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Swiss asset management strategy on track, challenges lie ahead

Monday, February 10, 2014
Opalesque Industry Update - Although challenging, 2013 was a good year for the Swiss funds and asset management industry. The key focal points last year for our association – which rebranded as the Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association SFAMA in July 2013 – were the ongoing development of the Asset Management Strategy and changes to the self-regulation material in line with the partially revised collective investment schemes legislation.

The stock markets posted a surprisingly pleasing performance in 2013, and the feared slumps in the case of bonds also failed to materialize. Meanwhile, the volumes on the Swiss fund market reached record highs. Switzerland is also increasingly appreciating the importance of a strong and professional asset management industry. “This is certainly also thanks to the Asset Management Strategy launched by the SFAMA and the Swiss Bankers Association. Against the backdrop in Switzerland of private banking under constant observation and investment banking tending to wane, this should lead to even keener focus on this business area. In asset management we have a wealth of facets providing a platform for a good positioning,” said SFAMA President Martin Thommen.

The following themes will be at the forefront for the SFAMA this year:

• The ongoing implementation of the Asset Management Strategy for Switzerland. Positioning the SFAMA as the body representing the interests of the asset management industry.
• Actively participating in influencing the implementation of the partially revised collective investment schemes legislation (act and ordinances) in supervisory practice.
• Focusing lobbying with regard to regulatory and tax matters on upcoming legislative projects, in particular the Federal Financial Services Act (FFSA) and the Financial Institutions Act (FINIG)
• Bolstering the SFAMA’s platforms (events, specialist committees, communications).

Review

According to the statistics on the Swiss fund market, the total volume stood at CHF 745.2 billion at the end of December 2013, an increase of CHF 24.7 billion or nearly 3.5% year-on-year. Fund volumes are thus back at their highs, underscoring the trust clients have in investment funds.

The SFAMA had two key areas of activity in Switzerland in 2013: working to implement the Asset Management Strategy, and bringing the model documents and self-regulation material in line with the partially revised collective investment schemes legislation. In the case of the former, the group of bodies involved was extended (to include the Swiss Insurance Association SIA, the Swiss Pension Fund Association ASIP, and the Conference of Managers of Investment Foundations KGAST), with a view to ensuring the broadest possible coverage of the participants in the asset management market. Measures in the areas “Asset Management Standards” and “Supervision” were to the fore, with project reports being drawn up and courses of action sounded out. On the international front, the focus was on the implementation of the AIFMD (Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive), UCITS V (Undertakings for Collective Investment in Transferable Securities), and MiFID II (Markets in Financial Instruments  Directive), and the implications for Switzerland. “Switzerland will have to make adjustments in this regard since EU market access is of great significance for the Swiss funds and asset management industry. The SFAMA will do its utmost to ensure that a measured approach is adopted here, rather than hasty blind obedience,” explained Markus Fuchs, Managing Director of the SFAMA.

Rebranding, changes in the Executive Board

On 22 March 2013, the AGM passed a resolution to change the association’s name to the Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association SFAMA. The new name came into effect from 1 July 2013, and is aimed at expressing the association’s key strategic objectives, with asset management also having the utmost priority in addition to the traditional focus on the funds and collective investment schemes business.

There were some major changes in the Executive Board in 2013. Markus Fuchs took over the reins mid-year from the long-standing CEO Matthäus Den Otter. The SFAMA’s sincere thanks go to Matthäus Den Otter for his passionate commitment to ensuring a successful framework for the fund business. In mid-November 2013, Thomas Zimmerli took up his position as Senior Legal Counsel and Deputy Manager of the SFAMA. Meanwhile, Hans Tschäni retired at the end of January 2014, and the SFAMA also expresses its heartfelt thanks to him for his efforts in the interests of investment funds since the founding of the association.

Media release

www.sfama.ch

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