London-based crypto custody firm Copper Technologies announced on Monday it was hiring executives from Bank of America to lead its crypto brokerage services. The firm cited growing demand from institutional investors and banks for crypto services including prime brokerage, custody, and settlements in the UK.
Crypto companies including Copper recently received temporary licenses from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to continue operating in the UK. But they face an uphill battle to convince the regulator to grant them a permanent license, given the FCA’s largely negative stance towards crypto.
Copper has already planned an expansion to Switzerland to continue serving its UK customers, if it fails to receive a full registration from the FCA.
Copper Hires Crypto Brokerage Executives From Bank of America
Crypto custodian Copper has hired five experts from Bank of America (BofA) to oversee the prime brokerage unit providing crypto exposure to institutional investors, reported Bloomberg on April 11.
The crypto brokerage unit will be led by Michael Roberts, who was head of BofA’s prime brokerage platform for the Europe and MENA region. The other four executives joining the new prime brokerage unit are BofA directors Adam Groom and Paul Barham, and managers Ben Carr and Ross Budgen.
Dmitry Tokarev, the Chief Executive Officer of Copper, told Bloomberg:
“Copper’s infrastructure for prime brokerages will allow them to further move the trading process away from exchanges to make sure that a true prime brokerage offering can be enabled in this space.”
Financial services firms offering crypto prime brokerage services still rely on purchasing digital assets on an exchange before being able to trade. Copper through its ClearLoop network allows institutional investors and banks to invest in cryptocurrencies without using crypto exchanges.
However, competition is rising in the industry as financial services firms forays into crypto amid rising interest from clients.
Copper plans more funding
Copper is planning the next funding round soon to raise its valuation to around $3 billion. Recently, in the first week of April, the firm struggled to close its $500 million funding round as investors either backed off or reduced their investment in the firm amid regulatory scrutiny from the FCA.
Previously, Copper had also hired former Barclays lawyer Carly Nuzbach Lowery as chief legal officer and former Citi managing director Sabrina Wilson as chief operating officer.