FINMA’s core tasks

FINMA is tasked with issuing authorisation, supervising licence holders and, where necessary, enforcing supervisory law, be this in connection with supervised institutions or unauthorised companies and individuals. FINMA also issues its own regulations where it is authorised to do so.

The framework within which FINMA acts is specified by the legislator. The legal basis for its activities is the Financial Market Supervision Act, which was enacted by the Swiss parliament on 22 June 2007 and put into effect on 1 January 2009 by the Federal Council.

Enforcement of financial market legislation

FINMA acts as an oversight authority over banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges, securities dealers, collective investment schemes, their management and fund management companies, as well as distributors and insurance intermediaries. Specifically, it is responsible for the enforcement of the following financial market acts: the Banking Act (BA) in the banking sector, the Insurance Contract Act (ICA) and the Insurance Supervision Act (ISA) in the insurance industry, the Stock Exchange Act (SESTA) in the area of stock exchange trading, the Collective Investment Schemes Act (CISA) in the fund industry and the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) in connection with the combating of money laundering.

FINMA enforces these acts through the performance of its core activities: authorisationsupervisionenforcement and regulation.

Authorisation and supervision

FINMA authorises and issues licences to companies from those sectors which fall within its remit. It is thus a gatekeeper for the regulated financial market. In performing its supervisory activities, FINMA subsequently ensures that the licence holders adhere to the requirements set out in supervisory law. All supervised institutions must satisfy the licence conditions at all times. FINMA is also responsible for the combating of money laundering.

Enforcement

If it has any indications of violations of supervisory law, FINMA takes action and imposes measures to restore compliance with the law. Where necessary, it initiates formal administrative procedures known as enforcement proceedings  FINMA's rulings are contestable and can thus be subjected to judicial review. If required, FINMA also conducts restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings and responses to requests for assistance from foreign supervisory authorities.

Market supervision

Since 1 May 2013, the scope of FINMA's competencies has extended beyond the supervised financial sector. Within the framework of its general market supervisory activities, FINMA is required to take action against market abuse, in particular in connection with insider trading and market manipulation.

Regulation

FINMA is a supervisory authority, whose core task is to check compliance with the acts and ordinances passed by Parliament and the Federal Council. FINMA issues regulations in the form of ordinances and circulars where it is authorised to do so.