31.12.2018 – We are pleased to announce that HSW Legal joins Walder Wyss Ltd, Zurich, to strengthen their investment management and funds practice as of January 1st, 2019. Walder Wyss is a renowned business law f...

03.08.2018 – Delighted to share that our partners Lukas Weinmann and Urs Hofer co-authored the Switzerland chapter for Getting the Deal Through – Fund Management 2018. Getting the Deal Through works with many...


HSW Legal is an innovative, professional and pro-active legal practice located in the heart of Zurich. We seek to contribute to our clients’ successes. We are committed to helping keep clients’ legal affairs in order, and are dedicated to building and maintaining long-lasting client relationships. We pride ourselves on providing a reliable, result-oriented, personal service, as well as quality and timely advice. Our clients receive the direct, personal attention of the responsible partner.


We focus on the practice areas listed below. We can also help our clients in other areas and jurisdictions thanks to an extensive and reliable referral network within Switzerland and across Europe. We also work closely with our clients’ tax advisors or other external experts.


Additionally, in standard matters, we deliver practical and cost-effective solutions developed together with our clients. HSW Solutions are tailored to our clients’ individual needs. Together we identify and analyse the legal and regulatory issues and work to find the best suited solution. It is crucial for us to understand our client’s business, organisation and processes as this will ensure the evaluation of the solution with the highest added value and positive impact. As conditions may change, we will monitor the applied solution and follow a proactive approach about foreseeable future changes and circumstances. HSW Solutions also include insourcing and outsourcing solutions. It is our ambition that the solution implemented is providing our clients with consistent and real support to help them focus on their core business.


Collective Investment Schemes Law and
Asset Management Law

One of our main practice areas is collective investment schemes law and asset management law.


We have extensive experience in advising domestic and foreign financial services firms such as fund management companies, custodian banks, asset managers of collective investment schemes, Swiss representatives of foreign collective investment schemes and distributors, as well as other financial institutions and investors in collective investment schemes such as pension funds on all issues relating to Swiss collective investment schemes and asset management law.


We represent clients in licensing and registration procedures with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.


We advise clients on all matters related to collective investment schemes law and asset management law including fund structuring, drafting and negotiation of all types of documentation for collective investment schemes, registration of Swiss and foreign collective investment schemes, life-cycle management for collective investment schemes, setting-up of distribution and/or placement organisation for Switzerland, listing of exchange traded funds (ETFs) and other collective investment schemes, compliance and corporate governance, drafting of relevant agreements and internal policies. We also provide day-to-day operational, legal, administrative and company secretarial services related to collective investment schemes.


The team has in particular strong expertise in all matters related to the structuring and life-cycle management of all types of open-end and closed-end collective investment schemes under Swiss law (FCP, SICAV, LP, SICAF), covering all asset classes (including real estate, precious metals) and all investor categories (including qualified investor funds and single investor funds).

Financial Markets Law and
Financial Services Law

We advise domestic and international banks, securities dealers, investment funds and their managers, pension funds, asset/wealth managers, insurance companies, other financial market institutions and participants as well as institutional investors on all legal and regulatory aspects of banking, insurance, capital markets and securities and financial services law and also represent clients before supervisory authorities, self-regulatory organisations and courts.


We have broad experience in conducting license/authorisation and restructuring applications and obtaining required regulatory approvals for regulated entities, including legal and practical advice in connection with organisational issues, internal regulations and documents (internal control systems, risk management, compliance, corporate governance, etc.).


We further render opinions and request rulings from the competent supervisory authorities on behalf of clients regarding licensing requirements and critical regulatory topics. Often new business concepts such as for example crowdfunding are developed which are not specifically addressed in current regulations. In such cases, the conformity of the intended activities with financial market regulation needs to be assessed on a case to case basis to decide whether an authorisation by a supervisory authority is required or not.


Other core competencies include advising clients in connection with the issuance of securities and subsequent trading in secondary markets and the legal treatment of intermediated securities. Our advisory and daily transactional work in this area covers the full life-cycle of all major product types, including exchange-traded and OTC securities, involving any kind of underlying asset (equity, fixed income, commodities, funds etc.). We draft contractual and disclosure documents in connection with securities offerings and advise on legal and regulatory compliance of offering documents and issuance programmes of Swiss and foreign issuers also with a view to listing on the SIX Swiss Exchange. In particular, we have expert knowledge in drafting both issuance and distribution documentation, including marketing material, for structured products, warrants and other derivatives. As recognised issuer representatives, we advise listed companies, issuers and trading participants on compliance with the listing rules and regulations of the SIX Swiss Exchange.


