A Swiss SRO (Self-Regulatory Organization) membership refers to the affiliation of a financial intermediary with a self-regulatory organization in Switzerland. These organizations are authorized by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) to oversee and enforce compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and other regulatory requirements among their members.
Financial intermediaries, such as asset managers, investment advisors, and payment service providers, are required to either obtain a license from FINMA or become a member of an SRO in order to operate in Switzerland. SROs have the authority to create their own regulations, guidelines, and codes of conduct based on the legal framework provided by FINMA. Members of an SRO must comply with these rules and undergo regular audits to ensure adherence to the regulations.
A Swiss SRO membership offers several benefits, including a less stringent regulatory environment compared to obtaining a license directly from FINMA, access to valuable resources and expertise, and a certain level of credibility and trust among clients due to compliance with industry standards. Overall, SRO membership aims to maintain a high level of professionalism and integrity in the financial industry, while promoting a balanced and competitive business environment.
Key advantages for a financial intermediary of having an SRO membership is the permission to:
- Provide payment services in fiat & crypto
- Operate an exchange for crypto and fiat (no derivatives) or a DEX if influence over the smart contracts
- Trade in currencies, cryptos precious
- metals and commodities
- Offer crypto custody with segregated wallets (unlimited amount)
- Offer various crypto services such as launching an ICO, staking with a segregated wallet, issuing a 1:1 fiat-backed stablecoin
- Provide asset management services with fiat and crypto
- Manage or issue payment instruments, like cards
- Accept deposits from the public up to CHF 1mio (several exceptions may apply to accept more)
- Grant credits, loans or leasing
- Accept or assist in the transfer of third-party assets, e.g. remittance
Another advantage of joining an SRO is that it is very quick and inexpensive.