Digitalisation of the financial sector

Digitalisation is an important factor for the competitiveness of the Swiss financial centre. It facilitates new, innovative business models in the financial sector. These developments are driven by more powerful mobile end-user devices, improved availability and analysability of big data and blockchain technology.

Digitalisation requires innovation-friendly framework conditions, and financial market regulation should not create unjustified barriers to market entry for the development of new technologies.

Switzerland has already taken initial steps to remove unjustified barriers to market entry and thus promote the fintech and blockchain ecosystem that has developed in Switzerland. 

 
 

Fintech

In July 2017, the Federal Council created an extended authorisation-exempt area (regulatory sandbox) and extended the timeframe for settlement accounts to 60 days. FINMA also examined the regulations in its area and redesigned them to be technology-neutral (e.g. video and online identification).

On 1 January 2019, a licence category tailored to fintech entered into force. Companies that operate outside the core business of banks have since been able to accept deposits from the general public of up to a maximum of CHF 100 million on a professional basis subject to simplified requirements.

Blockchain / DLT

In November 2019, the Federal Council adopted the dispatch to adapt federal law to developments in distributed ledger technology and its bill. It thereby wishes to increase legal certainty, remove barriers for applications based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and reduce the risk of abuse. The National Council Economic Affairs and Taxation Committee (EATC-N) adopted the bill unanimously in the final vote as part of the detailed consideration of 11 May 2020.

Next steps

The work is far from complete. There may be a need for action to introduce an electronic identity (eID) or to ensure a start-up friendly environment. Digitalisation is also highly challenging in terms of taxation.

Further information

Last modification 22.05.2020

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