Multinational financial services giant Charles Schwab has responded to client demand to invest in cryptocurrency by filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to launch a Crypto Economy ETF.
This filing comes just a week after head of investor services at Schwab Jonathan Craig told news source Financial Advisor IQ that one in six Schwab clients had expressed interest in making crypto investments. He said:
“A full 16% of Schwab’s clients plan to put money into cryptocurrencies in the first half of the year.”
The proposed exchange-traded fund (ETF) aims to track the returns of an index designed to “deliver global exposure to companies that may benefit from the development or utilization of cryptocurrencies and other digital assets.”
According to the official filing, the ETF would use the Schwab Crypto Economy Index as a benchmark index and invest “at least 80% of its net assets” into the stocks listed on the Schwab Crypto Economy Index from companies that utilize Bitcoin (BTC) “and other digital assets.”
An ETF allows investors to speculate on the price of a basket of assets without needing to hold custody or own them in any way. Schwab’s Crypto Economy ETF would not directly invest in crypto nor in initial coin offerings (ICO), according to the filing. It would, however, invest in companies that deal with crypto.
“The fund may have indirect exposure to cryptocurrencies by virtue of its investments in companies that use one or more digital assets as part of their business activities or that hold digital assets as proprietary investments.”
Related: Grayscale launches campaign to encourage public comments on Bitcoin ETF application
Schwab joins competitor financial institution Blackrock by filing for a crypto ETF. Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management firm with $10 trillion in assets under management (AUM) made its filing on Jan. 22. Its iShares Blockchain and Tech ETF would also invest in the stocks of companies that utilize blockchain and crypto on the New York Stock Exchange’s FactSet Global Blockchain technologies index.
There are currently eight crypto- or blockchain-related ETFs available for American investors from Bitwise, Global X, Siren, Amplify, two from First Trust, VanEck and Capital Link. These funds manage a collective $1.7 billion in total assets.