Swiss Financial Association Publishes Anti-Money Laundering Standards for Digital Assets

Switzerland’s Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) has published new anti-money laundering standards for digital assets and DLT in the financial market.

The Switzerland-based Capital Markets and Technology Association (CMTA) has published new anti-money-laundering (AML) standards for digital assets and distributed ledger technologies (DLT) Oct. 18.

CMTA is a non-profit, independent association established in Geneva earlier this year with the aim of promoting the adoption of DLT, such as blockchain, and digital assets in the financial markets.

Its creation was a joint initiative from online bank Swissquote, market software provider Temenos, and the country’s largest law firm Lenz & Staehelin.  

According to CMTA, the newly-published standards are designed to “clarify […] measures to be taken in order to comply with the Swiss regulations against money laundering and the financing of terrorism.” As per CMTA general secretary Fedor Poskriakov, the document is intended to “pav[e] the way for a compliant tokenization of financial assets.”

The document is split into two parts, the first of which outlines compliance standards for digital asset issuers, whether or not they formally designate themselves as Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs); the second addresses Swiss banks, securities dealers, and other intermediaries who may wish to enter into business relationships with digital asset issuers or investors, or whose business practices involve “a material exposure” to digital assets and/or DLT.

Notably, the standards are not statutory and do not have formal regulatory status, yet CMTA states they “represent a consensus” among financial sector experts as to how good practice should be established and conducted in the emerging digital assets space.

CMTA outlines that the guidance has been developed on the basis of a range of legislative frameworks, including the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA), the Swiss Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO), FINMA’s Anti-Money Laundering Ordinance (AMLO-FINMA) and other laws for Swiss banks’ code of conduct and due diligence requirements.

As reported last week, France’s intergovernmental organization, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), has recently updated its standards regarding digital currencies to ensure that virtual asset service providers are subject to AML and CFT regulations.

Earlier this week, Swissquote announced it had become “the first bank worldwide” to offer purchase and custodial services of ICO-issued tokens for clients.