Swiss SEBA Bank secures in-principle approval for digital asset offerings in Hong Kong

September 5, 2023

By Sharan Kaur Phillora

Switzerland-based financial services firm SEBA Bank has received an approval-in-principle (AIP) for a license to provide digital asset services in Hong Kong. The approval comes from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), signifying a major stride towards SEBA Bank’s aspirations to penetrate the rapidly evolving digital asset market in the region.

Here’s what we know:

Upon issuing a full license, the institution plans to offer a diverse range of services, including over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and digital asset management, primarily catering to institutional clients. 

“This AIP signifies that all our efforts are heading in the right direction. SEBA Group aims to service crypto investors in jurisdictions that recognize the value of digital assets,” said Amy Yu, SEBA Hong Kong CEO for the Asia-Pacific region.

SEBA Bank has pledged to adhere to all SFC regulations, which include routine audits and maintaining best practices for the custody of digital assets. The regulations also require Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) to separate clients’ funds from their own proprietary assets to prevent the mingling of funds. Although a full license has not yet been issued, SEBA is expected to operate within stringent regulatory guidelines.

Franz Bergmueller, CEO of SEBA Bank Group, hailed the AIP as “a reflection of our team’s commitment towards compliance and due diligence—essential pillars of tomorrow’s digital economy.”

This development comes on the heels of SEBA Bank’s expansionist moves in recent months, particularly in Southeast Asia. The bank set up operations in Hong Kong last year to offer wealth management and other advisory services. It has previously secured global licenses in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates.

Hong Kong’s Momentum in the Digital Economy

Hong Kong continues establishing itself as a leading Web3 hub, showing its resolve with various initiatives to foster digital asset services. These initiatives include the formation of a Web3 fund, incubation hubs, and provision of banking services to global crypto firms. Several companies have invested millions of dollars to secure operational licenses, underscoring the jurisdiction’s attractiveness.

SEBA Bank’s moves reflect the wider industry sentiment towards Hong Kong’s burgeoning digital asset ecosystem, which continues to attract global players amid regulatory advancements. With licenses likely finalized by the end of 2023, SEBA Bank is well-positioned to capitalize on this momentum.

About the author

Sharan Kaur Phillora’s thirst for knowledge has led her to study many different subjects, including NFTs and Blockchain technology – two emerging technologies that will change how we interact with each other in the future. When she isn’t exploring a new idea or concept, she enjoys reading literary masterpieces.

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