Portfolio managers and trustees require FINMA authorisation. When applying for authorisation, portfolio managers and trustees must provide evidence that they are supervised by an SO.
From the beginning of January 2020, the authorisation process will be handled electronically via the EHP survey and application platform and will basically consist of five steps. Details on the authorisation process are included in the documents presented at the information events for portfolio managers and trustees.
FINMA authorises these financial institutions and is responsible for enforcement. Ongoing supervision of PMs and trustees will be performed by one or more supervisory organisations (SOs) authorised and supervised by FINMA. In the context of supervising these institutions, the SOs will also take on responsibility for supervising compliance with the obligations laid down in FinIA and FinSA, as well as compliance with AMLA rules, a responsibility which previously rested with the self-regulatory organisations (SROs) as defined in the Anti-Money Laundering Act.
FinSA contains code of conduct provisions with which financial service providers must comply vis-à-vis their clients. It also makes provision for prospectus duties and requires an easily understandable key information document for financial instruments. With the introduction of FinSA, FINMA will also approve the registration body which manages the register of advisers, as defined in FinSA, and the reviewing body for prospectuses.
Unlike the previous self-regulatory ombudsman system for banks, affiliation with an ombudsman’s office has become obligatory under the FinSA for all financial service providers offering their services in Switzerland. Furthermore, the ombudsman’s offices must now be recognised by the FDF. As before, the ombudsman’s offices should settle disputes regarding legal claims between the client and the financial service provider in mediation proceedings. In accordance with the FinSA, financial service providers must affiliate themselves with an ombudsman’s office within six months of the first ombudsman’s office being recognised. The Federal Department of Finance (FDF) recognised the first ombudsman’s offices according to the FinSA with effect from 24 June 2020 (FDF list). FINMA will monitor the implementation of the affiliation requirement within the scope of its supervisory work.
Regarding the ombudsman affiliation requirement for service providers that serve only institutional and professional clients, please consult the specialist information provided by the State Secretariat for International Finance (SIF) on 9 November 2020.
In the context of FinSA and FinIA, the legislators and regulators have authorised FINMA to issue further technical implementing provisions in a variety of areas. As a result, FINMA will have to update existing FINMA ordinances (e.g. AMLO-FINMA and CISO-FINMA) and a number of circulars. FINMA expects to launch the public consultation on these changes in the first quarter of 2020. Adoption of the changes is planned for the fourth quarter of 2020.
Members of SROs can address their questions to their SRO.
If you have any questions for FINMA, you can contact us at: FIDLEG-FINIG@finma.ch or +41 31 327 98 88 (Monday to Friday, 08.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m.).