CoinShares has hired a former WisdomTree exec to raise international sales as U.K. regulators – the asset manager’s home turf – are set to crack down on crypto financial products.
The Jersey-based digital asset manager announced Wednesday it hired Frank Spiteri (pictured), former head of European distribution at WisdomTree – a U.S. financial product provider and $70 billion asset manager – as its new chief revenue officer (CRO).
Per the release, Spiteri’s new responsibilities will involve leading CoinShares’ marketing and sales efforts as well as overseeing the company’s primary exchange-traded product (ETP) business. CoinShares Chairman Danny Masters said the firm also plans to use Spiteri’s experience and European links to support its efforts to expand to the European continent.
“[Spiteri’s] tenure and deep relationships with European institutions will facilitate a substantial expansion of our ETP business. Under Frank’s leadership and guidance, we plan to accelerate the growth of our asset management arm, and enhance our status as a leader in the digital asset industry,” Masters said in a statement.
When with WisdomTree, Spiteri was responsible for the whole European distribution team, including sales management and marketing in the region, according to his LinkedIn profile.
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The news comes as the outlook in the U.K. continues to darken for firms working with crypto derivatives. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – the U.K’s chief financial watchdog – proposed a full retail ban on all such products last summer, saying they represent too much of a risk for the vast majority of retail investors. A final decision is expected later this year.
CoinShares owns XBT Provider, one of Europe’s largest crypto derivative product providers, and has opposed the proposal at every turn. It even led a campaign at the end of last year to encourage industry players to provide feedback to the FCA during the proposal’s consultation period.
Masters told CoinDesk earlier this year that “banning such instruments has many adverse consequences” and “will not protect investors.” In fact, they will likely have the opposite effect, pushing investors to offshore trading platforms that have little to no investor protection, he said.
The FCA’s proposal will not affect institutional access, but CoinShares has mooted the possibility of moving more of its operations outside its jurisdiction. Masters once said the company could do its initial public offering (IPO) elsewhere, such as in the U.S. or Sweden, if the U.K. ban ever came into effect.
Although Spiteri’s role covers various responsibilities, his European connections may be key if CoinShares is looking at opportunities outside the U.K., maybe even in places where “mom and pop” investors will still be able to pick up a crypto ETP.
UPDATE (April. 8 13:05 UTC): A previous version of this article stated that CoinShares was based in London, this has since been corrected.