Swiss move closer to higher taxes for rich foreigners

Switzerland has come under pressure from its neighbours -- many of which have depleted state coffers -- as well as from some of its own citizens over its flat rate tax system that has attracted the wealthiest to claim residency

Switzerland took a step towards higher taxes on 5,000 wealthy foreign residents, with the upper chamber of parliament approving a bill for a higher tax rate.

The text will now be put to the lower chamber, where Socialists are however expected to try to block the adoption of the bill, as they want preferential tax treatment for foreigners scrapped completely.

Switzerland has come under pressure from its neighbours -- many of which have depleted state coffers -- as well as from some of its own citizens over its flat rate tax system that has attracted the wealthiest to claim residency here.

Among them are celebrities such as Phil Collins or Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher.

In a bid to counter increasing opposition to the flat tax system, the Swiss government has put forward proposals to make these wealthy foreigners pay more, although not too much so as to avoid causing them to leave.

This group of taxpayers contributes about 668 million francs (556 million euros) a year to Swiss state revenues.

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India's R&D landscape upbeat, outlook promising: study

India has an R&D talent pool base of over 200,000 engineers growing at an average of 9% a year for the last 5 years

The research and development (R&D) landscape in India witnessed decent salary hike and rapid growth in the year gone by and the industry expects a steady outlook for this year as well, says a study.
 
According to market research firm Zinnov, 2011 witnessed strong revival of R&D investments in India and worldwide, signalling the optimism in world economy which earlier reported a drop in R&D investments in 2010.
 
India currently has an installed R&D talent pool base of over 200,000 engineers growing at an average of 9% a year for the last five years.
 
The R&D segment witnessed a salary hike of 13%, and there was also a focused approach on career enhancement by ensuring increased ownership, better work profile, and competitive pay to retain talent, the study noted.
 
Consequently, after a steep increase in 2010, R&D centres have managed to control attrition levels at 17.4%. Moreover, best-in-class companies have been able to keep their attrition rate well below the industry average.
 
“The industry expects the salary increments this year to be very similar to 2011. MNC R&D centres in India are expected to continue to focus on various other key enablers as well for higher value generation,” Zinnov Director-Market Expansion Praveen Bhadada said.
 
Zinnov noted though nearly half of the world's largest R&D spenders have their centres in India, China is giving tough competition and emerging as a R&D hotspot in specific areas/verticals.
 
"China continues to give us tough competition, but we are confident that the innovative business approach and renewed focus of these R&D centres will hold us in good stead going forward," he added.
 
Interestingly, many non-US companies have started looking at the country as a viable R&D investment option and planning to set up R&D centres in this lucrative market.
 
At present, about 28% companies with HQ in Japan, EU and APAC have their centres in India and this is likely to increase going forward, which is a very healthy indicator for India as it continues its 'battle of dominance' with China.
 
Besides, there is also a rapid evolution of a multi-city R&D ecosystem in the country which was earlier concentrated in few tier-I cities, the study noted.

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Facebook picks Nasdaq to list shares: Report

Facebook’s IPO has generated unprecedented interest since it is expected to be the largest offering since Google went public in 2004

Social networking site Facebook, which will soon launch its initial public offering, has zeroed in on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange to list its shares, a media report said.
 
Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg-led Facebook has chosen the city-based Nasdaq over the New York Stock Exchange for its listing, the New York Times reported.
 
The social networking site will list its shares under the ticker symbol ‘FB’ on Nasdaq, the Times quoted people with knowledge of the matter as saying.
 
The report said getting a company like Facebook to list on it is a “significant coup” for Nasdaq, which has been “embroiled in a battle with the New York Stock Exchange for the darlings of Silicon Valley’’.
 
Companies like LinkedIn and Pandora Media chose NYSE for their listings even as technology giants like Apple and Google have preferred Nasdaq.
 
“It’s a high-profile win for their listings business,” analyst Mr Michael Adams said in the report.
 
“In terms of earnings, the impact won’t be dramatic, but it’s something to be proud of.”

Facebook’s IPO, expected next month, has generated unprecedented interest since it is expected to be the largest offering since Google went public in 2004.
 
Its 800 million users and $3.7 billion in revenue have made it the most popular social networking site and a magnet for advertisers.
 
The IPO could value the social network at about $100 billion and with a possible offering of $5 billion, the Facebook listing will be the largest in Nasdaq’s history, according to data from S&P Capital IQ.
 
While Nasdaq is a fully electronic marketplace, the New York Exchange offers a hybrid model that combines a floor-based marketplace with an electronic one.
 
The exchange is widely considered a more global brand compared with Nasdaq but its pricing structure is more expensive than Nasdaq’s, the report said.
 
Nasdaq was the “undisputed” leader for technology IPO’s till a few years ago but it has been facing competition from the NYSE, which has spent considerable energy to get upcoming internet companies on its side.

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