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Insolvency proceedings

FINMA is responsible for both opening and conducting restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings in relation to individuals and legal entities carrying on business as a bank or as a securities dealer for which a licence is required. Where FINMA is responsible for opening bankruptcy or restructuring proceedings, it does not merely perform the function of judge and supervisory authority in relation to the appointed liquidators, committees of creditors and restructuring agents, but also discharges the duties of an insolvency administrator in various areas. Depositors of banks and securities dealers benefit from special protective provisions (cf. also: Depositor protection at banks and securities dealers).

As is the case with bankruptcy proceedings falling within FINMA's remit, the proceedings required for the restructuring of banks and securities dealers are distinct and separate and geared to the specific needs of the financial sector. The purpose of restructuring is to enable ailing financial institutions to continue carrying on the business for which their licence is required or to ensure that specific services can still be provided. However, restructuring proceedings are not available if a licence has already been revoked or it is not possible to grant a retrospective licence to entities engaging in unauthorised activity.

As regards insurance companies and collective investment schemes (fund management companies, SICAVs, SICAFs, limited partnerships for collective investment and asset managers of collective investment schemes), FINMA is responsible for opening and conducting bankruptcy proceedings if it is not possible to restructure the company. Bankruptcy proceedings are essentially conducted on the basis of the principles set out in bank bankruptcy legislation. There are special protective provisions for policyholders and investors of collective investment schemes (cf. also: Tied assets at insurance companies and Protecting investors in collective investment schemes).