Fintech in Switzerland

Bär & Karrer Ltd.

Bär & Karrer Ltd. assists its clients, ranging from start-ups to established international financial institutions, with all legal and regulatory as well as cross-border aspects of fintech matters. Led by co-heads Eric Stupp and the ‘excellentDaniel Flühmann, the team advises on distributed ledger and blockchain technology, crowdlending and robo-advisory projects and supports clients with licensing, data protection and regulatory issues. Peter Hsu advises on cross-border regulatory, contractual and transactional matters as well as enforcement proceedings. Associate Gadi Winter focuses on financial market regulations, M&A and venture capital transactions and represents clients in white-collar crime investigations.

Practice head(s):

Eric Stupp; Daniel Flühmann

Other key lawyers:

Gadi Winter; Peter Hsu

Testimonials

‘Great law firm, very responsive. A quality, excellent network and great contacts to the supervisory authorities, well-educated team.’

‘Peter Hsu’s services have been and are always first class. He is an outstanding source of advice in banking matters and has a great experience in the banking and insurance sector. Peter is solution oriented, keeps a brilliant overview at any time as well in complex and cross-disciplinary matters.

‘Daniel Flühmann is an excellent lawyer.’

‘This team has genuine depth of expertise allied with superb customer service and responsiveness and they’re just really nice people to deal with.’

‘Peter Hsu is irrepressibly committed to being helpful – such a pleasure to deal with. Daniel Flühmann is thoughtful, clever and super-dependable.’

Key clients

Libra Association

Novi Financial, Inc.

Valyo AG

B3i Services AG

Swiss Fintech AG (Loanboox)

Verve Capital Partners AG (investiere.ch)

Tezos Foundation

Bitcoin Suisse AG

Work highlights

  • Acted as legal adviser to Libra Association in its pursuit to build a global DLT-based payment system.
  • Advised Novi (a subsidiary of Facebook, Inc.) on planned wallet and exchange services for digital assets.
  • Acted as legal adviser to Valyo in the context of the development and implementation of an innovative capital market platform for bond issuances.

Kellerhals Carrard

Kellerhals Carrard’s fintech practice advises its clients, which range from start-ups and mid-size companies to international players in the financial services sector, on a host of matters involving payment systems, asset management, initial coin offerings, crowd funding and lending as well as crypto-exchanges, funds and certificates. The team covers the regulatory aspects of fintech projects as well as data protection, funding and transactions. Cornelia Stengel frequently performs legal analysis of new systems, products and technologies within the financial market. Lars Schlichting is experienced in decentralised finance projects as well as setting up companies with tokenized shares.

Practice head(s):

Cornelia Stengel

Other key lawyers:

Lars Schlichting

Testimonials

‘Excellent team with superb knowledge. They are really on top of things in terms of Swiss legal and regulatory framework for blockchain and other fintech areas.’

‘Emanuel Dettwiler is a real expert in fintech matters.’

Key clients

Swiss FinTech Innovations

trustwise.io ag

ORS SA

Eidoo

Santiment Gmbh

Sppyns

Dukascopy SA

Orell Füssli Holding AG

Eight Roads Ventures (Fidelity)

CreditGate24 (Schweiz) AG

Work highlights

  • Consulted by Swiss authorities as an expert in legislative procedures; member of governmental expert group for new law on Distributed Ledger Technology.
  • Supported Dukascopy in its interactions with the regulator during the issuing process of the token.

MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd

The fintech practice at MLL Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Froriep Ltd advises on a broad array of matters relating to distributed ledger and blockchain technologies, electronic currencies, mobile and digital payment, lending platforms, crowdfunding systems, online asset management and robo-advisers. Further areas of focus of the team, which also handles blockchain related patent litigation, are in the areas of insurance technology and regulatory technology as well as artificial intelligence. The practice heads Alexander Vogel, Kilian Schärli and Reto Luthiger are experienced in projects concerning crypto-assets, blockchain use in the pharmaceutical sector, crypto-ecosystems and token design. Catrina Luchsinger Gähwiler advises on regulatory and contractual matters and is experienced in acquisitions and project finance transactions. Ronald Kogens, ‘one of the leading experts in the field of emerging cryptocurrencies’; he is specialised in advising on the tokenization of financial products, decentralised ecosystems and cloud infrastructures.

