Every successful financial centre is based on trust – general trust in its structure, mutual trust among its participants and trust by society in general and its customers in particular. In turn, a financial centre's reputation has a key influence on the internal and external standing of its location and thereby on the proper function of the country it is located in.
In Switzerland, the Financial Markets Authority (FINMA) enables the Swiss financial industry to operate properly and protects the customer side – investors, creditors and insured persons – from insolvency. Professional supervision implicitly strengthens the reputation of the financial centre it supervises.
In its capacity as an integrated financial market supervisor, FINMA monitors banks, insurance companies, exchanges, securities dealers and other financial intermediaries. Taking into account the diversity of the various sub-sectors is key in this context, therefore, the SIA favours and promotes a clearly differentiated approach to supervising banks and insurance companies tailored to each sub-sector’s specific business operations.
Self-regulation in the insurance industry
In the Swiss financial centre, self-regulation goes back a long way. Both the banking and the insurance industry have established self-regulatory bodies that set the guidelines for conducting an ethically correct business. Both industries thereby commit to a trustworthy financial market that acts with integrity.
The “Self-Regulatory Organisation of the Swiss Insurance Association” (SRO-SVV) ensures that the financial intermediaries fulfill their due diligence obligations to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, particularly with regard to identifying customers and economic beneficiaries. The SRO-SVV is also supervised by FINMA.
The Ombudsman of Private Insurance and of Suva is another example of the industry’s self-regulatory efforts. The ombudsperson provides mediation services for customers who disagree with an insurer. These services are free of charge for the customers.