Bluefin Europe is pivoting to crypto exchange-traded product (ETP) trading despite announcing plans to close its European ETF business earlier this year.

According to its latest set of accounts, the liquidity provider said it was making the decision to concentrate on digital asset trading.

In January, ETF Stream revealed Bluefin was exiting from the European market with immediate effect.

In a note to clients seen by ETF Stream, Bluefin said: “On instructions from our headquarters in the US, Bluefin Europe is withdrawing from the ETF market.”

However, in a short statement announcing the new plans, Bluefin said: “On 26 January, a decision by the company was made to close the fixed income market making business and focus on crypto and ETFs.”

As part of the push, Bluefin has appointed two partners, Jonte Baron and David Little, to run the crypto venture.

This is Baron's second stint at Bluefin having spent three years at the firm between 2008 and 2011 before joining Goldenberg Hehmeyer as a trade, a role he held until 2014.

Meanwhile, Little previously worked as a trader at Bluefin Europe for 10 months between March and December 2010.

He joins having left HSBC Investment Bank in 2018. According to his LinkedIn profile, he spent over seven years at the business, most recently as a director in equity derivatives trading.

Little also held roles at Wells Fargo and Bear Stearns.

Are smaller authorised participants feeling the pinch in Europe?

The closure comes after the firm swung from an $11.4m profit in 2020 – where trading volumes and volatility were high during the COVID-19 pandemic – to a $370,000 loss for 2021.

The liquidity provider said it made $33.9m net trading income for 2020 with members taking home $14.9m in bonuses, the largest of which was a $7.2m payout. This is compared to a trading income of $2.1m the following year.

Bluefin Europe said: “As the economy stabilised in 2021, the increased volumes and volatility in trading opportunities is not likely to be seen by the business in the foreseeable future.”

Following the closure of the fixed income business, former partners Simon McGhee and Robert Welsh departed having spent over seven and five years at the firm, respectively.

In July, HSBC appointed former Bluefin Europe ETF business development director Henri Boua to the role of ETF advisory and execution.

Related articles