Fintech in Switzerland
The practice at Bär & Karrer Ltd. has the 'intellectual strength to make you feel confident about everything' according to one client, and provides 'excellent advice on navigating the complexities' of a constantly evolving fintech domain. The group handles the establishment of electronic payment solutions, DLT business models or financial instruments, and assists with the set-up of online platforms for peer-to-peer lending. Eric Stupp, who is 'to-the-point', heads the department with Daniel Flühmann, supported by a team that includes Peter Hsu and associate Gadi Winter – 'a talent' who has 'good legal knowledge and links it with a commercial mindset'. Recent highlights include advising on Insurtech B3i's new equity funding round, and HQLAx's first blockchain live securities lending transaction.
Daniel Flühmann, Eric Stupp
‘They’re a “can do” team with the intellectual strength to make you feel confident about everything they tell you.‘
‘Peter Hsu is the most user-friendly lawyer I have met in Switzerland – down-to-earth, ready to roll up his sleeves, but also experienced and sage in his advice.‘
‘This practice is well connected within the Swiss legal, regulatory and financial communities and is able to provide excellent advice in navigating the complexities of the new and evolving financial technology ecosystems that are emerging.‘
‘We have worked extensively with Eric Stupp, Martin Peyer, and Gadi Winter at this firm. They have demonstrated deep knowledge of the Swiss financial regulatory landscape particularly in connection with the rapidly evolving world of blockchain, distributed ledger technologies and cryptocurrencies. In addition they are able to advise across the intricacies of the different legal aspects pertaining to organisational structures. The team makes themselves available on short notice and are always extremely responsive as well as pro-active.‘
‘I was interacting with Eric Stupp and Gadi Winter when negotiating a funding round of an insurance industry-wide tech start-up based in Switzerland (and jointly owned by many big industry players). Eric and Gadi both have been a great pleasure to work with. I particularly liked the highly pragmatic approach the team displayed throughout the funding process. The team has in-depth knowledge in all relevant legal areas and a lot of experience with fintech start-ups. Their advice was very professional, highly responsive and always pragmatic and to-the-point.‘
‘Eric in particular has always applied a strong commercial mindset and agility as the investment structures (wishes by the clients) changes overtime. While Eric’s legal advice was always to-the-point, he went much beyond that and helped solving challenges outside of the legal sphere. Very impressed by his experience and great support. Gadi is a talent. He is just in his second year as associate but you would never guess so. He has good legal knowledge and links it with a commercial mindset. Definitely a talent to watch out for.‘
B3i Services AG
Oakura Ventures AG
Swiss Fintech AG (Loanboox)
- Advising electronic trade finance platform LiquidX, Inc. on all fintech-related matters.
- Advising on Insurtech B3i’s new equity funding round.
- Acting on on HQLAx’s first blockchain live securities lending transaction.
Kellerhals Carrard handles payment law, blockchain and cryptocurrency-based fintech matters. The team assisted the association of Swiss FinTech Innovations with its digitisation of processes and DLT projects, and advised clients including ORS SA, Pigzbe SA and Santiment on ICOs as well as their wider legal framework. General financial services and legislative specialist Cornelia Stengel jointly heads the team alongside regulatory expert Lars Schlichting. Other work involves consulting on the development of new financial products, along with auditing and control of business transactions.
Cornelia Stengel, Lars Schlichting
Swiss FinTech Innovations
- Assisting the association of Swiss FinTech Innovations with its digitisation of processes and DLT projects.
- Advising ORS SA on its ICO and legal framework.
- Assisting Santiment with all legal matters, including the use of a token for purchasing services, and employment agreements.
At Meyerlustenberger Lachenal Ltd, the team's range is extensive, from assistance with blockchain and DLT-related mandates, to advice on digital payment systems and online asset management or lending platforms. The group advises Bitcoin Suisse SA on crypto-asset storage and agreements and acted for Modum Holding AG on token restructurings. Kilian Schärli, who made partner in February 2019 and co-leads the DLT | blockchain and cryptocurrencies group, acted for Sunshine Software Development GmbH in filing a large blockchain patent infringement lawsuit and practice head Alexander Vogel led on Convexity Limited's establishment of a new online payment ecosystem. Other work includes preparing and listing regulatory-compliant ICOs with Finma.
Bitcoin Suisse SA
Telegram Messenger LLP
Modum Holding AG
Waves Platform AG
Trust Square AG
Numbrs Personal Finance AG
Sunshine Software Development GmbH
Värdex Suisse AG
Move Wealth Management
MNC Mobile News Channel SA
SR Saphirstein AG
ABC Mint AG
- Acting as legal counsel to Bitcoin Suisse SA on crypto-asset storage and agreements.
