Financial groups and conglomerates

Financial groups and financial conglomerates do not require authorisation as such, but FINMA can make them subject to supervision.
A financial group is a group of companies that form a single economic unit or are bound by mutual support obligations, active mainly in the financial sector and including at least one bank or securities firm. Groups that include at least one insurance company are referred to as financial conglomerates.

Requirements for consolidated supervision

FINMA can make financial groups and financial conglomerates subject to consolidated supervision over and above the supervision of single entities. In justified cases, notably when a group company has no material significance for consolidated supervision, FINMA can exempt that group company from consolidated supervision or declare it only partially applicable. However, it can also include companies that are active in the financial sector but controlled jointly with third parties in consolidated supervision.

Scope of consolidated supervision

FINMA determines the scope of consolidated supervision on a case-by-case basis. In particular, it verifies that a financial group:

  • is appropriately organised;
  • has an appropriate internal control system;
  • that appropriately identifies, limits and monitors the risks associated with its business activities;
  • is managed by staff who assure proper business conduct;
  • separates the functions of executive management and of overall direction, oversight and control;
  • complies with capital adequacy and risk diversification rules;
  • has sufficient liquidity;
  • applies accounting principles correctly;
  • and has appointed a recognised, independent and professional audit firm.