Switzerland’s Chief Financial watchdog has released guidelines for its new “FinTech” licence which companies will be able to apply for from 2019.
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is responsible for granting the new FinTech licence. In a press release issued on December 3, FINMA said that the guidelines are aimed at simplifying the application process for interested parties.
In a move aimed at boosting innovative financial companies, the Swiss parliament introduced the new FinTech licence, under Article 1b of the Banking Act, with relaxed requirements. The Federal Council has set out the terms of the licence in the Banking Ordinance.
The FinTech licence allows institutions to accept public deposits of up to CHF 100 million, provided that these are not invested and no interest is paid on them. A further requirement is that an institution with a FinTech licence must have its registered office and conduct its business activities in Switzerland.
“From 1 January 2019, companies that operate beyond the core activities characteristic of banks will be able to accept public funds of up to a maximum of CHF 100 million on a professional basis subject to simplified requirements. During its meeting on 30 November 2018, the Federal Council brought into force a corresponding amendment to the Banking Act to promote innovation (fintech). Moreover, crowdlending should be possible also for private consumption within the authorisation-exempt area of the sandbox,” read a statement on the Federal Council website.
FINMA will oversee the process of granting the new FinTech licences and subsequently supervise the institutions which receive them. Applicants for the license will be required to provide a range of information and documentation regarding their fintech project, including a business description, business financial plan, assets storage method, risk management, anti-money laundering (AML) policies and more.
“With the new measure, companies with special authorisation can accept public funds of up to CHF 100 million from 1 January 2019, provided they neither invest nor pay interest on these funds. The simplified requirements will be fleshed out, likewise as at 1 January 2019, by amendments to the Banking Ordinance (BankO), the Auditor Oversight Ordinance and the FINMA Fees and Charges Ordinance,” it continued.
Interested parties have been invited, if they so choose, to present their project to FINMA in a meeting prior to submitting their applications.
FINMA has previously released guidelines for regulating Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs), in line with its stated goal of fostering the development of the country’s crypto and blockchain industry.