Canada    FinTech Guide    Chapter 3    Switzerland

3. Consulting and Broking Services / Robo-Advisory / Auto-Trading
Switzerland  Switzerland

The shock-like franc appreciations by the removal of the exchange rate floor of CHF 1.20 per Euro in January 2015 as well as the introduction of negative interest rates by the Swiss National Bank (SNB) have affected the asset management business.

Legal Affairs

As independent financial intermediaries, asset managers are generally subject to the Swiss Money Laundering Act. An asset manager may act on a professional basis in Switzerland after he has applied for a license as financial intermediary in order to comply with the obligations under the Money Laundering Act. The law offers him the choice between:

  • Direct supervision by FINMA
  • Affiliation to a self-regulatory organization (SRO) recognized by FINMA

The Swiss financial markets statutes provide for a comprehensive regulation and prudential supervision by FINMA only if the asset management is carried out by the following institutions:

  • Banks
  • Securities trader
  • Fund management
  • Manager of Swiss collective investment schemes
  • Manager of foreign, alternative investments

These financial services providers are subject to comprehensive licensing requirements. However, if such providers act as consultants re portfolio management only, they are not subject to the Money Laundering Act as financial intermediaries (see Circular Letter FINMA 2011/1, note 90 et seq.). If such providers offer deposit accounts to customers, they need a banking license under the Banking Act. This is also necessary in general if such providers act as full-fledged brokers.

Economic Conditions

Total assets managed by banks in Switzerland totaled around CHF 6'656 billion at the end of 2014. 51.1 percent of these came from foreign customers.

Thereby, assets under management are taken into account as follows:

  • securities held in customer deposits;
  • fiduciary assets;
  • commitments to customers in the form of savings and
  • investments as well as obligations towards temporary customers.

Contributing Authors

Hartmann Müller Partners

Jürg E. Hartmann
Zurich, Switzerland

Markus Aeschbacher
Zurich, Switzerland

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Chapter Index:

1. Payment Services / Mobile Payment

2. Asset and Portfolio Management

3. Consulting and Broking Services / Robo-advisory / Auto-trading

4. Trading Platforms / Social Trading Platforms / Signal Following

5. Crowdfunding / Crowdinvesting / Crowdlending

6. Virtual Currency - Bitcoin

7. Loan Services / Factoring / Loan Broking / Finetrading

8. Online Banking Services

9. Analytics and Research / Data Management / Risk Management

10. Accounting

11. Identification

12. Online-pawning

13. InsurTech

14. RegTech

15. Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)

The information in this guide provides a general overview at the time of publication and is not intended to be a comprehensive review of all legal developments nor should it be taken as opinion or legal advice on the matters covered. It is for general information purposes only and readers should take legal advice from a Multilaw member firm.

Publication Date: 1 May 2018