Asset Managers Get Aboard Tokenization Train – Study

Tom Burroughes Group Editor 14 March 2022

Asset Managers Get Aboard Tokenization Train – Study

The survey gives a sense of how asset managers in a number of countries now regard these digital assets as important rather than "fringe" elements to consider.

A study of 100 fund managers in France, Germany, Switzerland, the UK, and Spain found that just over half of them (52 per cent) are starting to look at “tokenization” – digital ownership shares that exploit the burgeoning world of cryptocurrencies and similar entities.

Around 85 per cent of fund managers questioned said that they believe financial services providers who are not prepared for mass tokenization of assets risk being left behind. Some 21 per cent of managers said that they have already invested in some tokenized assets; 73 per cent plan to do so in the next three years, according to the study, conducted by tokenization platform Token City. Respondents to the study collectively oversee a total of $546.5 billion of assets.

The authors of the study cite figures from the the World Economic Forum which estimates that up to 10 per cent of global gross domestic product will be stored and transacted via distributed ledger technology – commonly known as blockchain – by 2027 and that tokenized markets could potentially be worth as much as $24 trillion by 2027.

Crypto tokens are a type of cryptocurrency that represents an asset, such as a private equity investment, or publicly listed stock in a company. Tokens can be used for investment purposes, to store value, or to make purchases. They are part of a wider trend of wealth managers' interests in digital assets, both as ways to make investments, and as potential investment ideas in themselves. (See here for an analysis of the current market.)

Tokenization is often spoken about in the alternative assets space as a way of widening access to investors who aren’t ultra-wealthy or large institutions. Tokenization is an important trend and comes in two main forms – tokenization of established assets such as private equity or venture capital, and for non-bankable assets such as fine art.

There is little doubt that the wealth sector is showing lots of interest in the space. A survey of family offices around the world by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, published last week, found that 77 per cent of them have some interest or involvement in cryptocurrencies. Knight Frank, in its annual wealth report, also published last week, noted that 60 per cent of respondents to its survey cited blockchain technology as an increasing opportunity. It found that clients ask for 1 to 5 per cent of their portfolios to be in cryptos. The report’s authors noted that “we are seeing a shift within the banking industry to accepting and managing crypto assets, allowing them to be used as collateral and converting crypto into fiat. It is not a widely marketed service, but banks recognise that the younger generation is going to be using crypto as a currency.”

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