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Obtaining a light banking license (the equivalent to an EMI license) in Switzerland

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Obtaining an EMI license in Switzerland in 2020

Benefits of obtaining a light banking license in Switzerland:

  • Developed online banking sector;
  • Switzerland is a recognized innovative financial center of Europe;
  • High level of FinTech regulation at the legislative level;
  • Transparency of business processes;
  • Prestigiousness.
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Registering Swiss fintech companies and obtaining Swiss permits for financial activities are possible in accordance with certain legislative requirements of this jurisdiction, which must be reckoned with.

The concept of “electronic currencies” in Switzerland

The term “e-money” is not legal tender in Switzerland, but FINMA still uses it to identify funds, that are in local currency and are registered/saved in electronic form.

FINMA financial regulator also emphasizes, that in Switzerland operations of users, who open and replenish wallets with electronic currency, qualify as accepting deposits, for the implementation of which it will be necessary to obtain a banking license in Switzerland.

Registering a Swiss banking license

If you want to register a Swiss payment service company or to establish a company for operations with electronic money, you must obtain an EMI license in Switzerland. The state also provides a light banking license (a simplified banking license in Switzerland). Starting January 1, 2019, it is allowed to send applications for a Swiss “light” license to FINMA.

A simplified banking license is similar to an EMI license. Entrepreneurs, interested in registering fintech business in Switzerland, should carefully study licensing conditions of this jurisdiction, which determine the circle of persons, having rights and grounds to issue a light banking license in Switzerland:

  • asset managers;
  • legal advisers;
  • persons, not engaged in banking business.

This license grants rights similar to a full banking license, but the process of obtaining fintech permits in Switzerland is simplified (audit requirements, requirements for protecting capital and investors to a lower level).

Read also:
Audit and corporate requirements for obtaining a light banking license in Switzerland
  • To establish a Swiss fintech company (a high-risk company, whose income exceeds CHF 1,5 million must implement risk identification measures).
  • To apply for fintech permits in Switzerland.
  • The presence of a registered office, the implementation of commercial activities should be in this jurisdiction.
  • The audit is conducted only by licensed FINMA auditors. For organizations, operating under the “light” banking license, simplified audit requirements apply, deposit insurance regulations are not implemented (customers must be informed).
Control unit requirements

In order to obtain a fintech license in Switzerland, you:

  • need 3 directors (which are partially autonomous from the senior management);
  • must provide FINMA with data on persons, who have a 5% stake or higher in your organization;
  • must provide with operations, that affect the further development of fintech business.
Minimum capital requirements

The initial amount of the authorized capital is at least 300,000 CHF. For high-risk organizations, FINMA may request higher cash contributions.

What documentation is required to apply for an EMI license in Switzerland?
  • A company Charter, a list of administrative measures;
  • A business plan, that is designed for a minimum of 3 years;
  • Data on the structure of the enterprise;
  • Risk identification measures, including anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing policies;
  • Developed methods for resolving financial disputes in accordance with Swiss law;
  • An information about operations performed (if any).

Switzerland is an innovative financial center with progressive programs for those, who wish to register fintech business in Switzerland. New opportunities, that open up, when applying for a Swiss light banking license, give impetus to the further development of FinTech.

Although, this jurisdiction is not a member of the European Union, it presupposes strict regimes in obtaining a payment system license in Switzerland. A progressive fintech legislation makes the fintech licensing process in Switzerland flexible.

To integrate into the FinTech ecosystem, companies will need significant knowledge and the right approach to risk management. These and other questions will be answered by competent IQD Consulting experts.

Our company shall not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss arising from the use of the information and material contained in this website.

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