We have a strong commitment to supporting and providing our legal expertise to new market participants such as FinTech companies that are moving the financial industry forward.

Regulatory Investigations, Enforcement and
White Collar Crime

We advise and represent banks, securities dealers, asset managers, insurance companies, other institutions and participants in the financial sector and – if there is no conflict of interest – their executives and employees in connection with investigations and regulatory enforcement actions by Swiss and foreign supervisory authorities and self-regulatory organisations.
We also assist our clients in conducting internal investigations tailored to the risks, regulatory regimes and supervisory authorities involved in the matter, initiated by themselves or in response to inquiries or investigations by supervisory authorities.


We further advise our clients in developing, improving and implementing risk management and compliance programmes and controls and provide compliance training to their staff addressing a wide range of issues, including anti-money laundering, anti-corruption, insider dealing, market conduct, stock exchange disclosure rules, disclosure and accounting, data protection, etc.


While we represent clients in all fields of criminal law, our criminal law expertise centres on financial and economic crime, including anti–money laundering, anti-corruption, violation of business and banking secrecy laws, insider dealing, market abuse and fraud. Defending our clients’ interests does not only require a profound knowledge of the criminal law but also a comprehensive understanding of the commercial context. We can draw upon our broad expertise in other core practice areas, in particular in the laws, regulations and practices governing banking, capital markets, stock exchanges and financial services to provide advice and strategy for pursuing actions or defending against allegations.


Our experience includes advising and representing clients affected by the criminal behaviour of their own employees or third parties. We help clients to enforce their rights and claims and support them throughout all stages of criminal investigations and criminal and civil proceedings. Our work also covers the criminal defense of clients who themselves are under criminal investigation, including their representation before prosecutors and courts.


Given the often cross-border nature of the activities of our clients, our niche practice in this area further includes international legal and administrative assistance proceedings, notably in connection with requests for information and documents as well as asset seizures and asset freezing.

Pension Fund Law

We advise pension funds, companies and the board of foundations in the formation and structuring of pension plans, drafting and reviewing of regulations, designing and implementing of internal control systems and compliance programmes as well as in the context of asset management, e.g. admission of asset managers, drafting and negotiation of investment management agreements and development and implementation of asset management solutions via collective investment schemes (single investor funds).

Real Estate and Rental Law

We advise and support real estate funds, real estate companies, pension funds, insurance companies, financial institutions, institutional investors and private clients on the entire spectrum of real estate and rental law issues, including acquisition and sale transactions, financings, securitizations, commercial and residential leases (landlord and tenant representation), easements and mortgages, architect and contractor agreements and tender procedures.


We have a special expertise in the structuring of real estate funds and also in regulatory real estate issues, including permits for acquisitions of real estate by persons abroad (Lex Koller) and second home related aspects (Lex Weber).

Corporate & Commercial Law

We provide legal advice to clients on all aspects of their business activities. We advise and assist on a broad spectrum of corporate and commercial matters. We offer comprehensive services in connection with the establishment of the appropriate legal structure (e.g. company limited by shares, partnership limited by shares, general partnership, association, foundation), the establishment of branches of domestic and foreign companies, the structuring of the regulation between co-owners and contracts with third parties, the transfer of business, the commencement of business activities in Switzerland, corporate governance, succession planning and the liquidation of companies.

Contract law

We provide assistance and advice in negotiation, formation and legal implementation of all types of contracts for all industries and business areas.
Typical areas of work include drafting and negotiating contracts such as employment contracts, mandate agreements, sales and purchase agreements, loan agreements, leasing agreements, general terms and conditions, delivery and production contracts, consultancy and other service agreements (such as agency and distribution agreements), co-operation agreements, broker agreements, licence agreements and any other type of contract in the area of franchising and factoring.


We represent our clients before ordinary courts, arbitration tribunals and authorities to enforce or defend contractual claims of all kinds.



The financial services industry in Switzerland faces considerable regulatory change over the coming years, such as with the proposed Federal Financial Services Act, the Federal Financial Institutions Act and the Federal Financial Market Infrastructure Act. With our regulatory solutions we seek to improve and strengthen our clients’ processes and organisation in the fields of governance, risk management and compliance, regulatory change and distribution/marketing to help them managing all regulatory challenges and to protect their businesses from regulatory risk, but also to position them to take advantage of emerging opportunities. Our regulatory solutions allow clients to focus on their core business and to balance their compliance demands in equal measure with their profitability goals.


