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SingTel-backed Sygnum partners European exchange operator, telco to build digital asset platform

INFRASTRUCTURE and real estate players may soon tokenise their real estate, turning them into investment options for investors, if fintech startup Sygnum's digital asset platform takes off. 

The firm said that it is already in talks with infrastructure and real estate players in Singapore to tokenise parts of their real estate. 

Sygnum is partnering European stock exchange operator Deutsche Börse Group and Swiss telco Swisscom to build a platform tapping into distributed ledger technology, where digital assets such as tokenised shares and investment products can be securely issued and traded.

Doing so allows assets to be tradeable on a "more granular basis" and portfolios to be "more differentiated", Sygnum said in a phone interview on Monday. 

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The platform has been made available in Switzerland, with plans to also launch it in Singapore over the next 12 months.

Sygnum - which counts Singtel Innov8, the venture capital arm of Singtel Group, as one of its investors - was founded by a team of Swiss and Singaporean professionals. It develops its products and services simultaneously in the financial hubs of Switzerland and Singapore. Heavyweights such as former UBS boss Peter Wuffli and GIC board director Ang Kong Hua are among Sygnum's advisers.  

The development would also help digital assets get incorporated in traditional finance - from banking services and asset management, to capital raising and brokerage.

Already, Sygnum has applied for a Swiss banking and securities dealer licence from Swiss regulator FINMA that will allow it to offer banking services, brokerage and asset management on the digital asset platform, targeted at accredited and high-net-worth investors. The firm expects to obtain the licence and launch its first products and services in 2019. 

For Singapore, there has plans to obtain a banking licence as well although it will not be this year, Sygnum said. 

Currently, it is focusing on offering asset management for digital assets and is gunning for a Capital Markets Services Licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Regardless, Sygnum said, it will have sufficient funds to meet capital requirements. The firm is expecting to raise over S$75 million in total when its third round of fundraising - led by a Global Logistic Properties-sponsored fund - closes in about two weeks' time.