Anyone who distributes collective investment schemes to non-qualified investors in Switzerland or foreign collective investment schemes to qualified investors in Switzerland is deemed to be a distribu-tor and must be authorised by FINMA. Authorisation can be issued to natural persons, legal entities and incorporated partnerships.
To obtain authorisation from FINMA, a distributor, whether a natural person, legal entity or incorpo-rated partnership, must meet the general conditions set out in Article 14 CISA. Moreover, under Article 30 CISO distributors must provide proof that they have:
- appropriate professional indemnity insurance cover of at least CHF 250,000 for their distribution activities or have deposited a surety of the same amount;
- acceptable distribution modalities; and
a written distribution agreement with a fund manager, SICAV, limited partnership, SICAF or repre-sentative of a foreign collective investment scheme which should include a passage that expressly prohibits distributors from accepting payments to acquire units.
Exceptions to authorisation requirements
The following are exempt from authorisation requirements for distributors: fund management compa-nies, asset managers of collective investment schemes, representatives of foreign collective invest-ment schemes in accordance with the Collective Investment Schemes Act, banks with the Banking Act, securities dealers with the Stock Exchange Act, and insurance companies with the Insurance Supervision Act. Moreover, insurance company agents who form part of the company's organisation (legally and factually) are not subject to authorisation requirements (Art. 13 para. 3 CISA, Art. 8 CISO).
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, Arts. 14 and 15 CISO).
Information and templates
The following documents are available to help distributors apply for new licences or report changes in their organisation: