CLIENT ADVISOR REGISTRY AND OMBUDSMAN

Registering your client advisors

The Swiss Federal Financial Services Act (FinSA) and the Swiss Federal Financial Institutions Act (FinIA) came into force on January 1st, 2020, introducing an entirely new framework of conduct rules for Swiss financial intermediaries.

The changes introduced by FinSA/FinIA involve client categories, client advisors, and authorization and representation requirements.
One completely new requirement is the obligation for client advisors to be entered into a Swiss register of client advisors before they offer financial services to clients domiciled in Switzerland.

This obligation, in accordance with article 28 of FinSA, applies to:

  • client advisors of domestic financial service providers that are not supervised under article 3 of FINMASA;
  • client advisors of foreign financial service providers (subject to some exemptions, see below)

Under CISA, Swiss distributors were licensed by FINMA. As of January 1st, 2020, the distribution license no longer exists and Swiss distributors are no longer supervised under article 3 of FINMASA (art. 28 FinSA). Therefore, they are subject to the requirement to register as client advisors.

Exemptions

The following categories of client advisors are not subject to the obligation:

  • client advisors of a Swiss financial services provider that is supervised under article 3 of FINMASA (art. 28 FinSA)
  • client advisors of a foreign financial services provider that is subject to prudential supervision provided that they only provide their services to professional or institutional clients in Switzerland (art. 31 FinSO)

How Oligo helps you

Oligo will take care of advising its clients about whether they need to register their client advisors. If it is the case, we will take care of gathering and filing all necessary documents, managing the whole registration on the client’s behalf.

Registering with an Ombudsman

Pursuant to Art. 74 FinSA, disputes about legal claims between customers and financial service providers are to be settled by an ombudsman service within the framework of a mediation procedure. If no agreement can be reached or if such an agreement appears hopeless, the ombudsman may, in accordance with Art. 75 FinSA, on the basis of the information available to him, provide the parties with their own actual and legal assessment of the dispute and include it in the notice concluding the proceedings.

FinSA strengthens the institution of the ombudsman’s office by obliging all financial service providers to join an ombudsman’s office and requiring official recognition of the ombudsman’s office by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). However, the ombudsman’s offices still have no decision-making authority, so that they are not restricted in their activities as intermediaries.

Pursuant to Art. 77 FinSA, financial service providers must join an ombudsman office at the latest upon commencement of their activities. They must inform their clients of the possibility of initiating mediation proceedings before a recognized ombudsman (Art. 8 FinSA).

How Oligo helps you

Oligo assists clients in the choice of an ombudsman and takes care of the registration process.