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Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)
Founded 2009
Headquarters Bern, Switzerland
Key People Mark Branson, CEO
Employees 501-1000
Twitter @FINMA_media
LinkedIn Profile
Website FINMA Homepage

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) is Switzerland's financial markets regulator.[1]


FINMA was founded in 2009 by three Swiss institutions: the Swiss Federal Banking Commission (SFBC), the Federal Office of Private Insurance (FOPI), and the Anti-Money Laundering Control Authority (AMLCO). The establishment of FINMA was an attempt by Swiss regulators to consolidate the responsibility of supervising the financial markets to a single entity.[2]

FINMA is responsible for monitoring banks, insurance companies, stock exchanges, and other market participants in Switzerland, as well as enforcing Swiss financial markets laws.[3]


Switzerland is considered to be a crypto-friendly nation for the most part; Johann Schneider-Ammann, the country's economics minister, claims that Switzerland wants "to be the crypto nation." In February 2018, FINMA released a set of guidelines for local ICOs, in order to help clarify when to apply Swiss AML and securities laws.

The Canton of Zug in northern Switzerland is a popular location for cryptocurrency startups. One reason for this may be that financial services companies seeking to do business in Switzerland are usually required to either be a member of a self-regulatory organization (SRO) or be approved by FINMA; however, since FINMA specifies that "the use of bitcoins as a means of payment is not state-controlled," technically those trading bitcoin for one reason or another are not required to have a license to do so.[4]

ICO Regulation

According to FINMA's official guidelines, there are three types of ICOs, based on the nature of the services their digital tokens confer:[5][6]

Payment ICO Utility ICO Asset ICO
Tokens can function as a means of payment over time, have no further functions or links to other development projects Tokens give access to a digital service Tokens pay dividends, interest, give rights to a share of company revenue
Must comply with AML regulations; not regulated as securities Regulated as securities Regulated as equities, bonds, or derivatives