Swiss private bank’s customers want more crypto

Maerki Baumann, one of Switzerland’s private banks based in Zurich, has reported that it is embracing crypto assets, following a flood of demand from at least 400 of its customers.
The move comes at a time when Swiss private banks are under pressure, and Maerki Baumann, which is one of the smaller banks, is turning to the blockchain to reboot its 87-year-old mode of doing business.

Swiss Info says, “It faced the twin challenges of growing its current CHF8 billion ($8.2 billion) of assets under management in a smaller market and rejuvenating its client base (half of its existing clients are aged over 70 and only 5% are under 40).”

The bank’s CEO, Stephan Zwahlen, told the press that after the bank had made some noises last year about being interested in the crypto business, enquiries started flooding in. “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.”

This convinced Zwahlen and his team that they were on the right track. “We have the ambition to be the go-to private bank in the Swiss crypto arena,” he said. The bank also discovered that the majority of Swiss blockchain entrepreneurs were struggling to find Swiss bank services for their startups. Switzerland has a strong blockchain business community, and as Zwahlen commented, “It cannot be that innovative Swiss companies have to go to Liechtenstein for corporate banking services.” Therefore Maerki Baumann is growing this area of its services as well and now offers corporate banking accounts to startups.

Swiss Info says: “In a first phase, approved by the board in March, the bank is offering business accounts and advice for start-ups raising capital via digital shares that can be offered directly to the public (so-called Security Token Offerings).”

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