What has happened?

The Swiss financial regulator is planning to relax anti-money laundering (AML) rules for "small" FinTechs, as part of a drive to promote innovation.

What does this mean?

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued a consultation on proposed changes to the FINMA Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance.

If approved, the changes, which were prompted by a new FinTech licence introduced by the Swiss parliament in June, would mean that small FinTechs will be subject to less onerous AML rules than established organisations.

"As a rule, all financial institutions are subject to similar due diligence requirements relating to combating money laundering. However, as most FinTech licence applicants are likely to be smaller institutions, FINMA proposes to introduce some organisational relaxations for such institutions", FINMA said in a press release.

Under the proposal, small FinTech firms, unlike banks, will not have to establish an independent AML unit with monitoring duties.

"Small" institutions are those with gross revenues under CHF 1.5 million.

The move comes after the Swiss parliament launched in June a new licensing category, known as the FinTech licence, and added provisions in the Banking Act to promote innovation, which will be implemented from 1 January 2019.

The consultation ends on 26 October 2018 and, if approved, the changes should also enter into force in January 2019.

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