About 400 new clients are reportedly pushing to invest into a Swiss private bank, Maerki Baumann's future blockchain offerings after revealing its interest in the sector.
In a report by Swiss Info on Aug. 22, the Zurich-based institution which is faced by competitive market despite having $8.2 billion in assets under management, has moved to embrace blockchain to revive its business.
In an interview with Swiss Info, Maerki Baumann CEO Stephen Zwahlen reveals that one of the new aspirations of the bank is compelled by "intensive competition and margin erosion."
Zwahlen also revealed that the bank would be launching a crypto business already signals a dramatic reversal in fortunes, adding:
“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 [...] they were typically between 30 to 40 years old, very well educated and with an entrepreneurial mindset.”
Zwahlen said that Maerki Baumann has “the ambition to be the go-to private bank in the Swiss crypto arena” — stressing that banking support for the nascent industry remains a fraught issue in the country.
“It cannot be that innovative Swiss companies have to go to Liechtenstein for corporate banking services,” he said. “Many of them represent a great opportunity to further develop our financial centre.”
Maerki Baumann’s initial focus — approved by its board in March — will be to offer business accounts and advice for startups launching security token offerings.
By early 2020, the institution aims to establish partnerships with crypto specialists to introduce outsourced storage and trading services for Bitcoin (BTC) and other digital assets.
The third stage of Maerki Baumann’s planned crypto business will be to provide advisory and asset management services for private banking clients who want to invest in new crypto assets such as tokenized shares. Anticipating great demand and payoffs for this new area, Zwahlen said:
“I would expect over time that digital assets such as crypto/blockchain might even take on a greater significance than our traditional private banking business, particularly in terms of asset growth.”
However, the CEO revealed that Maerki Baumann won’t be taking Bitcoin directly onto its books — noting that the bank always outsources trading, clearing and settlement processes.