Swiss Financial Intermediaries

Our Swiss location provides stability, legal security and top-notch quality

Working with Payment21® ensures compliance with the Swiss Federal Banking Act (SFBA) and the Swiss Anti Money Laundering Act (AMLA). We abide by Swiss law, rules and regulations. Our compliance department is there to dot the i's and cross the t's.

The Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) applies not only to banks and securities dealers. Any person or company in Switzerland that is primarily active in the financial market may qualify as financial intermediaries, especially if they professionally assume or retain external assets, or assist in investing or transferring such assets. Swiss financial intermediaries must identify their contractual party and ascertain the beneficial owner.

Furthermore, Swiss financial intermediaries must join one of the self-regulating bodies or must apply to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) for a license for their operations. The definition of “financial intermediary” is broad and includes banks, forex brokerages, securities dealers, fund managers, precious metal dealers, money transfer operators, independent asset managers, trustees, certain insurance institutions, and casinos. Swiss Financial intermediaries also include persons who accept or safeguard third-party funds or help to invest or transfer such funds.

The Swiss Federal Act on the Prevention of Money Laundering in the Financial Sector (Anti-Money Laundering Act - AMLA) forms the legal basis in Switzerland. The fundamental principles set out in the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) require strict KYC rules, stringent obligations to establish and maintain documentation regarding identification, and a duty to report suspected cases of money laundering to the authorities. Swiss Financial intermediaries must comply with the Know Your Customer (KYC) principles. These include, in particular, the identification of their contractual partners, the verification of the beneficial owner, in case of doubt whether the contractual partner is indeed the beneficial owner, by filling in a specific form (Form A); and clarifying as well as documenting the economic background, the origin of funds and the business activities of the contractual partners and the beneficial owners.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering Law and Ordinance, a Swiss financial intermediary is required to separate its clients and their transactions into at least two money laundering risk categories, those with normal risk and those with higher-risk, and develop criteria for the classification appropriate to the nature of the intermediary’s particular business.

Relationships with politically exposed persons (PEPs) and transactions involving more than CHF 100,000 in cash, bearer shares or precious metals are automatically assigned to the higher-risk category.

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