Will Vanguard change its mind on Bitcoin ETFs after CEO’s departure? - Hindustan Times

Will Vanguard change its mind on Bitcoin ETFs after CEO Tim Buckley’s departure?

Mar 01, 2024 01:47 PM IST

Giant asset manager Vanguard’s crypto-averse CEO, Tim Buckley, to step down, who will take over?

The CEO of Vanguard, Tim Buckley, who has overseen the massive asset manager’s rejection of spot bitcoin ETFs, will step down from his role this year, the company announced in a statement and a search for his successor is underway.

Vanguard evaluating candidates to replace CEO Tim Buckley amid Bitcoin ETF controversy.(LinkedIn/Reuters)
Vanguard evaluating candidates to replace CEO Tim Buckley amid Bitcoin ETF controversy.(LinkedIn/Reuters)

Unlike other major US financial institutions that have welcomed the newly approved bitcoin ETFs, Vanguard has distinguished itself by not allowing its brokerage clients to access them.

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Some people on social media are speculating whether Buckley’s retirement announcement on Thursday has any connection to his position on bitcoin ETFs – and whether Vanguard might reconsider its stance under a new leader.

However, it is debatable whether Vanguard needs to change anything. James Seyffart, an analyst at Bloomberg, pointed out on Thursday that one of Vanguard’s ETFs, VOO, which follows the S&P 500 Index, has brought in $15.7 billion in net new inflows this year, twice as much as BlackRock’s spot bitcoin ETF, IBIT.

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Vanguard is “doing just fine my friends,” Seyffart wrote on X (formerly Twitter). Vanguard’s resistance to spot Bitcoin ETFs is part of a wider institutional philosophy.

Vanguard sticks to its guns on Crypto, but they may have other plans too

The company has focused on long-term investment strategies rather than the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. This view is backed up by comments from other Vanguard executives, who have argued that crypto is not a mature asset class and does not generate economic value or cash flow.

Plus, Vanguard has no intention of creating its own Bitcoin ETF or offering any existing crypto-related products on its brokerage, stating that its priority is on conventional investment options.

The company is currently looking for Buckley’s replacement, evaluating both internal and external candidates.

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In the meantime, Vanguard’s Chief Investment Officer, Greg Davis, has been elevated to President. Although Davis has made some more positive remarks on blockchain technology in the past, Vanguard’s overall attitude to cryptocurrencies is still cautious.

The firm uses blockchain for specific operational improvements, such as obtaining index data, demonstrating a balanced appreciation of the technology’s advantages beyond the direct investment in cryptocurrencies.

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