Swiss banks: New chances for market entry in Germany by means of a simplified regulatory framework

FINMA and BaFIN finally came to an agreement regarding all the required concrete measures for the so called “Simplified Exemption Procedure”. Thereby the regulatory framework for the market entry of Swiss banks in Germany will be facilitated.


In the past, Swiss banks going for a business activity in Germany without establishing a physical presence were required to meet several conditions which made conducting business operations more complicated. In particular, Swiss banks had to involve a locally active German / EEA bank for the customer identification of private clients.

Since 2013, there have been efforts by the Swiss Confederation and the Federal Republic of Germany to intensify cross-border cooperation in the financial sector. For that purpose, the so called “Memorandum to procedural aspects of cross-border activities in the financial sector” was established. One of the objectives of this Memorandum is enabling Swiss banks with cross-border customer relations to a simplified market entry in Germany, similar to the institutes of the EEA region.

However, this method put forward for the simplified market entry could not be applied yet, although the political will to establish the process was there. Nonetheless, the specific guidelines, which laid down the obligation for banks and the role of the FINMA and the BaFin in the practical implementation and a common understanding on the application of the money laundering law had yet to be completed.

Since July 4, 2015 all the conditions are now met and Swiss banks can take the so called “simplified exemption procedure” at BaFin before engaging in business in Germany in the future. In particular, no Swiss bank has to involve a locally active German / EEA bank anymore.

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