Switzerland-based SEBA Bank became the first Swiss-licensed financial institution to receive a license from regulators to offer digital assets to mutual funds in the country. The cryptocurrency-focused bank will act as a custodian to the firm enabling mutual funds to get exposure to cryptocurrencies.
In an announcement on Wednesday, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, or FINMA, announced they have granted a license, a first of its kind, to SEBA Bank, one of the leading banks dealing with digital assets in Switzerland, to offer mutual funds investments in digital currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. The bank will act as the custodian of the funds from institutional clients enabling them to add to their alternative investments basket.
In a phone interview, SEBA Bank CEO Guido Buehler confirmed the product would first be launched to institutional clients with retail clients in plans.
“This collective investment scheme license allows institutional clients, and then later retail clients, to invest into crypto assets on a liquid basis through fund structures.”
”It means there is now the opportunity for institutions to establish their fund structures for crypto as a liquid asset, so people can subscribe today and can sell tomorrow.”
The fintech firm launched in mid-2018 promising to offer clients the “best services in digital banking” and has since introduced digital assets and cryptocurrencies in line with the company’s vision. Having received its digital asset banking license in late 2019, the bank raised $95 million (100 million CHF) in mid-2020 in a bid to enhance its services in preparation for institutional investors.
Unlike the US and China, which are setting up strict regulations on cryptocurrency, Switzerland is leading the way in offering digital asset licenses to Swiss companies. Such ease in regulations is seeing growing interest in traditional firms hoping on to the crypto train. Recently, Swiss-bank UBS was reported exploring various alternatives to offer its wealthy clients exposure to cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.