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Types of proceedings

FINMA distinguishes between the following types of administrative proceedings for the purposes of financial market enforcement:

  • Supervision of institutions: administrative proceedings against authorised institutions and companies (e.g. banks, securities dealers, fund management companies, distributors, insurance companies and self-regulatory organisations under the Anti-Money Laundering Act as well as accredited audit firms).
  • Being subject to FINMA supervision: proceedings against companies and individuals conducting business activities for which a FINMA licence, authorisation, registration or approval is required.
  • Insolvencies: bankruptcy proceedings including proceedings for the purpose of restructuring ailing institutions under the Swiss Banking Act and Swiss Stock Exchange Act.
  • Market supervision: investigative proceedings to establish whether market participants are in breach of FINMA market conduct rules.
  • Disclosure matters: investigative proceedings to establish whether investors are in breach of stock exchange disclosure and reporting requirements.
  • Product supervision: proceedings related to approved fund products.
  • Watch list and letter regarding assurance of proper business conduct: any action that may be required by FINMA in relation to legal disputes ranging from entries in the watch list to letters regarding assurance of proper business conduct.

FINMA's enforcement actions are primarily taken against companies under supervision or conducting business activities without the necessary licence or authorisation. However, where a serious breach of supervisory law is suspected, FINMA may in addition, or exclusively, initiate administrative proceedings against individuals, for example governing bodies, proprietors or employees of supervised institutions. Furthermore, FINMA may commence administrative proceedings against unsupervised individual investors in public companies if there is reason to suspect that they have failed to comply with their disclosure obligations under stock exchange law.