American investment manager BNY Mellon has launched a new enterprise Digital Assets unit to speed up the development of enterprise solutions to serve the digital asset space.

At present, a team is working on developing a client-facing prototype. This will serve as the industry’s first multi-asset digital custody and administration platform designed for both traditional and digital assets such as virtual currencies.

BNY Mellon head of Advanced Solutions Mike Demissie will be in charge of the team.

BNY Mellon head of Custody Caroline Butler said: “Building the bridge between the traditional and digital spaces will create a front-to-back ecosystem for innovation.

“Our digital asset capabilities should help evolve the way the financial industry operates, including custody, collateral management, issuance, investment management and other segments where BNY Mellon is a key service provider.”

Increasing demand for digital assets and regulatory clarity are the factors driving the move, noted BNY Mellon CEO of Asset Servicing and head of Digital Roman Regelman. 

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According to Regelman, the firm intends to start providing these capabilities later this year, subject to further assessments and approvals. 

The new unit will utilise the investment manager’s digital expertise and know-how in investment services and investment management.

BNY Mellon plans to enhance custody and other investment services using advanced solutions including blockchain.

Demissie stated: “Consistent with our open-architecture approach, the unit will leverage BNY Mellon’s digital expertise and leading technologies from fintechs and other collaborators to speed up product development and help our clients tap into the best available solutions in the market.”

Similar moves by other firms

Last December, Standard Chartered, through its innovation unit SC Ventures, partnered with American asset manager Northern Trust to launch a cryptocurrency custodian for institutional investors.

In January 2020, Swiss private banking group Julius Baer launched its digital assets service, in collaboration with crypto-bank SEBA.

Swiss asset manager Vontobel also launched a service called Digital Asset Vault while fund services provider Zedra entered the digital assets markets in partnership with digital custodian Vo1t.