Trustees must comply with various requirements to receive a FINMA licence, including the following in particular. They must:
Trustees require a licence from FINMA before they commence their commercial activities.
Trustees who started their commercial activity before 1 January 2020 must apply for a licence from FINMA by the end of 2022, which includes proving that they are affiliated to an SO.
Those who started a commercial activity as a trustee in 2020 must be affiliated to an SO by 6 July 2021 and submit a licence application to FINMA.
An activity is deemed commercial if it meets one of the following criteria:
Only trustees who carry out their activity on a commercial basis require a licence. According to the law, trustees are deemed to pursue their activities on a commercial basis if they:
Certain assets linked to exemptions to licensing requirements are not to be taken into account.
Trustees manage the separate fund, ensure the preservation of its value and apply it for a specific purpose. Trustees may also assume other duties, for example dispensing investment advice, performing portfolio analysis or providing financial instruments. If trustees offer financial services under the Financial Services Act (FinSA), they are also subject to the requirements of the Act.
If trustees also work as portfolio managers, they require an additional FINMA licence for this activity.
If trustees wish to cease operations, they require prior approval from FINMA. The supervisory organisation will also be asked to give its opinion.
The licensing process for trustees takes place via FINMA’s survey and application platform (EHP). Further details can be found on the ‘Licensing process’ page.