Abrdn has acquired a stake in digital securities exchange Archax, following the £508bn asset manager’s ambitions to enter the digital asset market.
The Edinburgh-based fund group has become the largest external shareholder in Archax, which was established four years ago and offers institutional investors access to blockchain-based digital assets.
London-based Archax is the first digital securities exchange regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and has brokerage, custody and cryptoasset permits.
The announcement comes just days after Abrdn CEO Stephen Bird told Financial News that the asset manager had plans to make a foray into digital assets. He told FN that tokenisation, digital assets, digital exchanges and blockchain technology would “transform asset management for reasons of cost, speed and control”.
“But you have to be very selective about where you do it – there’s a lot of junk out there. You have to really know what you’re investing in,” he added.
TO READ Abrdn boss Stephen Bird raises push for digital assets: “Expect to hear more from me on this.”
Abrdn said its investment in Archax will allow it to use the site as a route through which investors can access new investment opportunities through digital securities. It would also pave the way to offer investors token funds and create efficiencies in the investment process.
“In this sense, the growth of the digital investment market is about much more than cryptocurrencies,” Bird said in a statement announcing Archax’s involvement.
Digital assets are a non-traditional financial market segment that is fast becoming an attractive target for the global fund management industry.
BlackRock last week announced a tie-up with crypto exchange Coinbase, a move the world’s largest asset manager said would help some of its biggest clients trade bitcoins through its Aladdin platform.
The tie-up comes after BlackRock CEO Larry Fink said in March that the firm was looking at how digital assets and stablecoins can be used to help its clients. On August 11, the asset manager announced it was launching a private bitcoin one-time trust for US-based investors.
Elsewhere, UK-listed Schroders said in July that as part of its push into digital assets it had acquired a minority stake in Forteus, the asset management arm of Swiss firm Numeus Group .
Fidelity’s fledgling digital asset business saw a more than 1,800% increase in UK revenue last year as a result of more institutional investors trading and holding crypto.
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