Nomura taps City veteran Steven Ashley to run its crypto unit

abdelaziz Fathi

Japanese investment bank Nomura is relocating its most senior banker in London, Steven Ashley, to lead the lender’s new digital assets company.

Nomura to close derivatives business

Set to launch later this year, the new company has rebranded as Laser Digital and will be incorporated in Switzerland as a wholly-owned segregated entity of Nomura. Ashley will become chair of Nomura’s digital assets company, which provides institutional clients with access products and services tied to cryptocurrencies.

The firm, which already started offering Bitcoin derivatives to clients in Asia, will launch a range of products linked to stablecoins, decentralized finance (DeFi), non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and other assets.

“This is a major step forward as we look to scale-up our digital asset related businesses and investments. The new company will enable us to build an edge in providing institutional clients with access to a wide range of new products and services and contribute meaningfully towards responsible innovation in the digital asset ecosystem,” said Steve Ashley.

Japan’s biggest brokerage and investment bank will launch a venture capital arm in its first move and plans to relocate some of its specialist staff to the new company in addition to external hires, the statement said.

The news comes at a time when both start-ups and major financial institutions are rushing to get new crypto tools to Main Street investors. BNY Mellon and Bakkt have also set up a crypto-custody service, under which the Wall Street bank’s history of safeguarding the assets of institutional clients could be leveraged to store Bakkt’s digital assets.

Back in 2020, Nomura has gone live with its own cryptocurrency custody service for institutions in partnership with blockchain security firm Ledger and the fund manager CoinShares. The joint venture, named Komainu, has secured the regulatory approvals from the Jersey Financial Services Commission.

Komainu was first announced in 2018 to overcome barriers to institutional investment in digital assets through a compliant platform powered by a bespoke environment created by Ledger, creators of the Nano S wallet. The venture provides infrastructure and an operational framework to the wider investment management industry and enable investors to embed a set of best practice standards within their businesses.

In addition to Nomura’s vast experience, the parent company behind CoinShares, Global Advisors, has a wealth of experience in commodity trading, hedge funds, FX trading and exchange-traded products.

Read this next

Digital Assets

BlackRock digs further into crypto with metaverse ETF

BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with almost $10 trillion in AUM, is set to launch a new metaverse ETF to help investors securely monetize on the booming immersive version of the internet.

Digital Assets

Binance wins license in New Zealand as rival Huobi shutters derivatives

Binance, the world’s largest crypto exchange by traded volume, has obtained licenses to operate in New Zealand, even after rival Huobi shutdown derivatives trading last month due to concerns about regulations.

Retail FX

Hong Kong busts perpetrators of ‘ramp and dump’ scam

Hong Kong’s financial watchdog, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), has charged thirteen suspects of market manipulation in a joint operation with the local police.

Institutional FX

TradingView integrates market data from German Tradegate exchange

TradingView announced that it ‎has increased data coverage to allow its users to receive information from ‎and get free access to the intra-day and tick data from Tradegate Exchange.

Retail FX

Spotware Systems introduces Custom Push Notifications for cTrader mobile apps

Spotware Systems, a technology provider for the electronic trading industry, is introducing a new push notification feature to alert mobile users of price swings and market fluctuations through their cTrader app.

Market News

The Week Ahead: 30 September from David Madden, Market Analyst at Equiti Group

Sterling dominated the headlines last week, as there were concerns the UK government might struggle to service its debt.

Inside View

How does the quality of signal providers affect your business?

A must-have onboarding process for brokers with investment services like PAMM, MAM, or copy trading

Technology

DBS deploys Nasdaq Trade Surveillance

“The confidence that markets and our clients have in DBS as a safe and trusted banking group is anchored on our ability to detect and respond to anomalous activity, which in turn calls for a robust surveillance and prevention infrastructure.”

Industry News

SEC charges Justin Costello and David Ferraro for securities fraud and posing as billionaire veteran

The Securities and Exchange Commission charged Cannabis executive Justin Costello and David Ferraro, an associate of Costello’s, for promoting the stock of several microcap companies on social media without disclosing their own simultaneous stock sales as market prices rose.

<