Obligation to register

The FAQ published below on frequent questions regarding the obligation to register in the client advisor register were jointly prepared by the FinSA registration offices. The English version was taken note of by FINMA:

General questions and registration process

  1. Who operates the Registration Office?

    It is operated by BX Swiss AG, a Swiss stock exchange regulated under the Financial Market Infrastructure Act and supervised by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA. BX Swiss AG has been part of the Stuttgart Stock Exchange Group since 2018.

    The Registration Office of BX Swiss was approved by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA in July 2020 as the first authority to keep the Swiss Register of Client Advisors.

  2. Is an entry in the Swiss Register of Client Advisors obligatory?

    The obligation to register results from Art. 28 in connection with Art. 95 para. 2 FinSA. The assessment as to whether there is an obligation to register lies with the financial services providers or the client advisors themselves; the registration office cannot make any assessment in this regard.

  3. Is a voluntary entry in the Swiss Register of Client Advisors possible?

    A voluntary entry in the Swiss Register of Client Advisors is possible, provided that all requirements are met. Voluntary entries are also subject to the obligation to renew the entry according to Art. 41 para. 2 FINSO.

  4. How can I be entered in the Swiss Register of Client Advisors?

    BX Swiss offers client advisors a fully digital process for registration in the Swiss Register of Client Advisors. Advisors can register online and start the simple, intuitive registration process after activating their personal account via email verification. Under the link “Before you start” you can find all the important information needed for the registration process.

  5. In which languages is the online registration platform of the Registration Office available?

    The online registration platform is only available in English. BX Swiss provides a translation table with the texts in Italian, French and German on its website.

  6. How long does it take to review my registration?

    Normally it takes a maximum of 30 days until you are entered in the the Swiss Register of Client Advisors, provided that all details and documents are complete.

  7. By when do I have to be entered in the register?

    In the case of a registration obligation, client advisors must be entered in the register of advisors before commencing their activity (Art. 28 para. 1 FinSA). Registration takes place when all registration requirements are fulfilled. Registration is made by means of an official decision of the registration office.

  8. Must persons who only perform administrative work in connection with financial services also be entered in the register?

    The obligation to register results from Art. 28 in connection with Art. 95 para. 2 FinSA (Link to the law). The assessment as to whether an obligation to register exists lies with the financial service provider or the client advisor himself. The Registration Office cannot give an opinion on this. The registration office also accepts voluntary applications for registration.

  9. Does an extract from the debt collection register have to be submitted as part of the registration?

    Client advisors do not have to submit an extract from the debt collection register. Art. 34 para. 2 FinSO refers to requirements for the persons entrusted with the management of the Registration Office.

  10. How can a deletion of an entry in the register of advisors be requested?

    Requests for deletion of an entry can be made directly via the platform. Client advisors can log into their profile and request deletion on a specific date. A confirmation signed by the client advisor must be uploaded for the deletion. A template for the confirmation will be provided during the deletion process.

Renewal of the entry in the Client Advisor Register

  1. When is it possible to renew an entry in the Client Advisor Register?

    Renewal of registration is possible at the earliest 3 months before expiry of an existing registration. Registered client advisors will be informed by e-mail as soon as the renewal function is available in their profile.

  2. By when must the renewal of the registration be applied for?

    To ensure a seamless renewal of the registration, the application for renewal should be submitted early, at the latest 10 working days before the expiry of an existing registration via the online profile. For applications submitted later but before the expiry of the registration, the registry may charge an additional fee according to section 2.9 of the List of Fees. The last day for submitting a renewal application is in any case the expiry date of the existing registration (visible in the respective online profile or in the reminder emails).

  3. If the renewal application is filed three months before the expiry of an existing registration, will I not lose up to 3 months for a registration that has already been paid for?

    No, the registration is always valid for a full 24 months[1], and renewal is seamless if a valid renewal application is filed in time. For example, if the initial registration took place on 1 September 2020 and the application for renewal is submitted on 5 June 2022, the renewal of the registration will take place on 1 September 2022. It is therefore advantageous to submit the application for renewal early (within the three months before the expiry of the registration).

