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Vanguard’s Incoming CEO Won’t Launch Bitcoin ETF

In this post:

  • Salim Ramji will become CEO of Vanguard on July 8, succeeding Tim Buckley.
  • Ramji confirmed Vanguard’s stance against launching a spot bitcoin ETF, aligning with the company’s conservative investment philosophy.
  • Despite his past role in launching a bitcoin ETF at BlackRock, Vanguard will continue to not offer trading access to bitcoin ETFs on its platform.

Salim Ramji is set to become the CEO of Vanguard on July 8, succeeding Tim Buckley. In an interview with Barrons, Ramji addressed Vanguard’s position on cryptocurrency, emphasizing consistency in the company’s investment philosophy. He supported Chief Investment Officer Greg Davis’ stance, which aligns with Vanguard’s decision not to launch its own spot bitcoin ETF.

“ I think it’s important for firms to have consistency in terms of what they stand for and the products and services they offer. I have heard [CIO] Greg Davis’ explanation and I think it is entirely consistent with Vanguard’s investment philosophy. It is a logical and consistent point of view.”

Salim Ramji to Barrons

Vanguard’s Crypto Policy

Vanguard stated earlier that it does not believe in the investment case for cryptocurrencies and does not allow bitcoin ETFs to trade on its platform. This contrasts with other brokerage firms like Fidelity and Charles Schwab, which provide access to bitcoin ETFs. Vanguard maintains that most crypto assets lack intrinsic economic value and are highly volatile.

Also Read: Bianco Defends Vanguard’s Decision Against Spot Bitcoin ETF

Vanguard’s new CEO, Salim Ramji, previously led BlackRock’s ETF business and was involved in the approval of a spot Bitcoin ETF.  However, Vanguard’s press release on Tuesday did not mention any plans related to bitcoin ETFs or cryptocurrency.

Industry Views on Ramji’s Appointment

Ric Edelman, founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, commented on Ramji’s appointment, suggesting that he might bring a more market-focused approach to Vanguard. Bloomberg Intelligence analyst James Seyffart also noted that while Vanguard may not launch a bitcoin ETF soon, Ramji could potentially change the company’s stance on allowing clients to buy spot bitcoin ETFs on its platform.

Ramji’s history at BlackRock includes leading the global iShares business and being involved in the launch of the iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT). This ETF has seen significant success, with $15.5 billion in net inflows, trailing only the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust ETF (GBTC) by less than $1 billion in assets under management.

Also Read: $7 Trillion Vanguard: No Bitcoin ETF Offerings, Calls Crypto Speculation, Not Investment

In a 2023 interview on Bloomberg TV, Ramji expressed enthusiasm for blockchain technology, highlighting its potential to reduce friction in the financial ecosystem. He compared the planned Bitcoin product to the iShares Gold Trust (IAU), which was launched in 2005, emphasizing the ease of transacting in gold through ETFs.

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