided to import the car to Switzerland. We took care of the car importation paperwork too.

Read the interview with Mr. R. where he explains why he chose Switzerland, what other countries he compared and how he and his wife feel after arriving in Montreux for good.

This article has been published with the consent of our client who has reviewed and approved it before it was published.

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