A look back at the PMI event: Creating high-performing teams for your projects, February 8

Lively exchange, interesting topics and inspiring conversations at the event held by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and PwC Switzerland

Human capital research has given us some interesting insights over the last 30 years. Did you know, for example, that undermined motivation probably has a larger effect on productivity and quality than any other factor? And that after motivation, probably the largest influencer of productivity is the individual capabilities of members of a team or the working relationships among them? These and other facts have been discussed yesterday at the event on the subject “Creating high-performing teams for your projects”.

The interactive presentation has drawn on experience with building high-performing teams for IT projects, nationally and internationally. Attendees got insights into how to build teams that make the grade, what roles need to be included, and what factors influence behaviour and motivation.

We would like to say thank you to all attendees, colleagues, PMI and especially to our speaker Maarten Broekhuizen, senior manager in the Transformation Assurance division at PwC Netherlands, and would be delighted to have the pleasure of your company again soon.

About the next event: Artificial Intelligence & Project Management: Beyond human imagination!

Around 200 years ago the industrial revolution changed society for good. Today another revolution is under way, with potentially even farther-reaching consequences.

Artificial intelligence (AI) in industry, experts are predicting, will change everything about the way we produce, manufacture and deliver. Cognitive computing, machine learning, natural language processing – different terms have emerged as the technology has progressed in recent years. What they all encapsulate is the idea that machines could one day be taught to learn how to adapt by themselves, rather than having to be spoon-fed every instruction for every eventuality. Now, according to many, that day has arrived. AI will change the world.

Date: Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 6:00 PM to 9:30 PM (CEST)
Location: Geneva, Switzerland.



Marc Lahmann
Director and Leader Transformation Assurance
+41 58 792 27 99

Manuel Probst
Senior Manager Transformation Assurance
+41 58 792 27 62


EU and the OECD considering TRACE / withholding tax simplification

On 30 January 2018, the European Commission held a public session to discuss the code of conduct issued by the Commission in late 2017 regarding increasing the efficiency of withholding tax (“WHT”) procedures. The code of conduct contains a list of measures for E.U. Member States to consider in terms of simplifying WHT procedures as regarding cross border income such as dividends, interest, and royalties. The code is a non-binding document which allows for voluntary commitment by E.U. Member States.

The measures considered includes, inter alia, (1) increased digitalization of WHT procedures, (2) provisions of refunds in a short period, and (3) relief at source. The tax relief at source suggestion includes the use of “authorized information agents and withholding agents” to facilitate the verification of entitlement to treaty relief, provision of pooled withholding tax rate information, and reporting of relevant information.

Such a tax relief at source solution resembles the OECD’s Treaty Relief and Compliance Enhancement (“TRACE”) project which started in 2009. TRACE envisages the use of Authorised Intermediaries to facilitate a more efficient and simpler application of treaty relief on cross border investments in a similar manner to the U.S. Qualified Intermediary regime. Although TRACE has not been implemented in any country as of yet, we understand that it may be reactivated soon especially given the work done at European Commission level in terms of the WHT topic.

Please refer to the following link for access to the European Commission Code of Conduct.


Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72

OECD Publishes Public Comments on Mandatory Disclosure Model

On 18 January 2018, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (“OECD”) published the public comments on the discussion draft on Mandatory Disclosure Rules for Addressing OECD Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”) avoidance arrangements and offshore structures (“Discussion Draft”). The OECD had published the Discussion Draft on 11 December 2017, requesting comments from interested parties and stakeholders by 15 January 2018. The Discussion Draft outlined a proposed model requiring mandatory disclosure rules, which ultimately intends to target promoters and service providers with a material involvement in the design, marketing or implementation of CRS avoidance arrangements and opaque offshore structures.

The public comments on the Discussion Draft came from numerous sources, including all of the Big 4 firm networks. In terms of input from Swiss sources, the Swiss Banking Association, Swiss Association of Asset Managers, Association of Swiss Private Banks, and the Swiss Insurance Association all provided comments to the OECD. The general feedback highlights the potential practical difficulties in the application of the model, mainly due to retrospective application of rules and definitions that are too broad at present for practical application. As a next step, the OECD will take these comments into account and present a report on the topic to the G7 Finance Ministers in mid-2018.

Please refer to the link for access to the public comments on the OECD’s Discussion Draft.


Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72

Identifying and managing step-in risk

In October 2017 the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) issued guidelines on the identification and mitigation of step-in risk.

The guidelines are designed to mitigate potential spill-over effects from the shadow banking system to banks, and will have to be implemented by 2020 at the latest.

Implementing the requirements to comply with the BCBS step-in risk guidelines is complex, and banks with global operations will have to launch their implementation projects well ahead of the final implementation date.

PwC is available to discuss the guidelines with you and walk you through our approach, which addresses the requirements of step-in risk through potential amendments to terms and conditions (T&Cs) and the suitability of products for investors. Additionally, you will need to make changes to your risk governance and policies so that step-in risk can be reduced ahead of the go live date.

