Vanguard’s new boss says Bitcoin ETF not on the table: Report

Avatar

The new chief executive of United States investment giant Vanguard has said he won’t reverse the company’s decision to not launch a spot Bitcoin (BTC) exchange-traded fund.

Vanguard’s new CEO, Salim Ramji — the former head of BlackRock’s global ETF business — told Barron’s in an interview published May 15 that Vanguard stands for consistency and crypto-related investment products do not align with its “investment philosophy.”

“I think it’s important for firms to have consistency in terms of what they stand for and the products and services they offer,” said Ramji.

“I have heard [chief investment officer] Greg Davis’ explanation and I think it is entirely consistent with Vanguard’s investment philosophy. It is a logical and consistent point of view.”

Ramji oversaw the launch of BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin ETF in January, the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT), which has amassed $18 billion in assets under management.

He has openly expressed his interest in crypto and his move to Vanguard had industry watchers speculating on what changes he would make at the firm.

Salim Ramji. Source: Vanguard

Alongside BlackRock’s ETF launch, its rivals including Fidelity and nine other investment managers also launched spot Bitcoin funds which have together seen over $12 billion in net inflows.

Vanguard, with its $8.6 trillion in AUM, opted for a different approach and didn’t launch a Bitcoin ETF — viewing crypto as a speculative investment and an immature asset class.

Bloomberg ETF analyst James Seyffart said in a May 15 X post he doesn’t believe Ramji would usher in a Vanguard spot Bitcoin ETF.

Seyffart said, however, that Ramji might reverse the firm’s position to not allow its clients to buy other spot Bitcoin ETFs on its brokerage platform.

Vanguard’s outgoing CEO, Tim Buckley, said in March that he didn’t believe a Bitcoin ETF belongs in a long-term portfolio of someone saving for their retirement as it’s a speculative asset.

His comments followed pressure from customers after the launch of the Bitcoin ETFs from rival firms.

Related: JPMorgan reports holding shares of several spot Bitcoin ETFs

In January, a number of Vanguard clients threatened to close their accounts over the firm blocking access to spot Bitcoin ETFs.

Meanwhile, Vanguard was indirectly exposed to Bitcoin through its stake in MicroStrategy — where it is the second-largest institutional shareholder.

Rival investment firms are reveling again as flows turn positive in the wake of Bitcoin’s 7% move to reclaim $66,000 on May 16.

Net inflows for May 15 across all U.S spot Bitcoin ETFs were over $300 million — excluding BlackRock’s IBIT whose results had yet to be reported, according to preliminary Farside Investors data.

Magazine: Meme coins: Betrayal of crypto’s ideals… or its true purpose?