Does my fund need FINMA approval?

If you are distributing to Swiss non-qualified investors, your fund must be approved by FINMA, the Swiss regulator.

If you are only distributing to Swiss non-regulated qualified investors your fund only needs a Swiss representative and a Swiss paying agent.

Read the Swiss law (CISA 120) governing this here:

Does a non-Swiss domiciled fund require a Swiss representative?

If you distribute a non-Swiss domiciled fund to Swiss non-regulated qualified or non-qualified investors, then you must be represented.

What is the role of the Swiss representative?

It is accredited by FINMA to ensure and supervise compliancy, and to advise funds for their distribution in Switzerland.


What is the purpose of CISA 120?

To impose strict rules on financial products distributed in Switzerland, enhancing ethics and governance, thereby protecting investors from fraud and misconduct.

Are private placements covered by CISA 120?

Private placement no longer exists and selling to a restricted number of investors is considered distribution.

What are Regulated Qualified, Qualified and Non-Qualified investors?

Regulated Qualified: banks, insurance companies, regulated CISA asset managers (those that manage +CHF100M). Selling to this group is not considered distribution.

Non-regulated Qualified: pension funds, independent asset managers, HNWI and family offices. Providing any info to these is defined as distribution.

Non-Qualified: all other investors (this means retail). In addition to a Swiss representative and paying agent, the fund requires a specific FINMA approval.

Qualified Investors Non-Qualified Investors
  • High-net-worth individuals
  • Pension funds
  • Independent asset managers
  • Family offices
  • Retail investors
  • Swiss representative
  • Swiss paying agent
  • Swiss representative
  • Swiss paying agent
  • FINMA approval

Are Swiss Independent Asset Managers qualified investors?

That depends.

If they manage monies on a discretionary management basis on behalf of their clients, then yes, they are non-regulated qualified investors.

Otherwise if they manage monies on an advisory basis then they are not. In this case, they are considered non-qualified (retail) investors and your fund needs specific approval from FINMA in addition to the normal requirements for qualified investors.

Are family offices qualified investors?

Again, it depends. A single family office is a non-regulated qualified investor. However, a multi-family office may not be necessarily, unless they invest monies on behalf of qualified investors only.

In practice, most family offices mange monies for qualified investors only, so we presume that they are non-regulated qualified investors in most cases.


What is the definition of distribution in CISA 120?

Any offering of or advertising of collective investment schemes that is not exclusively directed at regulated qualified investors.

Distribution activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Sending any materials by email to existing or prospective investors
  • Road shows and presentations in Switzerland
  • Participation at conferences, sponsored events or any other kinds of events that offer the possibility present foreign funds and/or their strategies
  • Internet and web commerce publicity
  • Unsolicited phone calls and telemarketing

What is not considered distribution?

Any information/solicitation to regulated qualified investors

Or, real reverse solicitation. In this case we would recommend you check with a lawyer for confirmation of the strict guidelines concerning this area of the law.

Finally, if the fund is hard closed, sending any information about the fund is not considered distribution.

My fund is only distributed to banks and insurance companies. Do I need a Swiss representative?

No. Banks and insurance companies are regulated qualified investors and can be approached without appointing a Swiss representative or a Swiss paying agent.

What about pension funds?

Pension funds are non-regulated qualified investors; foreign investment schemes can address them only if the fund has appointed a Swiss representative and a Swiss paying agent.

I am a regulated distributor in another country. Must I be registered in Switzerland?

No, FINMA allows foreign regulated distributors to distribute their funds in Switzerland to qualified investors. However CISA 120 law still applies in what concerns the need to appoint a Swiss representative and a Swiss paying agent.


Oligo denies any responsibility for any decisions and/or actions based on the answers exposed here above. The consultation of the law is in any case mandatory.

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