‘Flagging’ crypto bank seeks renewed impetus with board rejig

Three new directors, including a chairwoman, have been voted into SEBA bank. SEBA

Swiss crypto bank SEBA has revamped its board of directors amid reports of it running out of steam, just a year after being awarded a banking licence. 

This content was published on September 25, 2020 - 15:09

SEBA was launched in September 2018 with CHF100 million ($108 million) in starting capital and ambitious plans to bridge the worlds of traditional banking and digital assets. A year later, it won a banking licence, along with rival enterprise Sygnum.

The bank is targeting another CHF100 million to expand into other countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain, Germany and France. SEBA has partnered with Tokensoft and Digital Asset Shared Ledger (DASL) to enhance its digital asset services and was chosen by the French central bank to help road-test digital currencies.

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But growth ambitions appear to have hit a hurdle in recent months, culminating in the resignation of chairman Andreas Amschwand in July. SEBA has been coy about the reasons for Amschwand’s abrupt departure and about how much extra capital it has been able to raise this year.

On Friday, SEBA announced that Päivi Rekonen, a Finnish national resident in Switzerland, had been chosen as its new chair of the board of directors. Ex-Swiss National Bank general counsel Hans Kuhn and former UBS banker Sanjeev Karkhanis were also elected to the board during a shareholders’ meeting.

Rekonen has held management roles at both UBS and Credit Suisse banks and at recruitment firm Adecco. She also holds a number of directorships in companies covering industrial, cyber-security, media and software sectors.

Media portal Inside Paradeplatz has reported on a number of alleged problems at SEBA, including differences of opinion among top managers and investors over future strategy. In addition to Amschwand’s departure, SEBA this summer also replaced its chief operating officer and chief technology officer.

SEBA was unavailable for comment on Friday.

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