Maerki Baumann & Co. AG launches trading and custody of cryptocurrencies and digital assets

Media release, 29 May 2020

Maerki Baumann & Co. AG launches trading and custody of cryptocurrencies and digital assets

Zurich, 29 May 2020 – Maerki Baumann has been offering business accounts for blockchain companies and overseeing initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs) since April 2019. The private bank is now launching the next phase of its crypto strategy: from June 2020 onwards, the family-owned company will be offering its clients the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets. This represents a milestone in the bank’s expansion of its private banking offering.

Maerki Baumann has been an early adopter in engaging with modern technologies such as blockchain. In the opinion of the Zurich-based private bank, this technology has the potential to transform both the financial sector and the world of private banking in a lasting way. Maerki Baumann is keen to play an active role in the associated process of change. For that reason, the Board of Directors and the Executive Board embarked on a multi-stage crypto strategy at the beginning of last year. Implementation kicked off with the offering of business accounts for blockchain companies as well as the supervision of initial coin offerings (ICOs) and security token offerings (STOs). This was followed shortly after by the establishment of a five-person Crypto Desk headed by Marcel Spalinger. Maerki Baumann will launch the next phase of its crypto strategy in June 2020.

New crypto service – trading and custody of digital assets
The Swiss Financial Market Advisory Authority (FINMA) recently issued a licence for Maerki Baumann to offer the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies as well as other digital assets (tokens). With this initiative, the bank is seeking to build a bridge between traditional private banking and the crypto world. “With the trading and custody of digital assets, not only are we tapping into a new business area, we are also creating additional investment possibilities for our core business”, enthuses Dr Stephan A. Zwahlen, Chief Executive Officer. This will benefit younger, tech-savvy client segments as well as private and institutional clients who would like to seek out new sources of return in the digital sphere or further diversify their portfolios.

Reliable trading at attractive prices
Maerki Baumann will initially offer trading in the principal cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ethereum (ETH), Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP). Clients may also trade in other digital assets based on the so-called ERC-20 token standard. Furthermore, the private bank will be further expanding its universe of tradable cryptocurrencies and tokens in the near future. The trading orders placed with Maerki Baumann will be transferred via established partner companies, most notably the transaction bank InCore Bank AG, to professional crypto brokers and to the world’s leading and most liquid crypto exchanges. This will ensure that transactions can be rapidly executed and with a narrow trading spread (difference between the bid and offer price).

Secure custody in Switzerland
When looking after digital assets, Maerki Baumann relies on modern technologies and the expertise of highly experienced partners. Its multi-layered security architecture is designed to ensure maximum protection against cyber-attacks and unauthorized access. All data is saved in ultra-secure facilities in Switzerland. As a regulated bank under Swiss law, Maerki Baumann fulfils all relevant statutory and regulatory guidelines thanks to its tried-and-tested processes and innovative security solutions. “We believe that, thanks to our stability and reputation as a reliable banking house, we will enjoy a competitive advantage by offering the trading and custody of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets”, observes Stephan Zwahlen.

Looking ahead – expansion of crypto investment services
Maerki Baumann is in no doubt that digital assets will be a fixed element of a professional investment advisory and asset management service in the future. The private bank will therefore be working on the expansion of its existing private banking offering in the second half of the year, and building up selected crypto investment services. Furthermore, it is conceivable that clients will be offered the opportunity to invest in attractive blockchain companies that Maerki Baumann has subjected to close scrutiny as part of its due diligence activities.

Maerki Baumann & Co. AG – Private Bank
The Zurich-based private bank Maerki Baumann & Co. AG focuses on its core competencies of investment advisory services and asset management, as well as providing services for independent asset managers. The traditional bank, which is open to modern technologies, is an unlisted family-owned company that takes a long-term view and offers its services from Switzerland only. Its investment philosophy based on independence, security and transparency is reflected in the fact that it refrains from using proprietary products, as well as in its very solid capital base and in the bank’s transparent performance. With its crypto offering and its modular investment approach, the private bank underlines its aim of combining the traditional with the new. As of 31 December 2019, Maerki Baumann had assets under management of approximately CHF 8.5 billion, of which 80% originated in Switzerland and 10% in Germany.