Legal Documents and Notes Overview of new regulations

Overview of new regulations

The purpose of this site is to provide a summary on a selection of new regulations, directives, and initiatives relevant for banking relationships in Switzerland. The site intends to provide information about recent developments appropriate as of the time of publishing. Please note that the content in this section does not constitute a source of exhaustive information on all regulations applicable to the Swiss financial market. As a trusted partner, we engage with clients directly if we require their action.

The Parliament and the Council of the European Union issued the Shareholder Rights Directive II (SRDII), which aims to strengthen the shareholders' ability to exercise their rights attached to certain securities and to encourage long-term shareholder engagement. The provisions of SRD II apply since September 3, 2020.

Relevance for Credit Suisse

The rules of SRDII generally apply to shares and equity-like instruments that are (1) issued by companies with their registered office in a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA) and (2) admitted for trading on a regulated market situated and operating within an EEA Member State (hereinafter referred to as "shares in scope"). Credit Suisse qualifies as an intermediary, insofar as it provides safekeeping/custodial services related to shares in scope, and is therefore obliged to adhere to the rules of SRD II applicable to intermediaries.

Relevance for Credit Suisse clients

The following impacts Credit Suisse clients holding shares in scope:

  • Credit Suisse transmits announcements about general meetings and voting options received from companies which issue shares in scope (hereinafter referred to as "companies"). In addition, Credit Suisse provides clients with the service to register and vote at upcoming general meetings of companies.
  • Companies have the right, subject to potential shareholding thresholds defined at a local level, to request information on their shareholders in order to enhance communication between companies and their shareholders. Credit Suisse will therefore disclose such information upon companies' request, which mainly includes name, address, domicile, and holdings, in line with the General Terms and Conditions.

The Swiss Financial Services Act (FinSA) entered into force on January 1, 2020, with a 2-year transition period until January 1, 2022, for most provisions. This legislation aims to regulate the financial market, improve investor protection, and increase transparency on financial products provided in Switzerland or to clients domiciled in Switzerland.

Relevance for Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is authorized to operate as a bank in Switzerland and we are committed to ensuring compliance with FinSA by the end of 2021.

Relevance for Credit Suisse clients

During the transition period from January 1, 2020, until December 31, 2021, clients are informed about their classification under the provision of FinSA. Please note that Credit Suisse considers clients as "Retail client (non-professional)" unless separate information has been provided by December 31, 2021. "Retail clients (non-professional)" benefit from the full investor protection and this status ensures that the required information regarding product characteristics and risks is provided. In this regard, key information documents for investment products, which are obligatory as of 2022, can already be provided upon request.

More information about FinSA, its client classification framework, and a factsheet is available on credit-suisse.com/fidleg.

The Federal Act on the Implementation of Recommendations of the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes entered into force on November 1, 2019. This act defines new requirements regarding bearer shares and participation certificates of Swiss domiciled companies (hereinafter referred to as "Swiss bearer securities").

Relevance for Credit Suisse

An obligation for banks is generally not given as the law defines new requirements in particular for companies that have issued Swiss bearer securities and the consequences for holders of Swiss bearer securities who have not complied with their reporting duty.

Relevance for Credit Suisse clients

Since November 1, 2019, Swiss bearer securities can only be issued if they are listed on a stock exchange or qualify as so-called intermediated securities. Each issuing company needs to decide by April 30, 2021, whether to keep their existing Swiss bearer securities in a legally permitted form or to convert them into registered securities. If a company with outstanding Swiss bearer securities does not take any action by April 30, 2021, its Swiss bearer securities will be automatically converted into registered securities on May 1, 2021. Shares held by shareholders not registered in the shareholder register will become void on November 1, 2024, where respective shareholders have not taken appropriate action for registration by then.

Under Portuguese law, the Portuguese resident corporate clients paying interest payments to Portuguese non-resident entities (i.e. Credit Suisse) have an obligation to declare and pay the corporate income tax in Portugal. The corporate income tax is levied on interest income and the payment/reporting is due annually.

Relevance for Credit Suisse

If Credit Suisse has granted loan to Portuguese resident entity, the interest payments received from such entity are subject to corporate income tax. Under the Portuguese law, the corporate client must declare and pay the corporate income tax on behalf of Credit Suisse.

Relevance for Credit Suisse corporate clients

Corporate clients with loan agreements and residence in Portugal need to ensure that corporate income tax is declared and paid to the Portuguese Tax Authority on behalf of Credit Suisse on an annual basis. Corporate clients will be refunded by submitting the respective tax payment confirmation to Credit Suisse.

Effective January 16, 2021, the Spanish financial transaction tax (FTT) will be applied to all new purchases of equities listed on a regulated market and issued by a company headquartered in Spain that has a market capitalization exceeding EUR 1 billion. The market capitalization is to be assessed each year on December 1 and expected to be published on the website of the Spanish Tax Administration Agency. The tax will be set at 0.2% on the purchase of shares of these companies.

Relevance to Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse as an intermediary that transmits or executes the buy order on behalf of the client is required to withhold, pay, and report the transaction to the Spanish Tax Authority on a monthly basis.

Relevance to Credit Suisse clients

The Spanish FTT applies to new transactions and does not affect client’s positions acquired and settled before January 16, 2021. If client's buy order will be charged with Spanish financial transaction tax, the deducted tax amount will be displayed on the respective client statement.