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MAS Blocks BTC ETFs For Retail Investors In Singapore

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has clarified its stand on exchange-traded funds, claiming that Bitcoin ETFs are part of CIS and are not approved for trade for retail investors in the country. 

ETFs Under CIS, Not For Retail Investors

A week after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved spot Bitcoin ETFs in the country, the MAS has clarified its own stance on these investment products. According to the Singaporean financial authority, ETFs are not cleared for offer to Singaporean retail investors. 

In Singapore, ETFs are included in collective investment schemes or CIS, which are regulated by the Securities and Futures Act. The products included under the CIS bracket are not under the day-to-day control of the participant. The management of the property is undertaken in a collective manner, where all contributions and income are pooled together and then partaken in uniformly. 

As a result, there are significant restrictions on the type of assets in retail CIS for investors to buy into. Since the MAS has not recognized Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as eligible assets to participate in retail CIS, retail investors in Singapore will not be able to participate in spot Bitcoin ETFs. 

Bitcoin ETF Approval In U.S.

The Bitcoin ETF discussion has been ongoing for a while now, with its status in the United States being watched closely by the global crypto community. The investment vehicle was only recently greenlit by the country’s securities watchdog (SEC), which approved the first set of ETF applications on January 10. 

As a result, institutional and retail investors in the US can now gain exposure to the leading cryptocurrency and its profits without actually buying BTC. The approval was monumental for these US-listed Bitcoin ETFs, as they all saw a combined total trade of $4.6 billion worth of shares. 

Regulatory Bodies Still Anti-BTC ETF

However, the approval was a hard-won victory, as many believe it was due to a favorable technicality. Indeed, SEC chair Gary Gensler is still extremely apprehensive of Bitcoin and has expressed that the approvals were in no way an endorsement of the cryptocurrency, which he still considers a “speculative, volatile asset.” 

It is safe to bet that the MAS feels the same way about Bitcoin ETFs, as they have advised investors who choose to trade in these products in overseas markets to proceed with extreme caution. 

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 1/23/2024

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