Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs have a long-standing and continual rivalry that stretches across the globe, from boardroom to boardroom, and wherever money flows. This rivalry is well known in traditional markets and in the world of fiat banking. But it’s quickly coming to a head in cryptos…
A source close to the working group that has been planning Morgan Stanley’s foray into adding cryptos to their trading desk (and creating a specific trade desk for only institutional crypto trades, arbitrage and ICO’s) gave us a signal this morning as to how closely the firm is to announcing its findings and getting approval to begin engaging publicly. Here is what that source said:
“Several of us have been reaching out to what we would call ‘mid-tier’ money managers that we know are on the cusp of opening crypto focused hedge funds. We have done some work with pure-play crypto funds as well, but we’ve been more specifically tasked to engage with firms that are apt to add to their current portfolios as opposed to starting from scratch. I can’t tell you who those are, as we are under NDA’s with several, but you can bet that things are moving quickly and deals are being struck. And you can guess why.”
“Goldman is taking a different track than we are and our directives seem to have them in our sights at the moment. If we are able to engage on a 1-1 basis, as opposed to through third parties (Circle et al) then we ultimately lead in the space.”
“Truth be told this is the next arms race. EVERYONE IS RUSHING INTO CRYPTOS. Everyone. There isn’t a bank, a fund, a fund company, a former legend attempting to reclaim old glory, private equity, venture capital, lending, exchanges, consulting firms – everybody. It is the digital gold rush. And our firm wants to get there and pull as many levers as we can.”
“Hedge funds were on the brink of a slow and painful death up until about a year ago. This is a double shot of adrenaline for all of them – or at least those that have the sack to jump into cryptos head first.”
This source wasn’t some bond desk wannabe for Morgan Stanley. This is a guy who would know. We also backed it up with three hedge fund sources on the west coast, after they’d had a cup of coffee and woken up!
The Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs rivalry is set to burn anew all over again – both of them getting strapped to the crypto movement. One of them seems to prefer a passive engagement, while the other looks to grab the steering wheel and mash the gas pedal to the ground.