Financial market participants
In the Liechtenstein financial centre operate banks, asset management companies, fund management companies, insurance undertakings, insurance intermediaries, pension schemes, pension funds, professional trustees and other financial intermediaries. The FMA maintains a register of licenced institutions.
Financial market participants by categories
Liechtenstein banks focus their activities primarily on private banking and international wealth management. Thanks to Liechtenstein's membership in the European Economic Area (EEA), banks enjoy full freedom to provide services throughout the European single market. Some banks are also active outside Europe, especially in Asia. Assets under management at the 12 banks (Liechtenstein banks including foreign group companies) amounted to CHF 424 billion as of December 2021.
Three electronic money institutions were licensed in Liechtenstein as of December 2021. Electronic money institutions issue electronically stored monetary assets with which payment transactions can be executed. Prepaid cards are an example. In 2021, the FMA granted a license to the first payment institution in Liechtenstein. Payment institutions are licensed to provide payment services in accordance with the Payment Services Act (ZDG) and ancillary activities on a commercial basis throughout the European single market. These activities include deposit and withdrawal transactions, payment account management, financial transfer transactions, account information services, and payment initiation services.
The core business of asset management companies includes portfolio management and investment advisory services. They also work in securities and financial analysis as well as the acceptance and transmission of orders dealing with financial instruments. Asset management companies are not allowed to receive or hold assets by third parties. Asset management companies are also investment firms as defined by Directive 2004/39/EC.
At the end of 2021, 98 asset management companies held licences in Liechtenstein. Assets under management amounted to a total of CHF 59.5 billion at the end of 2021.
Thanks to stability and international compatibility, the Liechtenstein fund centre offers attractive framework conditions for fund providers and their products.
The number of authorised Liechtenstein funds was 556 at the end of 2021. A fund may consist of one or more sub-funds. The funds were managed by a total of 16 management companies or alternative investment fund managers (AIFMs) and one self-managing investment company. Other licence holders under fund law were a risk manager under the AIFM Act (AIFMG) and a selling agent under the AIFMG.
Net assets under management amounted to CHF 70.3 billion at the end of 2021.
Liechtenstein offers insurance undertakings direct access to the countries of the European Economic Area and to Switzerland. This is made possible by Liechtenstein's EEA membership and the Direct Insurance Agreement with Switzerland.
Life insurance, non-life insurance, and reinsurance undertakings operate in Liechtenstein. The main business of life insurers is fund-linked / unit-linked life insurance. Non-life insurers cover all relevant insurance classes. The reinsurance undertakings in Liechtenstein are captives. These are company insurance undertakings offering coverage of company insurance risks for the parent undertaking or the group. At the end of 2021, 16 life insurance, 14 non-life insurance, and 3 reinsurance undertakings operated with registered offices in Liechtenstein.
The premium income of the insurance undertakings amounted to CHF 5.61 billion in the 2021 fiscal year. Of that amount, CHF 3.63 billion is attributable to non-life insurance, CHF 1.90 billion to life insurance, and CHF 0.07 billion to reinsurance.
At the end of 2021, the FMA supervised a total of 57 registered insurance intermediaries.
Pension provision in Liechtenstein is built on three pillars: Old Age, Disability, and Survivors' Insurance administered by the State (AHV / IV), mandatory occupational pension provision, and private pension provision on a supplementary basis. The first pillar aims to secure the subsistence level of the insured person and family members in the event of old age, disability, and death. In conjunction with the first pillar, the second pillar – occupational pension provision – aims to ensure that the accustomed standard of living can be maintained. The third pillar – individual pension provision – serves to close provision gaps that cannot be covered by the first and second pillars.
Occupational provision is administered by pension schemes, i. e. , by autonomous legal entities subject to the Occupational Pensions Act (OPA) and supervised by the FMA.
At the end of 2021, 17 pension schemes in Liechtenstein were under the supervision of the FMA. These were 6 collective foundations and 11 company pension schemes.
The Pension Funds Act governs the taking up and performance of the activities of pension funds. It allows pension funds to accept sponsoring undertakings from other contracting parties to the EEA Agreement, subject to the applicable provisions of labour and social law governing the design of the retirement provision systems in each country of activity.
At the end of 2021, the FMA was supervising 3 pension funds.
The activities of professional trustees include in particular the formation of legal persons, companies, and trusts, the assumption of board and management mandates under article 180a of the Law on Persons and Companies (PGR), the assumption of trust mandates, accounting and reviews, as well as financial, economic, and tax advice.
At the end of 2021, the number of licences under the Professional Trustees Act (PTA) was 368. This included 139 professional trustees and 229 trust companies.
The activities of persons under the 180a Act include the assumption of board mandates under Article 180a of the Law on Persons and Companies (PGR).
At the end of 2021, the number of persons with an entitlement under article 180a was 208.
As of 31 December 2021, 40 domestic auditors, five foreign auditors established in Liechtenstein, and 24 audit companies were supervised by the FMA. The FMA is responsible for due diligence supervision as well as the exercise of disciplinary power and the performance of quality controls.
Patent lawyers and patent law firms offer professional advice and representation in the fields of intellectual property. One of the FMA's responsibilities is due diligence supervision.
At the end of 2021, 9 persons held a licence under the Patent Lawyers Act (PLA).
Register of licensees
In accordance with the legal requirements, the FMA maintains a register of licensees.