Switzerland has signed an automatic exchange of information agreement with Singapore.

The official document was signed during the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes in Geneva.

Co-operation between the two countries will provisionally begin on 1 January 2018. The first exchange of data is set to take place in 2019 and is subject to approval by the Swiss parliament.

The bilateral automatic exchange of information agreement in tax matters was signed by Alexander Karrer, deputy secretary of the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF), and Huey Min Chia-Tern, the deputy commissioner of the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.

Until the agreement comes into force, a mutual understanding on financial services co-operation has been agreed between the monetary authority of Singapore and Thomas Kupfer, the ambassador of Switzerland to Singapore.

The Global Forum has 142 members and controls the implementation of the automatic exchange of information via peer review of participating countries.

It will start examining the corresponding Swiss legislation in the second half of 2018 and will finish in the second half of 2019.

The agreement with Singapore is yet another strategic step by Switzerland on its path to financial information transparency.

On 16 June this year, the Swiss Federal Council approved the introduction of the automatic exchange of information with 41 states and territories. This legislation will be implemented for the first time in 2018, and covers G-20 and OECD counties, Liechtenstein, European countries and territories related to the EU (Andorra, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Monaco, San Marino) and countries and territories with regional or sectoral significance for the financial industry (Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Grenada, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Seychelles, Turks and Caicos Islands and Uruguay).

Some Swiss institutions have already begun offering solutions to help financial firms provide the right data as part of the automatic information exchange.

In April this year, SIX Financial Information released a new Common Reporting Standard service, which aims to ease compliance rules in order to facilitate tax transparency.