    [1] Provided that all requirements for registration are met

  4. How do client advisors know that the renewal function is available?

    Client advisors receive an automatic reminder email 3 months before the registration expires, from which time the renewal function is available. A second reminder email is sent one month before the registration expires.

  5. What happens if the renewal application is not filed in time?

    If the application for renewal is not submitted by the expiry date of the registration at the latest, the registration will automatically expire. Therefore, if the deadline for renewal is missed, there will be an automatic deletion from the Client Advisor Register. In order to be re-entered in the BX Swiss Client Advisor Register, a new application (subject to a fee) must be submitted with all application enclosures.

  6. What documents are required for the renewal of the registration?

    When renewing the registration, all information must be verified and confirmed. In addition, valid proof of knowledge of the rules of conduct under the FinSA must be submitted. If any information has changed, it can be amended during the renewal process.

  7. Do I have to submit a new criminal record extract?

    If no criminal record has been entered, you do not have to submit a new criminal record extract. However, you must confirm this in the renewal process. If there is a conviction against you for a property offence pursuant to Art. 137-182 of the Criminal Code, please contact the registration office in advance by e-mail at office@regservcices.ch.

  8. What does the renewal of the registration cost?

    The fee for renewing the registration is CHF 500 for 24 months.

  9. Why must the entry in the Client Advisor Register be renewed?

    According to Art. 41 Para. 2 of the Financial Services Ordinance (FinSO), the registration in the Client Advisor Register must be renewed at the latest after 24 months from the date of the initial registration (date of the decision of the Registration Office). The renewal of the registration in the Client Advisor Register is valid again for 24 months provided that all registration requirements are fulfilled.

  10. Where can I see how long my entry is valid for?

    You can see both your entry date and the expiry date of your entry in your online profile as soon as you have logged in. In addition, the initial entry date is displayed in the Client Advisor Register (public).

  11. How will I know if my renewal application has been approved?

    On the one hand, you will receive an automatic e-mail that your application has been approved, and on the other hand, the Registration Office will send you a decision regarding the renewal of your registration via the secure electronic delivery platform IncaMail. The decision also states when the renewal of the registration will take place (the day following the expiry of the existing registration).

  12. An example of the deadlines in connection with the renewal of registration:

    Client advisor Peter Miller was registered in the Client Advisor Register on 1 September 2020 (date of the Registration Office’s decision).

    – His initial registration expires on 31 August 2022 (24 months after registration).

    – He will receive the following automatic reminder emails:

    O Email on 31 May 2022 (3 months before expiry). He can now log in to his profile and request the renewal of his registration.

    o Second email on 31 July 2022 (1 month before expiry).

    The reminder emails will be sent to the primary email address and the alternative and additional email address specified in the profile.

    – The request for renewal of registration should be submitted early, at the latest by 21 August 2022. If Peter Miller submits the application after 21 August 2022 but no later than 31 August 2022, the Registration Office will charge an additional fee in accordance with Clause 2.9 of the List of Fees (urgent decisions).

    – Peter Miller submits his renewal application on 2 August 2022 (after receiving the 2nd reminder).

    – On 10 August 2022 he receives the decision from the Registration Office regarding the renewal of his entry.

    – The renewal of his entry in the Register of Advisers is valid from 1 September 2022 until 31 August 2024.

    – If Peter Miller fails to submit his application for renewal by 31 August 2022 at the latest, his entry in the Client Advisor Register will be automatically deleted.

Professional Liability Insurance

  1. What must the professional liability insurance cover?

    The professional liability insurance must meet the requirements of Art. 32 FINSO. A summary of the requirements is published on our website.

  2. Does the professional liability insurance have to be contracted with a specific insurance provider or is a specific provider recommended?

    No, professional liability insurance can be contracted with any insurance company. It is only important that the insurance policy fulfils the requirements of Art. 32 FinSO.

  3. Are insurance policies contracted outside of Switzerland also accepted?

    Yes. For insurance policies contracted abroad, confirmation must be provided that the insurance also covers damages for activities in Switzerland. Furthermore, the requirements according to Art. 32 FinSO must be fulfilled.

  4. Does the policy (including insurance conditions) have to be submitted as part of the registration process or can I otherwise prove that I am covered by professional liability insurance?

