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87-Year Old Swiss Bank Maerki Baumann Embraces Cryptocurrencies After Clients’ Increased Demand

August 23, 2019
Ross Peili

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87-Year Old Swiss Bank Maerki Baumann Embraces Cryptocurrencies After Clients’ Increased Demand

Leading Swiss private-banking firm Maerki Baumann joins the blockchain revolution, embracing cryptocurrencies amid requests from over 400 of the bank’s clients.

While Switzerland is considered to be a safe-haven for traditional monetary forms such as fiat currencies and/or physical gold assets, the country’s regulatory watchdog FINMA has very strict rules as to which cryptocurrencies can be actually trusted and utilized within the country’s borders.

One of the oldest Swiss key-players in the banking sector, pushes the regulatory limits a step further, by not only implementing blockchain-powered digital assets in their portfolio, but also by offering advice, and even investing opportunities in the crypto sphere, motivated by more than 400 hundred middle-age clients who reportedly expressed increased interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.






 In an interview with swissinfo.ch, Maerki Baumann’s CEO Stephan Zwahlen said that “intensive competition and margin erosion” has essentially forced the bank to look for “alternative revenue sources”, and what’s the best place to start if not the globally growing cryptocurrency market, as inquired by the bank’s youngest clients?

The 87-year old Zurich-based institution manages over $8 billion in private equity, of which more than half are attributed to conservative investors over their 70, while only 5% of the bank’s clients are under 40.

Maerki Baumann is the first Swiss bank to cash in on the country’s growing demand for blockchain-related assets and even has a blockchain-informative section in its official web-portal, entitled “Cryptocurrencies – What exactly are they?”.

The bank was interested in Cryptocurrencies since last year, but it only took a more mature step forward after the astonishing demand for crypto-assets generated by its younger supporters.

Zwahlen additionally joked about the incident, saying that “In our traditional business we usually have to run after each client”, “It’s rather rare for clients to just knock on our door”.

“We suddenly had 400 people wanting to talk with us. And they were exactly the kind people we had been struggling to access for 10 years with traditional private banking offerings. We found that they were typically between 30 to 40 years old, very well educated and with an entrepreneurial mindset.”

With growing interest from the ideal clients, who carried an entrepreneurial spirit and financial backgrounds, as well as the booming local blockchain scene, it wasn’t a hard decision for Zwahlen and Maerki Baumann, when they moved forward with being the “go-to” private bank in the Swiss crypto scene.   

Furthermore, offering a local solution to Swiss blockchain entrepreneurs who were struggling to find the right banking partner, and often running to Lichenstein for corporate banking services, posits Maerki Baumann to stand out as the biggest bank affiliated with the crypto industry in the country. 

Other banking institutions such as Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, followed announcing their welcoming attitude towards local and international blockchain firms, while we see an increasing number of license applications for crypto-bank start-ups that have so far failed to fill the requirements for running a banking service in Switzerland. 

Therefore, grabbing the opportunity by the hair, Maerki Baumann will be initially offering business accounts and advisory services to hi-tech start-ups looking to raise capital via digital means. 

FINMA previously cited that some ICOs will be treated as Securities in Switzerland, while most of them won’t be able to make it to the approved list if they fail in following the already promoted regulations.

Finally, Zwahlen also stated that the bank’s customers interested in digital financial assets will be eligible to purchase, store and exchange cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin starting early next year.  

If you’re in the scene for some time, today’s events may carry a dosage of irony, considering that Bitcoin was created to avoid the traditional banking system in the first place.

The traditional banking system expressed concerns on a hatred level when it came to Bitcoin and would not recognize it as an asset until recently.

Yet here we are today, where major global banking titans are buying their way into Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, which will be later sold to their respective clients, in the bank’s pre-fixed price.