FIDLEG SOLUTION - News 12/2017

MiFID II – impact on Swiss asset managers


MiFID II/MiFIR (collectively referred to as “MiFID II”) kicks in on 3rd of January 2018. In other words: only one month to go for being MiFID II-compliant! Or: only one month to go for being MiFID II-compliant? Using an exclamation mark or a question mark makes a big difference and relates to the fundamental question: what is the impact of MiFID II on Swiss asset managers?

There is no straight answer to this question. MiFID II with its new and far reaching regulations on the entire value chain of financial services can have various impacts on Swiss asset managers, be it direct or indirect - depending on the business model, activities and client base of the Swiss asset manager. In its MiFID II series we will discuss the impact on Swiss asset managers and their typical business models and cross-border activities.

Without any doubt, the new rules on trading inducements, unbundling & research, best execution, market transparency and the regulation on the EU market access are some of the key areas where a Swiss asset manager may find that it is impacted, directly or indirectly. Depending on the business model of the Swiss asset manager, MiFID II could affect a wide range of functions, including trading, product development, client services, human resources, and IT infrastructure.

Swiss asset managers should consider how these new requirements will affect the way they do business in the EU or with EU counterparties from the start of 2018.

Our MiFID II series will examine the key regulatory considerations for Swiss asset managers resulting from MiFID II based on the most common ways that Swiss asset managers interact with Europe, including: (A) marketing their products and services in the EU; (B) managing assets on a cross-border basis from Switzerland directly for EU clients; (C) providing sub-investment management or advisory services from Switzerland to a MiFID investment firm or an EU fund (UCITS or AIF); and/or (D) trading with EU counterparties – i.e. MiFID II regulated broker-dealers.


A Swiss asset manager without any EU place of business was, as a general rule, not within scope of MiFID I and usually requires no license in the EU. That position will remain the same under MiFID II, because current national rules are generally preserved – what needs to be checked on a country-by-country-basis.

Moreover, Swiss asset managers, same as EU asset managers, that provide services only to regulated funds, such as undertakings for collective investments in transferable securities (“UCITS”) or alternative investment funds regulated under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (“AIFMD”), are not generally within the direct scope of MiFID II. However, an EU asset manager as well as a Swiss asset manager that also provides managed account or investment advisory services to particular clients will be directly subject to relevant MiFID II requirements.

Some regulators, notably the Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) in the UK, have decided to extend the scope of some MiFID II rules to all kinds of fund managers regulated in their member state, i.e. including UCITS managers (“UCITS ManCos) and Alternative Investment Fund Managers (“AIFMs”).

Even if a Swiss asset manager is not regulated in the EU, it will in certain instances be indirectly impacted in its dealings with EU counterparties that are subject to the full MiFID II requirements. The way in which this indirect application occurs varies – depending on the relevant requirement of MiFID II.


The next issue of the MiFID II series provided by FIDLEG SOLUTION shall discuss the new rules of MiFID II on Swiss asset managers marketing their products and services in the EU.


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