As the industry matures, an influx of institutional investors continues to pour into the cryptocurrency market. Announced July 31, investment banking giant Morgan Stanley hired a former Credit Suisse VP to head its digital assets division.
Morgan Stanley Eyes Developing Digital Economy
Morgan Stanley is hiring Credit Suisse’s VP of Sales and Innovative Trading Andrew Peel to head its new Digital Asset Markets division, reports eFinancialCareers. Peel will be based out of the firm’s London and Zurich offices.
While working as a derivates trader for Credit Suisse (CS), Peel took an interest in cryptocurrency and began advocating digital asset investing in 2013. By 2016, the firm recognized a crypto market opportunity and appointed Peel as the VP for Sales and Trading Innovation – acting as a ‘trading subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.’
Morgan Stanley ranks sixth among the largest U.S. banks with over $851 billion in assets under management (AUM), according to data from Bankrate.
The Great Migration: Wall Street to Crypto
Morgan Stanley’s recent hire follows a series of job postings seeking equity analysts with “knowledge of cryptocurrencies” in early March 2018.
Peel’s decision to leave CS is not the first crypto exit the company has seen. In April 2018, former CS Crypto Asset and Investment Banking unit founder Brian Wirtz left the firm to start the Blockchain Advisory Group. In the same month, former CS trader Nelson Minier took a job at Kraken, according to eFinancialCareers.
To meet increasing client demand, Morgan Stanley quietly began clearing Bitcoin futures contracts at the start of 2018. In an interview with Bloomberg, CFO Jonathan Pruzan said:
“If someone wants to do a trade on the futures and settle in cash, we’ll do that. I wouldn’t say it’s been a lot of activity, but it’s for core institutional clients who want to participate in a derivatives transaction.”
In the onset of regulated digital asset derivatives and security token markets, it’s apparent Morgan Stanley is preparing for the developing digital economy.
Currently, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs are the only major Wall Street firms offering cryptocurrency-backed derivatives trading.