Many Swiss banks and other asset management companies have unlawfully withheld commission fees in billions in the past. These commission fees are called retrocessions in Switzerland and were a well-established and lucrative business model for Swiss banks, asset management companies and financial service providers for many years. These funds belong to the clients, who are often unaware of their rights in this regard.
Every day, large amounts are forfeited in favour of the banks. The commission fees were charged to the investor on the purchase of the investment product in Switzerland. Very few clients, however, have claimed the funds they are entitled to. This reluctance plays directly into the hands of the Swiss financial service companies: they are playing for time. In the meantime, many investors are threatened by the expiry of their claim, which - depending on the size of the fund under management - may easily reach five or six figure sums.
Swiss Federal Supreme Court has decided
The principle ruling of the Swiss Federal Supreme Court in 2012 (4A_127/2012, 4A_141/2012) prohibits retrocessions and the subsequent supervisory measures by the Swiss Financial Supervisory Authorities FINMA have, in theory, increased the pressure on the Swiss financial industry. However, in practice little has been achieved due to a lack of awareness and the reluctance of the investors. The ruling is however clear: Banks and asset management companies in Switzerland are required to repay all commissions to their customers withheld by the providers of funds, certificates and other financial products. Back in 2006, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court ruled that clients had a right to retrocessions and finders fees paid to asset management companies and as such strengthened the rights of investors. Experts estimate - according to statistics from the Swiss Bankers Association - that this procedure unlawfully withheld many millions of Swiss Francs from investors which belong to the clients.