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Tokenisation startups Sygnum, SEBA clinch conditional Swiss banking, securities licences

Tokenisation startups Sygnum, SEBA clinch conditional Swiss banking, securities licences

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2 -min read
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SWITZERLAND and Singapore-focused tokenisation startup Sygnum has clinched one of two conditional banking and securities dealers' licences in Switzerland, the first time that the European country's Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) has given the go-ahead to pure-play blockchain service providers.

The other licence recipient is SEBA Crypto, which is registered in Zug. Sygnum is registered in Zurich but also counts Singapore as a key market. Sygnum's existing investors include Singtel Innov8, the venture arm of telco Singtel.

Finma did not provide details about the conditions attached to the licences, but said that they were aimed at ensuring that the businesses are set up in an orderly manner. Sygnum said the licence will be effective when the company fulfils all secondary criteria specified by Finma, and that it will not be operational or onboard customers until then.

Sygnum, which helps to tokenise assets, is also seeking a Capital Market Services licence in Singapore. If it obtains that licence, Sygnum will be able to offer fund management services, including a digital asset multi-manager fund, the startup said in a statement.

"Being awarded the banking and securities dealer licence from Finma is a significant milestone, and an important step towards the institutionalisation of the digital asset economy," Sygnum co-founder and Switzerland chief executive Manuel Krieger said.

In previous interviews with The Business Times, Sygnum co-founders Mathias Imbach and Gerald Goh said that the startup will aim its products at qualified or accredited institutional investors in its first phase of development, before looking to develop bank-to-bank technology solutions.

SEBA said it aims to go live in early October 2019 with partner Julius Baer, a private bank.

"The banking licence of the Swiss Financial Market Authority, Finma, is not only a milestone for SEBA, it sets a new standard for banking in the blockchain and digital asset economy," SEBA chairman Andreas Amschwand said in a statement. "This moment has significance far beyond the Swiss financial industry."