Swiss multinational investment bank UBS Group is set to enable select high-net-worth clients in Hong Kong to trade crypto-linked exchange-traded funds (ETFs).
The move is aimed at keeping pace with its competitor, HSBC, which has already incorporated three crypto-related futures ETFs on its investment platform in the city. The authorized ETFs, including Samsung Bitcoin Futures Active, CSOP Bitcoin Futures, and CSOP Ether Futures, have received the green light from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.
UBS following in HSBC’s footsteps
The largest bank in Hong Kong, HSBC, has long been a participant in the crypto market. It recently announced that it would start offering Bitcoin and Ethereum ETFs in Hong Kong.
The strategic move by UBS underscores the growing importance of cryptocurrencies in the financial sector and reflects the increasing demand from high-net-worth individuals for exposure to digital assets.
Crypto regulation framework in Hong Kong
Hong Kong’s crypto regulatory landscape is evolving to accommodate the rising interest in cryptocurrencies. The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is reportedly contemplating granting retail access to spot ETFs directly investing in cryptocurrency.
Julia Leung, the CEO of the SFC, highlighted the regulator’s openness to proposals utilizing innovative technology to enhance efficiency and customer experience. Recent updates from the SFC include broader investor engagement in crypto ETFs, with a knowledge test requirement for virtual assets for most clients, while exempting institutional investors and qualified corporate professional investors.
In June, Hong Kong officially implemented its crypto licensing regime for virtual asset trading platforms. This regulatory step paved the way for licensed exchanges like HashKey and OSL to offer retail trading services.
The inclusion of major financial institutions like UBS and HSBC in Hong Kong’s crypto market reflects a broader trend of traditional financial players acknowledging and participating in the digital asset space.