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Swiss banks win easier access to German customers

Swiss banks can now gain access to customers in Germany more easily after the two countries reached an agreement on access to the German market. 28 Jul 2015

Swiss banks will no longer need to open a branch in Germany to offer services to customers there, but can apply to the German financial markets supervisory authority BaFin for "simplified authorisation" in the country, the Swiss finance department said.

 A memorandum on cross-border provision of financial services was first agreed between the financial ministries of the two countries in August 2013 and "final clarifications" have now been made, the Swiss statement said.

Swiss banks will have to show that they comply with German consumer protection and anti-money laundering rules, and will be subject to annual control audits and spot checks from the German authorities, it said.

"Competition and consumer protection will be strengthened and cooperation between the financial market supervisory authorities intensified," the Swiss finance department said.

BaFin has information sheets available for interested Swiss banks, the Swiss department said.

The Swiss bankers Association told Reuters that the agreement will allow its members easier access to the German market. "We hope that similar solutions can be agreed upon with other important countries," it said.

Switzerland and the European Union signed an agreement on tax transparency in May that will see the two sides sharing data on residents' bank accounts from 2018.

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