Maerki Baumann Launches Cryptocurrency Trading Desk and Custody Service
The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) recently approved two banks — Maerki Baumann and Incore Bank — to offer a number of cryptocurrency services, the two financial institutions independently announced Friday.
Maerki Baumann, a Zurich-based private bank with a dedicated crypto desk, stated Friday that it has obtained a license from FINMA "to offer the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies as well as other digital assets (tokens)." With this new license, the bank will offer its clients the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies starting this month. Noting that its trading platform will also support ERC20 tokens, the bank explained:
Maerki Baumann will initially offer trading in the principal cryptocurrencies, namely bitcoin (BTC), bitcoin cash (BCH), ethereum (ETH), litecoin (LTC) and ripple (XRP).
Besides providing business bank accounts for crypto and blockchain companies, the bank has also been supervising initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs) for its clients. As of Dec. 31, 2019, the bank had approximately 8.5 billion Swiss francs ($8.84 billion) in assets under management, 80% of which originated in Switzerland and 10% in Germany.
Its Friday announcement outlines the bank's near-term plans to further expand its universe of tradable cryptocurrencies and crypto investment services in the second half of the year. The bank detailed:
Maerki Baumann is in no doubt that digital assets will be a fixed element of a professional investment advisory and asset management service in the future.
Incore Bank Launches Several Crypto Services
The second bank recently authorized by FINMA to offer crypto services is Zurich-headquartered Incore Bank, a transaction bank that provides outsourcing services for financial institutions, such as settlement, custody, payments, accounting, compliance, and tax support. Its clients include Maerki Baumann. Incore announced Friday that the Swiss financial regulator has approved it to "trade, hold, transfer and generate (tokenize) digital assets," elaborating:
This makes Incore Bank the first Swiss business-to-business bank to offer financial service providers and institutions worldwide easy and secure access to a new and forward-looking asset class.
Incore Bank recently created a Digital Services division to offer a "full range of services from issuance, distribution, brokerage and storage," its announcement details. "We guarantee a full segregation of crypto client assets on individual wallets, whereby no additional capital requirement of the client bank is required," said Daniel Blatter, Incore's Head of Digital Services.
The bank has also partnered with several companies in the crypto sector, such as the Swiss company Crypto Finance AG. Jan Brzezek, the CEO of Crypto Finance, commented:
We are convinced it is only a matter of time before bitcoin is part of a bank's standard product portfolio. Incore Bank took an early and consistent approach to this topic, and we were immediately able to implement our brokerage and custody infrastructure.
The bank additionally revealed that it also plans to "expand the brokerage, custody and transfer services to security tokens," noting that it has partnered with Inacta AG, an independent Swiss IT crypto consulting firm, to develop additional services in the area of the tokenization of assets.
Maerki Baumann is Incore's first client for crypto services, having been a long-standing client of Incore and its parent company holds a stake in the transaction bank. "The trading orders placed with Maerki Baumann will be transferred via established partner companies, most notably the transaction bank Incore Bank AG, to professional crypto brokers and to the world's leading and most liquid crypto exchanges," the private bank clarified. "This will ensure that transactions can be rapidly executed and with a narrow trading spread."