- Filing a large blockchain patent infringement lawsuit for Sunshine Software Development GmbH.
- Advising on Convexity Limited’s establishment and implementation of a brand new online payment ecosystem.
MME Legal | Tax | Compliance's lawyers are 'professional, knowledgeable, and well co-ordinated' and provide a 'timely delivery' of fintech-related services. The practice assisted global bitcoin provider Xapo Holding with its Swiss operation and all Finma negotiations, and founded Daura AG alongside Swisscom – the first digital Swiss share register using blockchain. Thomas Linder and Andreas Glarner are 'exceptionally good' and founding partner and crypto-finance expert Luka Müller is routinely involved in asset regulation, developing DLT protocols and the set-up of peer-to-peer lending platforms. Senior associate Michael Kunz is another name of note; Michèle Landtwing made partner in January 2019.
Andreas Glarner, Luka Müller, Thomas Linder
‘We have found the MME team to be very professional, knowledgeable, and well co-ordinated among themselves.‘
‘The individuals we have worked with are true experts in their fields, and consistently very responsive. We have had a positive experience working with Andreas Glarner and Michael Kunz.‘
‘Very knowledgeable and skilful team.‘
‘High knowledge about industry, all relevant skills, timely delivery.‘
‘So far I have always been very happy with the work of MME. Quality is always very high and they deliver often further inputs which were not expected but help a lot. High quality, pleasant co-operation and very satisfactory. They know more than many players in the market and deliver really good quality.‘
‘Andreas Glarner and Thomas Linder: both are very exceptionally good partners if it comes to the work they deliver. Very reliable. Very high quality standards. Huge know-how.‘
‘First player globally in the domain of blockchain-based investments.‘
‘Very entrepreneurial spirit, willing to explore new territories which is rare for lawyers.‘
Golem Factory GmbH
Falcon Private Bank
MAMA Multichain Asset Managers Association
- Assisting global bitcoin provider Xapo Holding with its Swiss operation and all Finma negotiations.
- Founded Daura AG alongside Swisscom – the first digital Swiss share register using blockchain.
- Advising on setting up the regulatory and contractual framework for DLT asset management solution Ethereum.
The team at Wenger & Vieli LTD is 'very polished and professional', with 'great know-how and many years of experience' in its ranks. Practice head and 'leading personality' Martin Hess has made 'strong contributions to the legal as well as regulatory community' with real 'DLT expertise'. Highlights included advising Lykke on the set-up of an online assets marketplace; assisting Seba CH with all fintech-related work and advice on regulating its digital framework; and structuring the collective investment schemes and venture capital financing for start-up CV VC AG. Tax specialist Barbara Brauchli Rohrer is another key contact and associate My Chau Bachelard handles ICO launches and token pre-sales.
‘I do not have a large breadth of experience with law firms generally; however, I have been very positively impressed by the lawyers we work with at Wenger & Vieli (W&V). As a firm, W&V includes all the requisite competencies under one “company roof”, making it very easy to access reliable expertise in new areas as it becomes necessary. For example, we wanted to embark on a new equity raise but did not have the necessary Swiss expertise in house. With one phone call, I got a recommendation to work with someone in their corporate law department and could establish a meeting within just a couple of days. So helpful! While remaining very polished and professional, the team is always positive, friendly and down to earth.‘
‘Our main contact at W&V is Martin Hess. His passion for the FINMA application he curated on our behalf is noteworthy. When combined with his DLT expertise and personal network, he and Stephanie Lienhard are unbeatable assets for our company. We expanded our contact to include the corporate law competency. In that area, we’ve very much enjoyed the pragmatism and immediacy of Beat Speck’s support.‘
‘Experience with Wenger & Vieli was positive, and most importantly we achieved the set goal (approval from a financial authority).‘
‘Urs Landolf was truly interested to understand our (unusual) business situation and needs.‘
‘Great know-how and many years of experience.‘
‘Martin Hess: leading personality in this area.‘
‘Deep understanding of new technologies allow for equally deep legal analysis, down to the very fundamental issues. Responsive and “no BS” legal advice relevant to commercial realities.‘
‘Martin Hess has shown consistency over many years. He digs into both the tech and the law. Strong contributions to the legal as well as regulatory community. My Chau Bachelard is clearly up and coming, equally motivated as consistently responsive.‘
Swiss Digital Exchange
Fenice Holding SA (Monetum)
Époque plus AG
Artemesium Masters AG
SEBA Crypto AG
Blockchain Valley Ventures
Servicebit Network AG
- Advising Lykke on the set-up of a regulated marketplace for digital assets and the tokenisation of those assets.