Find out more

Your PwC contacts

Andrin Bernet
+41 58 792 24 44

Andrea Schnoz
+41 58 792 23 35

Yousuf Khan
+41 58 792 15 62

Vandana Shah
Senior Manager
+41 58 792 20 14

MIFID II requirements for direct electronic access (DEA)

Direct electronic access (“DEA”) enables a person to access a trading venue directly, using the trading code of an investment firm to do so, or directly placing an order with the Automated Order Routing (“AOR”) of the investment firm. This gives the client full control of the exact fraction of a second in which the order is placed and the lifetime of the order, as well as discretion as to which broker or trading venue the order is placed with.

Such discretion clashes with the objectives of MiFID II, which aims at increasing market transparency and oversight functions. Therefore, the regulation mandates the investment firm providing DEA to monitor the client closely.

Download full article

Contact Us

Dr. iur. Guenther Dobrauz
MBA | Partner, Leader PwC Legal Services Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 14 97 | Mobile: +41 79 894 58 73
Email: guenther.dobrauz@ch.pwc.com

Michael Taschner
Senior Manager | PwC Legal Services Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 10 87 | Mobile: +41 79 775 95 53
Email: michael.taschner@ch.pwc.com

Yari A. Iannelli
Assistant Manager | PwC Legal Services Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 28 54 | Mobile: +41 79 742 39 04
Email: yari.iannelli@ch.pwc.com

Dr. iur. Alexandra G. Balmer
Consultant | PwC Legal Services Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 14 24 | Mobile: +41 79 267 81 04
Email: alexandra.balmer@ch.pwc.com

MiFID II is live- What now?

Despite the launch of MiFID II early this year, there is still ongoing work to be completed and firms are expected to receive new information from the European Commission and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA), even after the implementation deadline of 3 January 2018. Among other things, opinions for 700 pre-trade transparency waivers and for 110 commodity position limits have yet to be finalised by the regulators.

Therefore, firms should stay flexible to immediately implement new information by regulators and adapt and refine their compliance strategies to current regulatory updates regarding MiFID II.

The following key dates highlighted in a timeline shall give firms and their compliance specialists an overview over the current year and beyond.

View timeline

Contact Us

Dr. iur. Guenther Dobrauz
Partner |  Leader PwC Legal Services Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 14 97 | Mobile: +41 79 894 58 73
Email: guenther.dobrauz@ch.pwc.com

Michael Taschner
Senior Manager | PwC Legal, FS Regulatory & Compliance Services
Office: +41 58 792 10 87 | Mobile: +41 79 775 95 53
Email: michael.taschner@ch.pwc.com

Orkan Sahin
Assistant Manager | PwC Legal, FS Regulatory & Compliance Services
Office: +41 58 792 19 94 | Mobile: +41 79 238 65 69
Email: orkan.sahin@ch.pwc.com

Gregory Columbres
Assistant Consultant | PwC Legal, FS Regulatory & Compliance Services
Office: +41 58 792 18 41 | Mobile: +41 79 417 88 38
Email: gregory.columbres@ch.pwc.com

The Legal Entity Identifier – Also Relevant to Switzerland

The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) emerged in the wake of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. At the Los Cabos Summit in June 2012, the G20 members approved a system for the unique identification of financial market players (Global Legal Entity Identifier System, GLEIS) to make it easier for both the private sector and public authorities to manage and control risks in the financial market. This system allows financial institutions to identify companies that are active on the financial market by way of a globally unique identifier.

During its 4 December 2015 session, the Swiss Federal Council voted that Switzerland adopt the GLEIS. It is hoped that this internationally standardised identification number for financial market participants will improve the quality of financial data and facilitate the assessment of systemic risks.

The focus of this paper lies on following topics:
  • How did the LEI come about?
  • What is an LEI?
  • Who needs an LEI?
  • Is an LEI the same for all asset classes?
  • How do I obtain an LEI?
  • What does the LEI mean for you?

Find out more

Stefan Wüest, Patrick Frigo and Erol Baruh will be happy to answer all your questions regarding LEIs.

Your PwC contacts

Stefan Wüest
PwC | Assurance Director
+41 58 792 59 51

Patrick Frigo
PwC | Assurance Senior Manager
+41 58 792 22 76

Erol Baruh
PwC | Assurance Senior Manager
+41 58 792 91 62

The new FINMA circular 18/3 on Outsourcing

Changes and implications

FINMA has revised its circular 08/7 on Outsourcing for Banks and replaced it with the new version FINMA circular 18/3 Outsourcing for Banks and Insurance companies. Obviously, one of the main changes is the new applicability of the circular for insurance companies.

A draft version has been published by end of 2016. During the hearing period many banks, insurance companies and other stakeholders handed in their opinion and provided feedback to FINMA. FINMA has acknowledged relevance of many of these feedbacks and implemented some changes to the discussed topics. Main discussion points were the definition of materiality, conditions for outsourcing abroad, conditions for group-internal sourcings, specific requirements for system-relevant banks, outsourcing of compliance and risk functions, and transition time for existing outsourcing agreements.

