• Fintech owned by MassMutual Flourish introduces a new service that connects financial advisory clients to bitcoin

  • MassMutual-owned fintech firm is launching a service that allows registered investment advisors (RIAs) and their clients to invest in bitcoin.

    Flourish Crypto, the company’s new service, reflects the growing intersection between traditional finance and the digital asset space, and it’s a bet on what the company claims is growing demand for bitcoin among financial advisory clients.

    The offering is being launched in collaboration with Paxos, which will assist with execution and custody. In recent months, the New York-based startup has inked key relationships with payment and financial services firms, including a landmark deal with PayPal last year and, more recently, a deal with Interactive Brokers. This past spring, Paxos announced a $300 million funding round.

    Flourish’s CEO, Ben Cruikshank, stated that the new service arose from conversations with the company’s customer base of financial advisors. “We’ve heard from countless advisors that they are fielding daily crypto questions — and that they don’t have the right solutions to meet this growing client demand or compete with offerings from retail trading platforms and wirehouses,” he said.

    Cruikshank also told ULTCOIN365 that the company’s work on cryptocurrency was fueled by a long-standing personal interest among the firm’s workforce — an interest that coincided with MassMutual’s acquisition of Flourish in February.

    Flourish is independent of MassMutual, but the insurance company made headlines in December when it purchased $100 million in bitcoin through NYDIG. MassMutual also became an equity investor in NYDIG at the time.

    In conjunction with today’s announcement, MassMutual chief investment officer Tim Corbett published a blog post outlining the insurance company’s views on digital assets, specifically bitcoin.

    “We have come to view bitcoin as a potential store of value over the long term,” Corbett wrote, referring to the $100 million investment made last year. “Bitcoin’s distinct characteristics — including digital scarcity, known supply growth, transfer characteristics, and a hard cap on the total number of tokens — raise the prospect of it serving as a kind of “digital gold,” with the potential for significant price appreciation.”

    “At the same time, the asset class is new and still in the early stages of price discovery, with significant volatility, uncertainty, and risk,” Corbett added. “We believe that as more institutions enter the space, volatility will decrease, but it will take multiple market cycles before we have robust data to further describe the characteristics of the investment, such as correlations to other asset classes or whether it will serve as an inflation hedge.”

    “In our position as a leading mutual life insurance company, we have the ability to take that long view,” Corbett added.

    Flourish’s move to capture a piece of bitcoin demand among financial advisor clients is perhaps unsurprising, given that other financial services firms, including those focused on retirement accounts, have made similar moves in recent years. Kingdom Trust, for example, recently explained to ULTCOIN365 how the company intends to assist clients in purchasing bitcoin through their retirement accounts.

    Flourish’s approach is to provide a one-stop shop for advisors to assist their clients in gaining access to bitcoin. Though bitcoin has been classified as a commodity by US regulators since 2015, tax reporting challenges and a lack of familiarity among some advisors – particularly those fielding calls from prospective clients – open the door for firms like Flourish to simplify those processes.

    “We listened to our clients and built Flourish Crypto with the flexibility advisors require in terms of integrations, trading, branding, and compliance,” Cruikshank explained. “Advisors can now keep these assets in their sphere of influence and offer a crypto solution as part of each client’s overall financial plan.”

    Cruikshank also stated that the firm is keeping a close eye on the broader crypto space. He stated that Flourish intends to support ether, Ethereum’s native cryptocurrency, in the coming months, based on the same signs of demand that led to its support for bitcoin.

    Corbett’s blog post also hinted that MassMutual is casting its net wide for potential services centered on cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general.

    “We believe that as the technology matures, there will be numerous success stories, and we will continue to explore ways to integrate cryptocurrency into various areas of our business,” he wrote.

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