Peter Wuffli — the former CEO of major Swiss multinational investment bank UBS — says the advent of new, regulated actors in crypto is drawing the attention of big-name banks.
Wuffli made his remarks during an interview with Finews, published on Sept 23. In 2008, he had left his role as CEO of UBS as the bank’s financial crisis losses spiraled, relinquishing over $10 million of his pay one month after the institution was bailed out by the Swiss government.
More than a decade later, the former banker and recently-appointed board member of licensed Swiss cryptocurrency bank Sygnum observed of the crypto sector:
“I don’t see a bubble right now. I see more serious business planning and solutions addressing client needs, having learned from the last initial coin offering and Bitcoin bubble.”
Legacy banks looking on and assessing the new crypto sector
As reported, Sygnum was recently issued a conditional Swiss banking and securities dealer license and now aims to become a fully regulated bank so as to provide a full suite of financial services, including crypto custody and fiat-crypto conversions.
During the interview, Muffli claimed that the company was the only licensed bank specialized in digital assets worldwide that had fulfilled the conditions required for a banking license “in just five days.” Most critical, he noted, were Anti-Money Laundering and Know Your Customer measures.
When it comes to the traditional financial sector’s response to the emergent crypto asset space and industry developments, he said of large banks such as UBS and Credit Suisse:
“ From what we hear, interest has clearly picked up since the licenses were granted. Bank executives are asking their middle management to figure out whether this is just another fintech fad that comes and goes, or whether it is really transformational.”
He added: “They are wondering strategically whether they need to commit to this, and what it would mean in terms of changes to systems but also mindset.”
Recent Swiss developments
As reported, the license granted to Syngum was also given in parallel to Seba Crypto AG, which plans to create a digital asset platform for professional traders and institutional clients, as well as to offer custodial and asset management services.
Just last week, Arab Bank Switzerland partnered with blockchain technology firm Taurus to offer Bitcoin (BTC) and Ether (ETH) custody and brokerage services to its clients.
In August, Switzerland’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority released new guidance on regulatory requirements for blockchain-based payments, targeted at cryptocurrency exchanges, wallet providers and trading platforms.
That same month, Swiss private bank Maerki Baumann revealed that it had experienced a deluge of 400 new clients wanting to tap its future blockchain offerings since revealing its interest in the sector.