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International cooperation

At the bilateral level, FINMA maintains regular contact with the banking and stock exchange supervisory bodies of foreign financial centres. This may involve one or more authorities, depending on the country in question. The depth and frequency of these contacts are governed by the level of activity of Swiss financial intermediaries in the countries in question and vice versa. In some instances the framework and terms of cooperation need to be formalised through written agreements in order to handle the constantly increasing requirements regarding the flow of information between the relevant authorities.

In the banking and insurance sectors, the main focus of cooperation between authorities is the consolidated supervision of internationally active financial groups. As the supervisory authority of a company's country of origin, FINMA becomes involved if Swiss institutions operating in other jurisdictions are affected. This applies in particular, but not exclusively, to Switzerland's two major banks). However, FINMA is also responsible for the branches and subsidiaries of foreign financial and insurance institutions operating in Switzerland.

The main purpose of cooperation between supervisory authorities in the supervision of stock exchanges and financial markets is to exchange information regarding potential offences (insider trading, market manipulation, breaches of reporting requirements, illegal solicitation of investors, etc.) committed from within Switzerland on a foreign stock exchange or vice versa. The exchange of information in connection with such activities leads to numerous complaints from affected customers and consequently to court judgements.