People Moves

Compliance Corner: FINMA

Chris Hamblin, 25 March 2021

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The latest compliance news: regulatory developments, punishments, guidance, permissions and new product and service offerings.

FINMA
Mark Branson is stepping down as chief executive of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, aka FINMA. He will become the president of BaFin, Germany's financial regulator, some time in the summer of this year. 

Branson has worked at FINMA since 1 January 2010, initially as head of banking supervision and from 2013 also as deputy CEO and since April 2014 as chief executive. He played a decisive part in building up the regulatory authority and establishing it both nationally and internationally. FINMA says that it will be sorry to see him go. Jan Blöchliger will take over the operational leadership of FINMA on 1 May and stay there until further notice. The board of directors is looking for a new CEO, who will require approval from the Federal Council, Switzerland's "seven-headed president."

After Branson became CEO, FINMA paid more and more attention to conduct-related supervision and in particular money-laundering control. Under his leadership, FINMA actively supported innovation in Swiss finance while claiming, as most regulators still do, to be "technologically neutral," i.e. not to ask firms to favour any kind of IT over other IT or other processes. The FINMA board has acknowledged the fact that Branson's new appointment will be a step up.

Among recent developments, FINMA has been involved in a new regime for regulating external asset managers in the country. This news service recently interviewed the watchdog on the issue.

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