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Consultation on new Fintech regulations initiated by Swiss Federal Council

Legal Counsel
February 6, 2017 | Legal Alert

Consultation on new Fintech regulations initiated by Swiss Federal Council

On 1 February 2017, the Federal Council of Switzerland initiated a consultation (to last until 8 May 2017) on amendments to the Banking Act and Banking Ordinance in the fintech area. Their purpose is to reduce barriers to market entry for fintech firms and to enhance competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre.

The planned amendments to the Banking Act (BankA) and Banking Ordinance (BankO) are supposed to regulate fintech and other firms providing services outside normal banking business according to their risk potential. The contemplated form of deregulation includes three supplementary elements:

1. The exception provided for in the Banking Ordinance for the acceptance of funds for settlement purposes (Art. 5 para. 3 lit. c of the BankO) should apply explicitly to settlements within 60 days (instead of only to settlements within 7 days as the case is now). However, it is still important for securities dealers that the planned main transaction is well-organised and directly foreseeable. This change requires an amendment to the BankO.

2. The acceptance of public funds up to CHF 1 million should not be classified as operating on a commercial basis and should require no authorisation. This change should allow firms to try out a business model before they are required to obtain authorisation for amounts of public funds exceeding CHF 1 million. Thus, the BankO should be amended appropriately.

3. There is a need for simplified authorisation and operating requirements relative to the current banking licence in accounting, auditing and deposit protection for companies that accept public funds of up to a maximum of CHF 100 million but do not operate in the lending business. This necessitates an amendment to the BankA. Less strict requirements for minimum capital, equity and liquidity would have to be regulated within the scope of regulations to be adopted later.
A dynamic fintech system is sure to boost the quality and competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre. Against this backdrop, the regulatory framework for providers of innovative financial technologies will be eased to reduce barriers to market entry for fintech providers and increase overall legal certainty for the sector. The Federal Council welcomes the rapidly progressing digitisation in the financial sector and is committed to follow fintech developments closely and to propose the necessary regulatory adjustments as soon as required.


Legal disclaimer. This article does not constitute legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. The article should be used for informational purposes only.
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