Establish a SICAF in Switzerland

Updated on Tuesday 12th September 2017

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A SICAF in Switzerland refers to an investment company with fixed capital, that may be set up as a closed-ended or open-ended fund. The procedure on how to start a fund in Switzerland registered as a SICAF depends on the characteristics of the investment company. For example, in a SICAF registered as a public offered closed-ended fund, the investors will need an authorization from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA)

Registration of Swiss SICAF  

Since it designates a company, the legal entity must be incorporated by drawing the company’s articles of association. The SICAF is considered a collective investment scheme (CIS), which can also be set up as a limited partnership

The procedure on how to start an investment fund in Switzerland as a SICAF requires the registration of the company’s statutory documents and investment regulations with FINMA, which will later on issue the authorization for investment operations on the Swiss market

The articles of association of a SICAF registered in Switzerland must also contain information on the company’s investment policies, restrictions and risks, information which has to be provided in the company’s investment regulations

Legal aspects for Swiss SICAFs 

According to the Swiss Code of Obligations, the SICAF is considered a company limited by shares, which has as a business activity the investment of collective capital. The fund’s investors, who have the quality of shareholders, do not have to be qualified investors when registering the legal entity. 

As mentioned above, the legal entity that will require authorization from FINMA may not be listed on the Swiss stock exchange

When setting up a fund as a SICAF, the Code of Obligations mentions that the company has to provide in its trading name the words “investment company with fixed capital” or the respective abbreviation. 

Also, most of the investment funds registered in this country, including a hedge fund startup, are required to appoint a custodian bank, a situation which is available for all Swiss SICAFs

Our partners can offer more details on the taxation of the Swiss SICAFs and investors are invited to contact our team of affiliates in Switzerland for further information on other aspects related to this type of fund, as well as on other vehicles that may be set up by foreign businessmen.