Category Archives: Securities

Expiration of Swiss Stock Exchange Equivalence and Activated Protective Measure

On 30 June 2019, the European Commission did not extend the so-called equivalence recognition of the Swiss legal framework applicable to stock exchanges. As a reaction, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance activated countermeasures designed to protect Swiss financial market infrastructures, in particular Swiss stock exchanges. This article provides an overview of the events surrounding the equivalence of the legal and supervisory framework applicable to stock exchanges and further discusses key legal considerations relevant to financial market participants.

By Ramona von Riedmatten (Reference: CapLaw-2019-26)

The Rise of Swiss Domestic Covered Bond Programmes

In the recent past, Swiss domestically oriented covered bond structures have become increasingly popular. Under recent successfully established domestic, purely Swiss law governed covered bond structures, Swiss issuers have been able to replicate traditional English law elements of covered bonds under Swiss law, enabling the covered bonds to be assigned a triple-A rating. This article discusses the key features.

By Stefan Kramer / David Borer (Reference: CapLaw-2019-27)

Discontinuation of LIBOR and Swiss Law-Governed Legacy Bonds – Time to Take a Closer Look

LIBOR was – and still is – the dominant reference rate for CHF-denominated floating rate and other variable interest rate bonds. There is still a significant number of outstanding “legacy bonds” with such variable interest rates that have maturities beyond the end of 2021, the announced time for the discontinuation of LIBOR. This article discusses considerations for issuers and bondholder representatives in dealing with such “legacy bonds”.

By René Bösch / Eduard De Zordi / Benjamin Leisinger / Lee Saladino (Reference: CapLaw-2019-28)

Can publicly available data become insider information?

Investors of the twenty-first century can harness the power of publicly available data to form a view on a specific company or – more generally – on a particular investment topic. Satellite imagery, marine and air traffic trackers, keyword or search engine trends can provide critical insights on how a company is performing, sometimes unbeknownst to the company itself and most other interested investors. This contribution explores whether there are circumstances in which data extracted from public sources is or can become insider information under Swiss law.

By Ariel Ben Hattar (Reference: CapLaw-2019-13)

Popular Initiative on Responsible Enterprises: Switzerland’s Long Arm on Subject Enterprises

Although its fate and timing are very unclear, the popular initiative “for responsible enterprises – for the protection of human rights and environment” (initiative on responsible enterprises; Konzernverantwortungsinitiative; Initiative Multinationales Responsables; “Initiative”) is not only hotly debated among the many Swiss based international companies that would be affected by it, but also among lawmakers in Berne. In short, the Initiative, which is expected to be voted upon by the Swiss people, proposes that enterprises shall be held liable before a Swiss court if one of its controlled enterprises violates human rights or environmental standards abroad. These enterprises will have additional duties and will have to monitor and report on the compliance with these duties.

The Initiative raises a bundle of legal questions of which we focused on one: Its scope of applicability. As we will see, a far reaching concept is proposed to ensure that a large number of enterprises is subject to the Initiative.

By Thomas U. Reutter / Annette Weber (Reference: CapLaw-2019-14)

Asset Backed Securities Under the Financial Services Act

The Financial Services Act of 15 June 2018 (FinSA) and the consultation draft Financial Services Ordinance (draft FinSO) dated 24 October 2018 include significant new rules for the distribution of financial instruments and the regulation of financial services in Switzerland. This article discusses the potential impact of the new rules on Asset-Backed Securities (ABS) in relation to the timing of prospectus review and approval, the obligation to prepare a Key Investor Document (KID) and the regulation of services typically provided by investment banks in connection with ABS transactions. The article is based on the version of draft FinSO published for public consultation.

By Daniel Adler / Daniel Bono (Reference: CapLaw-2019-01)

The Rise of Green, Social and Sustainability Bonds – The Swiss Perspective

The global market for green, social and sustainable investment is growing at an increasing rate. This is the result of considerable growth of both the demand for, and the supply of, capital for green, social and sustainable projects. Despite Switzerland having a highly developed and efficient capital market and being one of the world’s largest cross-border wealth management centres, the Swiss market for green, social and sustainability bonds is only just beginning to gain momentum. In view of this, the author expects this sector to significantly grow in the coming years.

By Andreas Josuran (Reference: CapLaw-2019-02)

SIX Published Criteria for Crypto Assets as Eligible Underlyings

On 10 September 2018, the SIX Exchange Regulation Ltd. published its revised Circular No. 3 that includes rules on the eligibility of certain crypto assets (crypto currencies) as underlyings of derivatives listed at SIX.

By Benjamin Leisinger (Reference: CapLaw-2018-42)

Insider Trading and Market Manipulation in Tokens

Trading in tokens is currently in the spotlight of the public’s and the regulator’s attention. Based on distributed ledgers-technology, blockchain technology is used to issue tokens as tradable digital units and to record ownership and transactions of the issued tokens. At present, there are no specific laws and little regulation applying to trading in tokens in Switzerland. With a view to improve market confidence as well as to ensure proper functioning and transparency of token trading, a variety of legal issues have yet to be resolved. In particular, the question of insider trading and market manipulation needs to be clarified.

By Thomas U. Reutter / Daniel Raun (Reference: CapLaw-2018-43)

New Reporting Obligations for Securities Dealers and Participants of Swiss Trading Venues

On 1 January 2018, FINMA’s new circular 2018/2 on the reporting of securities transactions (“FINMA Circular 18/2”) entered into effect. The purpose of FINMA Circular 18/2 is to implement the reporting obligations set out in the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act (“FMIA”) and to further regulate technical aspects of the reporting obligations. Compared to the previously existing reporting obligations, the FMIA and FINMA Circular 18/2 will bring about a number of significant changes, including the reporting of certain derivatives transactions and reporting of beneficial owners.

By Patrick Schleiffer / Patrick Schärli (Reference: CapLaw-2018-14)