HSW Regulatory Solutions typically include: provision of regulatory updates, registration and maintenance of registration of foreign collective investment schemes, review of standard distribution and placement agreements for Switzerland, review of structured products related documentation, review of marketing material and websites, regular training of staff in regulatory matters, performance of delegated due diligence matters as well as insourcing and outsourcing solutions, including remote or on-site legal and compliance functions.


HSW Solutions are bespoke to the client’s individual requirements and delivered based on pre-agreed reliable alternative fee models.


Our clients are small and mid-sized corporations from various industries. Many of our clients retain us to act as their “outsourced in-house counsel”. This arrangement’s principal benefits are that we develop an in-depth familiarity with our clients’ business, culture and legal needs and we maintain a long-term relationship, which facilitates efficiency of service – with no additional employee headcount.


HSW Corporate Solutions typically include: start-up counselling, incorporation services (preparation of founding documentation and related documents and agreements), domiciliation services, setting-up and maintaining organisational, compliance and corporate governance structures, corporate housekeeping (conducting of general shareholders’ meetings, preparation of board meetings, keeping company documents up-to-date, making all required filings with the local Commercial Register, contract management, etc.), corporation research, on-going administration in all types of employment agreements and executive compensation and benefit plans, performance of delegated due diligence matters as well as insourcing and outsourcing solutions.


For our corporate solutions valuable synergies arise through a close partnership with an external trust agency (e.g. finance and accounting, controlling, payroll including settlement of social security, advice on pension provisions and retirement) as well as with external tax partners. The specific needs of our clients can be purposefully addressed through intensive, interdisciplinary collaboration.


HSW Solutions are bespoke to the client’s individual requirements and delivered based on pre-agreed reliable alternative fee models.


When our clients are planning to list, they need up-to-date, technically proficient and insightful legal advice delivered with speed and efficiency. We are recognised as expert issuer representatives according to Art. 43 of the Listing Rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange and have extensive experience of the securities products which are suitable for listing.


We can provide our clients with solutions on listings for a variety of securities products, including investment funds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), exchange traded products (ETPs), structured products, warrants and bonds.


HSW Listing Solutions typically include: pre-listing services (e.g. drafting of listing documentation, application for admission for provisional trading for structured products, warrants and bonds to be submitted to the Regulatory Board in good time), drafting and submission of listing application, performance of various duties for the maintenance of the listing.


In particular, we have expert knowledge using electronic platforms such as Internet Based Listing (IBL) and Internet Based Terms (IBT) made available by SIX Swiss Exchange for provisional admission to trading and for listing purposes of structured products, warrants and bonds. Moreover, we are familiar with the use of Internet Based Events (IBE). This electronic platform allows issuers to perform many of the regular reporting obligations concerning the maintenance of listing of structured products.


HSW Solutions are bespoke to the client’s individual requirements and delivered based on pre-agreed reliable alternative fee models.


We are a well-established team of lawyers with a combined working experience of more than 30 years in our areas of practice.


We have been working together as a team for more than seven years and perfectly complement one another.


We are experienced in working with the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA, the Occupational Pension Supervisory Committee (OAK BV) and the SIX Swiss Exchange and we are well-connected to fund professionals (Swiss Funds & Asset Management Association (SFAMA), lawyers, service providers, etc.) in Switzerland and in the EU.


We combine a well-grounded national and international education and diverse work experience in law firms, financial institutions, courts and at the regulator, with a wide and long-standing experience in financial services law. Our working experience and background enable us to understand the practical needs of our clients and to provide pro-active, professional and solution-oriented advice.

At HSW Legal, paralegals are key members of our team and assist us in the performance of a wide variety of standardised, process-based and routine legal and regulatory matters.


Our paralegals are crucial to our delivery of practical and cost-effective client service.


Our paralegal staff are well-trained and have relevant working experience in the area of financial regulation, compliance and financial products, in particular collective investment schemes.


Effective January 1st, 2019, we have joined Walder Wyss Ltd., Zurich.


For more information about Walder Wyss Ltd., please visit walderwyss.com.


We look forward to continuing our relationships and serving you at our new firm.


Please contact us any time at:

Walder Wyss Ltd.
Seefeldstrasse 123
P.O. Box
8034 Zurich


Urs Hofer, lic. iur., LL.M.,
Attorney at Law


Phone direct: +41 58 658 51 95
Mobile: +41 79 245 04 62