- Paris-based asset manager Tobam plans bitcoin mutual fund.
- Institutional interest in the cryptocurrency is rising but investing in the unregulated asset remains difficult.
LONDON – French asset management firm Tobam is planning to launch Europe’s first bitcoin mutual fund as interest in the cryptocurrency continues to grow.
Tobam, which had $9 billion in assets under management as of September, plans to launch an unregulated alternative investment fund that will allow institutional investors to gain exposure to bitcoin.
Bitcoin has surged over 5,000% against the dollar so far this year to reach $8,229 on Wednesday morning. Investor interest has risen alongside the price, with over 55 dedicated cryptocurrency hedge funds now in existence and exchange giant CME Group announcing plans to launch bitcoin futures contracts.
However, bitcoin’s essentially unregulated nature makes it legally difficult for many institutions to invest in the cryptocurrency.
Tobam hopes the mutual fund wrapper, which pools gains and losses from investment in bitcoin, should help to add a level of sophistication that could attract traditional investors. While unregulated at a European level, Tobam’s fund is approved by France’s financial regulator AMF and audited by PwC, according to the Financial Times.
Christophe Roehri, head of business development at Tobam, said in a statement: “Direct investment in Bitcoin can be operationally challenging, from dealing with the choice of the platform, to maintaining the proper security measures in terms of custody and to managing the changes made to the protocol (hard forks).
“Our goal is to take control of these operational challenges in order to facilitate access for qualified investors willing to gain exposure to Bitcoin. All of that under the format of a fund.”
Tobam’s fund will be open to institutional investors and qualified investors on a private placement basis. Tobam has offices in Paris, Dublin, New York, and Hong Kong.