Originally published on schweizeraktien.net | by Björn Zern
The investment company RealUnit Schweiz AG has grown this year. After the latest capital increase round in September, the share capital now amounts to CHF 33.1 million. In addition to the core objective of value preservation through investment in real assets, the company is also breaking new ground in the structure of its shares. Investors can acquire their RealUnit shares either in the traditional way as bearer shares via the BX Swiss or as share tokens directly from the company. However, the custody of the tokens previously posed a hurdle for those investors who did not have or did not want to use their own wallet. Now, together with Hypi Lenzburg, RealUnit Schweiz AG also offers a custody solution with an account at an established and trusted bank. In an interview with schweizeraktien.net, CEO Dani Stüssi explains the reasons behind this move.
Mr. Stüssi, the RealUnit share is available as a traditional bearer share traded on the BX Swiss and as a token. What was your experience with the share token in recent capital increases?
Very good. In fact, we were surprised that 21% of participants opted for the share token in our most recent capital increase, which followed another successful capital increase for our share tokens just three months earlier. Demand for our diversified real asset strategy on the blockchain is clearly increasing. Thanks to the stability of the share, it is an ideal entry-level product in the blockchain world.
Can you tell how many RealUnit shares were issued in traditional bearer form and how many were issued as tokens?
Certainly. I can tell, but everyone else can too. This information can be determined precisely and it is also publicly available in the company register. Since the launch of token trading in June 2023, token holdings have risen to around 10% of the total share capital.
You recently announced a cooperation with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg. What exactly does this look like and what are the reasons for the collaboration?
Investors who decide to take advantage of our share token can now select Hypothekarbank Lenzburg as the custodian of their tokens and open a wallet there. This is a very convenient and safe option for investors who want the advantages that the token has to offer without having to navigate the technical aspects of it, like, for example, safeguarding their private key – a regulated Swiss bank takes care of all of that instead. Additionally, through this option, investors can also add and integrate power of attorney or estate plans. However, it is of course still possible to store our tokens in your own wallet. The aim of this collaboration is to be able to offer our investors an additional service, while Hypi Lenzburg can also gain new customers thanks to our partnership.
So the RealUnit shareholder who wants to have his tokens stored at Hypi must first open an account with this bank? Or can he also do this via his existing custodian bank?
Anyone who is not yet a Hypi customer must open a digital asset wallet there. They can then trade the token at any time via our homepage or transfer it to another wallet. There is no connection to other banks yet. However, we have seen in recent weeks that more and more cantonal banks are offering their customers investments in digital assets such as Bitcoin. It can therefore be expected that investors will also be able to hold our RealUnit token securely in custody accounts at other banks in the foreseeable future.
What proportion of RealUnit Schweiz AG’s total share capital will the tokens represent?
We offer the choice between traditional shares and share tokens. The market will decide which form will prevail in the future. However, the tokens do offer some advantages. They can be traded 24/7 and easily transferred from wallet to wallet on the blockchain. I can easily imagine that in the next five years, the public blockchain will be the data basis for many financial transactions worldwide.
Is it then still necessary to issue shares in the traditional form for future capital increases?
It takes a few years for new technologies to be accepted and adopted by the general population. In this respect, I think that our traditional share will still be in demand in the future. The demand for increased crisis resistance and long-term value preservation through investments in real assets remains high.
In an interview with BX TV, Dani Stüssi explains the advantages of custody with Hypothekarbank Lenzburg.
The financial year is drawing to a close. How was 2023 for RealUnit Schweiz AG?
The risks and the uncertainties have unfortunately escalated further this year in the global economy. Our aim at RealUnit is to protect and preserve our shareholders’ capital over the long term, even in (or more accurately put, especially during) times of crisis. In 2023, we once again welcomed many new investors. We have also been able to expand our team as of this summer and we hired a management assistant apprentice. Passing on knowledge to the next generation is very important to me.
The Real Unit Schweiz AG share has only suffered minimal losses this year. Chart: bxswiss.com
The bearer share is down 1.9% since the beginning of the year. This means that you have outperformed the SMI, which is down more than 3%. However, the goal of real value retention was not achieved. Why and how did that happen?
This extremely challenging and bewildering year has once again shown that our tried-and-tested real asset strategy delivers what it promises. This is demonstrated by the fact that the net asset value (NAV) of our investments has risen by around 3% since the beginning of 2023 – our NAV currently stands at CHF 1.05. This shows that the value of our share has remained stable despite the precarious and volatile market environment and it validates our strategy. The fact that the share price did not punctiliously keep pace with the NAV is due to the fact that it is influenced by supply and demand. The current price is CHF 1.06. This means that you can buy our shares on the stock exchange at almost no premium.
What shifts have you made in your portfolio over the course of the year?
We generally pursue a buy-and-hold strategy if nothing changes fundamentally. We realized some gains in the spring. We invested the freshly raised share capital in our precious metal holdings toward the target allocation in the summer. Our hedging strategy has proven its worth once again since the outbreak of the Middle East conflict. Our NAV has risen, although the equity positions have dropped. Our 2% investment in Bitcoin and Ethereum also contributed to this. They are the best-performing asset class this year.
What goals do you have for the coming year and what is your outlook and expectations for financial markets?
The world is changing. In the new year, we expect that financial markets will continue to be preoccupied by the many active conflicts, as well as by the mind-bending weight of government debt. Also, in our view, inflation is not over yet either. Protecting your assets in this environment remains a challenge for individual investors. However, we are very well positioned precisely for this kind of environment. We’re confident that our shareholders can continue to sleep soundly, peacefully and serenely night.
Mr. Stüssi, thank you very much for the interview.