Singapore’s MAS Restricts Bitcoin ETFs for Retail Investors, Citing Asset Ineligibility
MAS announced that it won’t list crypto ETFs on local exchanges for retail investors, citing their ineligibility as assets for ETFs.
Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that it has no plans to list cryptocurrency-related exchange-traded funds (ETFs) on local exchanges for retail investors, citing their ineligibility as assets for ETFs.
MAS regulates retail investors’ participation in Collective Investment Schemes (CIS) in Singapore under the Securities and Futures Act, which also includes ETFs. However, there are limitations on the types of assets allowed for investment, and digital payment tokens like Bitcoin are not considered eligible for retail CIS.
Nonetheless, capital market intermediaries licensed by the MAS to provide overseas market-related investments must ensure adequate risk disclosure and appropriate client suitability assessments. This implies that retail investors retain the option to trade spot Bitcoin ETFs listed overseas using local brokers.
“Cryptocurrency trading is characterized by high volatility and speculation, making it unsuitable for retail investors. Individuals opting to trade Bitcoin ETFs in foreign markets should exercise utmost caution and thoroughly assess the associated additional risks when engaging in transactions with overseas markets,” emphasized MAS spokesperson.
Retail investors, commonly referred to as retail customers, denote investors who do not fall under the categories of qualified investors or institutional investors. As per the Securities and Futures Act, a qualified investor is defined as an individual with financial assets surpassing $745,000, an income not less than $223,000 in the preceding 12 months, or a personal net worth exceeding $1,5 million. The deduction of any guaranteed loan is applicable only to those contributing up to $745,000.
Crypto ETFs Experience Surging Interest
The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted approval for the listing of 11 spot Bitcoin ETFs on January 10, marking their first trading day on the following day, including notable issuers such as BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco, and Ark Invest.
Following this announcement, various jurisdictions worldwide have outlined their position for comparable products. Hong Kong, in particular, declared its commitment to accelerate the processing of spot cryptocurrency ETF applications, provided that these products have already obtained approval from the US SEC for listing. Conversely, Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) clarified that, at present, there are no plans to authorize domestically based spot Bitcoin ETFs.
Recently, Singapore’s Lion Global Investors and Nomura Asset Management collaboratively introduced the first actively managed ETF driven by AI. This ETF offers exposure to the Japanese stock market by leveraging a portfolio comprising 50-100 securities, utilizing proprietary AI and machine learning models.
Although Singapore has emerged as a model nation when it comes to adopting a balanced regulatory and legal framework for cryptocurrencies and entities dealing with them, the city-state retains a strict position towards listing cryptocurrency-related ETF products on the local exchanges, offering interested individuals other options.
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