Fidelity, VanEck, and more refile spot Bitcoin ETF applications after reports of SEC rejections
News of impending rejection from the SEC over language concerning surveillance agreements have led to a wave of updated refilings.
Several asset managers have resubmitted applications for their spot Bitcoin ETFs following this morning’s reports that those applications did not meet the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) standards over language surrounding surveillance-sharing agreements.
The Wall Street Journal reported on June 30, 2023, that spot Bitcoin ETF applications submitted by Fidelity, WisdomTree, VanEck, Invesco, and BlackRock’s were likely to be rejected due to insufficient clarity in the SSA between those asset managers and the exchanges that would list the products—in these cases, either Cboe Global Markets or Nasdaq.
The SEC’s concerns revolved around the applications’ inability to identify a specific spot Bitcoin exchange that would engage in a “surveillance-sharing agreement” (SSA) with Nasdaq and Cboe. An SSA, designed to prevent fraud and market manipulation, is a requirement the SEC imposes to ensure integrity in the underlying market of an asset by being alert to manipulative trading activities.
Fidelity, WisdomTree, VanEck, and Invesco — all of which filed spot Bitcoin ETF applications in recent weeks — submitted revised filings on June 30. Those filings can be seen on the Cboe Global Markets’ page for pending rule changes for BZX options. The refiled applications all explicitly state, “the Exchange is expecting to enter into a surveillance-sharing agreement with Coinbase, Inc.”
BlackRock submitted a filing for a spot Bitcoin ETF with Nasdaq rather than Cboe. While BlackRock’s earlier June 15 filing is still listed as pending on Nasdaq’s website, there is no indication that it has resubmitted or updated its filing.
The SEC has not definitively rejected the various pending ETF applications, nor has it made any public statement on the matter. The Wall Street Journal reported the SEC’s statements and cited anonymous contacts as its source of information.