Authorisation from FINMA is needed by any individual or company seeking to take money from investors, underwrite insurance policies, or set up and manage a collective investment scheme. This authorisation is only granted if statutory requirements are met. Financial institutions that do not meet the financial criteria, are insufficiently organised, fail to disclose their ownership structure or have a dubious reputation will not be authorised. Once the hurdle is taken, market operations can begin.
Authorisation entails supervision. The supervisory monitoring performed by FINMA varies in intensity. Depending on the legal provisions, it can range from continuous all-round scrutiny to a simple act of registration, after which FINMA will only step in if it receives reports of inappropriate conduct.
To check whether an individual, a company or a financial product has been authorised, you can search for the name here to see if it is listed among our authorised banks, insurers and collective investment schemes.
FINMA keeps lists of all authorised institutions and investment funds. These are regularly updated. Possibly, however, a supervised institution has been authorised but is not yet 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
Phone +41 31 327 91 00
Fax +41 31 327 91 01