On August 29th, a significant development unfolded as the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) granted preliminary approval to SEBA Bank, a prominent Swiss financial institution known for its crypto-friendly approach. This milestone approval was bestowed upon SEBA Bank’s local division in Hong Kong, positioning the bank to engage in a range of crypto-related activities within the region.
The granted in-principle approval authorizes SEBA Bank’s Hong Kong unit to engage in securities trading, including the facilitation of crypto-related products such as over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and structured financial products. The bank is further permitted to offer financial counsel on securities and virtual assets, as well as provide asset management services for discretionary accounts encompassing both conventional securities and crypto assets.
SEBA Bank is poised to attain a comprehensive license by the final quarter of this year, bolstering its capacity to operate in full compliance with the regulatory framework. Amy Yu, CEO APAC of SEBA Hong Kong, conveyed the institution’s enthusiasm for Hong Kong’s potential in the global crypto sphere and underscored its commitment to contributing to the city’s ascension as a crypto market leader.
Notably, SEBA Bank’s offerings span beyond the crypto domain, encompassing traditional banking functions along with services such as trading, staking, lending, and custody of cryptocurrencies.
This regulatory breakthrough aligns with Hong Kong’s strategic shift towards accommodating the crypto landscape. In a sequence of policy statements in October 2022, Hong Kong exhibited willingness to reengage with digital asset ventures. Subsequent legislative action in December 2022 paved the way for a comprehensive licensing mechanism tailored for crypto platforms engaged in retail trading.
The latest move reinforces Hong Kong’s commitment to crypto development. The regulator had previously granted crypto licenses, including one to OSL three years ago, and more recently extended a retail crypto trading license to local firm HashKey. Furthermore, the SFC’s in-principle approval for Hong Kong Virtual Asset Exchange (HKVAX) reflects the regulator’s proactive stance.
The Hong Kong crypto license secured by SEBA Bank is positioned strategically to facilitate engagement with the Chinese market when it opens, leveraging the geographical proximity between Hong Kong and mainland China. As SEBA Bank’s presence expands within Asia, the granted license signifies a pivotal step in aligning with Hong Kong’s crypto journey.