Category Archives: Regulatory

Corporate Tax Reform – Capital Contribution Principle for Swiss-listed Companies

On 28 September 2018 the Swiss Parliament approved the final draft bill regarding the corporate tax reform which includes major changes for Swiss-listed companies in relation to the distribution of dividends paid by repayment of capital contribution reserves. It is proposed that Swiss-listed companies may only pay withholding tax-free capital contribution reserves if in the same amount a dividend will be paid from taxable distributable reserves (so-called 50/50 rule).

By Elga Reana Tozzi (Reference: CapLaw-2019-03)

Replacement of LIBOR – An Approach for the Swiss retail lending market

The discontinuation of LIBOR, announced for the end of 2021, is foreseeable. At the same time, for lack of suitable alternatives, LIBOR is still the dominant reference rate in the Swiss retail lending market for floating rate borrowings. As a result, Swiss banks active in the mortgage lending market already now face the challenge to provide for a transition to a successor rate when entering into new contracts. And the same challenge exists generally, both in the retail and the institutional market.

By René Bösch / Benedikt Maurenbrecher (Reference: CapLaw-2019-04)

The Proposed Strengthening of Group Action in Swiss Civil Procedure

In Switzerland, plaintiffs are forced to litigate their claims in court individually, even if they are part of a group that is affected by the same underlying damaging event. In the context of the ongoing partial revision of the Civil Procedure Code the Swiss Federal Council is seeking to facilitate actions for damages for large groups. To this end it is proposing amendments to the existing mechanism of a group action through an organization and the introduction of a novel group settlement method.

By Thomas Werlen / Remo Decurtins (Reference: CapLaw-2018-44)

Revised FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance

On 18 July 2018, FINMA published its revised Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (the AMLO-FINMA). The revised AMLO-FINMA is noteworthy not so much for what it contains, but rather for what it does not contain.

By Katrin Ivell (Reference: CapLaw-2018-45)

EU PRIIPs Regulation and MiFID II – Impact on Debt Capital Markets Offerings

In January 2018, two next sets of European rules affecting debt capital markets offerings into the European Economic Area (EEA) have come into effect: the PRIIPs Regulation (EU 1286/2014) on key information documents for packaged retail and insurance-based investment products (PRIIPs) and MiFID II (Directive 2014/65/EU on markets in financial instruments). The PRIIPs Regulation requires that a key information document be prepared and published for all offerings to retail investors that are in scope of the regulation. Its applicability to different types of bonds has been subject to much debate. This article presents an overview of the new regulation and consequences for debt capital markets transactions that include offers to European retail investors. In addition, the article discusses the implications of the new MiFID II rules, which have imposed new product governance obligations on MiFID firms when they manufacture and/or distribute financial instruments. Both sets of rules have resulted in new selling restrictions and contractual provisions being introduced in bond documentation.

By Dorothee Fischer-Appelt (Reference: CapLaw-2018-46)

Overview of SIX’s Directive on the Use of Alternative Performance Measures

For many companies listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange Ltd (SIX), the use of alternative performance measures (APMs) has become a regular tool for communicating the business and financial performance of a company to investors. In light of the widespread use of APMs, their diverse application and the increasing risk of investors being misled, SIX Swiss Exchange Regulation Ltd has issued a new Directive on the Use of Alternative Performance Measures (the Directive). This article provides a brief introduction to the Directive and its application to issuers listed on SIX.

By Deirdre Ní Annracháin (Reference: CapLaw-2018-47)

Practice of the Swiss Financial Market Authorities for Financing Banks

While the entry into force of the Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA) on 1 January 2016 has brought a number of substantial changes to the Swiss disclosure rules, in particular with regard to the reporting of discretionary voting power related to equity securities, the takeover provisions contained therein have largely remained unchanged. This article examines the exemptions from (1) the disclosure duties related to significant shareholdings and (2) the duty to make an offer granted by the financial market authorities to the banks that provide financing facilities.

By Julia Tolstova / Olivia Biehal / Aurèle Bertrand (Reference: CapLaw-2018-29)

Legal Issues in relation to the Transfer of Tokens

The reliable and easy transfer of assets on a blockchain is a key prerequisite for the economic exploitation and development of new technologies. Asset transfers currently occur through the use and transfer of tokens. If tokens contain a claim against the issuer (e.g. the right to use certain services), then claims under applicable Swiss law must be transferred by way of assignment in accordance with article 164 et seq. CO, provided the tokens are not securitized or issued as book-entry securities.

This is the English translation of the article published by the authors in the IT Jusletter on 24 May 2018 which has been derived from the Position Paper on the legal classification of ICOs published by the Blockchain Taskforce of the Swiss Federal Council in April 2018.

By Rolf H. Weber / Salvatore Iacangelo (Reference: CapLaw-2018-30)

An Update on International Arbitration and Financial Institutions

Unlike other sectors, the financial sector has been reluctant to embrace international arbitration for resolving finance disputes. The ICC Commission on Arbitration and ADR created the Task Force on Financial Institutions to study the concerns of financial institutions. The study’s findings were published in a report in December 2016. This article builds on the findings of said report and provides an update on the status of international arbitration in the financial sector.

By Thomas Werlen / Jascha Trubowitz (Reference: CapLaw-2018-31)

Outsourcing: FINMA Publishes a New Circular 2018/3 on Outsourcing for Banks and Insurance Companies

On 5 December 2017, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA published its new circular 2018/3 Outsourcing – Banks and Insurance Companies. In contrast to the current rules, the new circular not only covers banks and securities dealers but is also applicable to insurance companies. The main changes are a more flexible definition what constitutes outsourcing based on a case-by-case analysis factoring in the business model and risk profile of each institution, a more differentiated approach to intra-group outsourcing, and a focus on supervisory issues, leaving data protection and banking secrecy out of the scope of the FINMA circular. The new rules entered into force on 1 April 2018.

By Rashid Bahar / Martin Peyer (Reference: CapLaw-2018-16)