21Shares Adds Execs as Part of Global Expansion

The ETP issuer’s latest hires include head of Middle East as crypto firms continue flocking to Dubai


21Shares’ Sherif El-Haddad | Source: 21Shares


key takeaways

  • Dubai’s crypto-friendly frameworks and young entrepreneurs makes it an exciting region to expand, 21Shares exec says
  • Firm’s other new hires previously worked at Barclays and JPMorgan

Crypto ETP issuer 21Shares has brought aboard several executives tasked with helping the company grow in various European countries and expand to the Middle East. 

Sherif El-Haddad, to be based in Dubai, will lead the firm’s expansion in the Middle East by introducing retail and institutional investors to the asset class while maintaining compliance with regional regulatory requirements. 

Before joining Switzerland-based 21Shares, El-Haddad was head of asset management at Al Mal Capital. Prior to that, he was the managing partner of Pearl Capital Management and led the asset management division of EFG Hermes for 13 years.

Isabell Moessler, 21Shares’ head of distribution for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Blockworks in an email that the firm is looking to provide all investors a way to buy, sell and short crypto through existing bank and brokerage accounts.

“Dubai’s supportive environment for crypto, paired with the city’s ability to attract young entrepreneurs who are passionate about new financial opportunities, is what excites us in beginning our entrance into the Middle East,” Moessler said.

“Broadly, the UAE is already laying the foundation for crypto regulatory infrastructure and its overlaying ecosystems, making the region all the more appealing for crypto exchanges and companies to be a part of,” she added.

Dubai revealed its first cryptocurrency legislation in March, and the emirate granted virtual asset licenses to FTX and Binance that month. Kraken also revealed plans to expand to the UAE in April, but opted for neighboring emirate Abu Dhabi.

Crypto.com and Hong Kong-based crypto custodian Hex Trust gained regulatory approval to conduct business in the region in June, and exchange OKX and Komainu gained regulatory approval to operate in Dubai last month. 

21Shares also revealed that Marina Baudéan joins the company as its head of France, Belgium and Luxembourg. She spent more than 15 years at Barclays, where she developed the bank’s cross-asset electronic trading platform, BARX, and more recently led the electronic rates distribution team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

Oliver Schäfer, who previously worked at JPMorgan Asset Management for 15 years, according to his LinkedIn profile, will be the ETP (exchange-traded product) issuer’s head of Germany.

Schäfer replaces Marco Infuso, who left 21Shares to lead global sales at competing firm Valour. Former 21Shares product manager Elaine Bühler and Peter Märkl, previously 21Shares’ head of legal, also jumped ship to Valour in recent weeks. 

The hires and expansion plans come after 21Shares expanded its presence in Australia in April by offering the continent’s first products to invest directly in bitcoin and ether. The firm more recently introduced a so-called crypto winter product suite, expanding it last month to include risk-controlled bitcoin and ether index ETPs.

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