Practice head(s):

Alexander Vogel; Kilian Schärli; Reto Luthiger

Other key lawyers:

Catrina Luchsinger Gaehwiler; Ronald Kogens

Testimonials

‘Up-to speed, knowledgeable, hands-on, but legally sound and reliable and knowing what’s going on in the market.’

‘Reto Luthiger is a capable, excellent and creative advisor with broad interests and knowledge and this also in DLT and other new fintech and regtech matters.

‘Ronald Kogens is one of the leading experts in the emerging field of cryptocurrencies with expertise across multiple interlinked topics.’

‘Real understanding of Fintech. Willingness to explore solutions’

‘It was great to work with Ronald Kogens. He was the only lawyer who understood our needs and provided us with a legal solution.’

‘Excellent abilities in cutting edge topics of blockchain and distributed ledgers specifically.’

‘It is unusual to find lawyers with profound in-depth experience in cutting edge technological developments. There are few domains which have as rapidly growing pace as blockchain and crypto assets and yet have so profound implications on the legal-tech domain. Yet in this very domain the partners Catrina Luchsinger Gaewhihler and Ronald Kogens can showcase multiple years of in-depth experience from small start-ups to large multinational consortia.’

‘Highly responsive, pragmatic and solution-oriented. Great to work with as an international firm.’

‘Exceptional know-how and also pragmatic and business-oriented.’

‘The team has exceptional digital asset and crypto currency experience. We sought them out for their working with the Swiss regulator FINMA.’

‘I can call the head partner and I will have a response and a proper answer, anytime day or night. They work with us as part of the team although they are a separate company. We have worked with several law firms in this space, they are the most engaged. They behave as if it were their project.’

Key clients

Julius Baer Group Ltd.

Bitcoin Suisse SA

Telegram

Modum

TWINT AG

Sunshine Software Development GmbH

Convexity Limited

Trust Square AG

Value Manifesto

Work highlights

  • Advised Bitcoin Suisse on all legal aspects of the series A fundraising round of about CHF45m and on the continuous evolvement of the regulatory and contractual set-up with regard to its crypto-related service offering as a financial services provider for the digital asset industry.
  • Represented Bank Julius Baer & Co. Ltd. in introducing digital assets as a new asset class for its clients and in the establishment of a strategic cooperation with SEBA Bank Ltd. with regard to wealth management services, including, in particular, services related to digital assets and blockchain related brokerage and custody.
  • Advised and represented Telegram in connection with all Swiss legal aspects regarding the TON cryptocurrency and blockchain project, including the repayment of the token purchase amounts to its investors in the amount of USD 1.2 Billion.

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance

MME Legal | Tax | Compliance advises financial market service providers, including exchanges, brokers and banks on the integration of digital assets and assists in obtaining the necessary regulatory licences. The team has ‘unique knowledge on blockchain and the Swiss crypto ecosystem’ and helps clients with complex fintech projects relating to blockchain and distributed ledger technologies as well as the tax aspects of such projects. Andreas Glarner, Thomas Linder and Luka Müller are the team heads and are experienced in matters relating to cryptocurrency development and storage, initial coin offerings and tokenization. Michael Kunz is, among others, focused on distributed ledger technology regulation.

Practice head(s):

Andreas Glarner; Thomas Linder; Luka Müller

Other key lawyers:

Michael Kunz

Testimonials

‘MME stands out with a unique knowledge on blockchain and the Swiss crypto ecosystem. Very engaged and active collaborators.’

‘MME partner Andreas Glarner has gone the extra mile in our collaboration. Very active and supportive! It’s great to work with him.’

‘Proximity to the start-up ecosystem, well connected to the government & regulatory bodies, bold visions in technology enabled legal tech.’

Key clients

Alephzero Foundation

BitGo

BOS Platform Foundation

Bprotocol Foundation

Custodigit AG

Daura AG

Gazprom Bank

Golem Factory GmbH

Golem Foundation

MAMA Multichain Asset Managers Association

Metaco AG

MKS Switzerland AG

Near Foundation

Open Vasp Association

OpenBlocks

Streamr Network AG

Swisscom

Sygnum Bank AG

Xapo Group

Work highlights

  • Advised Sygnum Bank AG on setting up as the world’s first digital asset bank.
  • Advised Metaco AG on its $17m Series A Investment Round.
  • Supported MKS Switzerland AG with all relevant legal, tax and compliance matters in the issuance of DGLD, an investment-grade digital gold token.