- Assisting Seba CH with all fintech-related matters and applying regulations to its digital technology.
- Structuring the financing of start-up CV VC AG, including high-value analysis of rules for collective investment schemes and venture capital.
Froriep advises DLT providers on expanding their global presence, acts for companies launching ICOs and ensures tokens are tax and regulatory-compliant. The practice is known for its 'extremely high flexibility' and 'synergy and teamwork between team members'. In recent work, it advised Liot AG on its creation of a business-to-business energy trading platform and assisted with structuring ICOs for Securosys SA, block.one LLC and Rubicon Markets Inc. Catrina Luchsinger Gähwiler and Ronald Kogens 'provide top-notch expert advice'; Kogens is particularly 'excellent to work with' and made partner in July 2019.
‘FRORIEP Legal are the most innovative legal counsellors in the blockchain sector I know. Their views and deep understanding of the changes in business and society, combined with their sector-wide knowledge of solutions and opportunities, make FRORIEP the ideal legal extension of our team.‘
‘Dr. Catrina Luchsinger Gaehwiler and Ronald Kogens are excellent and top professional legal counsels. They are able to put themselves in the position of disruptive start-ups and provide top-notch expert advice in their best interest. They are a pleasure to work with.‘
‘Excellent skills in blockchain and strong senior leadership.‘
‘Ronald Kogens was knowledgeable and excellent to work with.‘
‘The team covered all legal aspects of a security token offering.‘
‘We highly valued the profound IT understanding of the team members.‘
‘The team is highly-skilled in legal topics regarding the fintech industry. At the same time they show extremely high flexibility and are very fast at responding to new requests. The synergy and teamwork between team members of different legal areas has delivered very satisfying results and teamwork within the company seems to be working very efficiently.‘
‘Individuals do not only react to given problems and tasks, but also think out of the box and come up with very creative and new solutions.‘
Rubicon Markets Inc.
LexRay Blockchain GmbH
- Advising Liot AG on its creation of a business-to-business energy trading platform.
- Assisting with structuring an ICO for Securosys SA.
- Acting for block.one LLC on structuring an ICO.
Homburger, which is best known for its traditional finance and regulatory expertise, receives a stream of work related to Swiss law and Finma-regulated aspects of cryptocurrency services and transactions in the space. Recent work includes advising UBS on a new mortgage financing disintermediation platform; acting for Amun on a crypto-linked collateralised exchange traded product; and assisting The Singularity Group AG with all blockchain-related matters and associated administrative and licensing proceedings. Security tokenisation and asset-based financing are other areas of strength. Daniel Haeberli and Georg Rauber are the practice heads.
Daniel Haeberli, Georg Rauber
The Singularity Group AG
Share & Charge Foundation
- Advising UBS on a new mortgage financing disintermediation platform.
- Advising Amun on a crypto-linked collateralised exchange traded product.
- Acting for The Singularity Group AG on all blockchain-related matters and associated administrative and licensing proceedings.
The 'well-informed' team at Lenz & Staehelin has a 'unique ability and willingness to challenge the status quo'. It is a popular choice for matters relating to digitalisation, ICO set-up and token-generating projects, as well as for Finma and regulatory licensing cases. Highlights included advising Mt Pelerin Group SA on its launch of public tokenised shares, and assisting a New York financial institution with the Swiss roll-out of its services for digital assets. Financial specialists Lukas Morscher and Marcel Tranchet head the Zurich practice, while Shelby du Pasquier and Fedor Poskriakov, who has an 'excellent network' and 'international view and understanding' of fintech regulations, lead in Geneva.
Lukas Morscher, Marcel Tranchet, Shelby R. du Pasquier, Fedor Poskriakov
‘Very well-informed team, at the heart of key topics and today’s preoccupations in this sector. One of the leading teams in Switzerland re: fintech.‘
‘Fedor Poskriakov: excellent network, very good understanding of the laws/regulations re: fintech, has an international view and understanding. Above all else, he is passionate about the topic and able to understand the underlying technologies (which is very rare among lawyers) which makes his advice even more useful.‘
‘The team is combining a very large expertise, combined with a unique ability and willingness to challenge the status quo. This is a key requirement, especially in the fintech area.‘
‘Some individuals are distinctive, because they are truly interested in understanding how the technology works and how it could improve status quo.‘
Swissquote Bank SA
Saxo Bank (Switzerland) Ltd.
- Advising Mt Pelerin Group SA on its launch of public tokenised shares.
