Santander’s Crédit Agricole asset servicing arm acquires French crypto custody license.

CACEIS Bank, which is the asset servicing division of major European banks Crédit Agricole and Santander, has acquired a crypto custody license in France. The license was granted by France’s Financial Markets Authority (AMF) on June 20, and allows CACEIS Bank to provide digital asset custody services. According to the AMF’s website, the regulator conducts various checks on all companies that receive a license, including checks on the competence of managers and beneficial owners, as well as compliance with anti-money laundering (AML) and terrorist financing rules. Other firms that hold French crypto licenses include Binance, which has been authorized to offer digital asset exchange services, custody, fiat-to-crypto and crypto-to-crypto trading since May 2022.

Just in time before new rules

CACEIS Bank’s registration with the regulator was finalized just in time before new and stricter regulations on digital asset service providers take effect in France in July. Under the new rules, service providers will need to implement stronger AML measures, ensure that customer funds are held in segregated accounts, and provide more detailed disclosures about potential risks and conflicts of interest. Since France is an EU member state, all crypto firms registered with the regulator in the country are also considered to be authorized under the EU’s new Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) rules, which are expected to take effect in the second half of 2024.

CACEIS Bank primarily services other large institutions such as asset managers, pension funds, private equity firms, and insurance companies. As of the end of 2021, the bank had €4.6 trillion ($5.06 trillion) in assets under custody, and €2.4 trillion ($2.6 trillion) in assets under management. The bank has not yet commented on its venture into crypto custody, and it is unclear exactly how and to whom it plans to offer its new services.