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Obtain a FINMA License

Obtain a FINMA License

Switzerland is one of the most reputable financial centers in the world. Part of that is due to the fact that the financial sector is very well regulated and both companies and individuals seeking to offer services related to it must obtain authorization from the Financial Market Supervisory Authority in Switzerland, shortly known as FINMA.

The FINMA license is sought not only by financial companies, but also by those operating in newer sectors that have emerged from the traditional ones, namely fintech and cryptocurrency.

If you are interested in applying for a FINMA fintech or crypto license, this article is for you. Our company formation specialists in Switzerland can help you apply for one.

Who requires FINMA authorization in Switzerland?

There are 5 types of authorizations issued by FINMA to both Swiss and foreign nationals, respectively Swiss and foreign companies engaging in various financial activities.

Here are the types of FINMA authorizations available in Switzerland:

  • – licensing;
  • – authorization;
  • – registration;
  • – recognition;
  • – approval.

Among the persons and businesses that require a FINMA license are:

  • – banks;
  • – financial companies, among which fund management companies and securities companies;
  • – insurance companies;
  • – collective investment funds;
  • – financial-market infrastructures;
  • – portfolio managers;
  • – trustees.

In recent years, fintech and cryptocurrency companies have also been added to the list. These can obtain licenses for their specific activities.

If you want to open a company in Switzerland and want to apply for a FINMA crypto license, you can rely on our local advisors.

New regulations for obtaining a FINMA license in Switzerland

At the beginning of 2020, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority has issued new rules for those interested in obtaining licenses to provide specific financial services. These rules target the following service providers:

  1. portfolio managers which is the new denomination for asset managers;
  2. trustees and manager of collective assets;
  3. fund management companies and securities companies.

According to the new legislation, portfolio managers and trustees must now operate under a legal basis, provided that one of the following requirements are met:

  • – one’s annual gross income is above 50,000 CHF;
  • – one has at least 20 clients during one year for whom he or she does not provide the same service;
  • – fully administers assets worth at least 5 million CHF at a specific time during the year.

Our Swiss company formation consultants can help you set up a financial company and apply for the necessary type of FINMA license required for your activity.

How to apply for a license from FINMA

Foreign citizens and companies interested in setting up financial companies must obtain a FINMA license, however, if they are already operational in other jurisdictions, authorizations or recognition of their licenses obtained elsewhere is required.

The requirements for obtaining various types of FINMA licenses depend on the activity of the party seeking to obtain them. For instance, banks and insurance companies are subject to strict capital requirements and documents that need to be filed, while for portfolio managers and trustees, the requisites focus more on the possibility of ensuring the protection of the assets held in custody.

The list of documents that need to be filed with FINMA in order to obtain a license is also quite extensive and can be detailed by our local consultants.

Obtaining a FINMA fintech license in Switzerland

Fintech is one of the most prolific sectors at the moment and in Switzerland it is highly regulated.

Currently, a FINMA crypto license can cover the following activities:

  • – the fintech license;
  • – the exchange license;
  • – the investment fund license;
  • – the banking license.

Crypto Valley in Zug is the best known fintech hub in Switzerland.

In order to obtain a FINMA fintech license, a minimum share capital of 100,000 CHF is required for the company applying for it. Another requirement applicable to fintech companies is that they can accept public deposits with a maximum value of 100 million CHF.

FINMA crypto license can be obtained in approximately 4 months.

Financial companies in Switzerland

The Swiss financial market is currently made of:

  • – 140 financial market infrastructures;
  • –  520 banks and 200 insurance companies;
  • –  400 fund management companies, custodian banks, and collective assets managers;
  • –  9,900 collective investment funds.

If you want to set up a business in this sector and want to apply for a FINMA licenseour company registration officers in Switzerland can help you. Do not hesitate to contact us for guidance and assistance in opening such a company.