Swiss Financial Services Act – Requirement to Join an Ombudsman Office Prior to 24 December 2020

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New requirement for fund managers and other financial services providers: If you are a financial services provider under the Swiss Financial Services Act, even if you are only active on a cross-border basis, you must join an ombudsman office prior to 24 December 2020. This requirement also applies if you are marketing funds to Swiss investors on a cross-border basis.

On 24 June 2020, the Federal Finance Department (FFD) recognised four ombudsman offices and announced that several applications are still pending. Under the Swiss Financial Services Act, all financial services providers, including foreign financial services providers active on a cross-border basis, must join an ombudsman office within 6 months of the recognition of ombudsman offices by the FFD.

Their purpose is to allow mediation for disputes between you and your clients. You will also need to inform your clients about the possibility to submit disputes to a mediation procedure and the name of your ombudsman office.

You are considered a financial services provider and hence required to join an ombudsman office if you carry out any of the following activities:

  1. the sale and purchase of financial instruments, including the marketing of funds and other financial instruments;
  2. the reception and transmission of clients’ orders on financial instruments;
  3. the management of financial instruments (asset and wealth management);
  4. the provision of personal recommendations regarding financial instruments (advisory activities); or
  5. the provision of loans to transact in financial instruments if the relevant financial services provider participates in the transactions or is aware that the loan will serve to transact in financial instruments.

Contact us for further details on the ombudsman offices and the other requirements of the Swiss Financial Services Act.

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