Swiss Regulators Introduce New FinTech Licence to Boost Blockchain Companies.

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), has announced, starting from 2019 “innovative financial companies” can apply for its new FinTech licence with “relaxed” requirements. This new license extends beyond Switzerlands traditional finance sector and into its emerging blockchain space, currently concentrated within the ‘Crypto Valley’ of Zug.

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The move is a follow through from an initial meeting held back in February 2017 by the ‘Federal Council’ where three measures were presented for consideration. These measures we aimed at promoting innovation in the financial sector and removing potential barriers to market entry for swiss fin-tech (blockchain) firms. The first two proposals, an extension of the holding period for settlement accounts and an authorisation-exempt innovation area both entered into full effect as of August 1st 2017.

The Federal Council‘s most recent meeting, held November 30th 2018, brought into force an amendment to the countries Banking Act, meaning the third measure, a new authorisation category with simplified requirements (AKA the Fintech License), will commence 2019. The Council elaborated on the news stating:

“The FinTech licence allows institutions to accept public deposits of up to CHF 100 million, provided that these are not invested and no interest is paid on them. A further requirement is that an institution with a FinTech licence must have its registered office and conduct its business activities in Switzerland.”

In preparation of its launch, FINMA have published guidelines in German, French and English “for the convenience of applicants and to facilitate the presentation of applications” so requests can be more effectively handled, a link to which can be found here.

Switzerlands willingness to swiftly embrace the emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain space and to recognise the great benefits this technology can bring has given them a very advantageous positioning as the ecosystem continues to expand and develop.

“A dynamic fintech system can contribute significantly to the quality of Switzerland’s financial centre and boost its competitiveness.”

“Due to the rapidly progressing digitisation in the financial sector, in particular in the blockchain area, it can be assumed that business models will develop which are not yet conceivable today. The Federal Council will follow these developments closely also in the future and will swiftly propose the necessary regulatory adjustments if required.”

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