Crypto Startup Abra Enters Institutional Asset Management Business

The company is looking to hire a head of trading strategies who would focus on building out quantitative crypto trading models


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key takeaways

  • The company has been informally offering trading strategies to institutional clients — the hire is an effort to solidify that business
  • Abra’s CEO hinted that the company’s first institutional funds could be in the works

Abra is getting into the institutional crypto asset management business.

The crypto wealth manager is looking to hire its first head of trading strategies, who would be tasked with building out a team and the trading infrastructure to invest in a variety of different strategies.

Abra on a one-off basis has already been offering customized trading strategies to institutional clients, CEO Bill Barhydt told Blockworks. The thinking behind the new position is to formalize and expand that pipeline — with a focus on investments that drive yield enhancements.

Strategies in the mix include basis trades and arbitrage opportunities, and the idea is to build on yield enhancement opportunities that Abra has already developed on the credit side of the business. 

Ben Liams, the company’s vice president of trading and credit markets, said ideal clients include digital assets engineering and financial firms looking for “yields that might be difficult to access in typical credit and lending arrangements.”

“This has been done on a very limited basis,” Liams said.

“Given the fast growth of our platform, this is definitely something where creating a unified platform for those kinds of opportunities inside Abra — we anticipate the need would grow.”

The new head of trading strategies will also be responsible for monitoring risk, both when it comes to asset management and coordinating with the lending side of the business.

Barhydt said Abra isn’t now engaging in proprietary trading with client money, but may in the future consider prop trading with the company’s own balance sheet. 

The Abra head also said the company is considering starting institutional funds that would run client money — potentially in making its high-yield crypto products available via a fund format.

“There’s a huge opportunity to open up that model beyond just retail investors to institutional clients, including family offices,” he said.

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