Supervisory authorities

Swiss legislation regarding the processing and trading of precious metals is among the strictest in the world.

On a national level, refiners are supervised by two bodies:

  • The Precious Metals Control Bureau (BCMP), connected to the Federal Customs Administration, is the reference body that ensures the rules in force are applied (law of 20 June 1933 on the control of precious metals). Its main responsibility is to check the credentials of alloys, official hallmarking and cross-border movements.

  • The Federal Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) which regulated trade assayers in their capacity as financial intermediaries as regards the law on money laundering (LBA) until 31/12/2019.

  • In the near future, this task of monitoring the AML (Anti-Money Laundering Act) will be transferred to the BCMP – pending a decision on its application, which is expected in 2022.

Any suspicion of money laundering must be immediately reported to the competent authorities (MROS) and the Precious Metals Control Bureau. If any breaches are observed, it is up to these authorities to take the appropriate measures.

Next steps:

  • Since 01/01/2020

    Trade assayers have been subject to the FinIA (Financial Institutions Act) in their capacity as financial intermediaries and are regulated by an SRO, waiting for the PMCO‘s.

  • 1 January 2021

    The Swiss Customs Administration has submitted a request to the World Customs Organization (WCO) with the aim of creating a distinction between different types of gold in raw forms under tariff subheading 7108.12, in order to be able to distinguish between mined gold, banking gold (LBMA) and gold in other forms. This change is expected to be implemented in 2027 at the earliest.

    For many years, the ASFCMP has been campaigning for greater transparency between the different types of gold, taking into account subheading 7108.12. The association has guaranteed that from 1 January 2021 this tariff will be amended in compliance with the request submitted to the WCO and will come into force for Switzerland.

  • 2022

    Revision of the law on money laundering (LBA) will allow for centralised supervision of trade assayers by the Precious Metals Control Bureau (BCMP). For many years, the ASFCMP campaigns for greater transparency and traceability of provisions and in this regard has proposed to national authorities the concept of a reference document that provides a strategic vision as regards the development of the BCMP which, over time, allows for full supervision of trade assayers in areas regarding the supply chain, human rights and the environment.

On a national and international level, members commit to respect the guidelines of the umbrella associations:

  • The Ordinance on Duties of Care and Transparency with regard to Minerals and Metals from Conflict Areas and Child Labour (ODiTr)

  • OECD directives regarding responsible procurement of materials from conflict or high risk zones

  • Directives of the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) -The Global Authority for Precious Metals on responsible procurement

  • Directive of the Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) on the supply chain (COC) and code of conduct (COP)

For the ASFCMP, supply chain traceability is a key element in the compliance system for its members. If our members are unable to guarantee the origin of gold, they must refrain from purchasing it. In case of doubt, the ASFCMP also recommends its members exercise due caution, and refrain from purchase.