US ETFs via Interactive Brokers as a Swiss citizen in 2022 – Possible or not?

Like me, you have surely heard about some “rumors” (or not) in 2021, or even before, that would prevent a Swiss citizen from buying American ETFs as of January 1st 2022. There is indeed a European regulation, the PRIIPs (Packaged Retail and Insurance-based Investment Products), which is supposed to improve transparency and bring information to any investor, especially to private individuals and “amateurs” like you and me.

The PRIIPS

In fact, this regulation has already come into effect in 2018 in all European countries, and this should also be the case for all foreign brokers, but who have activity in Switzerland from January 1, 2022. Interactive Brokers is therefore affected.

The problem is that I personally have not been able to find a real answer on the internet to the question: could I buy my favorite VT ETF in January 2022?

Why is the Swiss citizen concerned?

Well, if you use Interactive Brokers as your trading platform, you have a bank account that is in England, so in Europe, but since Switzerland is not part of the European Union, this complicates the situation.

Discussion with Interactive Brokers support

So I wrote to Interactive Brokers support and to say the least, their response was very sketchy. I asked them the following question:

Hello,

I have been using Interactive Brokers for over a year now and I mainly buy a US ETF, VT (Vanguard Total Workd Stock), monthly. I heard on the internet about the PRIIPS regulation and unfortunately I did not find the answer to the following question: As a Swiss citizen, can I still buy US ETFs in 2022?

Thank you very much and best regards

Mr. GP

And here is their answer:

Hello, you may still trade US ETFs in your account. Please see this post for more information: https://ibkr.info/article/2993.

IBKR Support

I then read this article which explains in more detail the impact of this regulation. To be honest, this post does not contain a specific note for Switzerland, and I did not really find the information that would allow me to answer my own question. In order to be sure of the answer of my interlocutor from the IBKR support, I ask him the following question again:

Yes, thank you for this article, but I can’t find the information on which countries it applies to. Switzerland is a special case, as we are not part of the European Union.

Mr. GP

Their answer, still not very eloquent to tell the truth, seems however quite precise.

Yes, you may still trade US ETFs in your account.

IBKR Support

Well… I must admit that I am not very satisfied with the answer of the support, because one feels that there is no personalization of the answer. The agent I met didn’t really bother to explain why the Swiss case was treated like this or like that. Anyway, for the moment, you, Swiss citizen present on Interactive Broker can still buy US ETFs. Here is the proof in pictures :

Activity report December 2021 – January 2022

So you can see that I was able to buy 11 shares of the VT ETF at a price of $106.4 on 06.01.22 🙂

Image
Confirmation by e-mail

And as always, the small confirmation by e-mail of the transaction.

Conclusion

Even if the answer of the support did not totally convince me, it is still possible for the moment to buy US ETFs as a Swiss citizen through Interactive Broker. Based on the support response, this should still be possible in the future. This is really good news for us. Let’s hope that this does not change 🙂

Interactive Broker affiliation

If you haven’t tried Interactive Broker yet, I highly recommend you do so, as it is simply the best brokerage platform for Switzerland. There are no custody fees and you can start investing as low as 0.50 USD! If you use my affiliate link below, you can get up to $1000 to start investing (see conditions).

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