FinSA stipulates that clients must be classified in one of the three following categories:
Private Clients are clients who are neither Professional Clients, nor Institutional Clients (see definitions below).
They are given the highest protection, which means higher extensive information and explanations, but limited access to certain financial instruments and services.
Professional clients are deemed to possess sufficient knowledge and experience to take investment decisions in full knowledge of the nature and extent of the associated risks, and be able to bear the financial consequences of those decisions.
They are afforded limited protection.
Among Professional Clients are large companies or companies with professional treasury operations.
Institutional clients are deemed to possess knowledge and experience comparable to that of financial services providers.
According to FinSA, the legal rules of conduct, particularly the duty of information by financial intermediaries, are not applicable to these clients.
Institutional Clients include banks, insurance companies and other financial intermediaries subject to prudential supervision in Switzerland or abroad.