VanEck to market crypto ETPs ‘more aggressively’ in wake of US approvals
By Dominic Lawson 17 January 2024
Firm’s US bitcoin ETF ‘helps’ brand in Europe, says CEO
US-based exchange traded fund specialist VanEck plans to be “more aggressive” in marketing its crypto products in Europe following approval of spot bitcoin funds in the US.
The US Securities and Exchange Commission last week approved 11 spot bitcoin ETFs for the first time, including a fund managed by VanEck. The funds are not available to European retail investors.
Ucits funds cannot invest solely in cryptocurrency, but Europe is home to a range of crypto-related exchange traded notes and exchange traded commodities.
Martijn Rozemuller, chief executive officer of VanEck’s European business, says his firm will now “probably become a little bit more aggressive” in reaching out to a wider audience for its own crypto exchange traded products following the SEC’s decision.
“[We will be] doing more marketing on the crypto range,” he says.
“We will re-engage with some of the financial institutions who were reluctant to invest in bitcoin.”
Mr Rozemuller says that as well as boosting investor interest in cryptocurrency, the SEC’s decision has “probably helped” VanEck’s brand in Europe due to the media coverage of its bitcoin ETF.
The firm also has a Europe-domiciled ETF that holds shares in crypto and blockchain-related companies.
VanEck plans to expand in the UK by hiring more sales specialists and also intends to grow its Amsterdam office, as Ignites Europe reported last month.
Flows into European crypto-related ETPs saw a boost after BlackRock launched its application with the SEC in June 2023.
However, ETPs with crypto or bitcoin in their name have had net outflows of €62m since the SEC’s decision on January 10, according to provisional Morningstar data.
Ignites Europe reported last week that experts expect European asset managers to consider launching bitcoin ETFs following the SEC’s decision, despite regulatory hurdles.
Jacobi Asset Management launched Europe’s first bitcoin ETF last year, after securing approval from the Guernsey financial regulator to launch the product as an alternative investment fund.
Michael O’Riordan, founding partner at Blackwater, says he thinks other managers will also take a similar approach to crypto ETPs.
“I think all managers with crypto offerings will be aiming to take advantage of the feel good factor surrounding crypto right now,” he says.
“The SEC approval may give European investors more confidence in the asset class now.”
Jose Garcia Zarate, associate director of passive strategies at Morningstar, says the “hype” and media coverage of the SEC approving bitcoin ETFs “can only make European investors who may be interested in crypto even more eager”.
“One would expect European providers who offer crypto ETPs […] to freeride this wave of free publicity and promote their products,” he says.
Mr Garcia Zarate says the key question is whether the SEC decision could push European regulators to follow the same path.
“Here, the prospects do not look promising at this stage,” he says.
“European investors may be confronted with noisier marketing campaigns from existing providers of non-Ucits crypto ETPs in the near term, but shouldn’t assume that a Ucits spot bitcoin ETF is already in the oven and ready to come out.”