UBS May Regulate its Employees’ Personal Crypto Trades
UBS Group AG, the Swiss global financial services company, has released a memo indicating that its employees may soon need to seek company permission before trading cryptocurrencies, even from personal accounts. This would introduce a cryptocurrency trading policy similar to existing ones covering securities.
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An internal memo stated, “At present the Global Policy on Personal Investment is silent on cryptocurrencies and thus disclosure and pre-clearance is not required”. However, it added that it was considering “additional rules” which could involve the requirement to ask permission before trading digital assets.
UBS Chairman Wonders Who’ll Take the Blame After a Crash
UBS chairman Axel Weber joined the likes of Blackrock Inc. and Nordea Bank AB, who have shown concerns about the crypto space. Weber said that UBS won’t trade in digital assets and neither will it offer the service to its clients.
At the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Weber said: “We fear that in the future, if these investments implode and the market corrects, then investors will be looking at ‘who sold us this?’”
Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Blackrock’s chief multi-asset strategist, stated that cryptocurrencies are not an “investable asset” at present — however, BlackRock is tracking its developments. Additionally, she said the company is not advising anyone to invest in virtual currencies.
Recently, Nordea Bank — one of the largest Scandinavian banks, banned all its employees from owning and trading digital currencies. The ban, it said, was imposed due to the unregulated nature of the crypto market.
European Institutional Lender Not so Impressed with Bitcoin
Lately, the UBS chairman pointed out that individuals who lack crypto market knowledge, and are blinded by the snowballing effect of cryptocurrency, should be cautious.
Fearing that banks would receive the blame for their failure, he said:
“Retail clients, who don’t fully understand these products, should be protected from going into these products, because if there is a retail client affected in the future, the question will be again who was the bank that sold them these products and then banks will be blamed again for what has happened.”
European banks have chosen a completely different path than their Asian counterparts. Japanese and South Korean banks have looked at cryptocurrency and its underpinning blockchain technology both optimistically and enthusiastically.
Will financial institutions be taking a closer look at their staff trading cryptocurrencies in the future? Tell us what you think.
Images via Wikimedia Commons