by Jamie Holmes
On July 12, Swiss private bank Falcon Group, which has 50 years of expertise in wealth management, announced it will be the first Swiss bank to offer blockchain asset management solutions to its clients.
Through cooperation with Bitcoin Suisse, Falcon Group now offers its clients the opportunity to buy and store bitcoin with cash holdings, with the private bank facilitating the access to exchanges and storage methods. Clients can leave the technical setup and acquisition of bitcoins via exchanges to Falcon’s blockchain asset management specialists, taking out much of the complexity associated with crypto assets.
The Swiss financial regulatory body, FINMA, recently approved bitcoin asset management, prompting the move by Falcon group. Also, given similar features similar to gold and both assets are complicated to obtain and secure, the recent move by Falcon Group displays the growing institutional interest in cryptocurrency. Also, a bitcoin ATM has been installed in the lobby of Falcon Private Bank`s headquarters in Zurich, accessible to the public during business hours.
The significant rise in the price of bitcoin has caught the attention of many large financial players. For instance, Fidelity announced in May that would allow its clients to track bitcoin prices. Another growing theme is the installation of bitcoin ATMs at workplaces, with Deloitte and Ernst and Young (E&Y) just two notable examples. In November 2016, E&Y Switzerland allowed clients to pay invoices in bitcoin, gave employees digital wallets and installed a bitcoin ATM, which can be found in the publicly accessible office building next to the Hardbrücke train station in Zurich.
Arthur Vayloyan, Global Head Products & Services, Falcon Private Bank Ltd. stated:
“Following our strategic partnership with Move Digital, a best-in-class provider of digital asset management and investment advisory systems, this is a further tangible element of our new strategy. We are proud to be the first-mover in the Swiss private banking area to provide blockchain asset management for our clients. Falcon is convinced that the time is right to enter this nascent market and it is our firm belief that this new product will fulfil our clients` future needs.”
Niklas Nikolajsen, Bitcoin Suisse’s CEO, stated that Falcon’s new product is a significant breakthrough for the crypto space:
“It has been a pleasure assisting Falcon in realising this new product, which is nothing less than a historic milestone for the entire crypto space.”
The Swiss certainly have taken to bitcoin. In early June, the world’s first crypto fund, Crypto Fund AG, emerged out of the Zug valley, a location which has seen an agglomeration of blockchain companies and widespread bitcoin adoption. Moreover, at every train station in the country, ticket machines double up as a bitcoin ATMs.
With more and more recognition of cryptocurrency as an asset class, the first Swiss private bank tomove to incorporate bitcoin will be seen as a pioneering step, as eventually others will come to the realization of the potent advantages bitcoin and blockchain technology can offer in the field of wealth management.