Enactment date of the new circular is 1.4.2018. For existing outsourcings there is a transition period of five years, however, for new outsourcings the new circular will be immediately relevant.

The new circular does no longer consist of nine principles, but newly consists of eight main requirements. Some of these requirements match with old principles, others are new whilst some of the old principles have been omitted. The mapping table below provides a comprehensive overview of the principles:

Main changes to old version
There are multiple changes compared to the old version 08/7. Below, we summarise these changes:

  • The new circular is applicable for banks AND insurance companies.
  • The definition of materiality is more principle-based, there are no longer any examples within the circular.
  • The differentiation for group-internal outsourcing agreements is still included but is more principle-based in the new version. Financial institutions need to decide based on risks, whether certain requirements can be omitted or eased.
  • The principles regarding data protection and client orientation have been omitted. FINMA points out that relevant regulation is already given by data protection law and Appendix 3 of FINMA circular 08/21 (Handling of electronic Client Identifying Data [CID]). – Therefore, Data Protection law and requirements from Banking Secrecy remain relevant.
  • Financial institutions need to keep an inventory about all outsourced functions and services. The inventory needs to include sub-outsourcings, CID relevance and the responsible person for governance of the agreement at the financial institution.
  • The new circular provides guidance on whether it is allowed to outsource risk and compliance functions and tasks.

Main questions and how PwC can help
Obviously, there are material changes with the new version of the circular on outsourcing. There are important strategic decisions on which we may help you and your organisation.

Besides helping you to set up new outsourcing agreements and making your existing outsourcing agreements compliant, there are strategic decisions to be taken, like:

  • Can we source services from abroad and under what conditions? What requirements from Data Protection Law and other FINMA circulars need to be kept in mind?
  • Can we use cloud services for sourcing?
  • Are we allowed to have CID abroad or in the cloud and under what conditions?
  • What do we need to do in order to have our group-internal sourcing agreements be compliant?
  • Under what conditions are we able to outsource risk and compliance functions?
  • How can we protect our company from cyber risks and data stealing in a sourcing environment?
  • How can we accurately govern our suppliers?

Please contact our experts. We can advise you on your strategic decisions in the area of outsourcing and help you to make use of latest technology. Furthermore, we help you to set up audit-proven solutions for your sourcing agreements.


Jens Probst
PwC | Assurance Director
Office: +41 58 792 2959 | Mobile: +41 79 372 5788
Email: jens.probst@ch.pwc.com

Michèle Hess
PwC | Assurance Partner
Office: +41 58 792 4667 | Mobile: +41 79 878 0085
Email: michele.hess@ch.pwc.com

Yan Borboën
PwC | Assurance Partner
Office: +41 58 792 8459 | Mobile: +41 79 580 7353
Email: yan.borboen@ch.pwc.com

Free “Corporate Access” provided by brokers is an inducement under MiFID 2

Until recently, compliance departments of investment managers were busy to figure out how they will pay for research. With that being settled now, the topic of “Corporate Access” is moving up on the agenda.

The most critical question in that respect is if “free” corporate access provided by brokers is considered an inducement under MiFID 2.

We think the answer to that is quite straightforward. Read the full article to find out more.

Download here


Dr. Günther Dobrauz
Partner, Leader PwC Legal Switzerland
Office: +41 58 792 14 97
Mobile: +41 79 894 58 73

Michael Taschner
Senior Manager, PwC Legal,
FS Regulatory & Compliance Services
Office: +41 58 792 10 87
Mobile: +41 79 775 95 53

Orkan Sahin
Assistant Manager, PwC Legal,
FS Regulatory & Compliance Services
Office: +41 58 792 19 94
Mobile: +41 79 238 65 69

Swiss CRS Updates – January 2018

During December 2017, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (“Swiss FTA”) and the Swiss State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (“SIF”) provided important updates regarding the Automatic Exchange of Information on financial accounts (“AEOI”) under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”). Upon the completion of ongoing parliamentary work, the SIF updated the list of jurisdictions and territories with which Switzerland has agreed to exchange information under the CRS. In addition to containing Switzerland’s AEOI partner jurisdictions, the list also includes additional information, such as the date of entry into force of the various CRS agreements as well as specific distinctions between the different partner jurisdictions. The updated list distinguishes between states that:

  • have not yet submitted their partner state notifications. The AEOI will thus be activated at a later date;
  • have declared themselves to be “permanent non-reciprocal jurisdictions”, i.e. they will supply account information to the partner states on a permanent basis but will not receive such data;
  • do not meet the requirements of the global AEOI standard at present and have postponed the introduction of the AEOI.

Please refer to the following links for the updated list of Switzerland’s AEOI partner jurisdictions in German / English.

In addition to the above-mentioned updates, the “Questions and Answers to CRS” on the Swiss FTA website and the OECD “FAQs” were also updated in December 2017.


Bruno Hollenstein
Partner, Operational Tax
+41 58 792 43 72