02 Apr 2019 Being a Full-Bank, a Light-Bank, or a Non-Bank in Switzerland
Conditions and Exemptions
|ENTITIES REGULATED BY FINMA AS A FULL OR LIGHT BANK (TAKING DEPOSITS)|
|Full Banking License||Anyone who is primarily active in the financial sector and professionally accepts public deposits in excess of CHF 100 million or carries out public offering to obtain them.||Section 1a lit. a BA|
|Anyone who is primarily active in the financial sector and professionally accepts public deposits of up to CHF 100 million or carries out public offering to obtain them, and invests or pay interests on the such deposits||Section 1a lit. b BA|
|Light Banking License (a.k.a Fintech License)||Anyone who is primarily active in the financial sector and professionally accepts public deposits of up to CHF 100 million or carries out public offering to obtain them, and neither invest nor pay interests on the deposits.
Possible business models:
|Section 1b BA||Anyone who exceeds the threshold of 100 million francs must announce it within ten days to FINMA and submit an application for a full banking license within 90 days.
|Lighter organisation: FINMA may waive certain requirements regarding compliance and risk management for “light banks” with a yearly gross return of less than CHF 1.5 million and a business model with low risks.|
|Definition||Active in Financial Field||Deposits||Public||Professional Basis|
All liabilities unless there is an exemption in the law or decided by FINMA.
(Note: Forex margin accounts are deposits; payment token are deposits, especially if the company has access to the private key).
Anyone, unless he/she is not considered as “public” by law or by FINMA.
|Anyone who, on an on-going basis, accepts more than 20 deposits from the public or uses the public to obtain deposits, even if in doing so a fewer number results, unless there is an exemption in the law or decided by FINMA.||Sections 4, 5, 6 BO|
|EXEMPTIONS GRANTED BY FINMA FOR ENTITIES TAKING DEPOSITS|
|NO DEPOSIT EXEMPTIONS|
|“No Deposit Exemption”||Are not considered as deposits:
||Section 5 para 3 BO
F- Circ. 2008/3 para 10ff.
|NO PUBLIC EXEMPTIONS|
|“No Public Exemption”||Deposits exclusively of the following persons:
||Section 5 para 2 BO
F- Circ. 2008/3 para 31ff.
|NOT ACTING ON PROFESSIONAL BASIS EXEMPTION|
|“Less than 20 Depositors Exemption”||Anyone who targets (successfully or not) less than 20 depositors.||Section 6 para 1 BO a contrario.
F- Circ. 2008/3 para 9
|A banking license must be granted before he/she targets more than 20 depositors.|
|“Sandbox Exemption”||Anyone who accepts more than 20 deposits from the public, but:
||Section 6 para 2 and 3 BO
F- Circ. 2008/3 para 8
|In case the threshold is exceeded, FINMA must be informed within 10 days and a banking license must be filed within 30 days.
(Note: this exemption will be modified in Autumn 2019).