No - customer identification is not required, however the financial intermediary must identify beneficial owners retrospectively
Yes - due diligence obligations can be waived if the business relationship only involves assets of low value and there is no suspicion of
money laundering or terrorist financing. The relevant thresholds are:
a) for electronic payments for services and goods: CHF5,000 per calendar year and per client;
b) for bilateral credit cards (including department store cards): CHF5,000 per month and per client; and
c) in the case of financial leasing, CHF25,000 per calendar year and per client.
For face-to-face contact, the bank verifies identity via an official identification document with a photograph (passport, identity
card, driving licence, etc.) and puts on record the individual’s full name, date of birth, address and nationality. For non face-to-face contact,
the bank obtains a certified copy of an official identification document, as well as a confirmation of the domicile indicated, either through an
exchange of correspondence or by any other appropriate method.
With a registered office in Switzerland the bank ascertains whether the firm’s name is published in the official Swiss
Commerce Gazette or listed on a public website for commercial register entries. Private directories/databases can also be used. Otherwise,
identity must be established with an extract from the Commercial Register. Identity is verified with an extract from the Commercial Register
or extracts from public websites for Commercial Register entries, or equivalent documents substantiating the existence of the legal entity or
company (such as a certificate of incorporation). In addition, the identity of the individuals establishing the business relationship must also
be checked and the bank must take note of and document the contracting partners' power of attorney arrangements. Further, the financial
intermediary must acknowledge the provisions regulating the power to bind the legal entity, and verify the identity of the persons who enter
into the business relationship on behalf of the legal entity.
All due diligence which can be reasonably expected under the circumstances must be exercised in establishing the identity of the beneficial owner. If there is any doubt as to whether the contracting partner is himself the beneficial owner, the bank shall require by means of Form A, a written declaration setting forth the identity of the beneficial owner.
Local regulations and guidance discuss higher risk business relationships and state various criteria that may be relevant to identifying higher risk businesses e.g. the domicile of the contracting party and beneficial owner, type of business, origin country of payment, volume of incoming funds, the complexity of the structures, notably in case of use of domicile companies and the absence of personal contact with the beneficial owner. Politically Exposed Persons and correspondent banking are specifically covered.
Business relationships with PEPs are regarded as higher risk and local regulations/guidance requires that enquiries should be made to
ascertain whether the contracting partner/beneficial owner is a PEP. The means of investigation for such higher risk business includes:
obtaining information in written or oral form from the contracting partner or beneficial owner, visits to the places of business of the
contracting partner and beneficial owner, consultation of publicly accessible sources and databases, and information from trustworthy
individuals where necessary.
For cross-border banking relationships with foreign banks, the following due diligence procedures are to be performed in addition to the standard clarifications for high risk relationships: ensuring that the foreign bank is prohibited from entering into business relationships with shell banks, clarifying the AML and CFT controls implemented by the foreign bank and examining whether the foreign bank is subject to an equivalent regulation and supervision in the anti-money laundering and counter financing of terrorism domain. Furthermore a risk-based procedure has to be established concerning the processing of repeated wire transfer instructions which lack the required sender information.
In the case of business relations entered into through correspondence or via the internet, banks must verify the identity of the contracting
partner by obtaining a certified copy of an official identification document as well as a confirmation of the domicile indicated, either through
an exchange of correspondence or by any other appropriate method. Identification based on an official identification document at delivery or
receipt of mail is also deemed as sufficient proof of identity, provided that personal delivery to the recipient is thus warranted. In addition,
beneficial ownership according to Form A must invariably be provided by individuals entering into a business relationship with a bank
through correspondence. For business relationships established by electronic means, the bank shall identify, mitigate and control the risk
associated with the use of new technologies. The lack of personal contact with the contracting party and the beneficial owner is considered
an element of increased risk, according to the domain of activity of the bank.
Anyone who fails to comply with the duty to report shall be liable to a fine of up to CHF500,000, or in the case of negligence, up to CHF150,000.
Yes. The AML Ordinance requires banks, fund manager, investment companies and its asset managers and security dealers to operate an ITbased system for transaction monitoring.
The financial intermediary must immediately freeze the assets connected with the report filed. It must continue to freeze the assets until it receives an order from the competent prosecution authority but, at the most, for five working days from the time the report is filed.
Transaction monitoring may be outsourced to persons outside Switzerland, provided that the respective information is still available in Switzerland and provided that the results are subject to a plausibility check in Switzerland. However, the Swiss financial intermediary remains responsible. Furthermore, the client needs to be informed in case of a transfer of client information outside Switzerland.
certified copy of official identification documentconfirmation of domicile
The Swiss identity card is issued to any citizen.
There are no noteworthy exceptions to the law, but some caution may be warranted in the areas of real estate, notarized documents and wills and trusts
Yes, Article 14 states that electronic signatures may replace handwritten signatures.
Summary of law
Switzerland follows the UNCITRAL model law and is similar to the laws of many European Union member states. It is considered a two-tier jurisdiction because it gives digital signatures the same status as handwritten signatures but also recognizes simple electronic signatures as legal and enforceable. Countries that follow this model give companies the opportunity to select different forms of signatures and customize their business processes based on the form that is most convenient and appropriate for each use case.
Independent authentication of copies of official identification documents may be provided by branches, representative offices and
subsidiaries of the bank, correspondent banks, other financial intermediaries recognised by the account opening bank as well as notaries
and public authorities who customarily issue such confirmations of authenticity. Additionally, authenticated copies are issued by Post Offices
and SBB (Swiss Railway) stations.