Asia Digest: Nomura launches Switzerland-based VC for digital assets; Stonegate opens HK, SG offices

FILE PHOTO- The logo of Nomura Securities is pictured at the company's Otemachi Head Office in Tokyo, Japan, November 18, 2016. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Banking giant Nomura has established a digital asset-focused venture capital vehicle in Switzerland while New York-based crypto fund admin Stonegate Global has branched out in its first Asian locations.

Nomura launches Laser Digital

Japan’s largest securities brokerage, Nomura Holdings, has set up a Switzerland-based venture capital arm for digital assets, Laser Digital, per a company release.

With its key focus on secondary trading, venture capital and investor products, Laser Venture Capital will be the first product to be launched under the new entity, targeting investments in decentralised finance, centralised finance, Web3 and blockchain infrastructure.

The new services and product lines are expected to be kicked off in the coming months, the Japanese investment banking giant said.

“Staying at the forefront of digital innovation is a key priority for Nomura. This is why, alongside our efforts to diversify our business, we announced earlier this year that Nomura would be setting up a new subsidiary focused [on] digital assets,” noted Kentaro Okuda, president and group CEO of Nomura Holdings.

Incorporated under its holding company in Switzerland, Laser Digital Holdings AG, Laser Digital will be helmed by former head of Nomura’s wholesale division, Steven Ashley, who now chairs the Swiss entity alongside newly-appointed CEO Jez Mohideen. The new duo will lead a team of Nomura specialists and external hires, according to its statement in April.

“We look forward to sustainable growth in this new business under the leadership of Steven and Jez.”, added Okuda.

With its strong regulations governing digital assets and blockchain and attractive talent pool, the Swiss market was selected to accommodate Nomura’s latest overseas push for the digital asset sector.

Stonegate expands Asia footprint

Stonegate Global, a New York-based crypto fund administration company, has expanded its presence in Asia with the opening of its new headquarters in Hong Kong and Singapore, marking its first locations in the region.

Its entry into the world’s leading financial hubs comes as the $20-billion digital asset fund administrator introduced services for crossover funds in the Asia-Pacific and its home country, according to a company release.

With such services, Stonegate aims to assist institutional investors in traditional alternative funds, such as hedge funds and venture capital funds, venture into digital assets.

The newly-established offices will be led by Jeannie Ng Dubbels as managing director for the digital assets department in Hong Kong and Singapore, who will also head the APAC team. Dubbels, now based in California, has nearly 20-year of experience in banking and finance.

Prior to joining Stonegate in February, she was marketing manager at Australia’s Maitland Fund Administration, where she served for over four years after working closely with ultra-high net worth investors and family offices as product managers at Citi Private Bank in New York for 15 years.

Founded in 2013, Stonegate Global provides fund administration, advisory and structuring for alternative assets, including cryptocurrency, Web3, decentralised finance, non-fungible tokes, hedge funds, venture capital, real estate and private equity funds.


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