UBS Employees May Need Permission to Trade Crypto

The largest Swiss financial holding can tighter inner policy
05 February 2018   139

The largest Swiss financial holding company UBS Group AG can make changes to the internal policy, under which all employees of the organization will be required to obtain permission to trade cryptocurrency, reports Bloomberg.

At present the Global Policy on Personal Investment is silent on cryptocurrencies and thus disclosure and pre-clearance is not required.

UBS Employee Memo

The bank is considering implementing “additional rules and requirements," including an obligation for staff to seek permission before trading.

It is worth noting that similar rules for UBS employees have previously acted in relation to trade in traditional currencies and securities, so the innovation simply equates digital assets to all the rest.

In addition, the chairman of UBS Axel Weber last week expressed skepticism regarding the crypto currency, noting a possible "massive drop" in the price of bitcoin in the event of tightening of regulation. The Swiss bank does not intend to trade crypto currency or offer it to its customers.

We fear that in the future, if these investments implode and the market corrects, then investors will be looking at ‘who sold us this?

Axel Weber
Chairman, UBS

In November last year, the investment director of UBS Mark Haefele said that the Swiss financial holding company will not invest in bitcoin because of the lack of state control over circulation of crypto currency. 

German Financial Regulator Clarifies Stance on ICOs

The Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin) has clarified its position on ICOs
22 February 2018   53

German financial regulator admitted it was receiving many inquiries about the status of tokens and cryptocurrencies. According to an advisory letter, BaFin provides some basic definitions of ICOs and related terms. It is important because the results of a new survey showed that more than two-thirds of Germans know about bitcoin.

In this letter, BaFin educates the public and explains how tokens are typically generated, how blockchain works and that ICOs are used to raise funds for startup projects. The note states that for regulatory purposes, ICOs, tokens, coins, and cryptocurrencies are subject to the existing provisions in the field of securities supervision and other relevant national and EU laws.

The authority advises participants in ICOs to check and follow rules applicable to regulated financial instruments, such as securities. If businesses or individuals have any doubts about regulations, they should approach BaFin.

According to BaFin, companies should fulfill any obligations under the Banking Act and the Capital Investment Code, the Insurance Supervision Act and the Payment Services Supervision Act. The transactions may be prohibited if relevant regulatory requirements are not met.

The authority also states that legal classification of tokens requires precise examination. It will determine their status on a case-by-case basis after studying their features. The token should be transferable and tradable on cryptocurrency trading platforms in order to be classified as a security.