Fidelity Investments, the asset management giant with more than US$4.5 billion in assets under management, aims to strengthen its digital assets unit by 25% by the end of next year.
Having already doubled its workforce since May, the additional 100 team members will bring the Fidelity Digital Assets division’s headcount to 500.
Fidelity will have a significant pool of talent to draw from — recent turmoil in the crypto markets has forced big hits like Coinbase and Crypto.com to make mass layoffs, while a spate of high-profile executive resignations has plagued the industry.
Listed positions run the gamut of compliance, custody operations, trading, risk management, engineering and management, including:
- Fidelity Digital Assets Analyst, Account Management operations
- Director, Digital Asset Investment Product
- Senior Compliance Manager – Digital Asset Compliance
- Director of Software Engineering, Wallet Blockchain
Unlike some of its traditional financial brethren (e.g. JPMorgan), Fidelity has been bullish on digital assets, even allowing clients to include bitcoin in their 401(k) retirement plan portfolios.
Undoubtedly, much of the strengthened workforce will be focused on Fidelity’s new Ethereum trading and custodial services, which will launch on October 28.
“With the Ethereum merger complete, many investors are looking at Ethereum through a new lens,” Fidelity Digital Assets said last week, when it confirmed that “investors will be able to buy, sell and transfer ether, with access to the same operational excellence, robust security, and dedicated customer service model provide for bitcoin investments today.
These new products will no doubt require more hands on deck, but the hires also come at a time when asset management companies are making a push for cryptocurrency-based exchange-traded funds.
Regulator shoots down bitcoin ETFs
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the US has consistently shot down any applications for bitcoin spot ETFs.
Fidelity’s own Wise Origin Bitcoin Trust ETF application never gained traction, nor did similar applications from Wilshire Phoenix and Grayscale Investments.
But pressure is mounting on the SEC, with thousands of investors and stakeholders urging the regulator to revise its position.
“We make the case that the SEC is arbitrarily treating spot Bitcoin ETFs differently than bitcoin futures ETFs, even though they are subject to the same risks in that they are both based on the same underlying spot bitcoin markets,” Grayscale’s chief legal officer Craig Salm said recently.
Salm reasoned that “at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily an issue about bitcoin. It’s really about fair and equal treatment under the law”.
Perhaps Fidelity Digital Assets sees another window of opportunity on the horizon.
Proactive has approached Fidelity for comment on its ETF plans.