Niederer Kraft Frey AG

Niederer Kraft Frey AG advises fintech companies of all sizes, ranging from start-ups and emerging growth companies to publicly traded enterprises, and works with investors, such as venture capitalists and private equity houses with a fintech focus. The team assists fintech clients with blockchain technologies, artificial intelligence projects and cryptocurrency matters as well as initial coin offerings. The group also represents clients before the Swiss regulatory authorities and also handles transactions. Thomas Frick is experienced in setting up crypto-exchanges, structuring security token offerings and liquidating ICO-foundations. Patrik Peyer is specialised in advising investors, particularly venture capitalists.

Practice head(s):

Thomas Frick; Patrik Peyer

Key clients

AMNIS Treasury Services

BABB Ltd.

BC Capital

Crescent Fintech Ltd.

Crypto Broker

Finch Capital

Finastra

Keyman

Leontec

Swiss Impulse Group AG

Work highlights

  • Advised BC Capital AG, a fintech start-up with registered offices in Lachen SZ, in connection with its second financing round in 2018 in the amount of EUR 11 million (rounded) with current and new shareholders participating and its third financing round in 2019 in the amount of EUR 3 million (internal round).
  • Advised on and structured the ICO for the BABB project and the BAX token issued to enable everybody to have a UK bank account, with a total deal value of £30m.
  • Assisted the Blue Code group of companies in preparing the role-out of its Blue Code payment scheme on the continent of Africa via the joint venture vehicle Blue Code Africa Ltd based in Mauritius.

Homburger

The fintech practice at Homburger advises both established companies from the financial services sector as well as new players on regulatory issues and represents them in regulatory proceedings. The interdisciplinary team has experience in advising on blockchain, crypto-linked products, payment services, exchange traded products and financial market infrastructure projects and has been involved in the drafting of new Swiss legislation on distributed ledger technologies. Daniel Haeberli has specialisms in the tokenizations of securities and crypto asset matters. Luca Dal Molin is experienced in regulatory matters concerning wealth management platforms and digital banking.

Practice head(s):

Daniel Haeberli; Luca Dal Molin

Key clients

UBS

SIX

The Singularity Group

21Shares

Work highlights

  • Advised UBS on the establishment of key4, its new open online mortgage platform for the financing of self-occupied real estate.
  • Advised SIX on open banking platform b.Link for standardised data exchange between financial institutions and third-party providers.
  • Advised 21Shares on the structuring and listing of various crypto-linked Exchange Traded Products (ETP) on the SIX Swiss Exchange.

Lenz & Staehelin

Lenz & Staehelin acts for clients operating and investing in all areas of fintech, such as start-ups, investors, technology companies and established financial institutions. The team advises on regulatory, compliance, investment, financing, licensing and data protection issues and is experienced in assisting with joint ventures, distributed ledger technologies, cryptocurrencies, digital assets and mobile payment systems, among other work. Head of the practice Fedor Poskriakov advises on corporate, regulatory and contractual matters with a fintech focus. Co-heads Lukas Morscher and Marcel Tranchet work on regulatory matters, securities transactions, financing matters, derivatives, work-outs and recapitalisations, among others.

Practice head(s):

Fedor Poskriakov; Lukas Morscher; Marcel Tranchet

Testimonials

‘It is always a pleasure to work with the financial services team at Lenz & Staehelin, and I am aware of the close attention they give to new developments – such as in the last year seeking to influence the new financial services law but also the eagerness to work on development of new business models such as in the fintech and financial space.’

‘Francois Rayroux is an excellent lawyer and always responsive in dealing with client matters.’

