Last month it was reported by Crypto Disrupt that crypto investors were taking their business elsewhere in light of conditions allegedly being imposed by the Swiss National Bank, making it difficult for cryptocurrency companies to open bank accounts and carry out necessary banking actions.
It has recently been reported, however, that two prominent Swiss banks had broken ranks and decided to go against the grain by accepting money generated through crypto-related business.
The first of the two banks to open the doors to crypto investors is Falcon Private Bank, an Abu Dhabi-backed enterprise based on the Pelikanstrasse in central Zurich.
Considering the banks’ involvement in a multibillion-dollar 1MDB embezzlement scandal, there’s been a few surprised reactions that it’s moving to enter a playing field that most Swiss banks are still too nervous to go near.
Their Singapore unit was shut down by regulators for failing to do enough to deal with USD 1.27 billion in suspicious deposits linked to Malaysia’s 1MDB scandal.
The fallout from this scandal isn’t entirely in the past yet either, with a branch manager currently in jail in Singapore, and an ongoing Swiss investigation.
Despite this, crypto investors are being welcomed by Falcon.
“Crypto Valley is almost unbanked,” commented Michael Helbling, head of Falcon’s crypto desk.
“We have seen tremendous interest.”
Larger banks aren’t willing to take the risk
“In areas that are new, the big banks cannot move as quickly as the smaller banks,” commented Stefan Bollhalder, Falcon’s chief investment officer.
“Larger rivals may also think ‘it’s not worth the risk,’ so they leave it to the smaller ones.”
All too aware of the issues they faced in Singapore, Falcon are proceeding with caution.
“The bank has learned its lessons,” stated Head of Marketing at Falcon, Gianmarco Timpanaro.
“And there was a really clear prerequisite to have all the compliance and legal sign-offs before we would enter this kind of business.”
Along with Falcon, Maerki Baumann private bank is offering services to crypto investors who have previously been forced to take their business elsewhere.
Crypto currently seen as alternative investment vehicles
While not providing access to direct investments in cryptocurrencies, Maerki Baumann is offering their clients the services of experts if required.
A statement from the bank read as follows –
“Maerki Baumann closely monitors the development of these investment vehicles and the underlying regulation without our commitment to engage in this area.
This concerns investments in cryptocurrencies as well as the technologies required to trade and store these instruments.
We currently see cryptocurrencies as alternative investment vehicles, but we have limited experience and data (prices, volatility, trading volumes) available in our house.”
Despite the positive steps made by these two financial institutions, Maerki Baumann ended their statement by maintaining their skepticism of many cryptocurrency investments by saying –
“In general, we currently advise against larger investments in cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are not, in our estimation, suitable for long-term investment due to the uncertainties outlined above.”
So, a small step in the right direction, which should please crypto investors who wish to operate in Switzerland, but there’s clearly a lot still to be done if they’re to plug the crypto exodus that is currently benefiting destinations such as Liechtenstein, Gibraltar and the Cayman Islands.
Lover of all things crypto, blockchain and AI, professional tech scribe & part of the editorial team at Crypto Disrupt.