PRODUCTS, CAPITAL AND INVESTORS
7,500 authorised funds for sale to the public, of which 1,400 are based in Switzerland, 300 billion francs worth of assets under management in UCITS funds, a 27% market share in private offshore banking: the numbers tell the story of a large, well established fund management industry that is well supported by a wealth of know-how and services to allow fund managers that decide to base their business in Switzerland to be competitive at a global level.
The Swiss regulatory context when it comes to alternative fund management is in line with and comparable with the European and US contexts, both structurally and in terms of content.
All operators have to carry out their activities in accordance with the reference law for fund managers, that being the Federal Law on Collective Investment Schemes (LICol) and the related Order on Collective Investment Schemes (OICol). These are supplemented by the Federal Anti-Money-Laundering Law (LRD) and, in some cases, the Canton law on the exercise of the profession of trustee (LFid).
Anyone who manages, maintains or distributes collective investment schemes to non-qualified investors needs to have an authorisation from FINMA. This does not include managers whose investors are qualified and who manage assets worth less than 100 million francs (in the case of liquid assets inclusive of leveraging) or 500 million francs (in the case of liquid assets excluding leveraging).
Foreign collective investment schemes distributed solely to qualified investors do not require approval, but must comply with certain requirements. Distribution of foreign collective investment schemes in Switzerland or from Switzerland to non-qualified investors requires FINMA’s prior approval.
The tax regime applicable to a fund manager varies depending on the legal structure of its business. The extensive flexibility of the “Ticino System” allows the new taxpayer to get in contact with the Tax Authority and assess their tax position, reaching an ad hoc solution by agreement between the parties.