The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA has recognised the guidelines on the treatment of dormant accounts issued by the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) as a minimum standard. The guidelines, which will come into force on 1 January 2015, reflect the new requirements stipulated in banking legislation for handling dormant accounts.
The revised Banking Act and the fully revised Banking Ordinance set out the new rules on the transfer and liquidation of dormant accounts. A clear legal basis has thus been created allowing information about dormant accounts to be published, which in turn relieves banks of the eventuality of violating banking secrecy through such disclosures.
Other key changes are the distinction made between "contact lost to clients" and "dormancy", and a central registration platform for dormant assets set up by the SBA on which such assets must be registered at least once a year. The main point of contact for persons who believe they have a right to claim dormant assets still remains the Swiss Banking Ombudsman.
The SBA guidelines on the treatment of contact lost to clients and dormant accounts at Swiss banks replace those issued in 2009 that are valid until the end of 2014 and will come into force on 1 January 2015.