On 2 November 2016, representatives from the four member-states of the European Free Trade Agreement (EFTA) have met in Basel, in order to attend a seminar of the working group on financial services. This meeting was organized by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the title was the following: “The development of financial services and customer protection”. Mr. Christian Pauletto, Head of the Services Division at the SECO, started off the seminar with an introductory speech about the history of customer protection, ranging from the early antique until today. The audience has carefully followed the presentation and especially appreciated the originality of the speech. Subsequently, Mr. Marco Franchetti, Swiss Banking Ombudsman, introduced his tasks related to customer protection to the auditors, as well as the main difficulties of the branch. Later on, the participants had the opportunity to obtain an introduction on the optimized regulatory process in Switzerland, presented by Mr. Frank Schmid from the State Secretariat for International Financial Matters (SIF). The auditors were especially interested in this matter, as such a process is not yet established in their countries. Lastly, Mr. Markus Fuchs, Managing Director of the Executive Board of the Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association (SFAMA), allowed the audience to get a short insight into the role of the industry in the domain of customer protection. Those speeches initiated productive discussions, in which the Swiss financial system could be understood and the participants were able to exchange their points of view.
On the following day, the EFTA working group on financial services assembled for its ordinary meeting. Important topics could be tackled and potential questions clarified. As a conclusion of the seminar, Mr. Karl Cordewener, Deputy General Secretary of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, presented the objectives of the Committee, keeping the focus on the completion of the measures established within the scope of Basel III.