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OCBC CEO recognises crypto potential, might be second bank in S’pore to set up crypto exchange

ocbc helen wong

In an interview with Bloomberg Television last Friday (November 19), OCBC chief executive officer Helen Wong revealed that the bank is considering to set up a crypto exchange.

At the end of last year, Singapore-based OCBC had US$121 billion in assets under management, making it the second largest bank in Southeast Asia.

“We are looking at it and seriously there are some work being done in the bank,” said Wong. “If you say we are looking at it, it is very much in addressing customer needs, but in a safe manner. We want to help them to recognise the investment and how to handle it.”

Wong highlighted concerns surrounding the digital assets, including the safety of transactions given the anonymous nature of the sector.

She further shared that although it’s worth studying crypto technology due to its potential to boost efficiency, the bank won’t rush into the sector just because of its popularity.

Separately, Aditya Gupta, head of digital at OCBC Bank, told Regulation Asia that OCBC is “actively exploring” partnerships to enter the crypto space.

Singapore is trying to establish itself as a global crypto hub, attracting many new firms even while the city-state frowns upon cryptocurrencies as investments for retail traders. 

OCBC’s rival DBS launched a crypto exchange in December 2020. DBS Vickers, the bank’s brokerage arm, received a license to offer crypto services from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in October.

It also has plans to expand its digital exchange — which includes trading services for cryptocurrencies — to retail individuals next year.

Globally, a rising number of banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have started offering crypto-futures trading.  

Featured Image Credit: OCBC / The Fifth Person

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