The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has made an announcement on their platform allowing innovative financial companies to apply for its new FinTech licence.
The new licence extends beyond Switzerland traditional finance sector and into its emerging blockchain space, currently concentrated within the crypto valley of Zug.
The move resulted from an initial meeting held in February last year by the Federal Council where three measures were presented for consideration. Two of these were the extension of the holding period for settlement accounts and an authorisation-exempt innovation area. These measures were aimed towards promoting innovation in the financial sector and removing potential barriers to market entry for the Swiss Fintech firms.
The Federal Council recently held a meeting that instituted an amendment to the country’s Banking Act, -this meant that a new authorisation category with more simplified requirements will commence come next year. The council stated that;
‘’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.’’
FINMA has published guidelines in three different languages, German, English and French, in preparation for its 2019 launch. This is so as to facilitate easy presentation of applications for the convenience of all applicants. Requests can therefore be handled efficiently.
The fact that Switzerland is willing to embrace and recognize the great benefits surrounding the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, places them in a very advantageous positioning as the ecosystem continues to develop and expand. Just as they put it;
‘’A dynamic Fintech system can contribute significantly to the quality of Switzerland’s financial centre and boost its competitiveness.’’
What is FINMA?
FINMA is the Swiss government body that is responsible for financial regulation. This includes the supervision of banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges and security dealers, as well as other financial intermediaries in Switzerland.
It is an independent institution with its own legal personality. –It is institutionally, functionally and financially independent from the central federal administration and the Federal Department of Finance and reports directly to the Swiss parliament.