A foreign securities firm needs to be authorised by FINMA if it employs staff in Switzerland who, on a professional basis, permanently trade securities or manage client accounts for the foreign securities firm in or from Switzerland that give rise to legal obligations. Branches of foreign securities firms are subject to prudential supervision by FINMA.
Any company organised under foreign law that either holds a securities firm licence abroad, uses the term "securities firm" or a term with a similar meaning in its name, the description of its purpose or its business documentation or operates securities trading as defined in Article 41 of the Financial Institutions Act is considered as a foreign securities firm.
For a foreign securities firm to obtain a licence to open a branch, there must be no doubt that all of the licensing requirements are met or can be met. The most important are:
The licensing process for a branch of a foreign securities firm takes place in constant dialogue with the applicants. The duration depends on the quality and complexity of the application and the time it takes to receive a response from the competent foreign supervisory authorities.
The Authorisation section of the Banks division (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Application templates are available on the FINMA survey and application platform (EHP) for branches’ initial applications, as are the following documents.
Applicants must self-register via the FINMA homepage to gain access to the EHP. Once the self-registration has been verified by FINMA, the EHP can be accessed via the FINMA portal using two-factor authentication.
In addition, a fully expanded application template is available below as a guide. This document merely serves as an overview and cannot be used as an application.