- Assisting a New York financial institution with the Swiss roll-out of its custody, execution and management services for digital assets.
- Advising on a number of ICO and token-generating event projects for various clients.
Thomas Frick and Patrik Peyer lead the fintech team at Niederer Kraft Frey AG. Recent highlights include its assistance to BC Capital AG with its second shareholder financing round, structuring Babb Ltd's ICO and the associated tokens, as well as setting up Crescent Fintech Ltd's asset manager for foreign crypto-investment funds. The practice regularly acts in proceedings before Finma, assesses new business model regulatory compliance, and drafts terms for Saft agreements. It also advised on the formation of a new Swiss crypto bank.
Thomas Frick, Patrik Peyer
‘The team displays a great sense of customer orientation; in addition, they have a good understanding of how to find the balance of pragmatic approach and compliance with legal regulation.‘
Swiss Impulse Group AG
Crescent Fintech Ltd
- Assisting BC Capital AG with its second shareholder financing round.
- Advising Babbs Ltd on structuring its ICO and the associated tokens.
- Advising on setting up Crescent Fintech Ltd’s asset manager for foreign crypto-investment funds.
At Pestalozzi, Urs Kloeti and Oliver Widmer jointly head the team, which provides advice of 'a very good quality'. Recent highlights include assisting Microsoft and Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation with cloud and digital outsourcing solutions, and ICO handling, respectively. The firm has also advised global crypto-exchange platforms Lykke and Xapo on regulatory matters and on applying for a banking licence in Switzerland through Finma, and assisted with the set-up of Alternative Mining's innovative cryptocurrency platform for farming and trading.
Urs Kloeti, Oliver Widmer
‘The firm is more efficient than most others I have worked with. The result is a very good quality work for a fair price.‘
‘I have long-time experience working with Mr Urs Kloeti who is the partner, attorney-at-law. I would like to highlight a few of the following strong qualities of the company, for which I am grateful to this co-operation. The first is that despite rich legal experience, Mr Kloeti retained interest in new approaches that are especially important for fintech companies, when non-standard solutions are proposed that contribute to the growth of business opportunities, this becomes a factor in the rapid development of business. Often in conditions of uncertainty in the position of the law, working with the Pestalozzi team begins with a clear statement of the problem and possible areas of study. Another advantage of working with Mr Kloeti is that he always gives a reliable assessment of the probability of a positive result, without over promise. And finally, it gives great comfort in working with the team that we get a clear result, without blurring the meaning of the legal opinion that we have often met in other law firms.‘
‘Clear structure and high transparency within the teams. At any time responsive and fast as well as high quality answers to our questions.‘
‘Highest professional combination, coupled with entrepreneurial sensitivity and assertiveness.‘
Web 3.0 Technologies Foundation
Alternative Mining Ltd.
Swiss Crypto Bank
Gazprombank (Switzerland) Ltd
- Assisting Microsoft with cloud or digital outsourcing solutions.
- Advising global crypto-exchange platform Lykke on regulatory matters and on applying for a banking licence in Switzerland through Finma.
- Assisting with setting up Alternative Mining’s innovative cryptocurrency platform for farming and trading.
The team at Schellenberg Wittmer Ltd provides 'tailor-made support' and has a 'pragmatic approach'. Its workload typically involves advising on the the issuance of blockchain tokens and stablecoins, and providing regulatory assistance with the set-up of new digital asset exchange platforms. The 'outstanding' Caroline Clemetson led on obtaining the first Finma asset manager cryptocurrency licence for Crypto Fund AG, and Tarek Houdrouge led on the first ICO to be powered by a Swiss bank. Olivier Favre is another key contact.
Caroline Clemetson, Olivier Favre, Tarek Houdrouge
‘Always willing to support and find a practical solution, legal with business know-how and attitude.‘
‘I truly appreciate working with Schellenberg Wittmer, they are highly-qualified professionals proving tailor-made support to our company. I appreciate their capacity to understand what is important to us, their pragmatic approach, high-quality work, diligent management of deadlines and availability. They are very well-organized to ensure a lawyer or paralegal is available whenever an urgent request comes up.‘
‘As we are a start-up, a dynamic and fast-paced approach is important to us, with which the team could always keep up. The availability of the team, including the partners, was outstanding.‘
‘From the partners, Caroline Clemetson as well as Pascal Hubli are both outstanding in their availability for us as well as their know-how and solution-oriented thinking. Compared to competitors, they could keep up with our fast pace and delivered the requirements in a fast way and with exceptional quality.‘
Crypto Fund AG
Crypto Finance AG
Decentralised Autonomous Vehicles
- Obtaining the first Finma asset manager cryptocurrency licence for Crypto Fund AG.
