Standard Chartered Bank to Explore Retail Crypto Opportunities in Hong Kong

London-based banking giant Standard Chartered plans to explore crypto trading opportunities in Hong Kong. The decision stemmed from recent revelations from the country’s Securities and Futures Commission (SBF) last week during its 2022 Fintech Week. 

According to the bank’s chief executive officer Bill Winters, the financial institution is “very, very seriously” considering entering the market to offer crypto-related product offerings to retail investors in the region, the South China Morning Post reported. 

Standard Chartered CEO Applauds New SBF Crypto Measures 

The bank’s CEO has also praised the county’s move to open its doors to crypto activities as it aims to become an international hub for virtual assets. 

During last week’s events, the financial regulator revealed its plans to legitimize crypto trading and issue licenses to digital asset service providers (DASP) to operate in the country legally.  

The market watchdog said it would introduce a complete regulatory framework to police the assets. Hong Kong is also considering approving the launch of crypto futures exchange-traded funds (ETF) for retail investors, starting with Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH).

The latest move spiked the company’s interest in exploring the market as a regulated financial institution.

Winters applauded Hong Kong’s “front-footed” proposition to fully understand virtual assets and its preparations to set up an appropriate regulatory framework to combat fraudulent activities and market manipulations. 

“Besides cryptocurrencies, a broad range of other digital assets, such as stablecoins, central bank digital currencies, tokenized real assets, and others, provide a lot of business opportunities for Hong Kong. Standard Chartered will look ‘very, very seriously’ at introducing products and services relating to virtual assets for Hong Kong retail customers,” he said.

Standard Chartered Bank Invests in Regulatory System 

The bank’s CEO also disclosed that the company is appropriately investing in the right regulatory system to engage with cryptocurrency.

The move allows it to ensure that customers have the right knowledge of the asset class before interacting with product offerings. 

“This is always our first criterion for any retail distributed product. Can we be sure that the people engaging with us understand what they’re doing? Otherwise, they’re subject to fraud or could be complicit in some other activity they don’t intend,” he said. 

Meanwhile, the latest development is not the company’s first entrance to Hong Kong. In 2020, the bank launched its virtual bank in Hong Kong during the pandemic to enable users to access their funds from home. 

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