The amended Swiss legislation on collective investment schemes (CISA and CISO) replaces the concept of "public advertising" with the wider term "distribution." The definition of "qualified investors" has also changed. These changes mean foreign collective investment schemes no longer benefit from the former private placement exemption.
Any offering or advertising of foreign funds in Switzerland is considered distribution, with a few exceptions. The new rules came into force on 1 March 2013, but fund promoters have two years to become compliant with the new regime. This transition period ends on 28 February 2015. The new rules apply to all foreign fund promoters wishing to distribute their products to Swiss based investor.
Promoters of foreign collective investment schemes aimed at qualified investors in Switzerland need to consider the following things:
- Foreign funds do not require approval from FINMA, but they do require:
- A legal representative and a paying agent in Switzerland;
- Fund documentation to specify certain information and to be made available to investors free of charge;
- New distribution agreements between representatives and distributors in accordance with Swiss law;
- Distribution in Switzerland by any foreign financial intermediary to be supervised in the intermediary's home country.
- New information and documentation duties (code of conduct).
- New rules on information published on websites and on the visibility of offers and advertising.