High-net-worth Wells Fargo clients can now get Bitcoin & crypto exposure, a company spokesperson informed Business Insider, making Wells Fargo the latest in a long line of traditionally conservative financial institutions to venture into Bitcoin.
In May, it was reported that the investment-research division of Wells Fargo Wealth and Investment Management was going to implement an actively managed Bitcoin and crypto strategy to its qualified investors.
The firm’s wealth and investment management arm oversees about $2 trillion in assets, making them among the largest wealth managers in the United States.
According to the research division’s president Darrell Cronk, the firm has been searching for "a professionally managed solution" for months, Business Insider reports. At the same time, Wells Fargo has been publicly wary of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies due to their regulatory vagueness.
In May, in an interview with Business Insider, Darrell Cronk commented, "We think the cryptocurrency space has just kind of hit an evolution and maturation of its development that allows it now to be a viable investable asset."
Cronk went on to allude that the massive market cap of Bitcoin combined with other cryptocurrencies lent them legitimacy in his view.
However, Cronk told Business Insider he views crypto as an “alternative investment” instead of a “strategic allocation”, but one which “can be a nice diversifier to portfolio holdings.”
It is unclear at this time how exactly wealthy clients at Wells Fargo are going to get exposure to Bitcoin, whether it is through outright purchasing Bitcoin or through a second order of price exposure, such as Grayscale Bitcoin.
Wells Fargo’s Bitcoin venture comes just days after traditional banking giant JPMorgan’s CEO said clients “see bitcoin as an asset class and want to invest,” and before them, in March, Morgan Stanley announced that they too would offer clients solutions for owning Bitcoin.
Notably, Wells Fargo’s global-investment-strategy team’s report on the investment rationale for cryptocurrencies is a testament to their understanding of Bitcoin’s supply and scarcity dynamics.
Cronk commented, “Anytime you reduce the supply of anything, even if demand holds constant, it should increase the price. Over time, as people become more familiar with these and as they become more mainstream, I think it will naturally go up."
Until the SEC approves a Bitcoin ETF, we can expect the actively managed crypto strategy at Wells Fargo to remain limited to qualified investors, namely, “an individual with an annual gross income of more than $200,000 or a net worth of more than $1 million,” according to Business Insider.
On the element of risk to Wells Fargo clients exposed to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies:
“There's a whole element of consumer protections and regulations that have to still evolve with the changing landscape," Cronk concluded, “we think there can be a viable investable option for those clients who show an interest."