• With planned hires, mutual fund behemoth Franklin Templeton is eyeing Bitcoin and ether trades

  • According to a series of job postings, asset manager Franklin Templeton is hiring to execute bitcoin and ether trades.

    According to the job listings, at least two crypto-related positions – one trader and one researcher – would join Franklin Templeton’s Digital Assets Management division’s “growing” investments team.

    One job description stated, “We are looking for a Crypto Currency [sic] Trader to execute trades for several strategies using the largest, most liquid listed and tradable crypto assets (e.g., BTC, ETH, etc.).”

    The two positions, which appear to be Franklin Templeton’s first foray into bitcoin, highlight the $1.5 trillion firm’s newfound interest in cryptocurrency as an investable asset class. It backed a Galaxy Digital fund of funds in late July, which seeks venture opportunities in the crypto economy.

    Franklin Templeton’s planned crypto hires, on the other hand, are far more direct. The positions will be responsible for executing crypto strategies, cultivating relationships with blockchain developer communities, and developing new crypto products for the mutual fund issuer and money manager.

    It’s unclear whether Franklin Templeton’s cryptocurrency trading will affect the coins. Experience in derivatives and futures markets is required for the trading position, which could indicate a focus on trading regulated bitcoin and ether contracts, as other investment firms have done.

    Multiple requests for comment were not returned by Franklin Templeton.

    Since at least mid-2019, the asset manager has experimented with blockchain technology, primarily as a novel feature to spice up plain vanilla money market funds. It has also experimented with share tokenization and last year participated in the $23 million Series A round of custodian firm Curv.

    Throughout the year, leadership remained skeptical of cryptocurrency as an investment. Franklin Templeton’s Chief Market Strategist Stephen Doyer told the Financial Review in March that the firm had no cryptocurrencies in its portfolio. During a May earnings call, CEO Jennifer Johnson stated that she was “no fan” of bitcoin.

    At the time, Franklin Templeton CFO Matthew Nicholls took a more measured approach, telling analysts that the firm was “focused” on getting ready for crypto.

    “Having the ability to field, let’s call it, digital assets in general is going to be critical in the future,” he said.

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