    Instead of a copy of the insurance policy, a confirmation from the issuing insurance company that all requirements for professional liability insurance according to Art. 32 FINSO are met may be submitted. This confirmation must include the following points in particular:

    • the policyholder
    • the scope of insurance
    • the amount insured pursuant to Art. 32 point 3 FinSO
    • the validity (or the period of withdrawal according to Art. 32 point 4 FinSO)
    • a confirmation according to Art. 32 point 5 FinSO

    If the insurance was contracted by a financial service provider for whom you work (and the employer has already submitted the proof separately to the Registration Office), an employer confirmation confirming that you are covered by professional liability insurance is sufficient. This confirmation must be submitted via the online platform instead of the insurance policy.

Required Knowledge (professional knowledge)

  1. I am self-employed and have been working as a client advisor for several years but have not completed any training or further education that would enable me to prove my expertise. What can I do?

    You can also prove your expertise in other ways, e.g. by means of references from previous employers (testifying to your activities), certification from third parties (e.g. by an independent board of directors, etc.).

  2. I am self-employed, can I confirm myself that I have the necessary specialist knowledge (e.g. through the employer's confirmation)?

    No, this is not possible, the confirmation must come from an independent third party (not a colleague, family member, friend, etc.)

  3. How can the required expertise be proven?

    You can provide evidence of the required professional knowledge on the basis of completed training and education courses. The Registration Office maintains a list of those education and training courses that meet the requirements for the certificate (drop-down list during the registration process). Alternatively, education training courses not included in the pre-selection list of the Registration Office may serve as evidence, provided that they meet the requirements as described in the Guidelines concerning proof of the required knowledge according to Art. 6 FinSA. Such evidence must be documented accordingly in the registration process.

Required Knowledge (knowledge of the code of conduct rules according to FinSA)

  1. How can the required knowledge of the code of conduct rules according to FinSA be proven?

    You can prove your knowledge of the FinSA code of conduct rules by successfully completing trainings or examinations. You can choose the type of education, e.g. internal or external classroom courses, e-learning etc. There are also providers of online tests which evaluate your knowledge of the rules of conduct after self-study. The Registration Office maintains a list of those education and training courses that meet the requirements for the proof (drop-down list during the registration process). The requirements are described in the Guidelines concerning proof of the required knowledge according to Art. 6 FinSA.

Costs of registration and payment procedures

  1. How much does the entry in the Register of Client Advisors cost?

    The costs for registration in the Register of Client Advisors are regulated in the List of Fees of the Registration Office. An individual entry costs CHF 840 per client advisor, which covers the entry for 24 months including all amendments.

  2. When will the fees for registration in the Register of Client Advisors become due?

    The fees will be charged during the registration process and can be paid by credit card, TWINT or SOFORT (only with a Swiss Bankaccount).

  3. Will the fees be refunded if my application for registration is rejected?

    No, the fees cannot be refunded, as there is already a charge for submitting the application (this is set out in the Financial Services Ordinance).

  4. What is a Corporate Registration Code?

    The Corporate Registration Code can be obtained by financial service providers in advance from the registration office by invoice if several client advisors of the financial service provider are to be entered in the Register of Client Advisors. The invoice is to be paid in advance, afterwards the financial service provider receives a Corporate Registration Code, which can be redeemed according to the number of prepaid entries.

  5. I do not have a credit card; can I pay by any other method?

    You can pay with TWINT or SOFORT (only with a Swiss Bankaccount), for individual payment methods, please contact us by e-mail at office@regservices.ch.

  6. When can I claim a reduction in expenses?

    Financial service providers who enter more than 4 client advisors in the Register of Client Advisors can benefit from a fee reduction, provided that they carry out the entries for the advisors as employer or as authorized third party.

  7. Are there any privileges for the entry in the Register of Client Advisors if I am a member of an industry association?

    The registration office of BX Swiss AG can grant members of certain industry associations a reduced registration fee in accordance with the List of Fees if the industry association ensures minimum standards with regard to the training and education of its members or offers events relating to the FinSA Register of Client Advisors. Ask your industry association whether you can benefit from a discounted registration. Your industry association will send you a registration code which you can use in the payment process.

