HSBC Rival UBS Joins Crypto Race, Introduces ETFs for Wealthy Clients in Hong Kong
UBS Group AG is extending an invitation to select Hong Kong clients to trade crypto linked exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
UBS Group AG has joined its rival HSBC Holdings Plc by extending an invitation to select clients to trade specific crypto-linked exchange-traded funds (ETFs), in a move to tap into the evolving crypto market in Hong Kong.
This development aligns with the country’s recent push to establish itself as a digital asset hub, with the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) authorizing three crypto ETFs for accessibility on UBS’s Hong Kong platform.
As of now, affluent clients will gain access to three SFC-authorized crypto ETFs: the Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active, CSOP Bitcoin Futures, and CSOP Ether Futures ETFs.
According to a source familiar with the matter, these offerings come with an additional educational component, allowing clients to familiarize themselves with potential risks associated with cryptocurrency investments. However, UBS has chosen to remain tight-lipped about the development.
This move is concurrent with Hong Kong’s implementation of a digital-asset regulatory framework on June 1 that aims to safeguard investors while fostering a conducive environment for the growth of the crypto sector. Currently, the SFC permits retail investors to trade major tokens on licensed exchanges, with an ongoing assessment regarding the inclusion of spot crypto ETFs in the regulatory purview.
Hong Kong Monitoring Crypto Industry’s Suspicious Activities
Recent setbacks in Hong Kong, such as the alleged fraud and subsequent blowup of the unlicensed JPEX exchange, have prompted heightened scrutiny. In response, Hong Kong has established a joint SFC-police task force to monitor suspicious activities within the crypto industry.
Despite the city’s efforts to position itself as a forward-thinking financial center, the crypto sector is still recovering from the market turmoil in 2022, marked by notable collapses like the FTX platform’s bankruptcy.
However, there are signs of cautious engagement by global financial institutions. DBS Group Holdings Ltd. has expressed intentions to seek a license for offering crypto services to Hong Kong customers. ZA Bank, Hong Kong’s largest virtual bank, plans to introduce token-to-fiat currency conversions through licensed platforms.
SEBA Bank has already secured a license for its unit to provide crypto services in Hong Kong, enabling the bank to provide regulated services related to digital assets, including virtual assets and securities. This development allows the Swiss-based SEBA Group to establish its very first regulated presence in APAC, strengthening the bank’s vision for global expansion.
The introduction of the CSOP Bitcoin Futures and CSOP Ether Futures funds in December touted as Asia’s first listed Bitcoin and Ether futures ETFs, has amassed a combined asset value of around $70 million, indicating a tempered interest in crypto compared to the exuberance of the pandemic-era market boom.
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