The Swiss Federal Council plans to remove entry barriers for innovative financial services provider (fintechs) by creating a room in which fintechs can test new business models without being subject to FINMA supervision and by introduction a new fintech license. According to a media release, the Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of Finance to prepare draft legislation until early 2017.
Under the regulatory framework currently in place in Switzerland the same regulations apply to digital currencies and payment systems, crowdfunding and -lending and digital asset management services as for any other financial services. Depending on its business model, a fintech may therefore be subject to the licensing requirements for banks, securities dealers, collective investment schemes, or insurance undertakings. If the business model includes the acceptance or the transfer or investment of foreign assets, AML regulations also apply. In particular prudential regulations have often proved to be insurmountable.
The Federal Departement of Finance was commissioned to prepare a draft act until early 2017. Both the sandbox and the fintech license will require federal acts to be amended and approved by the Federal Parliament whereas the expansion of the Banking Act carve outs can be implemented by amending the Banking Ordinance which is a competence of the Federal Council. Moreover, the FDF was commissioned to review further market entry barriers, including barriers resulting from non prudential regulation. By way of example, the Federal Council mentions the legal treatment of virtual currencies and assets.