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Morgan Stanley Investments Starts Offering Bitcoin Funds



13 Apr, 2021


Major US-headquartered investment bank Morgan Stanley aims to offer three bitcoin (BTC) funds to its rich clients. However, only clients with "an aggressive risk tolerance" and who have at least USD 2m in assets held by the firm will be allowed to invest in these funds, while investment firms need at least USD 5m. Also, the bank is limiting BTC investments to as much as 2.5% of their clients' total net worth.

Two of the funds on offer are from Mike Novogratz-led Galaxy Digital, while the third is from asset manager FS Investments and NYDIG, a Stone Ridge-run subsidiary firm that provides crypto services to institutional investors.

In an internal communication, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management's Global Investment Committee categorized cryptocurrency as an investable asset class and that it's time for investors to get educated and consider how and whether to get exposure to this asset class in their portfolio.

Drawing parallels with historical gold adoption, crypto as an asset class matured twice as fast as gold and has already crossed the critical thresholds of market liquidity, regulatory scrutiny, and institutional acceptance. Moreover, this is happening at a time "when managing cash and achieving portfolio diversification has become ever more challenging and meaningful."

The Crypto Observations by Morgan Stanley

Bitcoin Vs Gold Adoption Source: Morgan Stanley

Morgan Stanley however stressed in their report that they do not promote any particular coin ownership and encouraging investors to approach it as a speculative asset class, stating further:

  • "Our recognition of cryptocurrency as a likely permanent investment category is an acknowledgment of its potential to power decentralized, tamper-resistant, anonymous transactions on blockchains leveraged for myriad applications."

  • "Cryptocurrency represents a radical new invention lacking a known sponsor, a centralized standards-setting body, or an actual physical incarnation that continues to search for the "killer app" or best applications and could ultimately prove challenging to sovereign governments, climate advocates, and market regulators."

  • "Because cryptocurrency is coded, it enables property rights information and value to be embedded on the same token, features that facilitate optimized peer-to-peer transactions."

  • "Given these provocative and innovative properties and myriad potential applications, investor interest is understandable," they concluded.

The Crypto Risks as per Morgan Stanley

According to the report:

  • There's a lack of reliable and consistent market-wide information and there are ongoing challenges of data gaps and opacity.

  • Valuation paradigms are also shifting.

  • Cross-asset correlations might continue to remain unstable - BTC has already behaved like both a risk-on and risk-off asset.

  • There are technological challenges, such as quantum computing that theoretically might endanger encryption, while coding errors are also possible.

  • Another risk consideration is the threat and conflict that cryptocurrencies likely pose to clean/green energy and environmental, social, and governance investment mandates.

  • The concentration of bitcoin’s global ownership.

  • With strong vested interests in support of fiat currencies and the access to tax revenues they provide, the potential for a single large government to invalidate crypto as a currency or prohibit it for certain use cases is not zero.

Conclusion: Encouragement and Caution

As per Morgan Stanley Report, coin trading remains in its infancy. Issues around finding true price discovery and best execution are still to be addressed. Therefore, advise clients to proceed with caution. At the time of writing, BTC trading at more than USD 56k+. It's up by 1.4% in a week and 14% in a month. The price rallied by more than 1,000% in a year.


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