Category Archives: FinSA (FIDLEG)

Note from the Editors

The new Swiss Financial Services Act (FinSA) and Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) were enacted by the Swiss Parliament in June 2018, and are currently expected to enter into effect on 1 January 2020. While the FinSA introduces uniform prospectus rules generally applicable to all offerings of securities in Switzerland and comprehensive rules of conduct for providers rendering financial services in Switzerland, the FinIA introduces the prudential supervision of all financial services providers operating a portfolio or asset management business in Switzerland and uniform licensing requirements for financial intermediaries other than banks and insurance companies. With drafts of the implementing ordinances to the FinSA and FinIA having just been published, we deem it the right time to provide you with an update on this new legislation and a first assessment of the draft implementing provisions.

The editors.

The New Swiss Prospectus Regime

In June 2018 the Swiss Federal Parliament passed the Financial Services Act and the Financial Institutions Act, and on 23 October 2018 the Swiss Federal Council presented the ordinances implementing these acts for public consultation until early February 2019. It is expected that the acts and its ordinances will become effective on 1 January 2020. Modeled largely after the EU prospectus framework, the new prospectus regime marks a veritable paradigm change to Swiss capital market regulation, introducing a number of novelties for issuers of securities in the Swiss market, such as the requirement for an ex ante approval for most financial instruments, coupled with some important long-awaited explicit exemptions from such requirement and the requirement for a prospectus for secondary public offerings.

By Christian Rehm / René Bösch (Reference: CapLaw-2018-56)

The New Reviewing Body

The Financial Services Act establishes a new prospectus regime in Switzerland requiring the publication of a prospectus for public offerings of securities and the admission to trading on a trading venue. It introduces a new regulatory body – the reviewing body (Prüfstelle) – to be authorized by FINMA and responsible for review and approval of prospectuses. This article discusses the setup and operation of such reviewing body, the prospectus requirements and content as well as the review and approval of the prospectus.

By Sabir Sheikh / Peter Probst (Reference: CapLaw-2018-57)

Point of Sale Regulation – Consultation Draft of Financial Services Ordinance: Key Points

The publication for consultation of the draft Financial Services Ordinance represents the last milestone on the road to the new financial services architecture in Switzerland. For all those who aim to optimize the details of the point of sale code of conduct, the consultation to the Draft-FinSO until 6 February 2019 is the last possibility to do so. Considering whether to provide comments to the Draft-FinSO is important because the ordinance specifies a number of key provisions of the FinSA on the point of sale duties. Hereinafter, is an overview of the most important proposed ordinance rules.

By Sandro Abegglen / Luca Bianchi (Reference: CapLaw-2018-58)

Key Investor Document – the flexible brother of the EU PRIIPs KID

On 15 June 2018, the Swiss parliament adopted the Financial Services Act and the Financial Institutions Act, which are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020. One of the key changes introduced by the Swiss Financial Services Act is the obligation to prepare and make available to retail investors a short document setting out the key information, the so-called key information document (Basisinformationsblatt). The draft implementing ordinances the Federal Council has published on 24 October 2018 contains supplementary provisions on the content, language, layout and scope of the new regulatory leaflet. While the proposed template for the future key information document is almost identical to the EU PRIIPs KID template, the Swiss version of the key information document is far more flexible than its EU equivalent and reflects the pragmatic approach taken by the Federal Council in the draft ordinances to ensure a successful implementation of the new regulatory leaflet.

By Daniel Haeberli (Reference: CapLaw-2018-59)

The Enforcement of Clients’ Rights in the Financial Services Act

The new Financial Services Act will require all providers of financial services to be affiliated with an ombuds institution. This requirement is the only substantially new element remaining from a broad set of proposals to strengthen the enforcement of clients’ rights. Parliament ultimately opposed the introduction of new procedural mechanisms specifically for the financial services industry, such as collective action instruments and changes to the ‘loser pays’ rule.

By Thomas Werlen / Jonas Hertner (Reference: CapLaw-2018-60)

FinSA: New Registration Duty for Client Advisers

The Financial Services Act (FinSA), which is expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020, will introduce a new registration duty for client advisers of Swiss financial service providers not subject to prudential regulation and client advisers of foreign financial institutions. Today, no such registration requirement exists with the exception of similar obligations for untied insurance intermediaries, who have to register with the public register kept by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).

Under the new regime, client advisers will be required to register in a register maintained by one or more registration bodies licensed by FINMA. To register, they must evidence sufficient knowledge of the rules of conduct under the FinSA and the necessary expertise to perform their duties, adequate financial means as well as affiliate themselves to an ombudsman’s office. Clients may check the register at any time to verify that their adviser has the required qualifications. The registration will, however, not imply any prudential or ongoing supervision by FINMA. If a client adviser no longer meets the registration requirements, the adviser will be deleted from the register by the competent registration body and may, consequently, no longer engage in activities as a client adviser.

By Martin Peyer (Reference: CapLaw-2018-61)

FinSA Business Conduct Rules and MiFID II

The following article deals with the differences between the rules of conduct under MiFID II and FinSA. In the first part, the initial situation is described. Subsequently, the individual differences are discussed in more detail. The main differences in regulation can be found in the areas of client segmentation, definition of the service types, appropriateness and suitability test and dealing with retrocessions.

By Peter Sester / Dario Sutter (Reference: CapLaw-2018-62)

Funds Distribution under FinSA/FinIA: A change of paradigm

The introduction of the concept of an “offer” according to Art. 3 let. g FinSA as a replacement of the current notion of a “distribution” pursuant to Art. 3 CISA will lead to a number of consequences for the Swiss financial industry as well as for foreign financial services providers acting on a cross-border basis into Switzerland. The new concept is more flexible as the current notion of a “distribution”, but also raises a number of delicate questions which need to be clarified. The object of this article is to provide a first analysis of the salient features and challenges of the current and future regimes and their practical consequences with a specific focus on the placement of collective investment schemes in Switzerland.

By Diana Imbach / François Rayroux (Reference: CapLaw-2018-64)

The Proposed New Swiss Prospectus Regime – An Interim Report

In December 2016, the Swiss Council of States as the first chamber of Swiss parliament discussed the proposed Financial Services Act. If enacted as currently drafted, the act will impose new requirements on financial services providers and introduce a new Swiss prospectus regime. Modeled largely after the EU prospectus framework, the new prospectus regime will be a veritable paradigm change to Swiss capital market regulation, introducing a number of novelties for issuers of securities in the Swiss market, such as the requirement for an ex ante approval for most financial instruments, coupled with some important long-awaited explicit exemptions from such requirement and the requirement for a prospectus for secondary public offerings. Compared to the draft proposed by the Swiss Federal Council, the Swiss Council of States made a few well-received amendments, but some important issues still remain that would warrant reconsideration.

By Christian Rehm / René Bösch (Reference: CapLaw-2017-01)