Key clients

Allfunds Bank

ARK Trade AG

Capital Markets and Technology Association

Cembra Money Bank

Global Asset Manager/RobecoSAM

Global Financial Services Provider

Global Insurance Group

Initial Coin Offering

International Group of Exchanges

Leading US Financial Institution

Major Insurance group

Mt Pelerin Group SA

Saxo Bank (Switzerland)

Swissquote Bank SA

UK based client

WisdomTree

Work highlights

  • Advised on a number of ICO/Token Generating Event (TGE) projects, including TGEs for pure utility tokens as well as for tokens that qualify as financial instrument.
  • Advised one of the leading international group of exchanges in connection with the contemplated issue of precious metals-backed tokens and the operation of a trading platform for such asset-backed tokens.
  • Advised a leading US financial institution on the roll-out to Switzerland of its custody, execution and asset management services for digital assets.

Pestalozzi

Pestalozzi advises clients operating in the fintech space on legal, regulatory and tax matters throughout the entire process of the development, implementation and operation of blockchain and other technologies in the financial services sector. The team assists clients with obtaining licences from the Swiss financial market authority, advises on initial coin offerings and drafts and implements internal processes and guidelines, among other work. Oliver Widmer is experienced in regulatory work, such as assisting clients with applications and non-action letters, and also advises on blockchain-based bond issuance. Urs Kloeti is a key name for cryptocurrencies.

Practice head(s):

Oliver Widmer; Urs Kloeti

Testimonials

‘Practical advice, able to assess a situation quickly, straight-talking.’

‘Oliver Widmer is able to assess questions and facts quickly due to his strong experience. He is approachable and flexible for discussions and meetings. Urs Klöti is a performer.’

Key clients

Aximetria

Capital.com

De Beers

Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd

Goldman Sachs

Instimatch

Leonteq

Microsoft

Nivaura

Positif.ly

RobecoSAM

Swiss Crypto Bank

Swiss Life

Token Commons Foundation

UDS oil

Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation

Swisscom

Custodigit

Tezos Foundation

Work highlights

  • Advised Instimatch on setting up a new lending platform that had a lending volume of more than CHF 5 billion.
  • Advised Microsoft on setting up a new iCloud platform in Switzerland.
  • Advised Lykke, one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, on regulatory matters.

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd

Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd is specialised in matters relating to blockchain technology, including cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings and decentralised autonomous organisations. The team also provides regulatory advice on activities relating to crypto assets, cryptocurrencies and storage solutions as well as security coin offerings and assists with compliance with anti-money laundering legislation. Olivier Favre is specialised in regulatory and transactional matters. Tarek Houdrouge advises on the set-up of cryptocurrency platforms and regulatory aspects of the development of online banking. Caroline Clemetson advises start-ups and financial entities on regulatory matters. Samuel Klaus made partner at the beginning of 2020.

Practice head(s):

Olivier Favre; Tarek Houdrouge

Other key lawyers:

Caroline Clemetson; Samuel Klaus

Testimonials

‘Very efficient and well versed in the law. They don’t overcomplicate and understand what the commercial drivers might be.’

‘Olivier Favre is very clear in his advice and the speed of service is excellent.’

‘I have regularly worked with Tarek Houdrouge on all Swiss banking and regulatory matters I deal with in my activities, in particular in connection with the cross-border distribution of financial products and the regulation of derivatives under the Swiss Financial Market Infrastructure Act.’

‘Tarek Houdrougeis by far the most impressive lawyer I have worked with: he possesses the rare quality of being able to combine outstanding technical legal skills with a solution oriented approach. It is a real pleasure working with him as he facilitates all complex matters and offers innovative advice. He is extremely efficient in all circumstances and is a great ally in urgent situations. In addition, the excellence of his communication and presentation skills allow to make exceptional progress in any subject discussed with him. To summarize, Tarek is an absolutely well-rounded professional, an example to be followed by his peers.’

‘The practice group of the firm is known in the market to be one of the best.’

‘All past projects were major successes and subsequently I have worked continuously with Schellenberg Wittmer, and more particularly with Tarek Houdrouge.’

‘Tarek Houdrouge is an impressive lawyer. He anticipates the key challenges and provides great strategic advice, has in-depth knowledge in the banking and financial regulations and knows the industry extremely well. He also has excellent communications skills and he is very approachable. It is always a great pleasure working with him.

