The fintech fanatics were just the low-hanging fruit – now cryptocurrencies appear to be winning over an unlikely new set of fans: senior investment bankers.
First comes the news that Jamie Dimon actually “regrets” calling the Bitcoin a “fraud” last year.
Meanwhile, ex-Goldman Sachs partner Mike Novograt, has announced that he is building a new investment bank, Galaxy Digital LP, focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based ventures. He plans to raise $200m and list the firm’s shares, though a holding company, on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange.
Fancy working for a cryptobank? Novograt’s “full service” firm will be active – and presumably hiring – in four fields: trading, principal investing, asset management and advisory. But you might want to get your resume in quickly. Shares in Galaxy Digital are expected to be trading by the end of March and staff who are on board by then might potentially reap the largest rewards of a successful listing.
Galaxy already boasts a few heavy-hitters in its management ranks: Richard Tavoso, who ran global arbitrage at RBC Capital Markets; Christopher Ferraro, formerly with HPS Investment Partners; and David Namdar, who previously worked for Millennium Partners and UBS.
Chairman and CEO Novograt was at Goldman from 1989 to 2002 and made partner in 1998. He spent much of his career there outside the US, in positions such as president of Goldman Sachs Latin America and the head of fixed income, currencies and commodities risk in Asia. Novograt, who bought Robert De Niro's $12.25 Manhattan apartment in 2006 and was declared a billionaire by Forbes the following year, was latterly a principal at Fortress Investment Group.
He now wants Galaxy to become the “Goldman Sachs of crypto”, according to a source quoted by Bloomberg. But don’t get too excited. He had previously planned to fulfil his crypto ambitions by raising a $500m hedge fund, but shelved the idea in December.
Separately, a new court case has provided some insights into how much managing directors at Barclays get paid. David Fotheringhame is suing the bank in London for unfair dismissal after he was fired in 2015 following an order from the Department of Financial Services, New York’s banking regulator. It’s hard to blame Fotheringhame for wanting his old job back: the MD earned £1.2m ($1.6m) in 2014 as head of automated flow trading for electronic fixed-income, currencies and commodities.
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