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FinSA/FinIA: a milestone for the exportability of Swiss financial services

To strengthen and maintain the competitiveness of Switzerland’s financial sector, and thus by extension its role as a business location, Swiss financial services providers must be well placed at home, participate in growth worldwide, and make the most of the powerful financial infrastructure available to them.
The new legislative package comprising the Financial Services Act (FFSA) and Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) will make a significant contribution to ensuring the exportability of the Swiss financial sector’s products and services. The two acts increase legal certainty by bringing together the existing provisions and establishing a level playing field for competing providers of comparable investment products and financial services. In addition, they bring investor protection up to date and thus present an opportunity for the Swiss financial sector to secure its future.

FinSA and FinIA represent a fundamental upheaval of the existing financial market architecture. Under the future horizontal legislation, the primarily sector-based rules of the current Collective Investment Schemes Act (CISA) will be split between the FinSA and FinIA.
Specifically, the FinSA will introduce unified rules for providing financial services and offering financial instruments that apply across all sectors. Behavior at the point of sale, for instance, will in future be regulated by the FinSA for all financial instruments. The new rules will apply regardless of whether the provider of financial services in a particular case is a bank, an independent asset manager or another financial intermediary.
The fund industry has been accustomed to a high density of regulation for years, so the fact that this density will generally be the same for all providers under the FinSA and FinIA is to be welcomed. At the same time, however, this means that the fund industry will have to abandon established concepts such as the term “distribution”. The new rules will also have an impact on the existing conduct requirements, which will in turn affect the self-regulation regime.