- Advising on the first ICO to be headed by a Swiss bank.
- Advising DAV Foundation on the issuance of utility tokens for use in a blockchain-based transportation platform allowing autonomous vehicles to transact with one another.
VISCHER's team handles asset tokenisation and international blockchain disputes, as well as providing legal compliance training to start-ups and drafting their set-up agreements. Mobile payments and crowdfunding expert Jana Essebier heads the practice, which has acted as a main adviser to the Interchain Foundation on all fintech-related issues, assisted Vreo with the set-up of an in-game video advertising platform, and acted for Bank CIC (Schewiz) AG on the development of its mobile payment processes. Stefan Grieder and Basel-based Christian Wyss are other names to note.
OneNow Insurance AG
Bank CIC (Schweiz) AG
- Acting as main adviser to the Interchain Foundation on all fintech-related issues.
- Assisting Vreo with the set-up of an in-game video advertising platform.
- Handling Bank CIC (Schewiz) AG’s mobile payment processes.
At Baker McKenzie, the department is noted for its 'holistic view', 'creative solutions and pragmatism' in matters concerning regulatory compliance, e-payment platforms, and the formation of cryptocurrency exchanges. The 'reactive and supportive' team recently assisted Deposit Solutions GmbH with regulatory and contractual matters and advised Aevolve AG on matters related to proprietary tokens and the distribution of structured products relating to its new healthcare platform. Manuel Meyer is recognised for his 'speed and quality' of service. Ansgar Schott and Matthias Courvoisier are also noted.
Manuel Meyer, Matthias Courvoisier
‘The speed and quality of the work from Manuel Meyer and his team is remarkable. Over our 20 years of private equity experience, we have worked with hundreds of lawyers from leading law firms but rarely have we met a lawyer with the same dedication and quality of work.‘
‘Speedy delivery, with a quality of work, creative solutions and pragmatism.‘
‘We worked with the BMK team on a complex cryptocurrency project and we felt very confident in the way all critical aspects were tackled. The strengths of BMK compared to other firms are for me the holistic view they provide on issues (corporate/tax/regulatory/personal aspects) and their ability to quickly mobilise experts in other countries whenever relevant or necessary.‘
‘I worked in particular with Manuel Meyer – he is always available and contributes to actively push our projects fast forward. I also had great experiences with Alexander Wyss in the past, as well as with Samuel Marbacher.‘
‘If I were to qualify the persons we work with at Baker McKenzie Zurich, I would use the following adjectives: smart, fast learners, easy to work with; reactive and supportive; getting stuff done attitude; and multilingual capability.‘
Deposit Solutions GmbH
- Assisting Deposit Solutions GmbH with regulatory and contractual matters.
- Advising on a proprietary token and distribution of structured products for Aevolve AG’s new healthcare platform.
CMS regularly advises foreign-based fintech entities wishing to set up ICOs and establish their cryptocurrency business in Switzerland. In one highlight, the firm advised Crowdpark SA on the set up and launch of a real estate investment crowdfunding platform. Dirk Spacek, who joined from Walder Wyss in 2019, leads the team alongside associate Matthew Kuert. Other clients include FinLeap GmbH and Guardtime Ltd.
Dirk Spacek, Matthew Kuert
- Advising Crowdpark SA on the set up and launch of a real estate investment crowdfunding platform.
- Acting for blockchain and digital security company Guardtime Ltd. and a Swiss institutional investor on a cross-border project involving the relocation of Guardtime from BVI to Switzerland.
- Advising finleap, a leading German fintech company, on its acquisition of Penta, an online business banking provider for digital companies.
id est avocats sàrl is known for its in-depth technological understanding and frequently assists online investment platform start-ups with obtaining Finma licences and drafting joint venture agreements. A recent work highlight involved structuring a hybrid financing round for WeCanGroup SA, which featured a capital increase in both fiat and crypto-currencies. Cross-border transactional specialist Michel Jaccard jointly heads the team with Mehmet Toral.
Michel Jaccard, Mehmet Toral
Investiere | Verve Capital Partners (client since 2016)
Edge Laboratories (EdgeLab)
- Structuring a hybrid financing round for WeCanGroup SA involving a capital increase in both fiat and crypto-currencies.
Prager Dreifuss AG predominantly focuses on the development of digital services and blockchain-based payment platforms. The practice, which is led by Michael Mosimann, typically assists with ICO preparation and more general cryptocurrency exchange matters. It also advises on all corporate, tax and regulatory Swiss law requirements to ensure new business models are fully compliant with the latest fintech legislation.