The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA published its 2020 Annual Report today. FINMA notes that the financial institutions remained robust during this challenging year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. Besides the regulatory actions induced by the pandemic, FINMA performed its supervisory activity in full.
FINMA published its Annual Report for the year 2020 today. Besides the retrospective report, this also encompasses the annual financial statements. In addition, FINMA is providing data on enforcement cases in a database as well as statistics in an Excel document on its website. FINMA has postponed the planned annual media conference until a later point in time due to the announced change in leadership (cf. press release).
A year dominated by the coronavirus pandemic
The year 2020 and FINMA’s activities were dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. The crisis is the first major test of the regulatory changes introduced since the 2008 financial crisis. The higher capital buffers that have been built up in recent years have proved to be extremely effective in maintaining stability and trust. The regulatory toolkit also benefited from its inbuilt flexibility. FINMA was thus able to offer time-limited relief in specific areas. Finally, the coronavirus crisis also subjected the business continuity plans of the financial industry and FINMA as a supervisory authority to a stress test. It was apparent that both were well prepared for the crisis.
Intensive supervision continued
Besides the challenges surrounding the pandemic, FINMA rigorously pursued its supervisory activity. Despite its employees working from home and the lockdown, for example, it carried out around one hundred on-site supervisory reviews at banks. That is six per cent more than in the previous year. In addition, FINMA focused on preparing the institutional and regulatory framework for the implementation of FinSA and FinIA: it authorised five supervisory organisations, three registration bodies and two reviewing bodies for prospectuses as well as pre-registering some 2,500 portfolio managers. FINMA is thus ready to process the authorisation requests that it expects to receive from portfolio managers and trustees in the coming months swiftly. FINMA also focused on carrying out checks among supplementary health insurers due to service settlements that were lacking in transparency and were in some cases unjustified.
Enforcement: focus remains on money laundering
In 2020, FINMA conducted 628 investigations (2019: 816) and 33 enforcement proceedings (2019: 30) (enforcement statistics). These included proceedings that were complex and international in scope in relation to combating money laundering. FINMA issued and published two rulings against Julius Baer and Banca Credinvest relating to business relationships associated with Petróleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) (case reports). FINMA thus conducted proceedings against institutions and responsible managers in connection with corruption cases such as 1MDB, Petrobras and FIFA in more than twenty cases between 2016 and 2019.
Annual financial statements: slightly higher costs due to implementation of FinSA/FinIA
FINMA’s costs rose slightly in the year under review, having previously remained largely stable for several years. At CHF 125 million, they were CHF 3.4 million higher in 2020 than in the previous year. This is due to the additional responsibilities in connection with the implementation of FinSA and FinIA. The total costs were covered by income from supervisory fees and levies. The average number of full-time equivalent positions at the authority was 501 in 2020 and has increased slightly compared with the previous year (489) due to the aforementioned additional responsibilities.
Tobias Lux, Media Spokesperson
Tel. +41 31 327 91 71
Vinzenz Mathys, Media Spokesperson
Tel. +41 31 327 19 77