Union Investment, a $500 billion asset manager, is planning to add Bitcoin (BTC) to several investment funds as part of a targeted pilot program for its institutional clients, offering compelling evidence that crypto is becoming more mainstream in Europe’s largest economy.
The Frankfurt-based institution told Bloomberg on Monday that it is considering adding BTC to a small number of investment funds that will only be available to private investors. For each fund, Bitcoin exposure will be limited to no more than 2% of total assets. Portfolio manager Daniel Bathe said the new investment strategy is likely to commence in the fourth quarter, though no fixed timetable was given.
Union Investment is the investment arm of DZ Bank Group, an institution with over 800 cooperative banks. As of June 30, Union Investment had $507 billion in assets under management, making it one of Germany’s largest asset managers.
Germany is quickly becoming a hotbed for crypto investments, especially among institutional players. On Aug. 2, a new law allowing institutional funds to hold crypto came into effect, setting the stage for a wider uptake of digital assets, even among German pension funds. Meanwhile, German securities broker S Broker recently announced a suite of crypto-focused product offerings.
Related: What the SEC can learn from the German regulator
At the retail level, Germans don’t rank as highly for crypto adoption, according to a recent survey by financial comparison website Finder. The 42,000-person survey estimated that only 11% of Germans had exposure to digital assets. Although that’s higher than the United States and the United Kingdom, it ranked well below emerging markets and other European nations.
Bitcoin is turning heads again as the first-launched cryptocurrency pushes toward $52,000. Its price has recovered roughly 79% from its summer trough. In the process, Bitcoin’s total market capitalization is once again approaching $1 trillion.
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