The Financial Market Supervisory Authority or FINMA, which is the financial watchdog of Switzerland, introduced a new fintech license with some relaxed requirements which applies to the blockchain and crypto-based firms.
On Monday, the 3rd of December, the regulator has unveiled a new set of guidelines, in order to propel the development of the local crypto and blockchain industry. Notably, the local crypto startups allow approved innovative financial companies to now have the ability to handle public deposits of up to $100 million, provided the funds are not invested, as well as no interest is paid on them. This came as a sequence of an amendment later in November to the Banking Act of the country by the Federal Council, to promote fintech innovation.
Details about the new guidelines
These newly disclosed guidelines by FINMA actually specify some strict regulations and rules that have to be adhered to obtain the coveted fintech license. The document, which is available in French, German, as well as the English language, mandates crypto businesses to submit a plethora of official records to the financial authority together with their registration application.
Some of the details to be provided include some of the reasons for applying for this license, description of the proposed business activity, organization structure, as well as complete information about the business premises, personnel, and even infrastructure among other things.
Regarding the financial details of the entity, some detailed information has to be provided about the share capital structure too. Moreover, some details about the participants who have direct or indirect holding more than 5% have to be disclosed.
Besides, FINMA also required complete accountability of all the board members of the business-to-be, which include their addresses, CVs, education levels, past criminal records, if there are some and so on.
The country is the leader of the global crypto marathon
This new development of FINMA is actually seen as an essential step forward for the crypto space of the country that attracted businesses from everywhere in the world.
The country was also the forefront of developments in the blockchain, as well as crypto space. Earlier in September of this year, the Swiss Bankers Association or SBA has introduces simplified guidelines after seeing the lack of access to the banking sector of the crypto companies.
More recently, on the 19th of November, it was reported about how Switzerland gave the go-ahead to crypto startup Amun AG’s exchange-traded product or ETP to be traded on the fourth largest stock exchange in Europe, the SIX Swiss Exchange.
This decision is actually seen as a tremendous impetus for the crypto industry, particularly at a time when the total market cap dropped by more than 30% in only one month period.
Conditions for licensing under the new scheme
Effective on the first day of the new year, the blockchain firms which want to be licensed under the scheme have to meet a few conditions. First of all, the entry has to be a company which is with unlimited partners or limited liability company. The second thing is that it has to have its registered office, as well as conduct its business in the country.
FINMA also issued guidelines which are aimed at smoothing the application process for potential licensees, setting a long list of details which they are going to need to provide up front. These include the ones which we mentioned above, such as the reason for applying for the license, and so on.
In October of this year, FINMA also issued a license to a crypto investment fund from the Crypto Finance AG which is based in Zug and founded by the former banker of UBS, named Jan Brzezek. That license has been issued under the Collective Investment Schemes Act of the country.