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New-look Swiss rules

The popularity of Switzerland as a source of investment funds will surely continue despite the recent change in regulatory requirements.

“A relatively simple solution is available to ensure a fund can obtain a Swiss passport.”

The introduction of the revised Collective Investment Schemes law (CISA) on 1st March this year has made it more difficult for many funds based in tax havens to tap demand in Switzerland. It has increased the volume and variety of checks that must be carried out on the fund and its custodian by their proposed distributor.

A FINMA license is required to act in Switzerland as a Representative, Paying Agent, Distributor or Asset Manager. A new definition/categorisation of Qualified Investors has been introduced. New requirements regarding co-operation agreements between Authorities are included. A new obligation regarding a client’s written consent (Protokollpflicht) when placing products has been introduced.

The good news is that a relatively simple solution is available to ensure a fund can obtain a Swiss passport: appoint a knowledgeable and experienced local representative to ensure compliance with the new law. Within this constraint, foreign promoters are now allowed to distribute their products to Qualified Investors in Switzerland (provided that they can conduct this activity in its country of origin and that they are adequately supervised).

The appointed Representative must represent the foreign fund to the Swiss Investors and FINMA (the Swiss regulator). The representative’s power cannot be restricted.

The Representative complies with Swiss publication and information requirements, and with conduct rules issued by professional organisations which have been determined as a minimum standard by FINMA. Co-operation with the fund promoter is therefore essential.

SGSS offers a range of services for the distribution of funds to public and private investors. These include local Representation and Paying Agency Services (providing information to investors, reporting and filing to FINMA, payment of fees to FINMA and distributor supervision). SGSS also offers fully insourced filing and direct communication with FINMA (not using a third-party lawyer eliminates at least one unnecessary link from the processing chain and thus the related expense).

These services have been fully updated in line with the revised Swiss law on Collective Investment Schemes, anticipating AIFMD requirements.

isabelle.salomone@sgss.socgen.com



Keyfacts

  • Swiss popularity as source of funds to continue
  • CISA complicates scene for tax haven funds
  • SGSS services fully updated to meet new law


Come meet us in Switzerland:
Talacker 50
Postfach 1928
CH-8021 Zürich
Tel: +41 58 272 3111

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