Bank of America Corp. created a new team dedicated to researching cryptocurrencies, marking Wall Street’s latest push to capitalize on investors’ frenzy for digital assets.
Alkesh Shah will lead the effort, which will also cover technologies tied to digital currencies, and report to Michael Maras, who leads fixed-income, currencies and commodities research globally, according to an internal memo seen by Bloomberg. A spokeswoman for the firm confirmed the contents of the memo, declining to comment further.
“Cryptocurrencies and digital assets constitute one of the fastest growing emerging technology ecosystems,” Candace Browning, head of global research for Bank of America, said in the memo. “We are uniquely positioned to provide thought leadership due to our strong industry research analysis, market-leading global payments platform and our blockchain expertise.”
Banks have been increasingly looking to expand into the wild world of cryptocurrencies, with many pushing to offer wealth-management products or custody services for the asset class. Some banks, including JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., have begun offering crypto-futures trading.
Shah joined Bank of America in 2013 after stints at Morgan Stanley and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and previously led Bank of America’s global technology specialist team. Mamta Jain and Andrew Moss will also join the lender’s research arm as part of the changes and continue to report to Shah, Browning said in the memo.
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