Scions of Singapore Banking Family Announce Expansion Into Crypto

Members of the Singapore dynasty that founded the Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp plan on expanding their asset-management business into digital investments.

The Whampoa Group intends to raise $50 million for a crypto-related hedge fund, while looking to deploy $100 million for a related venture capital fund, according to Whampoa co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Shawn Chan.

Some of the group’s other executives include Lee Han Shih, an executive director of the Lee Foundations, and Amy Lee, the niece of the city-state’s founding prime minister, Lee Kuan Yew. 

Regarding the strategic stance of the Whampoa hedge fund, Chan said that in order to offset cryptocurrencies’ volatility, it had to remain market-neutral. Apart from certain occasions, when a favorable risk-reward setup is identified, the fund primarily trades Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

Meanwhile, Chan said that Whampoa is seeking out strategic partners for the VC fund. He said Whampoa had recently been speaking with regional family offices and some big Chinese internet companies. 

DBS Bank

As scions of Singapore’s second-largest bank expand into crypto assets, they follow on the heels of Singapore’s largest bank. Last week, DBS Bank announced that it will be expanding its cryptocurrency services to 300,000 of its more affluent clients in Asia through its banking app. 

Although the bank’s chief executive recently said that the bank would be able to safely and effectively provide crypto products and services to consumers, “regulators don’t necessarily see it that way,” he explained. 

Crypto in Singapore

While Singapore has strived to maintain its dominance as a global financial hub through the responsible integration of cryptocurrencies, amid recent collapses it has pivoted to protect consumers.

“MAS has said it wants to attract leading crypto players to Singapore,” said MAS managing director Ravi Menon. “On the other hand, MAS has a stringent and lengthy licensing process for those who want to carry out crypto-related services in Singapore,” he added.

“And MAS has also been issuing strong warnings against retail investments in cryptocurrencies, and has been taking increasingly stronger measures to restrict retail access to cryptocurrencies.”

According to Bloomberg crypto columnist Joanna Ossinger, the “still wait and see” attitude of regulators in Singapore may have demonstrably been shaken by recent events with the greater emphasis on consumer protection.

As opposed to crypto reform in South Korea, which has also been racked by recent crypto collapses, Ossinger said that the policy change is more “academic” than anything representing a public agenda.

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