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Distributors of collective investment schemes

The Markets Division is responsible for licensing distributors of collective investment schemes. The licence authorises distributors to offer and distribute Swiss and foreign collective investment schemes licensed for distribution in Switzerland. Distribution licences for collective investment schemes are issued by the Markets Division.

Under the Collective Investment Schemes Act (CISA) individuals and legal entities require a distributor licence, if they publicly offer or distribute collective investment schemes either in or from Switzerland. Publicly means any form of advertising aimed at the general public. Advertising aimed exclusively at qualified investors is not deemed to be public advertising (in German). The licensing requirement does not apply to fund management companies, banks, securities dealers, insurance companies, asset managers under CISA and representatives of foreign collective investment schemes which are already subject to supervision. Agents of insurance companies who are involved in the organisational structure of that insurance company on a contractual, legal and de facto basis are also exempt from the licensing requirement for distributors.

Distributors must identify themselves via a written distribution agreement prepared in line with Swiss Funds Association (SFA) guidelines, give assurance of proper business conduct and provide financial sureties in the form of professional indemnity insurance or bank guarantees. The individual licensing conditions are summarised in the corresponding guidelines for distributors (in German). Licensed distributors are not subject to ongoing state regulation. However, changes in the licensing conditions must be reported to the supervisory authority in advance. Compliance with the provisions for distributors are carried out by audit firms recognised under the Audit Supervision Act.