Portfolio managers must comply with various requirements to receive a FINMA licence, including the following in particular. They must:
Portfolio managers require a licence from FINMA before they commence their commercial activities.
Portfolio managers who were professionally active when the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA; SR 954.1) came into force on 1 January 2020 must apply for a licence from FINMA within three years and prove that they are affiliated to a SO.
Those who started a commercial activity as a portfolio manager 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 portfolio managers who carry out their activity on a commercial basis require a licence. According to the law, portfolio managers are deemed to pursue their activities on a commercial basis if they:
The thresholds for operating on a commercial basis do not apply to managers of the assets of collective investment schemes or occupational pension schemes below the defined thresholds. Their activities are always deemed commercial, regardless of their scope.
A portfolio manager’s main role is to manage individual portfolios. The portfolio manager may also assume other duties, for example investment advice, portfolio analysis or the provision of financial instruments. If a portfolio manager also works as a trustee, they will require another FINMA licence ((Link auf www.finma.ch/de/bewilligung/vermoegensverwalter-und-trustees/trustees)).
If a portfolio manager wishes to cease operations, they require prior approval from FINMA. The supervisory organisation will also be asked to give its opinion.
The licensing process for portfolio managers takes place via FINMA’s survey and application platform (EHP). Further details can be found on the ‘Licensing process’ page.