Swiss trust license law comes into effect

Passed in January 2020, the Swiss Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) and the Swiss Financial Services Act (FinSA) obliges trustees operating in Switzerland to obtain a license to operate in the country

Now almost one year through a three-year transition period, as of December 31, 2020, all trustees must have affiliated themselves with a supervisory organisation, file an application for a trustee license with FINMA and comply with all statutory requirements.

The laws create a regulatory regime for trustees in Switzerland and includes trustees in the definition of ‘financial institutions’ under the FinIA. A Swiss trustee is defined as a person that manages a separate fund on a professional basis for the benefit of a beneficiary. This person should have gross annual turnover of CH50,000, business relationships with over 20 contracting parties, and the power to dispose of third-party assets of more than CH5 million.

Supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), trustees have three years as of January 1, 2020 to apply and obtain a license. As of June 30, 2020 they should have informed FINMA of their intention to apply for a license.

By December 31, 2020 they should affiliate themselves with a supervisory organisation and file an application with FINMA and the deadline to register with an appropriate supervisory organisation and comply with all statutory requirements is December 31, 2022.

The new licensing regime is seen as a game-changer for the trust industry in Switzerland and aims to reinforce the country’s position as a financial centre and boost its reputation for integrity and quality.

Alpadis Trust (Switzerland) AG are able to apply for the licence for the benefit of our clients. For more information on these regulations, please contact Alpadis Group.