Financial watchdog allows first regulated Swiss crypto fund

By: AFP      Published: 06:32 PM, 29 Sep, 2021
Financial watchdog allows first regulated Swiss crypto fund
Swiss Financial Watchdog Issues Country’s First Crypto Asset Management License.

Swiss financial watchdog Finma on Wednesday said it has given the green light to the country's first regulated crypto assets investment fund, while restricting operations to qualified investors.

"For the first time, FINMA has approved a Swiss fund that invests primarily in cryptoassets, that is to say in assets based on the blockchain or distributed ledger technology," the authority said in a statement as it unveiled the "Crypto Market Index Fund."

The fund covers "alternative investments" on established crypto platforms in an asset class which FINMA noted involves particular risks.

Those investments will have to be made via through "established counterparties and platforms that are based in a member country of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and are subject to corresponding anti-money laundering regulations," FINMA added.

They will also be subject to strict reporting requirements.

FATF is an intergovernmental body dedicated to combating money laundering comprising 37 states, the European Commission and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

The fund will track the performance of the Crypto Market Index 10, administered by the SIX Swiss Exchange and which is designed to measure reliably the performance of the largest, liquid crypto assets and tokens and lay down a benchmark for the asset class.

"The investment fund enables clients of innovative wealth and asset management firms to participate in this upcoming asset class and to further diversify their portfolio in a secure and regulated way," Bernadette Leuzinger, CEO of Asset Management at Crypto Finance, stated.

The firm is based in the tech hub canton of Zug near Zurich, which has earned the nickname Crypto Valley for having become home to a swathe of tech and crypto friendly firms in recent years. 

The Swiss regulator has adopted a more flexible approach to crypto assets than authorities in many other states. In mid-September, FINMA gave the go-ahead for a project the Swiss bourse is developing to launch an exchange dedicated to digital token offerings.