Asset managers of collective investment schemes

Asset managers of collective investment schemes based in Switzerland must be authorised by FINMA, but there are some exceptions to this requirement. Any changes in the circumstances of asset managers and any intention to cease asset management for collective investment schemes requires prior approval from FINMA.
Fund managers are permitted to delegate investment decisions and other activities where this is appropriate. Investment decisions may only be delegated to asset managers of collective investment schemes who are subject to a recognised supervisory regime.

Authorisation requirements

In addition to the general requirements for authorisation set out in Article 14 CISA, asset managers of collective investment schemes must meet the following requirements (Arts. 18 CISA and 19 ff. CISO) in order to obtain authorisation from FINMA:

  • It must be organised as a legal entity in the form of a limited company, a partnership limited by shares or a limited liability company under Swiss law (AG, Kommandit-AG or GmbH), as a general or limited partnership, or as a Swiss branch of a foreign asset manager of collective investment schemes.
  • It must have an organisation that is appropriate to its role.
  • It must have the required equity capital and financial guarantees.
  • The articles of association, partnership agreement or organisational rules must include a factually and geographically accurate description of its proposed operations.
  • It must manage at least one collective investment scheme in accordance with Article 7 CISA.

Asset managers of collective investment schemes who do not require authorisation (Art. 2 para. 2 let. h CISA) can opt to be supervised under the Collective Investment Schemes Act if this is required by the country in which the collective investment scheme is established or distributed.

Exceptions to authorisation requirements

Asset managers managing foreign collective investment schemes whose investors are deemed to be qualified investors are exempt from authorisation requirements. Assets under management of such collective investment schemes may not exceed CHF 100m including leveraged assets or CHF 500m for non-leveraged assets where investors cannot exercise termination and redemption rights for a period of five years.
Moreover, asset managers of collective investment schemes whose investors are also deemed to be qualified investors and consist solely of companies belonging to the same financial group as the asset managers themselves are not subject to CISA. The delegation of investment decisions for Swiss collective investment schemes is reserved to asset managers of collective investment schemes who are subject to recognised supervision (Art. 31 para. 3 and Art. 36 para. 3). 

Role of asset managers of collective investment schemes

Asset managers of collective investment schemes provide portfolio and risk management services to one or more collective investment schemes and may also perform administrative tasks.

Changes in circumstances

If there is any alteration to the basis on which authorisation was originally granted, permission must be obtained from FINMA before operations can be resumed (Art. 16 CISA).

Cessation of an activity for which a licence is required

Any intention to cease asset management operations for collective investment schemes requires prior approval from FINMA (Art. 16 CISA). The regulatory auditor will also be asked to give its opinion of the intended action.

Information and templates

The following documents can be used when applying for or making changes to authorisation required to operate as an asset manager of collective investment schemes: