Morgan Stanley, one of the world’s largest investment banks, has just poached Credit Suisse’s resident “bitcoin expert” to head the former’s digital assets unit.
As first reported by eFinancialCareers, Morgan Stanley, which ranks sixth among U.S. banks with $858 billion in total assets, hired Andrew Peel last month to serve as its new “head of digital asset markets.” He will work out of the firm’s Zurich and London offices.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Peel served as vice president of sales and trading innovation at Credit Suisse, where he served as the resident “trading subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, client coverage and internal presentations,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
It’s not immediately clear what Peel’s new role as head of digital asset markets entails, though his hiring could be a sign that the firm is stealthily investigating whether and how it should expand its exposure to the burgeoning cryptocurrency space, which continues to see increasing interest from institutional buyers.
Some of Morgan Stanley’s competitors, including Goldman Sachs, have said that they will launch bitcoin trading desks, and even crypto-skeptical asset managers like BlackRock have conceded that they cannot ignore the asset class.
Morgan Stanley, on its part, quietly began helping its clients trade bitcoin futures in January, just one month after they began trading on Chicago-based exchanges CBOE and CME.
However, the firm has made conflicting statements about its perspective on cryptocurrency. CEO James Gorman has at various times said that bitcoin is “by definition speculative” that is nevertheless a “fascinating development” and “more than a fad.”
Morgan Stanley analysts, meanwhile, have argued that the bitcoin price could crash to zero and that cryptocurrency assets are a poor hedge against inflation. The bank has also said that bitcoin’s price movements are reminiscent of the dotcom bubble in 2000.
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