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FINMA Distribution Report 2010: Wide-ranging overview offers a good basis for discussion – Bringing independent asset managers into the supervisory framework is welcome – In some areas the measures proposed under civil law go too far and are based on an undue generalisation about an information gap between banks and their clients.

The Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) welcomes the FINMA Distribution Report as a nuanced overview and basis for discussion on issues relating to the distribution of financial products, and the planned steps to bring independent asset managers within the supervisory framework. However, the FINMA Distribution Report assumes a generally applicable information gap between client and bank without qualification.

The FINMA Distribution Report offers a nuanced overview and thereby serves as a good basis for discussion on issues relating to the distribution of financial products. However, the Report is partly based on assumptions which the SBA firmly rejects. This applies in particular to the generalisation that an information gap prevails between banks and their clients. A greater degree of qualification is required here.

In its report, FINMA looks towards bringing independent asset managers within the supervisory framework and thereby seeks to apply rules which are in line with EU law. The SBA welcomes this. Whether this necessitates a new Financial Services Act or simply amending current law is enough still requires clarification. On the issue of supervision, a revision of the Stock Exchange Ordinance should suffice, at least as a first step.

The SBA regards as counterproductive the proposals for measures under civil law, such as shifting the burden of proof and bringing in an ombudsman's office with power to rule on disputes. The proposed measures go beyond the supervisory framework and are also based on the generalising and incorrect assumption that there is an information gap between banks and their clients.

The idea of a provisional Federal Council Ordinance aimed at fast harmonisation of rules of conduct for banks, securities dealers, fund managers and assets managers under CISA already subject to prudential supervision is also rejected by the SBA. This would probably even exacerbate the unequal playing field which already exists with regard to independent asset managers.

Furthermore, the SBA would urge making proportionate adjustments using the time available, in a process which takes account of the ongoing revision of distribution rules for financial products in the EU and in particular the MiFID directive. It is important, too, that the new rules make it easier for Swiss firms to access EU markets. The SBA will work with the authorities, stakeholders and their associations in seeking to achieve a suitable solution.