This month, the SEC published the latest version of international financial services firm Capital Group's Code of Ethics – a list of rules that includes a prohibition against ICO investment by any "associate" of the company, as well as by certain relatives.
In the document's own language, "All associates and immediate family members residing in the same household may not participate in IPOs or ICOs." It goes on to relate, "Exceptions for participation in IPOs are rarely granted; however, they will be considered on a case-by-case basis," but makes no mention of allowances to take part in ICOs.
The company does not appear to have implemented any restrictions on the ownership or trade of cryptocurrencies acquired by any means other than ICO investment.
While Capital Group seems not to have offered a specific explanation for the prohibition, the move could simply be an extension of its anti-IPO policy, which has been on the company's books for years.
Financial services group Nordea, which banned its employees from engaging in off-the-clock cryptocurrency trading earlier this year, said at the time that financial institutions often "restrict the personal account dealing of staff to prevent them taking positions in speculative investments, or which might expose them to a risk of financial loss and therefore impact their financial standing."
Its reservations over ICOs notwithstanding, Capital Group professes its enthusiasm for blockchain technology in an article on one of its websites, which states that "blockchain aims to finally transform the financial services industry."
The page paraphrases Ninou Sarwono, the firm's emerging technology lead, as saying, "All sorts of transactions – from stock and bond trades to voting – can be sped up, made more secure, and executed at lower cost using blockchain." In his own words, Sarwono said of the technology, "We can see this is getting real."
While some commentators have speculated that blockchain technology could make banks obsolete, James Bray, an investment analyst with Capital Group, has a different perspective. The Capital Group article relates that in his estimation, banks "must hold cash reserves until many financial transactions are settled. Since transactions are settled instantly with blockchain, these reserves could be freed up, with the funds put to more profitable use."