Comparative Guides

Welcome to Mondaq Comparative Guides - your comparative global Q&A guide.

Our Comparative Guides provide an overview of some of the key points of law and practice and allow you to compare regulatory environments and laws across multiple jurisdictions.

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4. Results: Answers
Alternative Investment Funds
5.
Marketing
5.1
Is the marketing of alternative investment funds subject to authorisation in your jurisdiction?
Switzerland

Answer ... The marketing of foreign alternative investment funds (AIFs) to retail clients requires prior authorisation from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA), which includes the appointment of a Swiss representative and a Swiss paying agent. By contrast, the offering and advertising of foreign AIFs to institutional clients or professional clients does not trigger an obligation to register with FINMA. If foreign AIFs are targeted at Swiss high-net-worth individuals and private investment structures created for them without professional treasury operations(including structures such as trusts, family offices and domiciliary companies)with an opt-out declaration, then the foreign AIF must appoint a Swiss representative and Swiss paying agent in Switzerland.

In addition to the marketing, the Financial Services Act (FinSA) foresees a new concept of financial services, which includes the acquisition and disposal of funds, among other things. This includes any activity targeted directly at Swiss investors with the specific aim of acquiring or disposing of a fund (eg, including activities such as road shows). A financial service will trigger a new duty to register the client adviser of the financial service provider in a Swiss client adviser register. However, it is envisaged that client advisers of FINMA-supervised financial service providers or client advisers of foreign financial service providers (prudentially supervised by their home financial market authority and providing financial services exclusively for professional or institutional clients) will be exempt from this duty. Nevertheless, irrespective of whether registration in a client adviser register is required by law, all financial service providers must ensure compliance with the rules of conduct and organisation set out under FinSA, and affiliate with an ombudsman’s office where an activity qualifies as a financial service.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.2
If so, what criteria must be satisfied to obtain authorisation? Do any restrictions apply in this regard?
Switzerland

Answer ... See questions 3.2 and 5.1. Additionally, the requirements to be met for client advisers of financial service providers include:

  • sufficient knowledge of FinSA rules of conduct;
  • the necessary specialist knowledge (training and further education);
  • the obtainment of professional liability insurance (the minimum amount insured must be at least equivalent to CHF 500,000 per client adviser); and
  • affiliation with an ombudsman office in Switzerland.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.3
What is the process for obtaining authorisation and how long does this usually take?
Switzerland

Answer ... See question 3.3. To date, the Swiss Federal Department of Finance has not yet approved an ombudsman. The Swiss fund industry expects that this should happen in the first quarter of 2020. The ombudsman office is responsible for defining the affiliation conditions (no further details are currently available). Furthermore, to date, FINMA has not yet approved a register of advisers. The Swiss fund industry expects this should happen in the first half of 2020. The register of advisers will be responsible for defining the registration conditions (no further details are currently available).

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.4
To whom can alternative investment funds be marketed?
Switzerland

Answer ... Foreign AIFs with FINMA authorisation can be marketed to all types of Swiss investors. Foreign AIFs which have appointed a Swiss representative and Swiss paying agent can be marketed to all types of professional and institutional clients (although targeting of retail clients is not permitted). Finally, foreign AIFs which have neither obtained FINMA authorisation nor appointed a Swiss representative and Swiss paying agent can be marketed to professional and institutional clients only (eg, it is not possible to target high-net-worth individuals with an opt-out declaration).

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.5
What are the content criteria that marketing materials for alternative investment funds must satisfy?
Switzerland

Answer ... Apart from the criteria mentioned in questions 3.1., 3.2 and 5.1, the marketing materials of foreign AIFs (subject to fund documents such as the prospectus or annual reports) must be designated as advertising materials and must include an appropriate Swiss disclaimer. In respect of the marketing materials of foreign AIFs registered with FINMA, the Swiss disclaimer includes, among other things:

  • information on the place of incorporation of the AIF;
  • the place where the respective fund documents can be obtained free of charge (at least from the Swiss representative); and
  • the names of the appointed Swiss representative and the Swiss paying agent.

Furthermore, the publication of performance data in such marketing materials must comply with the specific requirements stated in the guidelines on the calculation and publication of performance data of collective investment schemes of the Swiss Funds and Asset Management Association.

With regard to the marketing materials of foreign AIFs which have appointed a Swiss representative and Swiss paying agent only, the Swiss disclaimer includes, among other things:

  • the place where the respective fund documents can be obtained free of charge (at least from the Swiss representative);
  • the place of performance and jurisdiction; and
  • the names of the appointed Swiss representative and the Swiss paying agent.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.6
What other requirements or restrictions apply to marketing materials for alternative investment funds?
Switzerland

Answer ... See question 5.5.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.7
Can alternative fund managers from other jurisdictions market alternative investment funds in your jurisdiction without authorisation?
Switzerland

Answer ... See question 5.1.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.8
Is the appointment of local marketing entities required in your jurisdiction?
Switzerland

Answer ... No, cross-border activities are allowed, provided that the foreign marketing entities meet the Swiss requirements (as far as applicable in relation to client advisers, affiliation with a Swiss ombudsman’s office and/or registration in a Swiss client adviser register).

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
5.9
Is it possible to market alternative investment funds to retail investors in your jurisdiction? If so, are there specific requirements?
Switzerland

Answer ... See questions 3.1, 3.2 and, where marketing activities qualify as a financial service, 5.1.

For more information about this answer please contact: Matthias Lüdi from First Independent Fund Services LTD.
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Alternative Investment Funds