Key clients

Crypto Fund AG

Crypto Finance AG

Decentralised Autonomous Vehicles (DAV)

E-GTSA Limited

Alpian SA

SEBA Bank AG

iintega

Work highlights

  • Advised Crypto Fund AG in order to obtain the first FINMA asset manager licence in the field of cryptocurrencies.
  • Advised Crypto Finance AG on the brokerage activities it may conduct without falling into the scope of a licensing requirement as a broker-dealer.
  • Advised Alpian, a new digital financial services company, in connection with the preparation of the banking license application

VISCHER

VISCHER advises clients, which include fintech incubators, financial service providers and insurers, on projects involving crowdfunding platforms, mobile payments, cryptocurrencies and financial instruments, among others. The team, often including lawyers from the TMT, banking and tax teams, also represents clients in contentious matters and has previously provided policy-making advice to the Swiss government. Jana Essebier heads the team and is specialised in fintech matters. Stefan Grieder has specialist expertise in finance and capital markets and M&A-related matters and Christian Wyss is focused on insurance related tech-companies. David Rosenthal joined from Homburger in June of 2020.

Practice head(s):

Jana Essebier

Other key lawyers:

Stefan Grieder; Christian Wyss; David Rosenthal

Testimonials

‘Prompt response time. Extremely competent and reliable work. Great understanding of market and client objectives.’

‘We value them as team members and not just lawyers. They know our business and know our long term goals and have that in their mind when working with us.’

Key clients

Tokentrust AG

Interchain Foundation

OneNow Insurance AG

Sympany

Digital PK

Informal Systems Inc.

Additiv AG

wefox Group

PricewaterhouseCoopers AG

Home of eSports GmbH

Saba Software

SEBA Bank AG

Work highlights

  • Advising Tokentrust on the implementation of Atomyze – a Hyperledger-based platform in the area of tokenization of assets.
  • Advised the lead investor on wefox Group’s series B fundraising round, which raised $125m.

Wenger & Vieli LTD

Wenger & Vieli LTD advises clients ranging from start-ups to regulated financial institutions on a variety of matters, including mobile payments, crowd lending, token generating events and blockchain-based trading systems for digitalised assets. The team has recently been involved in a number of distributed ledger technology projects, such as initial coin offerings and trade venues. Barbara Brauchli Rohrer is specialised in the tax implications of fintech projects. Martin Peyer, who joined from Bär & Karrer, and Daniel Weber, who joined from the Swiss Bank UBS, are now heading the practice following the departure of Martin Hess.

Practice head(s):

Martin Peyer; Daniel Weber

Other key lawyers:

Barbara Brauchli Rohrer

Testimonials

‘Close to the regulators, making sure they understand the client’s business. Responsive.’

Key clients

Lykke

Web3 Foundation

Singular DTV

Cardano Foundation

Swiss Federal Administration, Secretariat for International Finance Matters

CH Airways

Fenice Holding SA (Monetum)

Chorus One AG

Yova AG

Base58 Capital AG

Work highlights

  • Advised fintech start-up based on blockchain technology on setting up a regulated trading venue (OTF) for tokens.
  • Advised fintech start-up Web3 Foundation on all aspects of Swiss law, in particular the step from the genesis of the tokens to a fully decentralised ecosystem.
  • Contributing and advising on forthcoming amendments to Swiss legislation / regulation regarding the use of distributed ledger technology in Financial Markets Law, Insolvency laws and international private law as a member of the expert group to the Swiss government.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie advises clients from across the entire fintech spectrum, such as global digital companies, financial institutions and technology incubators, on matters relating to e-payment platforms, crowdfunding, cryptocurrencies, digital banking and more. The team, headed by Manuel Meyer and Matthias Courvoisier, advises on all regulatory aspects, including market entry, documentation, trading and licensing. The group is also able to leverage the wider firm's expertise to assist with compliance, M&A, tax, data protection, investments, contracts and employment.

Practice head(s):

Manuel Meyer; Matthias Courvoisier

Testimonials

‘Baker McKenzie’s broad expertise, global reach, pragmatic approach, constant availability and quick turnover time is why I have decided to make this recommendation. Their understanding of the industry and its legal peculiarities are particularly noteworthy.’

‘Global presence. Technical excellence. Professionalism.’

