$190B wealth manager greenlights 4 bitcoin ETFs for allocators

Cetera to allow its financial pros to implement BTC products offered by BlackRock, Fidelity, Invesco and Franklin Templeton into client portfolios

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Shutterstock / Michael Vi, modified by Blockworks

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Wealth management firm Cetera Financial Group has approved four bitcoin ETFs for advisers choosing to implement such funds into client portfolios. 

The San Diego-based firm said Thursday it would launch educational training to its financial professionals as they consider allocations to bitcoin ETFs — marking the latest asset manager to make such a move.  

Cetera has so far greenlit adviser allocations to four of the 10 US spot bitcoin ETFs: BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT); the Fidelity Wise Origin Bitcoin Fund (FBTC); the Franklin Bitcoin ETF (EZBC); and the Invesco Galaxy Bitcoin ETF (BTCO).   

The company had $190 billion in assets under management, as of December 2023.

“We will continue to proactively evaluate the implications of bitcoin ETFs and related products and modify our policies accordingly, and we look forward to partnering with our financial professionals to adopt bitcoin ETFs when appropriate with their clients,” Matt Fries, Cetera’s head of investment products and partner solutions, said in a statement.

Read more: Restricting access to growing bitcoin ETFs becoming ‘hard to justify’

Cetera appeared to lean toward the bitcoin ETFs offered by larger firms with a TradFi bent.

BlackRock’s iShares lineup manages more than $2.7 trillion in assets, while the assets in Invesco’s US ETFs amount to about $500 billion, according to ETF.com. 

Financial services giants Fidelity Investments and Franklin Templeton have roughly $67 billion and $16 billion, respectively, in their US ETF complexes. 

These providers have “track records of successfully launching new product strategies, and are well positioned with established resources, tools and knowledge,” Cetera noted in its Thursday news release.  

The 10 US spot bitcoin ETFs have tallied nearly $12 billion of net inflows in their first nine weeks of trading, according to BitMEX Research data. Despite its roughly $11.7 billion of net outflows, the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust ETF (GBTC) leads the category with more than $26 billion in assets. IBIT and FBTC are next, with about $15.9 billion and $9.2 billion, respectively.  

Cetera chose not to yet approve GBTC, which carries a 1.5% fee that is substantially higher than competitors. 

For now, it also left out access to the Ark 21Shares Bitcoin ETF (ARKB) and the Bitwise Bitcoin ETF (BITB). Those two funds have significantly higher assets under management than EZBC and BTCO — with each above $2 billion.

Cetera’s guidance around bitcoin ETFs comes as industry watchers say more wealth managers and investment platforms are likely to unlock the use of such products for allocators in the coming months.

Read more: ‘Primary market’ for bitcoin ETFs largely hasn’t yet adopted such funds

Bloomberg reported last month that Carson Group — a Nebraska-based registered investment adviser (RIA) — greenlit the use of four bitcoin ETFs.

Other similarly-sized RIAs have chosen not to, such as Savant Wealth Management. The firm, which manages about $25 billion in assets, told Blockworks last month that it had no plans to approve the bitcoin ETFs — noting “we prefer to work with asset classes that can provide us with a good basis for understanding the expected return.”

In terms of financial giants making the bitcoin funds available, a Wells Fargo spokesperson confirmed to Blockworks that the bitcoin ETFs are available for “unsolicited purchases” through one of the firm’s advisers, or through its online WellsTrade platform.Vanguard, however, does not allow for such funds to trade on its brokerage platform — calling the investment case for crypto “weak.”


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