On December 24th 1999, the Federal Authority with regard to money laundering granted the Association Romande des Intermédiaires Financiers (ARIF) recognition as a self-regulatory body (hereinafter OAR).
Founded in Geneva on March 15th 1999 on the initiative of a group of professionals in finance, ARIF is a non-profit-making association, its purpose to assist in the prevention of, and fight against, money laundering and to acquaint its members with, and apply, the Federal Act on Combating Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing in the Financial Sector of October 10th 1997. (Loi Fédérale concernant la lutte contre le blanchiment d’argent dans le secteur financier – hereinafter the “LBA”).
The LBA is compulsory for every non-banking financial intermediary, requiring membership in recognised OAR, or by obtaining an authorisation to exercise directly from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
ARIF, the first generalist OAR based in the French speaking part of Switzerland, is an association independent from any other professional association or political formation. It is open to any non banking financial intermediary in Switzerland.
ARIF currently has more than 490 members. Membership in ARIF can only be obtained by financial intermediaries fulfilling its quality requirement.
According to the LBA and the Federal Authority, an OAR has to, in particular, fulfil the following conditions:
- To assure constantly the respect of legal obligations (authorisation conditions);
- To have an efficient control system, and a system of sanctions which assures that the financial intermediaries respect their legal due diligence;
- Provide its members with appropriate training;
- To establish an open and efficient communication with its members, the Federal Authority and the other OAR;
- To have a sufficient number of members to allow itself to accomplish its tasks, avoiding internal conflicts of interests.