FINMA is Switzerland’s independent financial-markets regulator. Its mandate is to supervise banks, insurance companies, exchanges, securities dealers, collective investment schemes, and their asset managers and fund management companies. It also regulates distributors and insurance intermediaries. It is charged with protecting creditors, investors and policyholders. FINMA is responsible for ensuring that Switzerland’s financial markets function effectively. FINMA commenced its activities on 1 January 2009. The institutional, functional and financial independence FINMA enjoys enables it to exercise effective supervision over Switzerland’s financial industry.
The Swiss National Bank conducts the country’s monetary policy as an independent central bank. It is obliged by the Constitution and by statute to act in accordance with the interests of the country as a whole. Its primary goal is to ensure price stability, while taking due account of economic developments. In so doing, it creates an appropriate environment for economic growth.
The Swiss Banking Act of 2005 stipulates that all Swiss branches of banks and securities dealers must have their preferential deposits protected by esisuisse. If a bank or securities dealer in Switzerland becomes insolvent, the other members of esisuisse will immediately provide the required funds. This collective scheme ensures that the clients of such an insolvent bank have their protected deposits paid out to them within one month. Deposits totalling no more than CHF 100 000 per depositor are protected. The banks receive reimbursement of their contributions at a later date when the insolvent bank is liquidated.
The Banking Ombudsman deals with specific complaints which are raised against banks based in Switzerland. The Banking Ombudsman is independent and neutral and he treats inquiries strictly confidential. The arbitration process is free of charge for the client. The institution Swiss Banking Ombudsman took up its duties in April 1993. Since then the office is well established and deals with an increasing number of enquiries (currently about 2000 a year). The Banking Ombudsman also runs a Central Claims Office for persons searching for dormant assets.
SIX operates Switzerland’s financial market infrastructure and offers on a global scale comprehensive services in the areas of securities trading, clearing and settlement, as well as financial information and payment transactions. The company is owned by its users: approximately 140 banks of various size and orientation.