Swiss collective investment schemes

The collective investment contract of a Swiss collective investment scheme subject to approval and any changes to an already approved fund contract require prior approval from FINMA. 

The contractual fund is based on a collective investment contract (fund contract) which describes the rights and obligations of the investors, fund management company and custodian bank.

Limited qualified investor fund (L-QIF)

By contrast, the L-QIF is an autonomously managed fund category under collective investment schemes legislation that differs from collective investment schemes subject to approval in that the L-QIF is exempted by law from the requirement for authorisation and approval by FINMA. However, the L-QIF must be managed by specific FINMA licence holders. Moreover, L-QIFs may only be offered to qualified investors and are not supervised by FINMA. FINMA is accordingly not responsible for questions of interpretation. The institutions responsible for managing L-QIFs bear sole responsibility for ensuring that they comply in full with the provisions for the formation and management of L-QIFs (in particular Art. 118a-118p CISA and Art. 126a-126zocties CISO). The Federal Department of Finance (FDF) keeps a public register of all L-QIFs.

Approval requirements

With the exception of L-QIFs, FINMA must approve the fund contract of a Swiss collective investment scheme (Art. 15 CISA).

In the case of an investment fund with sub-funds (an umbrella fund), each sub-fund requires separate approval. FINMA's approval must also be obtained before any new sub-funds are created within an existing investment fund.

There are many different types of collective investment schemes. No attempt will therefore be made to specify the most important general approval requirements. Sub-funds cannot be formed nor can units in funds be opened for subscription until approval has been obtained from FINMA.

Changes to the fund contract

The fund management company must submit proposed changes to the fund contract of collective investment schemes subject to approval with the consent of the custodian bank to FINMA for approval (Art. 27 CISA). It must also publish a summary of the material changes in advance in the fund’s official publication and inform interested parties where they can obtain the amended wording of the contract free of charge. 

Investors must be informed that they can contact FINMA within 30 days of publication to raise any objections they may have or redeem their units in cash, subject to the terms of the contract or regulations.

Information and templates

Application templates for Swiss collective investment schemes subject to approval are available on the EHP survey and application platform. The following unfolded application template serves as a guide and cannot be used as an application.

The following documents are available for Swiss collective investment schemes subject to approval: