Switzerland is a great place to hide stuff, and its latest secret could be the biggest yet.
Hitler loved to hide gold he plundered inside of Swiss vaults. In fact, it’s estimated that 100 tons of Nazi gold was laundered through Switzerland.
After World War II ended, Switzerland repositioned itself as the perfect place to hide and protect money.
For years, the Swiss Banking Act of 1934 gave Switzerland rockstar status as a financial safe haven. The country remains the world’s largest offshore financial center with $2 trillion in assets.
But Switzerland’s recent agreement to share tax information likely closes yet another chapter in its history.
Per the agreement, Swiss financial information will be automatically shared on an annual basis, including taxpayers’ bank balances, dividends, interest income, and sales proceeds used to calculate capital gains tax.
Over 300 Swiss private banks have signaled their willingness to work with U.S. officials to crack down on wealthy Americans.
Don’t feel sorry for Switzerland, though.
It’s already reinventing itself as the secretkeeper of something far more valuable than money.
The Swiss take their privacy very seriously.
And they’re particularly serious about keeping data private…
In fact, they wrote it into the constitution: “Every person has the right to privacy in their private and family life and in their home, and in relation to their mail and telecommunications.”
Data stored on Swiss soil is further safeguarded by the Swiss Federal Data Protection Act and Ordinance to the Swiss FDPA, which gives judges the discretion to restrict data access without substantial evidence of a crime.
So where’s all this data stored?
In a mountainside bunker aptly named the “Swiss Fort Knox.”
The Swiss Fort Knox boasts that it could survive a nuclear holocaust. Its data servers lie deep inside a repurposed 1960s Cold War bunker.
The surveillance and safeguarding of its clients’ digital data is coordinated by two security operation centers with 24-hour surveillance, biometric identification systems, and even armed guards.
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Visitors are not allowed. That is, unless you’re an uber-wealthy client who has undergone an intensive background check.
Data protection is an exploding industry, with demand coming from both wealthy individuals and monster-sized public companies.
The reason is simple…
Cyber hackers have gotten so skilled at their craft – they’re armed with phenomenally sophisticated hacking tools – that data protection requires constant innovation to win the battle. Far beyond what most in-house security teams can do.
Companies like Cray Inc. (CRAY) are directly downwind from this insatiable demand.
Cray offers a comprehensive portfolio of supercomputers, big-data storage, and analytics solutions.
It’s a fantastic company, top to bottom. The intense demand for its products puts a nice floor under its share price, too.
Think of it as an insurance policy.
What I like best about Cray, though, is its recent announcement of a new $70-million contract to supply a next-generation Cray XC supercomputer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center.
The system isn’t expected to be delivered until 2016. However, the stock market is a forward-looking beast, which means now is the perfect time to pull the trigger on shares.
Onward and Upward,
Founder, Wall Street Daily