Conducting on-site supervisory reviews

FINMA’s on-site supervisory reviews at the premises of a supervised institution are an important part of its direct supervisory activities. They are usually risk-oriented and situation-related, i.e. are performed in accordance with the situation of the institution in question and the market in which the institution operates.

On-site supervisory reviews are topic-related controls. They take place within the framework of prudential supervision and allow FINMA to form its own impression of a business division, department or function of the respective supervised institution. Cross-comparisons between individual institutions also allow FINMA to gain a better overview of the market.

Direct supervisory tool

On-site supervisory reviews are a tool used for direct supervision. Depending on the situation, direct supervisory activities are performed by the competent FINMA supervisors or specialists at the premises of the supervised institution, which is why they are referred to as on-site supervisory reviews. Article 24 para. 1 of the Financial Market Supervision Act provides the legal framework for these activities.

Frequency depends on intensity of supervision

The number of on-site supervisory reviews performed each year is different for each institution and depends on the intensity of supervision required. In turn, this is determined by the FINMA risk category to which each institution is assigned and the FINMA rating for each supervised institution.

On-site supervisory reviews: banks and insurance companies

As a rule, on-site supervisory reviews are performed as part of annual planning. However, unscheduled supervisory reviews may also be performed additionally due to specific events. The duration of an on-site supervisory review may be from a few days to a few weeks, if a more in-depth assessment of the situation is required.