Raymond James is building a private equity vehicle investing in blockchain technology for its wealthiest clients as it looks to give them access to industries supporting digital currencies, sources familiar with the matter told Citywire.
The private equity fund will be offered through Raymond James’s Private Institutional Client (PIC) desk, a unit within the wealth manager that caters to its wealthiest clients with more than $25m in assets, according to three sources with knowledge of the arrangement.
While Raymond James has shied away from giving its clients direct exposure to cryptocurrencies and the ability to trade them through its own wealth management platform, the firm’s new private equity fund will offer indirect exposure to companies that use or develop blockchain technology.
‘We won’t do crypto now, but this strategy is a way for the highest tier of wealthy clients to get some exposure to peripheral businesses in the space,’ said one source who spoke on condition of anonymity as their comments had not been approved internally.
Raymond James’s PIC desk caters to both US domestic and international clients, with the former typically having access to a wider range of investment structures ahead of their offshore counterparts.
These investment structures have included access to IPOs, sports franchises, real estate offerings and other private equity strategies developed by Raymond James.
It is understood that the blockchain investment vehicle currently being built by the PIC is aiming to compete with similar vehicles offered by rivals like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Citigroup.
Meanwhile, large Latin American brokerage houses and institutional money managers have been looking to meet their clients’ growing demand for access to digital currencies, either by building or investing in platforms that allow crypto trading.
Brazilian digital brokerage firm XP announced the launch of its own digital currency trading platform last month.
Rival Brazilian banking giant Itaú also purchased a stake in Miami-based financial services firm Avenue Securities in early July, adding its brokerage services to the bank’s platform which included crypto-trading capabilities.