  8. Are there any other annual costs in addition to the registration fee of CHF 840?

    No, the registration fee of CHF 840 includes the entry in the Register of Client Advisors for 24 months, provided that all requirements are met, and all amendments. Any extraordinary expenses according to the scale of fees are reserved. The law requires a renewal of the entry after 24 months. The fee for the renewal of the registration will be communicated to market participants by the end of December 2021 in accordance with the List of Fees.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)

  1. Does the CV have to be dated and signed?

    Yes, the CV must be up to date (therefore dated) and signed.

  2. Are there any rules on the content or form of the CV?

    No, there are no formal requirements. However, the curriculum vitae must be up to date and include the relevant professional experience and the education and training relevant to the job as client advisor. The CV must also be dated and signed. For example, the current LinkedIn or XING profile can also be submitted as a CV (as a PDF, signed and dated) or an overview of the relevant information provided by the employer (e.g. an extract from the personal HR file), provided that the relevant information is complete and up to date.

Ombudsman Office

  1. Do I have to join an ombudsman office before applying for entry in the Register of Client Advisors?

    Yes, in general, the affiliation with an ombudsman office is a prerequisite for the entry in the Register of Client Advisors. In certain special cases, however, there is an exception to the obligation to affiliate: see the communication of the Federal Department of Finance of 8 November 2020.

  2. Do I have to prove that I am affiliated with an ombudsman office?

    During the registration process, you only need to indicate which ombudsman office you are affiliated with, no proof, e.g. in the form of a confirmation of affiliation, needs to be submitted. The registration office checks the affiliation directly with the corresponding ombudsman. If you still want to submit a confirmation of affiliation, you can do so under the “Employer Confirmation” upload field (there is no specific field for this).

  3. Is it necessary to join a particular ombudsman office?

    No, the ombudsman office can in principle be freely chosen. BX Swiss maintains a list of approved ombudsman offices.

  4. Do foreign financial service providers also have to affiliate to an ombudsman's office?

    Yes, foreign financial service providers must also affiliate with an ombudsman’s office. In certain special cases, however, there is an exception to the obligation to affiliate: see the communication of the Federal Department of Finance of 8 November 2020.

  5. Is it possible to select several ombudsman offices?

    For each financial service provider, the respective ombudsman office has to be stated.

    We accept all ombudsman offices recognized by the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) in connection with the FinSA. The FDF publishes a list of all recognized ombudsman offices:

    https://www.efd.admin.ch/efd/en/home/das-efd/ombudstelle-nach-fidleg.html.

Criminal records excerpts

  1. What are the requirements for foreign criminal records excerpts?

    Financial service providers subject to prudential supervision abroad:
    Case 1: For countries that maintain a central criminal record for public searches and that issue an extract from the criminal record for transfer to a foreign authority: appropriate proof (not older than 90 days)
    Case 2: In the case of countries that do not issue an excerpt from the criminal record for the purpose of verification within the framework of registration in the Register of Client Advisors: A corresponding negative confirmation from the employing financial service provider must be submitted to us, confirming that there are no comparable obstacles abroad within the meaning of Art. 29 para. 2 lit. a FinSA or Art. 41 para. 1 lit. k FinSO. This negative confirmation is to be uploaded at the appropriate place within the application submission.

    Other foreign financial service providers:
    Case 1: For countries that keep a central criminal record for public searches and that issue an excerpt from the criminal record for the purpose of forwarding it to a foreign authority: appropriate proof (not older than 90 days)
    Case 2: For countries that do not issue an excerpt from the criminal record for the purpose of verification within the framework of registration in the Register of Client Advisors: In these cases we request a background check report which shows that there are no comparable obstacles abroad within the meaning of Art. 29 para. 2 lit. a FinSA or Art. 41 para. 1 lit. k FinSO. The provider of such reports should be an independent and renowned provider in the field of background screening. In addition, the financial service provider itself should also state in the employer’s confirmation that it is not aware of any such obstacles.

This compilation of the most frequently asked questions in connection with the entry in the  client advisor register of BX Swiss does not constitute binding legal information. Should you have specific questions, please feel free to contact us by e-mail at office@regservices.ch.

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    CH-8001 Zürich

    +41 31 329 40 55
    office@regservices.ch