Is The New Swiss Fintech License For You?

In 2017, the Swiss Federal Council proposed to allow younger companies and especially Fintech firms to accept public deposits as part of their business activities. These amendments should attract innovative Fintech businesses and create favorable conditions for Switzerland to compete with jurisdictions such as the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Under the new “Fintech” license category this is now possible since 1 January 2019. What does this mean? Licensees may accept deposits from the public in the amount of up to CHF 100 million. However, the new license does not allow Licensees to invest the deposits or to pay interest on them. These activities remain reserved for banks. Furthermore, the Fintech License is subject to certain conditions concerning organization, risk management, compliance, accounting and financial resources.

While the approach taken by the Swiss regulator differs significantly from other jurisdictions, the Fintech License can be an attractive option for Fintech firms such as payment providers. Also, the revised regulation may still provide space for banks to advance into the Fintech sector by making use of the alleviations provided to Fintech Licensees under certain conditions.

Download the overviewe find out more about the scope of the Fintech License, the requirements and limitations, the application process, and other practical aspects.

Marcel Giger co-chairs the Firm’s Banking & Finance Practice Group in Zurich. Prior to joining the Zurich office, he served as in-house counsel for a major Swiss bank, and later worked in Baker McKenzie’s Milan practice.
Dr. Ansgar Schott is a partner in Baker McKenzie's Zurich office. He has been recognized as a leading banking and finance lawyer by publications such as Legal 500, Chambers and Who's Who Legal. In 2016, Ansgar and his team received the European Banking and Finance Deal of the Year from The Lawyer for their work on a structured finance transaction. He is co-editor and author of the leading Swiss financial markets commentaries and lectures Law & Economics at the University of St. Gallen.
Dr. Yves Mauchle is an associate in Baker McKenzie’s Corporate Finance Group in Zurich. He joined the Firm in 2011 as a trainee lawyer and rejoined as an associate in 2016. Prior to his return, Yves worked as an associate lecturer and research assistant at the University of Zurich, where he was also a member of the University Research Priority Program "Financial Market Regulation." He received the Professor Walther Hug Award and the Issekutz Award for his dissertation in the field of bank resolution.
Jan Nussbaumer is an associate in Baker McKenzie’s Zurich office. He practices mainly in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganizations and debt financing. Prior to becoming an associate in 2012, Mr. Nussbaumer worked as a law clerk in the Firm’s Zurich office. While studying law at the University of St. Gallen, he had the opportunity to work as a trainee in the corporate legal team of a major Swiss bank.