Swiss FINMA publishes guidelines for applying for new fintech licences

Maria Nikolova

Applicants will have to submit information about the reasons for applying for the license and to prove that they comply with the relevant capital requirements.

As FinanceFeeds reported last week, the Swiss Federal Council has adopted the implementation of provisions for fintech authorisation. From the start of 2019, firms can apply for new fintech licenses. Given that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is responsible for granting these licences, it has published guidelines aimed at simplifying the application process.

The licence applications must include certain general information about the applicants, such as the reasons for applying for such a licence, as well a description of the proposed activity and organisation, including the proposed business activity, geographical scope and target clientele. Information about the business premises, infrastructure and personnel also has to be included in the application.

The applicants also have to make sure that they meet a range of financial requirements. This means that they have to provide appropriate evidence of compliance with the minimum capital requirements.

In addition, the applicants have to inform the regulator about any changes relating to key documents (particularly the articles of association and organisational regulations), as well as changes relating to holders of qualified participations, and changes concerning the persons entrusted with the administration and management of the business.

FINMA will also supervise the institutions that receive the new fintech licenses.

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.

Let’s also note that, under the Banking Ordinance, the Swiss sandbox will additionally be extended to include crowdlending business models, whereby public funds up to a total amount of CHF 1 million can one day be brokered not only for commercial and industrial purposes but also for private consumption. This extension has become possible because crowdlending will be subject to the Consumer Credit Act in the future.

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