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UBS warns employees of tighter rules on personal crypto trades

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UBS Group AG may require staff to seek approval before trading cryptocurrencies in their personal accounts, bringing its policy on whipsawing virtual money into line with its rules on dealing other securities.

[LONDON] UBS Group AG may require staff to seek approval before trading cryptocurrencies in their personal accounts, bringing its policy on whipsawing virtual money into line with its rules on dealing other securities.

"At present the Global Policy on Personal Investment is silent on cryptocurrencies and thus disclosure and pre-clearance is not required" in most cases, UBS told staff this week in a memo seen by Bloomberg and confirmed by the bank.

The bank is considering implementing "additional rules and requirements," including an obligation for staff to seek permission before trading, the memo said.

UBS chairman Axel Weber last week followed executives from BlackRock Inc and Bridgewater Associates expressing skepticism toward cryptocurrencies, warning of a potentially "massive" drop in the value of Bitcoin if there is a regulatory clampdown. The Swiss bank won't trade or offer it to retail clients, he said.

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"We fear that in the future, if these investments implode and the market corrects, then investors will be looking at 'who sold us this?'," he said in an interview with Bloomberg TV at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Bitcoin has fallen more than 50 per cent from its mid-December peak. It declined more than US$1,000 to below US$8,000 on Friday.

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