International agreements are a proven means of enhancing cooperation between supervisory authorities. The term "Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)" is commonly used in an international context; other synonyms include "cooperation agreement" or "cooperation arrangement". Supervisory authorities enter into such agreements to ensure cooperation. The terms of cooperation are established taking into account national legislation (cooperation).
FINMA has concluded international bilateral agreements with various foreign authorities. These agreements are essential for facilitating cooperation, particularly when FINMA maintains regular contact with a foreign authority. Concluding an agreement may also be a prerequisite for the admission of Swiss-supervised institutions to a foreign market, or vice versa.
In addition to bilateral agreements, there are also multilateral cooperation agreements. For example, both IOSCO and IAIS have drawn up Multilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MMoU). The IOSCO MMoU, the IOSCO EMMoU (Enhanced Memorandum of Understanding) and the IAIS MMoU establish an international standard for supervisory cooperation. FINMA and many supervisory authorities from other countries have signed these agreements.
FINMA organises supervisory or crisis management colleges for various financial groups based in Switzerland. To regulate the cooperation within this framework, it has concluded (multilateral) agreements with the participating foreign supervisory authorities. FINMA also participates in colleges run by foreign supervisory authorities and has signed corresponding agreements.
Owing to their non-binding nature, the agreements concluded by FINMA do not create legally enforceable rights or obligations for FINMA, foreign partner authorities and other third parties. They should therefore be differentiated from treaties. In view of this, the content of agreements is not usually published.