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The safe and secure custody of client assets is both a salient and well-established action in any developed financial market. It’s crucial that a very new and often distrusted asset class like crypto gets custody right, and if it doesn’t future growth will be significantly curtailed.
Custody is defined as the holding of securities on behalf of a client for safe-keeping. These securities are available to the custodian to sell at the behest of the client, but cannot be used by the custodian for its own account.
In this respect, it is very different from having an account with a bank. Seasoned custodian banks, like State Street and Citi in North America or BNP Paribas in Europe derive substantial fees from their custody operations.
The custodian will also often perform a range of other services, such as the re-investment of interest or dividend payments, or the proceeds of the sale of securities, according to client’s instructions. They may also provide tax support. But the key element is the safe-keeping of assets, which may be held in physical or electronic form...
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