‘Having worked with many of the leading law firms globally in this space, I can recommend Baker McKenzie the most, particularly Manuel Meyer.’

‘If you need solid, fast advice or feedback at midnight to close a deal, they make it happen. We have had many partners of leading law firms on the opposite side of M&A transactions, none of which I feel demonstrated the same level expertise Manuel Meyer did.’

Key clients

BrickMark AG

Aevolve AG

Achiko

Deposit Solutions GmbH

Wallee AG

Intrum AG

UBS

Numbrs Personal Finance AG

BlockFactory AG

Certifaction AG

Work highlights

  • Advised Aevolve on setting up the token, the structured products and also with regard to the distribution of the structured products.
  • Advised Deposit Solutions on all regulatory, contractual and start-up matters with regard to the Swiss market and Swiss law.
  • Supported Intrum AG in expanding its client base for digital services for financial intermediaries.

CMS

CMS assists start-ups, technology companies, financial institutions, investors and infrastructure providers with the legal aspects of fintech projects. The team is experienced in projects relating to blockhain, cryptocurrency exchanges as well as initial coin offerings and also advises on investments in fintech companies. Dirk Spacek assist clients mainly from the financial services, technology and media sectors. Matthias Kuert is noted for providing contractual and regulatory advice to companies working in fintech and with blockchain technology.

Practice head(s):

Dirk Spacek; Matthias Kuert

Key clients

Guardtime Ltd

Web3 Foundation

Aequitec AG

Securitiesgrid Ltd

Bitcoin Association for BSV

TAAL Distributed Information Technologies Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised Guardtime, a leading blockchain company in enterprise-level cyber security, and a Swiss institutional investor on a complex cross-border project involving the relocation to Switzerland of Guardtime and the concurrent acquisition by the investor of a stake in Guardtime.
  • Advised Aequitec on the Swiss law aspects of its app to keep the share registry of Swiss stock corporations and allow them to hold their general meetings.
  • Advised Securitiesgrid, a provider of a white label solutions for issuing, managing and transferring tokenized securities, on the Swiss law aspects of tokenizing securities, including advice on what Securitiesgrid’s banking partners need to consider when implementing the white label solution.

id est avocats sàrl

id est avocats sàrl advises a range of clients from start-ups and investors to financial institutions on an array of fintech matters, including blockchain projects, cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, investment platforms and apps for financial service providers. Headed by Michel Jaccard and Mehmet Toral, the team is also experienced in data protection issues of fintech projects and provides general corporate advice to fintech clients as well as assisting with M&A transactions and investments.

Practice head(s):

Michel Jaccard; Mehmet Toral

Testimonials

‘id est avocats have provided us with very comprehensive and timely advice on broad cross-section of legal and commercial issues on which we have sought their counsel. We would highly recommend them to others.’

Key clients

WeCangroup

neocredit.ch SA

Banque cantonale de Genève (BCGE)

Finethic Microfinance / Fundo SA

Work highlights

  • Assisted WeCan Group SA in setting up several joint ventures allowing the group to develop several channels for business use of the blockchain technology.
  • Assistance to a well-established microfinance investor and related funds in connection with the implementation of digital assets custody solutions based on world leading, proprietary technology.
  • Advised on the incorporation of joint venture neocredit.ch SA, including assisting with negotiating the joint venture terms and drafting the full set of documents for online use.

Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC

The fintech practice at Mangeat Attorneys at Law LLC assists clients with blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger related projects as well as security token offerings. The team further assists its fintech clients in regulatory matters as well as matters pertaining to banking, finance, corporate, commercial and contractual issues. Practice head Fabien Aepli advises on governance, regulatory and organisational issues of fintech projects and is a board member of two companies active in the cryptocurrency area.

Prager Dreifuss AG

Prager Dreifuss AG is specialised in advising start-ups in the fintech area, primarily on corporate, contractual and regulatory issues. The team assists emerging companies with crypto and distributed ledger technology projects, handling regulatory assessments and advising on compliance matters, as well as drafting and revising contracts and filing applications for financial market licences, among others. Practice head Michael Mosimann is experienced in advising on financial market regulations as well as corporate and contract law and assisting with venture capital financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Michael Mosimann