Switzerland issues fintech licence

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The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), according to a press release, will start issuing a specific fintech licence to firms starting in 2019. The guidelines for the licence application have already been issued.

According to FINMA, applicants should obviously be blockchain or cryptocurrency-related and any firm granted a licence will be able to accept public deposits of up to 100 million Swiss francs (CHF), or around $100 million. This represents a relaxation of the country’s banking rules, although FINMA does stipulate that firms accepting public deposits will not be allowed to invest them or pay interest on them. One further requirement is that an institution with a fintech licence must have its registered office and conduct its business activities in Switzerland.

Applicants must supply the following information to be considered for a fintech licence: these include a business description, business financial plan, assets storage method, risk management, anti-money laundering (AML) policies, and other information.

The licence document is called “Guidelines for FinTech licence applications pursuant to Article 1b of the Banking Act,” and has been in development since February this year. It will come into effect on 1st January 2019.

FINMA has also recently issued Switzerland’s first crypto licence, which applies to crypto asset investment funds. This licence allows crypto-related firms to legally provide a number of collective investment services, as well as crypto asset tracking, and includes domestic funds. It has also been progressive in providing ICO regulations with the aim of encouraging growth in blockchain-based businesses.

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