Switzerland’s largest online bank is riding the crypto wave. Swissquote’s ambitions include setting up its own trading platform for digital currencies, sales manager Jan De Schepper tells finews.asia.
Swissquote plans to open its own crypto exchange before the end of the first half of 2022. «We want to enable more trading in various cryptocurrencies on the platform,» Jan De Schepper (pictured below) tells finews.asia.
Other ambitions in the crypto space include becoming «the leading Swiss provider of digital assets.» To achieve this the broker aims to add more cryptocurrencies to its offering, in addition to stablecoins and staking services, which are currently in high demand.
Swissquote’s crypto exchange starts its operations as planned, there will be a sudden surge in trading platforms for digital assets in Switzerland.
In recent weeks, Swiss Stock Exchange SIX launched a fully licensed digital exchange, SDX. Just days later, Berner Kantonalbank launched SMEIX, a platform that lists tokenized small caps.
In September 2020, crypto bank Sygnum got the green light from regulators to launch its new trading system, which also acts as an exchange for crypto assets.
Last June, Deutsche Boerse bought Swiss fintech Crypto Finance; the acquisition gives Germany’s exchange a direct entry point for digital asset investments, including post-trade services.
Swissquote has already bulked up its workforce in response to the surging demand for digital tokens and coins last spring and will continue hiring to fuel further expansion. «Our compliance and customer service teams were almost overrun by the crypto rush,» recalls De Schepper.
The hiring spree has paid off in reducing waiting times for clients calling in. «Now, we regularly manage to open a trading account on the same day,» De Schepper says. In exceptional cases when special clarification is needed, account opening can take up to a week, he says.
Net income from crypto investments increased by over 1000 percent to 63.2 million Swiss francs in the first half of 2021. At the end of 2021, Swissquote expects to double its pre-tax profit. However, expenses will also rise: Swissquote is investing heavily in infrastructure.
Offer for Late Arrivals
The online brokers have a clear head start over other institutions as many Swiss institutions remained cautious about cryptocurrencies for a long time, mainly for compliance reasons.
However, with recent record prices, the mood has changed as Swissquote CEO Marc Buerki recently said in an interview: «Traditional banks have at times gone into panic mode,» trying to catch up with developments in the space.
Setting up a brand new crypto offering from scratch is costly and requires a lot of time and expertise, De Schepper points out while spotting a sales opportunity: «In the current market phase, banks would be better off partnering with an established bank like Swissquote,» he says.