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)

Something Old, Something New: The Supervision of Financial Institutions under the Federal Act on Financial Institutions – FinIA Update

On 15 June 2018, the Federal Act on Financial Institutions was passed into law. The FinIA revises the regulatory architecture for financial institutions. Instead of the current sectorial approach, the FinIA proposes to introduce a regulatory pyramid with a light regulatory framework for asset manager and trustees, and an increasingly more stringent regime for managers of collective assets, securities firms – the new denomination for securities dealers – and, at the top, banks, although they will be continue to be governed by the Federal Act on Banks and Saving Banks of 8 November 1934 (Banking Act, SR 952.0) and remain out of scope of the FinIA. Furthermore, the FinIA introduces several new regulatory regimes: first of all, it subjects portfolio managers and trustees to prudential supervision. Second, it extends the current regime applicable to asset managers of collective investment schemes to asset managers of pension funds. Third, it recasts the existing regime applicable to securities dealers under the Federal Act on Stock Exchanges and Securities Dealing of 24 March 1995 (SESTA, SR 954.0) into a slightly modified new regime for securities firms. Fourth, it amends the Banking Act to introduce a new regulatory status for persons who hold public deposits of a total amount of less than CHF 100 million without engaging in commercial banking by lending the funds on (article 1b Banking Act). Finally, it also amends other regulations, including the Federal Act on Consumer Credits of 23 March 2001 (SR 221.214.1).

By Rashid Bahar (Reference: CapLaw-2018-64)

Supervision of Portfolio Managers and Trustees

Under current Swiss law, portfolio managers and trustees are not subject to a comprehensive prudential supervision, a situation that will change under the recently passed new Financial Institutions Act (FinIA). After the Swiss parliament passed the new legislation in June 2018, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance released its draft implementing ordinance (Draft-FinIO) for consultation. Under the new legislation, portfolio managers and trustees will have to apply for a license from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and they will be subject to ongoing prudential supervision by new supervisory organizations. The FinIO specifies the license requirements for portfolio managers and trustees, taking into account the nature of these businesses and providing a certain amount of flexibility with respect to the requirements to be fulfilled by smaller businesses. While the new rules will come as a challenge for many of the existing portfolio managers and trustees, the FinIA and the FinIO also provide for transitional periods allowing these existing portfolio managers and trustees to transition gradually into the new regulatory regime.

By Patrick Schleiffer / Patrick Schärli (Reference: CapLaw-2018-65)

ARYZTA completed a rights offering in the amount of approximately CHF 900 million

On 19 November 2018, ARYZTA, a global food business with a leadership position in speciality bakery, completed a capital increase by way of a rights offering structured as a volume underwriting in the amount of approximately CHF 900 million.

Amun issues cryptocurrency-linked Exchange Traded Products

On 13 November 2018, Amun AG, a Zug-based special purpose issuance vehicle of the fintech group Amun, successfully registered its issuance program for the issuance of Exchange Traded Products (ETP) on the SIX Swiss Exchange.