Switzerland’s Financial Regulator Approves First Crypto Asset Manager

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Image: Bitcoin, Pixabay

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has granted its first authorization to a cryptocurrency company. Crypto Fund AG, a subsidiary of Crypto Finance AG, has become the country’s first crypto asset manager to be approved by the financial regulator, it said on Tuesday.

Crypto Fund
Crypto Finance banner at the Crypto Finance Investment Forum, Sept 2018

Crypto Fund, one of the three companies within Crypto Finance, gives institutional investors access to the crypto asset markets through a range of fund products.

Jan Brzezek, CEO and co-founder of Crypto Finance AG and a former UBS banker, said:

“The importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets. Regulatory recognition remains highly sought after by participants, as seen in recent press and company statements.

“The FINMA authorization for Crypto Fund AG is a key step for our clients and investors, and for us in becoming a leading provider of digital asset services worldwide.”

As an asset manager of collective investment schemes, Crypto Fund is authorized by FINMA to manage and distribute domestic and foreign investment funds to qualified investors and provide investment advice for institutional clients.

Without such an authorization, the activities of crypto companies in Switzerland are limited and are only subject to fulfilling compliance with money laundering regulations; however, this does not address prudential supervision over all activities or the organization of the crypto company.

“The authorization represents our professional work over the last 12 months and is a major milestone for us,” said Mathias Maurer, COO of Crypto Fund AG.

In addition to the asset manager license, Crypto Fund has also announced the addition of professor Fabian Schär to the board of directors.

Professor Schär is currently the director of the Center for Innovative Finance CIF at the University of Basel in the Faculty of Business and Economics. His research areas include applications based on blockchain technology such as smart contracts, the transfer of financial assets in blockchain-based tokens and further aspects of distributed ledger technology. He is also the author of the Bitcoin, Blockchain und Kryptoassets book.

Crypto Finance’s fund arm already won a fund license in June. The license allows the company to sell collective investment products.

Other companies comprising Crypto Finance include Crypto Broker AG, which is active in crypto asset trading, and Crypto Storage AG, which provides crypto asset custody infrastructure.

The three business units provide services for institutional investors to invest in blockchain technology. Headquartered in Zug, also known as the Crypto Valley, Crypto Finance also has offices in Zurich and Geneva.