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London Stock Exchange loses half of ETF team ahead of crypto launch

Bloomberg
Bloomberg • 2 min read
London Stock Exchange loses half of ETF team ahead of crypto launch
The US approved its first group of Bitcoin products in January, and they’ve since swelled to oversee some US$60 billion ($81.00 billion) in assets. Photo: Bloomberg
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London Stock Exchange Group has lost half of its four-person team overseeing exchange-traded funds, just as it prepares to list its first products tied to cryptocurrencies.

Michael Stanley, LSE’s head of exchange-traded products, and business development head Hetal Patel have departed, a spokesperson for the exchange confirmed to Bloomberg without saying when they left. Stanley and Patel didn’t respond to requests for comment.

A batch of exchange-traded notes linked to Bitcoin and Ether are expected to debut on the LSE on May 28, with WisdomTree, 21Shares and Invesco among the approved issuers.

Crypto ETPs have been available in Europe for years, but a UK regulatory ban on retail access to crypto derivatives prevented them from being listed in London until the Financial Conduct Authority updated its guidance in March.

“We are excited by the growth opportunities for our new market for crypto ETNs,” the LSE spokesperson said in an email. 

LSE is seeking a new senior product manager for ETFs, according to a LinkedIn posting. Patel said earlier in a post on the social media platform that she had decided to leave the exchange and would be starting in a new job in late July. 

See also: PC maker Raspberry Pi confirms London IPO, eyes June listing

There are about 1,200 ETFs listed on the LSE, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. 

The departures made it more difficult to get clear feedback from the LSE on technical matters related to applications, said a senior executive at one of the prospective crypto ETP issuers, requesting anonymity to avoid jeopardising a key business relationship. 

“Our teams of specialists have worked closely with issuers ahead of launch to complete the necessary suitability requirements for each prospective new listed product,” the spokesperson said. The review process for crypto applications is split between the FCA and the LSE, with the regulator approving prospectuses for the bourse to list. 

See also: Blackstone, GIC and others sell GBP1.6 bil stake in LSEG

The UK is entering an increasingly crowded field for crypto ETPs. The US approved its first group of Bitcoin products in January, and they’ve since swelled to oversee some US$60 billion ($81.00 billion) in assets — far surpassing the entire European market in size.

On May 23, the Securities and Exchange Commission paved the way for the first US ETFs based on Ether.  

In Hong Kong, Bitcoin and Ether ETFs that started trading in April have been met with relatively tepid demand from investors. 

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