In January the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA published its circular on the benchmarks for minimum standards for self-regulation in the asset management industry and established the procedure for recognising such minimum standards. FINMA has now recognised the first sets of self-regulatory provisions.
FINMA has recognised the self-regulatory provisions of industry organisations representing independent asset managers and of the Swiss Funds Association, in the latter case relating to the supervised area of collective investment schemes.
The regulations of five industry organisations for independent asset managers were recognised:
- "Code de déontologie relatif à l'exercice de la profession de gérant de fortune indépendant" issued by the Association Romande des Intermédiaires Financiers (ARIF);
- "Code suisse de conduite relatif à l'exercice de la profession de gérant de fortune indépendant" / "Codice deontologico svizzero per l'esercizio della gestione indipendente di patrimoni" / "Schweizerische Standesregeln für die Ausübung der unabhängigen Vermögensverwaltung" issued by the Swiss Association of Asset Managers (SAAM);
- "Norme di comportamento nell'ambito della gestione patrimoniale (NCGP)" issued by the Organismo di Autodisciplina dei Fiduciari del Cantone Ticino (OAD FCT);
- "Standesregeln" issued by the PolyReg Allg. Selbstregulierungs-Verein;
- "Verhaltensregeln in Sachen Ausübung der Vermögensverwaltung" issued by the VQF Verein zur Qualitätssicherung von Finanzdienstleistungen.
The respective industry organisations are responsible for the actual implementation and monitoring of these regulations and also define who they apply to. Independent asset management is not subject to supervision in Switzerland with the exception of matters relating to anti-money laundering law.
With regard to the management of collective investment schemes subject to supervision, FINMA has recognised the Swiss Funds Association's "Verhaltensregeln für Vermögensverwalter von kollektiven Kapitalanlagen" / "Règles de conduite pour gestionnaires de fortune de placements collectifs de capitaux" as minimum standards. Under the Collective Investment Schemes Act relevant asset managers are subject to a clear statutory code of conduct if they manage Swiss collective investment schemes. If they only manage foreign collective investment schemes, they can choose whether or not to submit to supervision. The self-regulatory provisions now submitted by the Swiss Funds Association codify the statutory code of conduct and are binding for all licensed asset managers of collective investment schemes. In line with FINMA-Circular 2008/10 "Selbstregulierung als Mindeststandard" / "Normes d'autorégulation reconnues comme standards minimaux", compliance is examined by audit firms. The same applies to the new version of the "Verhaltensregeln für die schweizerische Fondswirtschaft" / "Règles de conduite pour l'industrie suisse des fonds", which was also recognised by FINMA.