Mutual Fund Giant Bars Employees from Investing in ICOs

One of the world's largest asset managers has updated its code of ethics to account for the blockchain-based fundraising method.

AccessTimeIconApr 24, 2018 at 5:45 p.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 7:52 a.m. UTC

Capital Group, an 87-year-old financial services company with $1.7 trillion in assets under management, has barred its associates from investing in initial coin offerings (ICOs).

The firm outlined the policy in an updated code of ethics that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on April 19. Capital Group's website includes a previous version of the document, which is dated October 2016 and does not include any mention of ICOs.

The updated code of ethics reads:

"All associates and immediate family members residing in the same household may not participate in IPOs or ICOs."

It goes on to explain that investing in initial public offerings (IPOs) may be acceptable under certain circumstances, but does not provide exceptions for investing in ICOs.

In a separate section, the document says, "The following transactions are prohibited: […] Initial Coin Offering (ICO) investments (this prohibition applies to all Capital associates)."

The code of ethics does not indicate whether Capital Group invests or plans to invest in ICOs on behalf of its clients. That said, the prohibition suggests that employees' investing in token sales could create a conflict of interest, though, implying that the firm might consider making such investments. Representatives for the firm didn't respond to requests for comment.

Capital Group offers a range of financial services and products, including dozens of mutual funds through its American Funds subsidiary. Capital Group was the world's ninth-largest asset manager at the end of 2016, according to data from WillisTowersWatson, and the company employs around 7,500 people as outlined on its website.

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