Withdrawal of authorisation, liquidation and bankruptcy

FINMA can withdraw its authorisation of individuals and legal entities that no longer meet the authorisation requirements or have committed serious violations of supervisory law. The law requires certain licence holders to be liquidated when this happens. FINMA also applies these rules to financial market participants operating without the requisite authorisation.

If FINMA withdraws authorisation that has been granted, the activity requiring authorisation may no longer be carried out. FINMA does not have to issue a formal warning before withdrawing its authorisation, after which the activities it covered must be stopped. However, its actions must always be proportionate.

When FINMA withdraws authorisation under Article 33 ff BA due to insolvency or determines that a company is overindebted in statutory liquidation proceedings, it opens bankruptcy proceedings against the company and appoints a liquidator.

Unauthorised financial market participants

The legal provisions on withdrawing authorisation apply (as appropriate) to unauthorised financial market participants (Art. 37 para. 3 FINMASA). Companies that then fail to meet the authorisation requirements are liquidated. Depending on the company’s financial situation, this may be done in accordance with the Swiss Code of Obligations or through bankruptcy liquidation. Insofar as there is overindebtedness of the company or another (civil) ground for bankruptcy, the opening of bankruptcy proceedings and liquidation have fallen under the jurisdiction of the civil courts since 1 January 2023 (Art. 173b para. 2 SchKG). FINMA remains responsible for the supervisory liquidation of an unauthorised financial market participant as a measure to restore compliance with the law. 

Where a number of companies have been involved in the same unauthorised activity, they can be treated as a group for the purposes of supervisory law, depending on the extent to which their staff, finances and organisations are interlinked. The provisions on withdrawing authorisation apply to all companies in such cases.

Information for creditors

FINMA publishes notices about statutory liquidations it conducts and supervises on an ongoing basis. Information regarding bankruptcy proceedings under civil or debt collection law for unauthorised financial market participants is governed by the relevant legal provisions, in particular the law on debt collection and bankruptcy.