Switzerland electronic money institute (emi) license

Switzerland has been traditionally associated with sophisticated financial institutions with excellent service and is renowned as one of the prominent financial services destinations of the world. With a stable economy and a well regulated financial services sector, Switzerland presents a unique opportunity for businesses to establish their base and provide new-age financial services to customers in all favorable jurisdictions.

Switzerland Electronic Money Institute (EMI) License

 

 

Switzerland has been traditionally associated with sophisticated financial institutions with excellent service and is renowned as one of the prominent financial services destinations of the world. With a stable economy and a well regulated financial services sector, Switzerland presents a unique opportunity for businesses to establish their base and provide new-age financial services to customers in all favorable jurisdictions.

In view of the latest developments in technology and client interests, Switzerland in 2019 introduced a Swiss Electronic Money Institution or EMI license in a form called the “Fintech license” or “banking license light.” The official press release is available here.

This new Swiss EMI license has been promoted as an alternative to getting a full banking license for businesses planning to operate payment and e-money services or accept deposits but where the amount of deposits is not expected to be high. It lowers the market entry barrier for new businesses but still enables them to benefit from a license from a reputed jurisdiction.

Key Benefits

A Swiss EMI license provided the following key benefits:

  • Ability to offer payment and money transfer services in multiple currencies
  • Commence business under the sandbox model till a deposit of CHF 1 million without the requirement of a license
  • Operate multiple forms of financial services including payment services, e-money services, e-wallet services
  • The operation of cryptocurrency wallets and crypto exchange or exchange services is also possible.
  • The possibility to access the Swiss Financial system with Swiss Bank accounts
  • Simplified financial and audit process

The Swiss EMI license permits acceptance of deposits up to 100 million Swiss francs but does not permit payment of interest or investment of these deposits. This makes the license ideal for purposes such as establishing a payment service provider, e-money or e-wallet services or even crowdfunding services.

Swiss EMI License Costs

Obtaining a Swiss EMI license can take up to six months. But, during this period, the business can continue to operate until it reaches a threshold of deposits of 1 million Swiss francs under the sandbox model. Once the threshold is reached, the business will have to inform the regulator.

How can I get a Swiss EMI License?

The process of issuing a Swiss EMI license is regulated by the Swiss Financial Services regulator called FINMA. The process of application and issuance is relatively straightforward and is composed of five key steps as discussed below:

First Step: The FINMA should be contacted about the interest in using the Financial Services Sandbox model to open a new financial services business with basic information about your plan and introduction of your business.

Second Step: The FINMA generally replies within 2-3 weeks and you are ready to commence your electronic money business.

Third Step: When you are close to receiving CHF 1 million in deposits, you should contact Empire Global who will then inform you about the requirements to obtain a specific license.

Fourth Step: In the fourth step, You can apply with the necessary document listed below and the assistance of Empire Global for a formal Swiss EMI (Swiss Fintech) license.

Fifth Step: Your license is approved and issued by FINRA and you can receive up to CHF 100 million from your clients.

With a Swiss EMI License, you are ready to provide a wide range of financial services to your clients. You can set up your business in a manner that you provide services only through the online model or a mobile app and become a new-age financial services provider which is not limited by global boundaries.

What are the Swiss EMI License Requirements?

The documentation requirements for a Swiss EMI License after the Sandbox limits are crossed:

  • Fully paid-up capital of CHF 300,000
  • A compliance manual which is prepared to comply with OECD Guidelines and Guidelines on Preventing Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing
  • AML and KYC Manuals
  • A business plan which includes compliance with capital adequacy, risk diversification, and liquidity rules.
  • Information about qualified staff members with proper business conduct
  • Company incorporation documents
  • Management of the company in Switzerland
  • Internal risk management and control system information with details on the audit system
  • The separation between strategic and executive management

Assistance will be provided in the preparation and compilation of all the documents. Help in fulfilling the requirements can also be provided by Empire Global.

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