Updated 29 Jul, 2021

UBS CEO Ralph Hamers Says the Bank’s Clients Have “FOMO”


Key Takeaways:

  • UBS CEO says clients are experiencing fear of missing out
  • Ralph Hamers describes crypto markets as “untested asset category”

The CEO of the largest wealth manager in the world UBS, Ralph Hamers, said last week cryptocurrencies as a market are an “untested asset category”. Speaking to Bloomberg TV, the UBS CEO shared his take and his clients’ views on the fledgling digital asset market.

Growing Interest in Cryptocurrencies Among UBS Clients

“They read it in the papers but they also see the volatility so honestly we advise with caution and we don’t offer it actively … We feel the crypto itself is still an untested asset category,” Mr. Hamers said in response to the question how is UBS positioning itself to meet rising crypto demand from clients.

“Clients are looking at different alternatives and they hear about crypto, and there is a bit of a fear of missing out,” the Chief Executive told Bloomberg. But “I never have FOMO. I’m determined as to what I want to do.”

Swiss banking giant UBS, which holds about $1.2tn in assets under management, this year has been trying to figure out whether to allow its wealthy clients more exposure to Bitcoin or to maintain a rather conservative stance and remain on the sideline of the cryptocurrency revolution.

The current CEO, who replaced Sergio Ermotti in November 2020, has largely been expected to present a more digitalized path toward modernizing the bank’s technology and infrastructure both on employee side and client side.

UBS in Early Stages of Offering Bitcoin Investments

In May, UBS announced it planned to offer certain cryptocurrency investments to its wealthy client base. The Swiss bank is yet to announce whether it had made any progress in this direction.

Meanwhile, major US investment banks have already offered some form of investing into Bitcoin. Investment options include Bitcoin futures or other Bitcoin derivatives and Bitcoin-related products such as investing into a company that holds Bitcoin like MicroStrategy or Square.

Recently, Goldman Sachs revealed it has successfully launched its Bitcoin trading desk offering non-deliverable forwards, a derivative instrument tied to Bitcoin’s price.