New requirements for foreign financial institutions to seek an authorization from the FINMA for their Swiss operations

BSL Banking in Switzerland and Liechtenstein – November 2020
Frédérique Bensahel

The Financial Institutions Act, which entered into force on 1 January 2020, has resulted in a significant number of changes in the wealth management sector, broadly speaking. One of the most noteworthy is that independent asset managers and trustees will be subject to authorization and prudential oversight by the FINMA. While the financial sector long supported oversight of independent asset managers, oversight of trustees was primarily a matter for the milieu itself, which was nonetheless very divided over the necessity of prudential oversight of an activity that was actually very distant from finance in the strict sense. The decision to subject independent asset managers and trustees to regulations applicable to all financial institutions – with the exception of the banks, which remain subject to banking law – results in consequences that the market is far from having grasped.