Limitation on ombudsman affiliation requirement

During its meeting on 11 December 2020, the Federal Council brought the limitation on the ombudsman affiliation requirement into force with effect from 1 February 2021. In the future, the ombudsman affiliation requirement will apply only to those financial service providers that serve retail clients.  

On 25 September 2020, Parliament adopted the Federal Act on the Adaptation of Federal Law to Developments in Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT bill). With the blanket law, various federal laws will be adapted in such a way that Switzerland can continue to develop as a leading, innovative and sustainable location in the blockchain and DLT area.

As part of the parliamentary deliberations on the DLT blanket law, Parliament also adopted amendments to the Financial Services Act (FinSA) and the Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) in connection with the ombudsman affiliation requirement. In the future, the ombudsman affiliation requirement will apply only to those financial service providers that serve retail clients. It does not apply to financial service providers serving solely institutional or professional clients (excluding high-net-worth retail clients who have declared themselves to be professionals). Financial institutions that provide no financial services at all do not have to be affiliated to an ombudsman in any case.

The current legal situation requires all financial service providers to be affiliated to an ombudsman by 25 December 2020. In order to avoid a situation whereby financial service providers that serve solely institutional or professional clients have to be affiliated to an ombudsman initially, only to be released from this requirement a few months later, the limitation on the ombudsman affiliation requirement decided by Parliament shall be brought into force on the earliest possible date. Since it is first necessary to wait for the referendum deadline to expire, this is 1 February 2021. The affiliation requirement for financial service providers serving solely institutional or professional clients would be contrary to the clear intention of the parliament. For this reason, it has been agreed with FINMA that the supervisory authority will not enforce this requirement in the period from 26 December 2020 to 31 January 2021.

Further details:

SIF Legal Services
rechtsdienst@sif.admin.ch
Tel. +41 58 465 34 81
 

Last modification 11.12.2020

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