(Bloomberg) — Brevan Howard Asset Management is preparing to start investing in digital assets, becoming the latest money manager seeking to exploit the cryptocurrency boom.
The firm led by Aron Landy will begin by investing up to 1.5% of its $5.6 billion main hedge fund in digital assets, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The initial allocation will be overseen by Johnny Steindorff and Tucker Waterman, co-founders of crypto investment firm Distributed Global, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.
A spokesman for Jersey-based Brevan Howard declined to comment.
The move is the latest signal that cryptocurrencies are going mainstream as Brevan Howard joins the likes of billionaire hedge fund managers Paul Tudor Jones and Marc Lasry in betting on digital assets. Only on Wednesday, crypto exchange Coinbase Global Inc. went public and hit a valuation above $112 billion.
Brevan Howard’s fund will bet on the rising values of digital assets, and will focus on a wide range beyond just Bitcoin, the person said.
Brevan Howard is no stranger to digital assets. Co-founder Alan Howard invests his personal money into cryptocurrencies and the firm recently acquired a 25% stake in One River Asset Management, a $2.5 billion firm whose cryptocurrency funds are backed by Howard.
The billionaire has been an investor in Distributed Global since early 2018, the person said. That firm also runs a crypto venture capital fund in partnership with Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte. All trading will take place through Elwood Asset Management, an affiliate platform started by Howard four years ago, the person said.
Bitcoin has more than doubled this year, boosting the market for cryptocurrencies past $2 trillion, while the entry of big financial institutions into the space has been one of the biggest trends in the industry over the past few months. Tesla Inc. now accepts Bitcoin for its electric vehicles, and the company disclosed a $1.5 billion investment in the currency earlier this year.
Both Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. have also announced plans to offer clients access to crypto investments.
On its part, Brevan Howard had been developing its digital trading technologies and assessing the sector’s suitability for investors for the last few years, according to the person. It decided in the fourth quarter of last year that the industry had matured enough for it to deploy a small part of clients cash.
Brevan Howard, best known for its macro trading prowess, is in expansion mode following a record year of gains. Investors who abandoned the firm amid years of mediocre returns are coming back: Assets that collapsed by over 80% from their peak to about $6 billion two years ago have since rebounded to above $13 billion.
The firm’s main fund is run by a group of traders including Howard himself, Fash Golchin, Alfredo Saitta and Minal Bathwal. It gained 27.4% last year in its best annual return since 2003.
(Updates with industry background in 8th paragraph)
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