Still a no: Vanguard shoots down prospect of platforming ETH ETFs

Crypto products don’t fit in “a well-balanced, long-term investment portfolio,” Vanguard reiterates ahead of potential ether fund launches


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Anyone paying attention to the launch of spot bitcoin ETFs probably knows how Vanguard feels about such products.

If you thought the financial services giant might view ether differently — or evolve their stance — you can keep thinking.

“While we continuously evaluate our brokerage [offering] and evaluate new product entries to the market, spot ether ETFs will not be available for purchase on the Vanguard platform,” a company spokesperson told Blockworks. 

The clarity comes after the Securities and Exchange Commission last week approved 19b-4 proposals by exchanges looking to list spot ETH funds. The regulator still has to sign off on registration statements from the fund issuers themselves before the planned products can launch — a process industry watchers expect to take several weeks or months

Vanguard’s stance, for many, reflects a likely unsurprising doubling down.

The company, with roughly $7.7 trillion assets under management, did not allow spot bitcoin ETFs to trade on its platform when those hit the market in January. This decision came despite competing brokerages — like Fidelity and Charles Schwab — offering such products.

Read more: As spot bitcoin ETF volumes soar, Vanguard is blocking such trades

“We believe that cryptocurrency products are not aligned with our [offerings] focused on asset classes such as equities, bonds, and cash, which Vanguard views as the building blocks of a well-balanced, long-term investment portfolio,” the representative reiterated this week.

Vanguard’s steady stance on the segment comes even amid ramped-up bipartisan support of legislation deemed pro-crypto. 

BlackRock, one of Vanguard’s chief asset management rivals, offers a bitcoin fund that has grown to nearly $20 billion in assets. Spot ether ETFs are not expected to see as much volume or flows as the BTC offerings. 

Salim Ramji, who formerly led BlackRock’s ETF business, is set to become Vanguard’s CEO in July. 

Read more: Yes, Vanguard’s new CEO supported BlackRock’s bitcoin ETF launch

The executive helped prep the planned spot bitcoin ETF that the SEC would ultimately launch in January. 

Though Ramji had touted how such a product offers improved access to a new asset class, he noted in an interview with Barron’s that he would look to keep “consistency” in terms of the types of products and services Vanguard offers.  

Ric Edelman, founder of the Digital Assets Council of Financial Professionals, told Blockworks he believes Vanguard will one day launch a bitcoin ETF and offer the products on its platform.

“From a purely business perspective, it’s foolish not to,” he added. “And Salim is not foolish.”

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