Investment Giant Fidelity Launches Digital Assets Services Targeting Institutional Investors

U.S. investment firm Fidelity, which administers over $7.2 trillion in client assets, has announced the launch of a new company, Fidelity Digital Asset Services, according to an Oct. 15 press release.

The new company will offer custody and trade execution services for digital assets, targeting institutional investors like “hedge funds, family offices and market intermediaries,” and will not for now be open to retail investors. According to the press release, Fidelity Digital Assets will focus on providing a “secure, compliant, and institutional-grade omnibus storage solution for bitcoin, ether and other digital assets.”

Tom Jessop, head of the newly-created business, is quoted in as saying that Fidelity began exploring blockchain and crypto “several years ago,” telling CNBC in an interview today that the idea of commercializing a “standalone” crypto firm began in mid-2017.

Fidelity cites research from Greenwich Associates that found that “70 percent” of institutional finance executives believe crypto will have a role in the future of the financial sector, yet many are still “sitting on the sidelines” before they enter the market.

Jessop told CNBC the new company will leverage all “of the resources of a big organization” — Fidelity reportedly already works with “over 13,000” institutional clients — to draw these actors into the emerging space.

To this end, the newly-created company will draw on its reputation as a major Wall Street incumbent, and use technological solutions that have been “repurposed” from other parts of its organization, in Jessop’s words.

For crypto trades, the press release states the firm will be using “a proven internal crossing engine and smart order router for trade execution of digital assets” that will “allow for execution at multiple market venues.”

As previously reported, unconfirmed reports surfaced this June suggesting that Fidelity was hiring developers to build a cryptocurrency exchange, citing internal correspondence at the time.

The investment giant’s innovation lab has also had a partnership with major crypto exchange Coinbase as of mid-2017 to allow clients to view their Bitcoin (BTC) holdings alongside traditional assets in their portfolios.

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