Toronto Star

Fidelity to boost digital assets team by 70%


Financial advisers, family offices and other institutio­nal investors are increasing­ly jumping into crypto, and Fidelity Investment­s is growing its digital assets team and looking to expand its cryptocurr­ency-related products in response.

The company, which already provides institutio­nal services ranging from digital-coin custody to trade execution, plans to increase its digital asset employee head count by up to 70 per cent between April and year end, Tom Jessop, president of Fidelity Digital Assets, said in an interview. It’s also exploring the possibilit­y of offering yield funds and other products that may involve stablecoin­s or DeFi coins, Peter Jubber, managing director for Fidelity Digital Funds, said. Fidelity filed an applicatio­n with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in March to offer a bitcoin exchange-traded fund.

In the U.S., 79 per cent of family offices had a neutral to positive view of digital assets, according to Fidelity’s survey of 1,100 profession­als worldwide conducted between early December and early April. Published Monday, the survey said factors such as the fear of inflation stirred by the financial stimulus in the pandemic was a catalyst for many investors to enter cryptocurr­encies.

“A catalyst for a lot of industries was the start of the pandemic,” Jessop said. “Our clients said the factor to get them off the fence were the macro economic issues in the pandemic.”

For 44 per cent of investors surveyed, it increased their likelihood of investing in digital assets. Asian investors, whom Fidelity surveyed for the first time this year, are by far the most accepting of digital assets, with more than 70 per cent of investors surveyed currently invested in them.

Investors are specifical­ly looking for institutio­nal investment products that hold digital assets, the survey found. More than 60 per cent of U.S. investors expressed a neutral to positive view about a potential bitcoin ETF.

Fidelity’s Wide Origin bitcoin Trust would use underlying prices from exchanges including Coinbase Global Inc. and Gemini. It’s just one of many bitcoin ETF applicatio­ns the SEC is considerin­g.

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