Swiss-based cryptocurrency bank SEBA has gained in-principle approval from Hong Kong’s securities watchdog the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
As a temporary authorization, SEBA Bank is only a step away from becoming fully licensed and offering its digital asset services in the Asian financial hub. The SFC is billed to grant the full license once SEBA meets the conditions attached to the license.
SEBA Sees Potential in Hong Kong
Hong Kong is now the third market where SEBA Bank has sought a license after Switzerland and Abu Dhabi. Amy Yu, SEBA’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for the Asian-Pacific (APAC) region confirmed that the company sees great potential in Hong Kong and Singapore
“We see no issues in obtaining [a full official approval] by the end of this year. By the time I started, it was very clear that Hong Kong regulators were super gung-ho. They want to make a big push, facilitate as much as they could, and welcome these businesses back into the jurisdiction,” she added.
SEBA Opens Office in Hong Kong
Markedly, the in-principle approval comes almost one year after opened an office in Hong Kong as part of its expansion into the Asia-Pacific region. Last year November, managing director Ludovic Shum was appointed to lead the SEBA Hong Kong executive team.
With the recent development, the bank confirmed in a statement that it has received the AIP for its license application which will give it permission to offer securities, over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives and structured products. At the same time, SEBA will also be allowed to provide advice on securities and virtual assets, and offer asset management for discretionary accounts in both traditional securities and virtual assets.
Benefit of Hong Kong Crypto Licensing Move
It is worth noting that Hong Kong recently introduced a regulatory framework for retail cryptocurrency trade in its region.
The framework requires that all crypto entities including exchanges, obtain license before operating in Hong Kong. The chaos and contagion caused by the implosion of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX led to the promulgation of this framework.
Since June when the framework was introduced, over 150 digital asset service providers have submitted applications for a crypto license. However, recruiters in Hong Kong are not so excited about the crypto licensing like other stakeholders. They cited that the growing excitement towards receiving a crypto license in the region has in no way translated into jobs for the locals.