BC Group, the owner of institutional crypto brokerage firm OSL, has partnered with Venture Smart Asia Limited (VSAL), a digital asset fund manager. Both BC Group and VSAL hold licenses from Hong Kong’s financial regulator, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC).
Announced Wednesday, the two parties have signed a memorandum of understanding: OSL will provide brokerage services, including trade execution and capital introduction services, for Arrano Capital, VSAL’s blockchain and crypto investing arm.
The collaboration, the first between an SFC-regulated trading firm and a SFC-regulated brokerage, is further evidence of an institutional crypto charge happening in innovation-friendly trading hubs like Hong Kong, Singapore and Switzerland.
VSAL launched a bitcoin tracker fund last summer, which currently has around $30 million in assets under management, according to Arrano Chief Investment Officer Avaneesh Acquilla. An actively managed fund offering exposure to the top 50 crypto tokens will launch imminently, with the first close of funds targeting around $25 million, Acquilla said.
“There’s clearly a lot of interest in the Asia region, if you look at how Asia is represented with some of the exchanges, and obviously, the mining presence in China,” Acquilla told CoinDesk in an interview, adding:
“I think it is noticeable that the institutions [in Asia] have been a little bit slower than in North America to start allocating to the space. And so I think there’s potentially quite a good growth story here.”
OSL’s Matt Long told CoinDesk one difference between institutional investors in Asia and their U.S. counterparts is that the latter has more appetite to buy and hold long-term.
“Consistent with Asia’s appetite for risk, we can see institutions and Asian family offices doing a little bit more trading around ranges in the underlying assets,” said Long. “As investors become more familiar and comfortable with the asset class, you will probably see portfolios turning over more often than in either the U.S. or Europe.”