Cryptocurrency

Switzerland’s markets watchdog grants asset manager licence to Crypto Fund

The Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) has issued a licence to a digital currency investment fund, industry website Coindesk has reported. Today’s development marks the first time FINMA has issued such licence to a crypto-related firm.

The licence was given to Crypto Fund, a subsidiary of Zug-based company CryptoFinance, which now can operate as an asset manager. Coindesk noted that the fund is now allowed to operate as a manager of “collective investments” under the country's Collective Investment Schemes Act. The licence also allows Crypto Fund to manage and distribute both domestic and foreign funds for investing in crypto-related projects.

“The importance of crypto assets is growing and our aim is to accelerate maturity in these markets. Regulatory recognition remains highly sought after by participants, as seen in recent press and company statements,” Crypto Fund’s founder and former UBS banker Jan Brzezek said, as quoted by Coindesk.

Swiss regulators have so far been willing to create a friendly environment for the development of the country’s cryptocurrency sector. Zug in particular has been known for its high concentration of crypto start-up, enabled by the favourable stance of local authorities.

Meanwhile, FINMA in February released new guidelines revealing how it intends to apply financial market legislation to the country’s burgeoning ICO sector. The move reflected the watchdog’s aim to fit the sometimes controversial ICO practice into its existing frameworks, rather than restrict it excessively. At the time FINMA CEO Mark Branson acknowledged blockchain technology’s “innovative potential within and far beyond the financial markets”, but also insisted that “blockchain-based projects conducted analogously to regulated activities cannot simply circumvent the tried and tested regulatory framework”.

Crypto Funds new licence is based on an earlier one that limited the company’s activities to distributing funds to qualified investors.

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