Categorisation of banks and securities firms

FINMA assigns prudentially supervised banks and securities firms to supervisory categories. Category 1 includes large institutions that could potentially destabilise the financial system. The risk impact of institutions in the lower categories reduces on a sliding scale down to category 5.

FINMA’s risk-oriented supervision consists of five supervisory categories. Institutions are categorised on the basis of measurable criteria, namely total assets, assets under management, privileged deposits and required capital (cf. Annex 3 of the BO).

The main features of each supervisory category are as follows:

  • Category 1: extremely large, important and complex market participants. Very high risk.
  • Category 2: very important, complex market participants. High risk.
  • Category 3: large and complex market participants. Significant risk.
  • Category 4: medium-sized market participants. Medium risk.
  • Category 5: small market participants. Low risk.

Supervisory intensity

Institutions in different categories are supervised with different levels of intensity.

Impact of category assignment on supervision

Those in categories 1 and 2 require greater attention in view of their importance and risk profile and are thus subject to continual and intensive or close supervision. Those in category 5, on the other hand, are supervised on the basis of quantitative indicators and only looked at more closely when they break the rules or when other extraordinary events occur.

Distribution of supervised institutions

The vast majority of supervised institutions are assigned to category 5.

Supervisory categories for banks

2011/02 FINMA Circular "Capital buffer and capital planning – banks" (30.03.2011)

Capital buffer and capital planning in the banking sector

Updated: 31.10.2019 Size: 0.31  MB
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