How the multi-trillion-dollar wealth management industry is opening up to bitcoin

Episode 10 of Season 4 of The Scoop was recorded remotely with The Block’s Frank Chaparro and Michael Batnick, Director of Research at Ritholtz Wealth Management and Jeremy Schwartz, EVP & Global Chief Investment Officer at WisdomTree Asset Management.

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Wealth and financial advisors oversee trillions of dollars in assets.

While a wide range of financial services, from trading firms to exchanges to hedge funds, have warmed up to the crypto market, wealth and financial advisors have largely remained on the sidelines.

During the latest episode of The Scoop, Michael Batnick, director of research at Ritholtz Wealth Management, and Jeremy Schwartz, EVP and global chief investment officer at WisdomTree Asset Management, walked listeners through the RWM WisdomTree Crypto Index and the state of crypto wealth management today.

Ritholtz Wealth Management and WisdomTree Asset Management recently announced the launch of a new diversified crypto index for financial advisors in December 2021. Through a partnership with Onramp Invest, the index can be offered by financial advisors via separately managed accounts (SMAs). 

"The US regulators still can't get their heads wrapped around a bitcoin spot ETF, which we think is the best structure for a 100 percent allocation," noted WisdomTree's Jeremy Schwartz, who added:

"I know Michael's had a similar journey to try and figure out how do they get access in those structures. But today, direct access to us is really the best way to get diversified exposure... you need a tech platform to help enable that.”

In Batnick's view, the crypto market hasn't done a good job marketing itself to advisors. 


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"I think that for financial advisers who spend 95 percent of their day working with families and talking about real-life problems, they only have so many hours in the day to dedicate themselves to learning about new ideas," Batnick said. "And so if they were to wade into crypto, what's the first thing that they find? It's the loudest, most obnoxious promoters. And it's not very welcoming."

A report released earlier this year by asset management firm Bitwise suggests that 16% of financial advisors have allocated to crypto in their clients' accounts — an increase from 9% in 2021. 

Batnick suspects that number might be far lower. 

"An informal survey, I'd say we're under 1 percent," he contended. "The reason why is because I think that the products that were available to financial advisers have not been suitable or at least had difficulties getting advisers comfortable wrapping their arms around the solution."

In this episode, Chaparro, Batnick and Schwartz also discuss:

  • Why SMAs matter for crypto adoption today
  • What's kept financial advisors from allocating to the cryptocurrency market
  • The role of bitcoin's place in a portfolio 
  • How NFTs will find their way to portfolios 
  • Why NFTs carry broader appeal than decentralized finance 

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

Frank Chaparro is the Editor At Large at The Block. Chaparro started his career at Business Insider, where he specialized in the intersection of digital assets and Wall Street, market structure, and financial technology. Soon after joining Business Insider out of Fordham University, Chaparro was interviewing top finance and tech executives, including billionaire Mark Cuban, “Flash Boys” star Brad Katsuyama, Cboe Global Markets CEO Ed Tilly, and New York Stock Exchange President Tom Farley. In 2018, he become a sought after reporter in the crypto world, interviewing luminaries such as Tyler Winklevoss, the cofounder of Gemini, Jeremy Allaire, the CEO of Circle, and Fundstrat head Tom Lee. He runs his own podcast The Scoop and writes a biweekly eponymous newsletter. He leads special projects, including The Block's flagship podcast, The Scoop. Prior to The Block, he held roles at Business Insider, NPR, and Nasdaq. For inquiries or tips, email [email protected].