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January 15, 2019updated 04 Jun 2019 8:01am

Vontobel offers cryptocurrency solution for banks and wealth managers

By Jamie Crawley

Swiss investment bank Vontobel is providing a service for banks and wealth managers in Switzerland to deposit, buy and sell cryptocurrency on behalf of clients, in a first for world banking.

The new solution, named the “Digital Asset Vault”, will allow financial intermediaries to provide clients with an end-to-end service offering for digital assets, allowing them to issue instructions for their purchase, storage and transfer securely within their own banking infrastructure.

As interest in cryptocurrency among the wealthy has increased in recent years, so has the requirement for private banks and wealth managers to supply appropriate products and services.

However, according to Vontobel, no mainstream financial institution has offered a solution like this that meets the regulatory framework that clients would desire.

The next step

A statement from Vontobel says that the Digital Asset Vault is an alternative for financial institutions having to personally register with digital asset providers, and allows clients to buy, sell and transfer coins by issuing instructions to their own bank.

Roger Studer, Head of Vontobel Investment Banking, said, “Digital Asset Vault represents the logical next step in the development of our range of services for digital assets. By incorporating digital assets into our banking infrastructure, we have become the first provider to meet the high standards required by financial intermediaries and their regulators.”

While a number of major private banks have vocalised philosophical sentiment towards cryptocurrency, very few have yet to firmly commit and launch a crypto offering.

The cryptocurrency space holds interest for a healthy number of high-net-worth individuals. The 2018 Capgemini World Wealth Report found that 29 per cent of HNWIs are highly interested in investing in crypto, with a further 27 per cent somewhat interested.

The family run Vontobel is a Zurich-based financial services company offering solutions in wealth and asset management, and last year reported that clients assets totalled CHF209.4bn as of the end of the third quarter.

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