Ticket to Switzerland
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Phil Collins
Many British people settled in Switzerland, and amongst them British pop star Phil Collins, who met his Swiss wife during the Paleo Folk Festival in Nyon and never left since. Mr D. interviewed Phil Collins in his magazine days.

Mr D. is a fascinating man. Discreete and unpretentious, he built from scratch the largest business of its kind in Britain, sold it and retired in Switzerland. Don't get the impression that it was an easy road, though.

Good pay, boring job
Mr D.'s first career was in surveying. He worked on various construction projects around England, earning responsibilities, respect and a good pay for his skills. Even though he was managing bigger and bigger projects, after 10 years on the job, he found his life boring and lacking challenges. He began to pursue musical interests in his spare time, playing in a band, promoting concerts and running a small musical fanzine from home. After some time he decided to quit his day job and concentrate on his musical interests.

Swiss music festivals
Freddie Mercury's statue in Montreux Summer in Switzerland is the season of music. Classical and pop music festivals, many of them around Lake Geneva, gather thousands of people to listen to top artists who come from all over the world. Especially famous is the Montreux Jazz festival, equally popular with musicians and the public. A famous fan of the Montreux musical scene was Freddie Mercury, who enjoyed staying in Montreux. A statue immortalizes his fondness of the lake resort (picture).

An ear for music
Mr D. found it difficult to make any profit from his magazine. A local bank refused him a 1500 loan and he had to go to his father to help out and enable him to continue. He began to look for alternative ways of generating cash and tried selling CDs by mail to subscribers. The CD business was an immediate success and soon it was covering the magazine losses. Mr D. soon opened 6 CD shops in the Midlands and the North of England.

Nevertheless, the whole business was still run by passion and soon he ran out of money again.

Anybody else would have called it quits and returned to his former job.

But Mr D. is a man of ressources and does not give up easily.

Since neither the magazine nor the CD business would bring him any money, he tried something else and began to organize coach trips for friends to see pop concerts that were at a distance from Nottingham. The trips became very popular and Mr. D. developped a large number of clients to whom he could sell other things, such as simple concert tickets.

The largest ticket seller in Britain
Soon Mr D.'s difficult beginnings were transformed into an astonishing success. Having opened ticket shops across Britain, it became clear to Mr D. that it would be better to sell the tickets over the phone or the Internet instead of spending on brick and mortar. What better location could there be for his operations than his hometown of Nottingham, the historic city 200 km north of London. Internet sales were growing every day, and a telesalesforce of over 100 took orders around the clock. His company became the single largest seller of tickets in Britain, with over 70% of the market.

Golfing in Villars (_Villars Tourist Office)

A taste for the Alps
Switzerland has always had a special place in the hearts of the British. In 1998, Mr D. bought a chalet in Villars, a Swiss resort very much appreciated by the British. He began to come there as much as he could. In the summer, with mountain biking in the hills and the numerous international music festivals around Lake Geneva, coming back to Old England was getting harder and harder. Mr D. came to see us in Lausanne.

Planned retirement
Having found an excellent manager for his company, Mr D. could now come more often to Switzerland. He asked us how he could move full time to Villars and enjoy the Swiss quality of life and low taxes. Since he was so young (44) to retire, the Swiss administration would grant him a resident status only if he invested in a local company.

Cash out time
While he was investigating the possibility of a Swiss residence, the worldwide leader in ticket selling, an American company, expressed interest in buying Mr D.'s company. After several months of negociations, the American company made an offer that was difficult to refuse and Mr D. sold a majority share in his business.

He came back to see us about a year after our initial meeting and we started from where we left off. An investment was arranged in a local music-related company, a lump sum taxation agreement was negotiated with the authorities and we applied for residence in Switzerland.

His residence permit approved, Mr D. moved permanently to Villars and has lived there happily ever since.

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