The process of obtaining a Swiss securities dealer license involves several steps, as outlined in the FINMA guideline for licensed applications for banks and securities dealers. The following is a summary of the specific requirements and process for a securities dealer license application, based on the most updated version of the guidelines and any regulatory updates since:
Legal structure: Applicants must establish a legal entity in Switzerland with a registered office in Switzerland and registered with the Swiss Commercial Register.
Minimum capital requirements: Securities dealers must meet minimum capital requirements set by FINMA, which is currently CHF 50,000, but may vary depending on the nature and volume of the securities dealer’s activities.
Qualification and experience requirements for personnel: Securities dealers must have qualified and experienced personnel in key positions, including the head of compliance and the head of risk management. FINMA requires that these personnel have relevant qualifications and experience in the securities industry.
Anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regulations: Securities dealers must have effective policies and procedures in place to prevent money laundering and other illegal activities. This includes due diligence, monitoring, and reporting of suspicious activities, as well as compliance with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) recommendations and other relevant regulations.
Business plan: Securities dealers must provide a detailed business plan that outlines the company’s structure, management, risk management, and compliance policies and procedures.
Risk management system: Securities dealers must have an effective risk management system in place to identify, assess, and manage risks associated with their activities. This includes policies and procedures for risk assessment, monitoring, and reporting.
Compliance program: Securities dealers must have an effective compliance program in place to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and prevent money laundering and other illegal activities. This includes policies and procedures for due diligence, monitoring, and reporting of suspicious activities.
Audit and reporting: Securities dealers must have their financial statements audited annually by an independent auditor and must submit regular reports to FINMA.
Supervision: Securities dealers are subject to ongoing supervision by FINMA, including regular on-site inspections and reviews of compliance with regulatory requirements.
In order to obtain a securities dealer license, applicants must submit a comprehensive application to FINMA that includes detailed information on the legal structure, personnel qualifications and experience, compliance and risk management policies and procedures, and financial projections. FINMA will review the application and conduct a fit and proper test on the proposed personnel. The application process typically takes several months to complete, and may involve follow-up questions and requests for additional information from FINMA.
Overall, the process of obtaining a securities dealer license in Switzerland is designed to ensure that only reputable and financially sound entities are authorised to operate as securities dealers in the country. It is important for securities dealers to understand and comply with all regulatory requirements, including any updates or changes to regulations, to avoid potential penalties or other consequences. Securities dealers may want to consult with legal or financial advisors to ensure that they are meeting all necessary requirements for obtaining and maintaining a securities dealer license in Switzerland.