The globally-recognised Swiss bank for managing, investing, and storing crypto, NFTs has bagged a licence to conduct regulated activities in Hong Kong. SEBA has now become the first group of licenced corporations in the city to conduct investment services with crypto capabilities in the market.
The new development has made the Switzerland-headquartered bank a significant frontrunner in Hong Kong’s burgeoning crypto economy. The green light was issued by the regulatory watchdog, Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
The licence permits SEBA’s Hong Kong subsidiary to deal in and distribute all securities, including virtual assets-related products. This includes over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and structured products with underlying virtual assets, advice on securities and virtual assets, and asset management for discretionary accounts in both traditional securities and virtual assets.
Institutional and professional investors, including corporate treasuries, funds, family offices and high-net-worth individuals, can also begin availing SEBA Hong Kong’s licensed services from 8 November.
The CEO APAC of SEBA Hong Kong, Amy Yu, commented on the occasion saying: “Our experience with the SFC has been extremely positive and it provided a facilitating environment throughout the licensing process. The region’s position at the forefront of finance, trading, and innovation has long been attractive to us, as servicing APAC clientele is an integral aspiration of the team’s DNA. We are tremendously excited by Hong Kong’s deep-rooted capital markets and appetite for investment and trading; to have secured this licence from the SFC provides enormous potential for our business, owing to the well-established and defined regulatory framework that is present here.”
The development is in line with the SEBA Group’s efforts to secure the future of the global crypto economy. The licence positions itself as a trusted and regulated partner in APAC region, being on the ground providing investment and advisory services for investors with the security and customer experience, said its official announcement.
The regulatory clarity not only benefits the business “but also supplements Hong Kong’s status as a global financial services hub, home to a multitude of market leaders in banking, asset management, and capital markets”, said the Group CEO of SEBA Bank, Franz Bergmueller. According to him, the region’s robust legal system provides a solid foundation to conduct crypto-related services.
The bank’s regional subsidiary had first won the approval-in-principle (AIP) from the SFC in August. This follows Hong Kong’s recently updated crypto licensing frameworks that now allows for retail trading.
The SFC had also opened the gates for some tokenised securities-related activities. HashKey Exchange and OSL Digital Securities were the first ones to get crypto exchange licences under this regime.
Recently, Binance had reportedly set up a trading platform in Hong Kong in hopes for a crypto licence in the city. The exchange is said to be behind a newly established cryptocurrency trading platform called HKVAEX. It took its reins in December 2022 and launched its trading platform in February 2023.
While the world’s largest crypto exchange has not explicitly revealed its interest in acquiring a licence in the city, it has often been tagged in news hinting the same. Back in March, Nikkei Asia reported that the crypto exchange was hiring officials that it will need in order to apply for a licence to offer services in Hong Kong.