Fidelity eyes European crypto markets with move to UK

The financial firm, which launched Fidelity Digital Assets in the US in 2018, is now looking to offer institutional-grade cryptocurrency trading in Europe

Fidelity Digital Assets has appointed Chris Tyrer, former managing director of Barclays bank, as head of a new UK entity focused on delivering professional investment services to European traders, according to a report by Financial News London.

Fidelity Digital Assets has been operational in the US following its launch in 2018. However, it was only recently given the green light for its full range of products by New York regulators in November.

On Monday, Fidelity incorporated an official UK entity to facilitate the launch of a similar platform, aimed at providing digital asset trading and custody to European companies.

The new European platform will focus initially on Bitcoin, with a view to add more assets if the demand is there.

Tyrer joined Fidelity in April 2019 after working with British multinational investment bank Barclays to explore new opportunities arising from blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and will now look for new partnerships for Fidelity.

New financial interest despite Brexit

It’s an interesting move by Fidelity, which has chosen to base its new venture in the UK amid a critical time for Brexit negotiations.

Michael O’Reilly, COO of Fidelity Digital Assets, told Financial News that London was the “right base” for Fidelity Digital Assets European operations, commenting that:

“Both the fintech and crypto communities in London are strong, and that’s evident from what we’ve seen from client demand and client requests.”

It’s possible that the recent UK general election result and landslide win for the Tories has solidified Fidelity’s resolve to base its new operations in London.

However, with the possibility of a no-deal or hard Brexit, it’s unclear how Fidelity will be poised to access and operate in European markets should the UK fail to negotiate favourable terms.

Other digital asset companies with UK interests, such as Coinbase, have already made contingency plans in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Fidelity’s latest offering is still pending UK regulator approval, but the company has indicated that it will likely not require any additional licencing to operate in the UK.


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.

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