Swiss Fintech Innovations Working Group Interviews – Fintech Regulation with Thomas Puschmann

Hi Thomas, please introduce yourself and your role within the working group

I am founder and head of the Swiss Fintech Innovation Lab at the University of Zurich as well as co-founder and co-director of Swiss Fintech Innovations. Prior to my current position I was head of the competence center “Sourcing in the Financial Services Industry” from the Universities of St. Gallen and Leipzig for my habilitation as well as a member of the board at ESPRiT Consulting and The Information Management Group. My educational background is a Ph.D. in business administration and a master in management.


Picture Thomas Puschmann, Head Swiss Fintech Innovation Lab, Co-Director Swiss Fintech Innovations.

Why is this topic relevant for digital innovation in the financial industry in general and our members in particular?

Digitization leads to a fundamental change of the entire financial services industry value chain. However, current legal and regulatory rules do not adequately reflect these changes. Among the examples in Switzerland are barriers for fintech startup companies that need a full banking license when acquiring capital investments from more than 20 investors or private lending marketplaces that require adapted rules for consumer protection laws.

For the Swiss Fintech Innovations Association a joint working group on fintech regulation is a logical consequence as regulation has an impact on all member companies and provides them with a platform to bundle their efforts and increase their influence on evolving legal and regulatory topics.

What do you hope to achieve with this working group?

There already are some activities in Switzerland with regard to fintech regulation. However, the fintech regulation working group of Swiss Fintech Innovations is unique for three reasons:

  • It bundles legal and regulatory competencies of banks and insurers within Switzerland
  • It unites scientific, forward-looking expertise with top-level experts from practice
  • It works continuously and hands-on on conceptual and visionary fintech regulation topics to increase the competitiveness of the Swiss financial center

With this unique setup, Swiss Fintech Innovations’ fintech regulation working group has three main goals:

  • Goal No. 1: Position Switzerland as a leading fintech hub with regard to regulation

To achieve this, we create a still missing piece: a fintech regulation framework for Switzerland with a special focus on the most relevant regulations. Of course, international initiatives such as from London, Singapore and Hong Kong will be considered for this and reflected in the light of the Swiss environment.

  • Goal No. 2: Position Swiss Fintech Innovations in the Swiss political & parliamentary process

Since Swiss Fintech Innovations represents an ever increasing group of banks and insurers, the association continuously develops statements for political and parliamentary initiatives and is involved in all major fintech-related legal and regulatory discussions.

  • Goal No. 3: Position Swiss Fintech Innovations as THE expert group for FinTech regulation in Switzerland

Swiss Fintech Innovations aims at establishing an open exchange and partnerships with other fintech-related associations and organizations. Furthermore, Swiss Fintech Innovations works on innovative proposals to promote Switzerland as a leading financial center with regard to regulation.

What are critical success factors and challenges in achieving this?

Digitization is still in its early phases of development within the financial services industry and thus, the consequences can only be seen in contours. For example, the evolving field of cross-industry ecosystems requires to look beyond the borders of established industries with their legal and regulatory rules. Therefore, Swiss Fintech Innovations’ working group on fintech regulation focuses on both, basic work to measure the impact of fintech as well as shaping future fintech regulation with innovative concepts. Both fields require the involvement of experts form different disciplines such as law, technology, banking and finance, etc.

What did you already achieve and what are your next steps?

We are already working on all three goals in the working group. Regarding the three goals we already could achieve some major efforts:

  • For the first goal “Position Switzerland as a leading fintech hub with regard to regulation”, we developed a first draft of the Swiss Fintech Regulation Framework as well as getting an overview on international initiatives.
  • For the second goal “Position Swiss Fintech Innovations in the Swiss political & parliamentary process” Swiss Fintech Innovations published statements regarding (1) «Vorschläge zur Verringerung von Markteintrittshürden für Fintech-Unternehmen» (from the Federal Department of Finance (for details klick here) and (2) to the postulate “Für einen wettbewerbsfähigen Finanzplatz im Bereich neuer Finanztechnologien“ from the national council (for details click here).
  • For the third goal “Position Swiss Fintech Innovations as THE expert group for FinTech regulation” Swiss Fintech Innovations connected to and established relationships with other relevant associations and organizations within the fintech ecosystem. Additionally, a first scientific vision paper on “Neuerfindung des Finanzsektors” was developed to outline the major future fields of fintech regulation.