Asset Management Association Switzerland
The Asset Management Association Switzerland, which was established in 1992 with its registered office in Basel, is the representative association of the Swiss fund and asset management industry. Its members include all the major Swiss fund management companies, many asset managers and representatives of foreign collective investment schemes as well as service providers active in the asset management sector. The Asset Management Association Switzerland is an active member of the Brussels-based European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) and The International Investment Funds Association (IIFA) in Toronto.
The Asset Management Association Switzerland represents the interests of its members in Switzerland and abroad, and is committed to ensuring optimal frameworks for asset management, and for the production and distribution of investment funds. It promotes the standing of and trust in the fund and asset management industry, and actively communicates the value of asset management and the philosophy of fund investing. The Asset Management Association Switzerland positions itself as an expert point of contact for authorities, associations, politicians, the media and the general public. It takes a leading role with regard to self-regulation and establishing best practice standards and exerts its influence on regulation.
The Asset Management Association Switzerland is open to all fund management companies, asset managers, representatives of foreign collective investment schemes, and service providers active in the asset management area, regardless of their domicile or sector. It draws a distinction between active and associate members. Unlike most of the other national fund associations in Europe, we also accept representatives of foreign collective investment schemes as full members. As of December 2018, The Asset Management Association Switzerland has 187 members.
The legal basis for the fund business in Switzerland is the Swiss Federal Act on Collective Investment Schemes (Collective Investment Schemes Act, CISA) of 23 June 2006, which came into force on 1 January 2007, thus replacing the Federal Act on Investment Funds (Investment Fund Act, IFA) of 18 March 1994.
The CISA regulates open-end and closed-end collective investment schemes and is designed as a framework law providing basic regulations. The Ordinance of the Swiss Federal Council on Collective Investment Schemes (Collective Investment Scheme Ordinance, CISO) as well as the Ordinance of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority on Collective Investment Schemes (CISO-FINMA) provide more detailed regulations. The latter also includes detailed investment regulations (e.g. on the use of derivatives, provisions on mandatory publications, auditing, and securities repurchase agreements).
The new legislative package comprising the Financial Services Act (FinSA - in German) and Financial Institutions Act (FinIA - in German) will make a significant contrituion to ensuring the exportability of the Swiss financial sector's products and services. The two acts increase legal certainty by bringing together the existing provisions and establishing a level playing field for competing providers of comparable investment products and financial services. In addition, they bring investor protection up to date and thus present an opportunity for the Swiss financial sector to secure its future.
FinSA and FinIA represent a fundamental upheaval of the existing financial market architecture. Under the future horizontal legislation, the primarily sector-based rules of the current Collective Investment Schemes Act (CISA) will be split between the FinSA and FinIA. Specifically, the FinSA will introduce unified rules for providing financial services and offering financial instruments that apply across all sectors. Behaviour at the point of sale, for instance, will in future be regulated by the FinSA for all financial instruments. The new rules will apply regardless of whether the provider of financial services in a particular case is a bank, an independent asset manager or another financial intermediary.
The fund industry has been accustomed to a high density of regulation for years, so the fact that this density will generally be the same for all providers under the FinSA and FinIA is to be welcomed. At the same time, however, this means that the fund industry will have to abandon established concepts such as the term "distribution". The new rules will also have an impact on the existing conduct requirements, which in turn affect the self-regulation regime. The corresponding ordinances are currently still in preparation. As things stand at present, the two acts and their ordinances are expected to enter into force on 1 January 2020.