$400 billion investment manager Neuberger Berman expands fund strategy to include bitcoin, ether exposure

A commodity-focused fund managed by Neuberger Berman, a multi-billion-dollar asset manager, has opened the door to exposure to bitcoin and ether derivatives and investment vehicles, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday.

Per the filing:

"Neuberger Berman Commodity Strategy Fund’s (the “Fund”) investment strategy will permit actively managed exposure to cryptocurrency investments and digital assets through (i) cryptocurrency derivatives, such as bitcoin futures and ether futures, and (ii) investments in bitcoin trusts and exchange-traded funds to gain indirect exposure to bitcoin."

Such actions will take place via a subsidiary firm, according to the document.

The wider commodity fund itself is broad in scope, with investments in derivatives tied to agriculture, livestock, energy and precious metals, among other areas. The CFTC first deemed bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be a commodity in 2015, opening the door to U.S.-based derivatives.

The new filing comes soon after Neuberger Berman disclosed a "Hedged Cryptocurrency Volatility Fund" in an SEC Form D filing.

The so-called Neuberger Berman Hedged Cryptocurrency Volatility Fund LLC had, as of July 29, made no sales to investors, per the filing. The filing notes a minimum investment of $5 million.


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Previous commentary on bitcoin

Neuberger Berman's blog featured an article on bitcoin this spring, entitled "The Bitcoin Experiment," which noted: "From our perspective, the Bitcoin phenomenon is worth watching closely."

The post concluded by noting that "[f]rom our perspective, as a fundamentals-driven asset manager, an investment in cryptocurrency should not be considered part of a standard asset allocation."

"Instead, we’d rather view it as an option that pays off when expectations for an uncertain, inflationary future increase, and make the finite, non-human controlled supply dynamics of cryptocurrencies valuable," the post's authors wrote.

Steve Eisman, managing director for the firm and author of The Big Short, said earlier this year that he was staying out of bitcoin. "I stay out of it. I don’t understand it," he told Bloomberg in January.

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