Industry Updates

ETF Wrap: Large ETF issuers divided on merits of crypto

An Amundi report on crypto and NFTs, exchanges suspending Russia ETFs and the departure of an ETF veteran made headlines

Jamie Gordon

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Although some large asset managers have been making their maiden voyages into crypto, a recent report from Amundi revealed not all are as convinced by the nascent asset class. 

After WisdomTree became the first established player to launch a bitcoin exchange-traded product (ETP) in December 2019, there has recently been a surge by large issuers to enter the space.

Invesco launched a bitcoin ETP last November, Fidelity followed suit in February and this week, Global X entered with bitcoin and ethereum strategies.

Despite this rush of activity, Europe’s largest asset manager declared crypto represents a “systemic risk” to the global economy.

In a recent report, Amundi argued crypto has “no real economic underpinning” and regulation is an “exogenous risk factor” for buyers.

The report added: “Recently, the abundance of liquidity and the expectation that the rise will continue (driven by a new category of investors) seem to have been the main reasons to buy (bitcoin). If this were the case, bitcoin would be the archetype of a ‘rational bubble’.”

Interestingly, the French issuer did not rule out investing in non-fungible tokens (NFTs), noting it could see a scenario where they are ranked as real assets.

Final European exchange halts Russia ETF trading 

Almost a fortnight after Russia first invaded Ukraine, the SIX Swiss Exchange became the final European exchange to halt trading on Russia ETFs on 8 March.

It follows suspensions of Russia ETF trading by Euronext, Borsa Italiana, Deutsche Boerse and the London Stock Exchange last Friday and means this product class is now only available via over-the-counter trading in Europe.

It also comes after a flurry of suspensions by ETF issuers themselves on the creation or redemption of their own Russia ETFs. A slew of index providers including MSCI, S&P Dow Jones Indices, FTSE Russell and Morningstar have also removed Russia securities from their indices. 

Departure of ETF veteran a knock to French asset manager

Isabelle Bourcier left her role as head of quantitative and index management at BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) after almost six years at the firm, ETF Stream revealed. 

Before joining BNPP AM in 2016, Bourcier spent nearly five years as head of business development at Ossiam.

She began her career at Lyxor Asset Management in 2000, two years after it was established by Société Générale, helping it to build out its ETF franchise for 11 years. 

At BNPP AM, Bourcier was responsible for the launch of a series of Paris-Aligned Benchmark (PAB) ETFs, thematic ESG products and overhauled a series of ETFs to tracking ESG indices. These moves mean 83% of BNPP’s ETFs – with assets under management (AUM) of €16bn – are now classified as Article 8 or 9 under the SFDR.

Last December, she was awarded the Outstanding Contribution to ETFsat ETF Stream’s inaugural industry awards.

BNPP AM said Denis Panel, head of multi-asset quantitative and solutions, will oversee her responsibilities in the interim while the French asset manager searches for a permanent replacement.

ETF Wrap is a new, weekly digest of the top stories on ETF Stream

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