SEBA Bank AG, a crypto bank backed by Julius Baer Group Ltd., has received in-principle approval from Hong Kong’s regulator to conduct licensed crypto related services.
(Bloomberg) — SEBA Bank AG, a crypto bank backed by Julius Baer Group Ltd., has received in-principle approval from Hong Kong’s regulator to conduct licensed crypto related services.
Once full approval comes through, SEBA Hong Kong will be able to deal in securities including virtual asset-related over-the-counter derivatives and structured products. It will also be able to provide advice on securities and crypto and conduct asset management for discretionary accounts in both traditional and virtual assets.
SEBA joins a growing number of firms, including HashKey Exchange and OSL, in getting approval to provide crypto offerings in Hong Kong. The Chinese special administrative region started a mandatory crypto framework this summer in an effort to restore its image as a cutting-edge financial center.
The Zug-headquartered Swiss bank sees demand for derivatives from crypto firms looking to hedge their positions, according to Amy Yu, Asia Pacific chief executive officer at SEBA Bank. “Derivatives is going to be a very interesting angle in Asia,” said Yu.
Yu said there’s “a lot of” demand for structured products in the region. She expects full approvals to come through by the end of the year.
The firm is also looking to serve crypto firms that lack brokerage services in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has encouraged local lenders to bank crypto firms but such firms are struggling to get access to services.
Crypto firms “are generally not as connected with traditional financial markets providers,” said Yu. “We are comfortable interacting with these kinds of clients,” she said, adding that there’s been demand from crypto firms looking to invest in US Treasuries, equities and money market funds.
SEBA is also focused on high net worth individuals and family offices, said Yu.
The Hong Kong subsidiary will not be able to convert fiat currencies to crypto or vice versa, but can refer clients to its Zug entity, which is licensed to do so, according to Yu.
While the firm has gotten approvals for licensing in Hong Kong first, it still has ambitions for Singapore.
“We did concentrate on Hong Kong to start, it is the first jurisdiction in the region,” said Yu. “But we are still exploring Singapore.”
–With assistance from Suvashree Ghosh and Sidhartha Shukla.
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