Maerki Baumann — a private bank based in Zurich, Switzerland — has announced it will manage its clients’ cryptocurrency assets. This makes it the second Swiss bank to make such an announcement following Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (Hypi), which stated in June that it would open business accounts for cryptocurrency companies.
The bank recently published an article on its website entitled, “Cryptocurrencies — What Exactly Are They?” Written by the company’s deputy head of IT and digitization Milko G. Hensel, the article offers a brief description of some of the world’s best-known and most established digital currencies, such as bitcoin and ether. It then explains that, while the bank is prepared to “accept funds generated through cryptocurrencies,” it does not condone investing in cryptocurrencies given their volatility and speculative natures.
“We would advise against any major investment in cryptocurrencies at present,” the article explains. “In our view, cryptocurrencies are unsuitable for long-term investors due to the uncertainties set out above.”
First established in 1932, Maerki Baumann is a family-owned bank that has primarily offered asset management and investment advice for institutional clients. At press time, it supervises about $649 million USD in client holdings.
The bank openly admits that its knowledge of cryptocurrencies is limited, though it will provide “experts” to investors looking to take advantage of its new services. In addition, it is also advising clients to consult with Bitcoin Suisse — a digital currency firm — for further information.
“Maerki Baumann closely monitors the development of these investment vehicles and the underlying regulation without our commitment to engage in this arena,” the bank says in a statement.
“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, etc.) available in our house.”
Switzerland is becoming a global hub for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related projects. SIX Group — the parent company of Maerki Baumann — announced last July that it will be launching a fully integrated digital asset infrastructure. Known as the “Swiss Digital Exchange,” the venture is set to open its doors early next year under the guidance and supervision of the country’s national financial regulator.
Furthermore, the country’s wealthy town of Zug has been dubbed “Crypto Valley” — a take on northern California’s esteemed “Silicon Valley” — due to the 200 to 300 individual cryptocurrency businesses it currently plays host to.