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Does Vanguard's New Bitcoin Bull CEO Signal Shift?

Former BlackRock exec Salim Ramji takes the helm at the crypto-skeptical asset manager.
Jack Inabinet Jack Inabinet May 15, 20241 min read
Does Vanguard's New Bitcoin Bull CEO Signal Shift?

TradFi asset management giant Vanguard Group announced Tuesday night that it has selected former BlackRock executive Salim Ramji as its next CEO.

What’s the scoop?

  • IBIT Involvement: Ramji was the global head of BlackRock’s iShares ETF division until January of this year when he left to “seek a new leadership or entrepreneurial opportunity outside the firm.” During his tenure, Ramji oversaw the launch of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) spot BTC ETF.
  • Vanguard Resistance: While many leading asset managers launched spot BTC ETF products and trading in January, Vanguard has been a holdout. The firm stated that it does not believe Bitcoin plays any role in a long-term portfolio.
  • Hope for Change: The appointment surprised many, given how Ramji’s IBIT involvement starkly contrasts against Vanguard’s anit-BTC bend, but seeded optimism that the hiring could signal the asset manager was backpedaling on its prior stance and becoming more open towards the idea of crypto.
  • Shattered Dreams: Unfortunately, Vanguard remains steadfast in its belief that BTC is not a sound long-term investment. Ramji asserted in an interview with Barrons that it is important for firms to have consistency in their offerings, and that Vanguard’s failure to offer BTC products is consistent with its investment philosophy.

Bankless Take:

Had the replacement of Vanguard’s CEO heralded in the arrival of a refreshed pro-crypto attitude, the announcement would have been an indication that institutions (or at least Vanguard) have taken a more serious interest in BTC’s investment potential. With Ramji’s appointment changing nothing, there appears little to be gleaned from the announcement other than confirmation that Vanguard is staying the course.

Jack Inabinet

Written by Jack Inabinet

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Jack Inabinet is a Senior Analyst with a passion for exploring the bleeding edge of crypto and finance. Prior to joining Bankless, Jack worked as an analyst at HAL Real Estate where he conducted market research and financial analysis for commercial apartment development and acquisition activities in the Seattle region. He graduated from the University of Washington’s Michael G. Foster School of Business and remains based out of the Seattle area.

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