Any individual or company seeking to take money from investors, underwrite insurance policies, or set up and manage a collective investment scheme requires authorisation from FINMA. Only where statutory requirements have been met are licences issued.
Authorised companies are then supervised. FINMA supervision varies in intensity. Depending on the legal provisions, it can range from intensive, ongoing supervision to a simple act of registration, after which FINMA will only step in if it receives reports of inappropriate conduct. Under certain circumstances, service providers can join a private self-regulatory organisation instead.
To check whether an individual, a company or a financial product has been authorised, you can search for the name here.
FINMA keeps lists of all authorised institutions and investment funds. These are regularly updated. A supervised institution may have been authorised but not yet be included in the list. Similarly, a supervised institution may still feature on the list even though it has lost its authorisation.
To prevent money laundering, certain types of financial intermediaries are supervised directly by FINMA (DSFIs), which are also listed. Under the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), there is also an option for indirect supervision via a self-regulatory organisation (SRO). By searching the members’ lists, you can see whether a financial intermediary belongs to one of these SROs.
Insurance intermediaries are brokers who offer insurance contracts, for example on behalf of insurance companies. Insurance intermediaries are not supervised by FINMA, but they can have their names entered in a register kept by FINMA. Independent insurance intermediaries must be on this register. Intermediaries who are tied to an insurance company have the right to be entered.
In you are in any doubt, contact the following address to find out whether a service provider has been authorised to operate:
Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA
CH – 3003 Bern
Hotline: +41 31 327 98 88
Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. – 12 noon