Morgan Stanley keeps sending mixed signals about its crypto intentions. We know for a fact that they have taken meetings with crypto firms and have a working group inside of the firm in Manhattan. And clients continue to clamor for crypto capabilities. But nothing of substance has materialized until now.
An important and strategic hire that has eyebrows raised across Wall Street.
As first reported by eFinancialCareers, Morgan Stanley hired Andrew Peel last month to serve as its new “head of digital asset markets.” He will work out of the firm’s Zurich and London offices.
Prior to joining Morgan Stanley, Peel served as vice president of sales and trading innovation at Credit Suisse, where he served as the resident “trading subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, client coverage and internal presentations,” according to his LinkedIn profile.
It’s not immediately clear what Peel’s new role as head of digital asset markets entails, though his hiring could be a sign that the firm is stealthily investigating whether and how it should expand its exposure to the burgeoning cryptocurrency space, which continues to see increasing interest from institutional buyers.
In conversations with sources at the firm, there are specific reasons why Peel is set to be stationed overseas. Regulation in the United States have yet to metastasize and risk is de-levered in both Zurich and London. Should the crypto markets fall further and pose any litigation risk, proximity plays a role.
Still, this is another step in the ‘institutional’ direction for Bitcoin and cryptos in general. Goldman Sachs is several steps ahead of their rival and Morgan Stanley has a tremendous amount of catching up to do.
But if you are counting at home: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, ICE, NYSE, Starbucks, Microsoft, Stephen Cohen, Bill Miller, etc, etc, etc. Are you paying attention yet?