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Vanguard’s New Chief Upholds Investment Philosophy Excluding Bitcoin ETF 

Salim Ramji has ruled out adjusting Vanguard’s investment philosophy, which excludes Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) as an overly speculative asset. Ramji ruled out Bitcoin exposure as he prepares to take over the chief executive reins at the US investment giant Vanguard. 

The Vanguard chief ruled out chances of reversing the investment company’s decision not to include the spot Bitcoin ETF. Ramji, who previously headed BlackRock’s global ETF division, informed Barron in a Wednesday, May 15 interview that Vanguard embraces consistency. 

Vanguard Upcoming CEO Rules Out Spot Bitcoin ETF

Ramji affirmed that crypto-affiliated investment products are misaligned with the investment philosophy. He emphasized the essence of firms deploying a consistent culture on the values behind the portfolio of services and products. 

Ramji will take over the Vanguard chief executive role on July 8, later this year. He echoed the explanation by Vanguard chief investment executive Greg Davis, who hailed the logical and consistent investment philosophy guiding Vanguard.

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Ramji joins Vanguard after overseeing BlackRock’s successful unveiling of the spot Bitcoin ETF in January. He oversaw the application and compliance with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) requirements till the approval of iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) that now accumulates $18B in assets under management (AUM).

Ramji’s declaration is surprising to the community, as it cited his interest in crypto. The investment watchers speculated that he would bring remarkable changes to the firm. 

Ramji oversaw BlackRock’s successful bid for an ETF launch in the US. The initiative attracted rival asset management firms, Fidelity, BitWise, and Wisdom Tree, to issue spot Bitcoin ETFs that cumulatively witnessed over $12B in net inflows. 

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Will Ramji Usher Bitcoin ETF in Vanguard?

Ramji is joining Vanguard when its assets under management are valued at $8.6 trillion. The company runs on a different approach that views crypto as a speculative investment and an immature one to rush into its exposure. 

Bloomberg lead ETF analyst James Seyffart indicated in a Wednesday May 15 post on X (formerly Twitter) ruled out that Ramji will usher spot Bitcoin ETF at Vanguard. 

Seyffart indicated that Ramji could reverse its stance and bar its clients from leveraging its brokerage platform to acquire spot Bitcoin ETFs. 

Vanguard’s outgoing chief, Tim Buckley, indicated in March that he disregards the classification of the Bitcoin ETF in the long-term portfolio of individual saving for retirement. Instead, he considered spot Bitcoin ETFs as typical speculative assets. 

Buckley’s dismissive comments arose from pressure from the Vanguard customers who questioned the exclusion from the Bitcoin ETFs when rival firms actively participated. 

The declaration that Vanguard will not embrace spot Bitcoin ETFs saw several clients threaten to exit. The clients revealed in January that they were considering closing their accounts since the firm blocked their access to spot Bitcoin ETFs. 

Nonetheless, Vanguard retains indirect exposure to Bitcoin via its stake in Michael Saylor’s Microstrategy. Vanguard ranks as the second largest shareholder among the institutions in MicroStrategy, the world’s largest listed holder of Bitcoins. 

A spot check reveals that rival investment firms are riding on Bitcoin’s rebound to  $66,000 on May 16. Equally, the Farside Investors US spot Bitcoin ETFs realized a daily net inflow of $303M on Wednesday, May 16, excluding BlackRock’s IBIT. 

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US Financial Companies and Banks Disclose Investments in Bitcoin ETFs

The latest filing with the US SEC revealed that several financial entities have invested in Bitcoin ETFs. Surprisingly, JPMorgan Chase invests in Grayscale, Fidelity, Bitwise, BlackRock, and ProShares Bitcoin ETFs.

The Friday, May 10 filing by JPMorgan Chase revealed holding BITO, GBTC, IBIT, FBTC, and Bitwise shares valued at $0.76 million. Also, the bank revealed that there were 25,021 shares valued at $47,000 in crypto ATM provider Bitcoin Depot. 

JPMorgan, joined by Wells Fargo, also reported exposure to the ProShares Bitcoin ETF (BITO) and Grayscale (GBTC) besides its holdings of Bitcoin Depot’s shares. Susquehanna International Group had confirmed acquiring shares valued over $1 billion of several spot crypto ETFs in 2024’s first quarter.


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Stephen Causby

Stephen Causby is an experienced crypto journalist who writes for Tokenhell. He is passionate for coverage in crypto news, blockchain, DeFi, and NFT.

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