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MassMutual's BD to Sell Bitcoin Fund

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What You Need to Know

  • Partner NYDIG is also working with New York Life, Starr Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance and other insurance firms.
  • MassMutual invested $100 million in Bitcoin for its general investment fund in December.
  • It owns a minority stake in NYDIG.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. says its broker-dealer, MML Investors Services, has struck a deal to offer qualified investor clients access to a Bitcoin fund from NYDIG. 

The news comes eight months after MassMutual invested $100 million in Bitcoin for its general investment fund and acquired a $5 million minority equity stake in NYDIG, a subsidiary of Stone Ridge that provides cryptocurrency services to institutions.

NYDIG, which handled some $2.3 billion in crypto-assets for clients in late 2020, also agreed to provide custody services for MassMutual’s Bitcoins in December.

The insurance company views cryptocurrencies as investments that “are increasingly becoming part of the financial landscape,” it said last week, and it’s working on several programs involving the asset class for both its clients and financial professionals.

“As MassMutual explores ways to integrate cryptocurrency into different areas of its business, [broker-dealer] MMLIS saw a growing demand from our financial professionals and their clients to gain bitcoin exposure,” according to Daken Vanderburg, head of Investments at MML Investors Services. 

“This offering with NYDIG is yet another step to continue to expand our product shelf with the goal of ensuring our financial professionals and clients have the tools they need to continue to build broadly diversified portfolios,” Vanderburg said.

NYDIG’s Ties

NYDIG raised $100 million in capital in April through a partnership with property and casualty insurers Starr Insurance, Liberty Mutual Insurance and other firms. It also formed a partnership with New York Life in March, when New York Life Chairman & CEO Ted Mathas joined NYDIG’s board. 

“MassMutual continues to innovate and to lead the pack when it comes to Bitcoin … ,” said NYDIG CEO Robert Gutmann, in a statement. “MMLIS is one of the largest wealth management firms in the country. We are excited to partner with the MMLIS team to provide its financial professionals and investors with access to bitcoin exposure.”

When 170-year-old MassMutual made its initial investment in Bitcoin in December, the purchase represented 0.04% of its general investment account of nearly $235 billion. “We see this initial investment as a first step, and like any investment, may explore future opportunities,” spokeswoman Chelsea Haraty said in an email to Bloomberg news at the time.

(Photo: AdobeStock)