The country is situated in Western and Central Europe,[note 4] and is bordered by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north, and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Switzerland is a landlocked country geographically divided between the Alps, theSwiss Plateau and the Jura, spanning an area of 41,285 km2 (15,940 sq mi). While the Alps occupy the greater part of the territory, the Swiss population of approximately 8 million people is concentrated mostly on the Plateau, where the largest cities are to be found: among them are the two global and economic centres, Zürich and Geneva. Switzerland ranks high in several metrics of national performance, including government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life,economic competitiveness, and human development.
The Swiss have become world leaders in private banking and asset management for individuals. Switzerland has been known for its sophisticated and discreet banking services, but opening a bank account in Switzerland may prove more difficult for non-residents and recent laws have changed the foundation of Swiss banking secrecy.Switzerland is a popular investment destination for a number of reasons.
Historically, Swiss banking has offered: