Hand stamping approved on a document

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

Financial services provider SEBA Bank has announced the receipt of an approval-in-principle (AIP) for a license that would allow it to offer a range of digital asset services to residents in Hong Kong.

The approval was obtained from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), according to a statement from SEBA Bank. The move brings the company one step closer to its ambitions of operating in the region’s digital asset ecosystem, pending the issuance of a proper license.

If granted a full license, SEBA will be able to offer institutional clients an array of offerings, including over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and digital asset management services.

“It is exciting to be at the forefront of innovation in one of the world’s leading financial and technological centres, Hong Kong,” SEBA Hong Kong CEO APAC Amy Yu said. “This AIP signifies that all our efforts are heading in the right direction – SEBA Group wants to service crypto investors in jurisdictions that recognise the value of digital assets.”

Yu noted SEBA’s committed to meet all the requirements of the SFC, including pledging to make regular audits and uphold best practices for the custody of digital assets. According to the SFC rules, Virtual Asset Service Providers (VASPs) are expected to create a clear separation of clients’ funds from proprietary assets to avoid a commingling of assets.

It remains unclear when the SFC will confer a full license on SEBA, but SEBA may be allowed to operate within strict regulatory limits.

“SEBA Hong Kong’s AIP is a reflection of our team’s commitment towards compliance and due diligence – essential pillars of tomorrow’s digital economy,” SEBA Bank Group CEO Franz Bergmueller remarked.

The Swiss-based financial institution has been on an expansionist drive in recent months, citing Southeast Asia as a key region offering prospects for growth. SEBA set up a shop in Hong Kong in 2022 to offer wealth management and other advisory services to entities in the Asia Pacific region.

SEBA has successfully obtained global licenses in Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and now with Hong Kong.

Hong Kong throws its weight behind Web3

After disclosing its plans to be a leading Web3 hub, Hong Kong has launched several initiatives to achieve its ambitions. Administrators wasted no time in establishing a legal framework for industry players and gave the green light for retail traders to trade digital currencies.

Other initiatives include the creation of a Web3 fund, establishing incubation hubs for digital asset service providers, and pledging banking services support for global firms. Lured by the initiatives, global firms have splurged millions of dollars to clinch operational licenses from the SFC.

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