FINMA is authorised to intervene and take the necessary resolution measures in a stress scenario or if a company needs to be wound down. These measures apply to licensed and unlicensed institutions and to group parent companies and significant group companies. FINMA's role in resolution varies depending on the area of supervision in question. Resolution measures include imposing protective measures and initiating and executing restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings as well as liquidations.
Protective measures are precautionary in nature and are generally ordered separately or in combination with restructuring or liquidation proceedings. They are imposed to safeguard the interests of creditors, ensure equal treatment of creditors (as set out in the applicable order of priority), and enable at-risk companies to continue to perform activities subject to licence. Protective measures can be imposed on banks, securities dealers, central mortgage bond institutions, financial market infrastructure and insurance companies. In the case of banks and financial market infrastructures, measures can be imposed where concerns are justified that the institution is over-indebted, has serious liquidity problems or if it does not fulfil the capital adequacy requirements after a deadline set by FINMA. In the case of insurance companies, the primary aim of protective measures is to safeguard the interests of policyholders.
Restructuring proceedings are initiated to enable at-risk institutions to continue to partially or fully perform activities subject to licence. Restructuring proceedings can be initiated against banks, securities dealers, central mortgage bond institutions and financial market infrastructures. FINMA also has the authority to impose restructuring measures on insurance companies. Restructuring proceedings cannot be initiated if a licence has already been withdrawn or, in the case of unauthorised activities, if a licence cannot be issued retrospectively.
If there is no realistic prospect of restructuring an institution or if an attempt to do so has already failed, FINMA will withdraw the institution’s licence and initiate bankruptcy proceedings. This generally applies to all the areas FINMA supervises with the exception of financial intermediaries, which are subject to direct supervision by FINMA for AMLA purposes. Depositors, policyholders and investors in collective investment schemes are protected by the following special regulations:
FINMA is also responsible for resolution measures for group parent companies and significant group companies that are part of banking, financial market infrastructure and insurance groups. Where group parent companies and significant group companies that are part of banking and financial market infrastructure groups are concerned, the imposition of protective measures and the conducting of restructuring and liquidation proceedings are essentially governed by insolvency law provisions. Where significant group companies of supervised insurance groups and conglomerates are concerned, the bankruptcy law provisions for insurance companies apply.
FINMA employs agents or liquidators when conducting liquidation, restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings. If licence holders, significant group companies or supervised group parent companies face bankruptcy, FINMA will act as the responsible body instead of the bankruptcy and debt-restructuring cantonal courts.
To inform creditors, FINMA regularly publishes notices of restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings and orderly liquidations which it has initiated and supervised on its website. It also publishes the names of significant group companies and conglomerates: