Morgan Stanley, one of the lynchpins of the modern banking industry, has hired Andrew Peel, an expert on digital currencies, ending his 12-year long tenure at Credit Suisse, where he most recently served as Vice President of sales and trading innovation. According to his LinkedIn profile, he was a “trading subject matter expert for Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies” in this role.
The public profile of Mr. Peel now states that he will act as head of digital asset markets at Morgan Stanley. The new appointment was first announced by eFinancialCareers and the news outlet also reported that he will be based in both Zurich and London. Peel claims he has been advocating in favor of digital currencies since their early days in 2013 and has worked with them at Morgan Stanley since 2016.
Luring a known crypto aficionado to their side of the fence aligns with a pro-crypto outlook of Morgan Stanley, which has definitely been more positive than most other leaders of traditional finance.
To mention just a few, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has continuously bashed on bitcoin, labeling it a fraud, while Warren Buffett has resorted to even more colorful comparison, saying it is “worse than rat poison.” Credit Suisse held their own conference on digital assets last year, where its CEO Tidjane Thiam echoed a similar sentiment, saying bitcoin speculation is the “very definition of a bubble.” Having such a statement in mind, it is much easier to understand Mr. Peel’s next career choice.
On the other hand, Morgan Stanley has made a continuous effort to research virtual currencies. In May, the bank released a study on the potential benefits of cryptocurrencies for the finance industry and their possible applications. One of them was a suggestion that central banks could utilize digital coins to cut interest rates, thus mitigating an impact of future financial crisis.
Morgan Stanley has also been involved with bitcoin futures since the turn of the year, clearing them for its clients only a month after their introduction on Chicago-based exchanges CME and CBOE. James Gorman, Morgan Stanley CEO has mentioned bitcoin on a number of occasions, saying it is “by definition speculative” but nonetheless a “fascinating development” and “more than a fad.”
It seems that stalwarts of traditional finance find it increasingly harder to ignore the emerging crypto industry, as giants such as JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and even a $6.8 trillion asset management fund BlackRock announcing their interest in digital assets recently.
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