MARKETS | Staff Reporter, UK

Weekly Global News Wrap: Morgan Stanley offers bitcoin to wealth clients; SLB market could hit $150b this year

And Barclays expands private banking unit to France and Italy.

From CNBC:

Morgan Stanley is offering its wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds, the first big US bank to do so.

The move, a significant step for the acceptance of bitcoin as an asset class, was made by the bank after clients demanded exposure to the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin’s rally in the past year has put Wall Street firms under pressure to consider getting involved.

For now, the bank is only allowing its wealthier clients access to bitcoin. The bank considers it suitable for people with “an aggressive risk tolerance” who have at least $2m in assets held by the firm.

From Reuters:

The market for sustainability-linked bonds could grow 20-fold this year to between $120b and $150b, a senior JPMorgan banker said.

Marilyn Ceci, global head of ESG developed capital markets (DCM) at JP Morgan, said SLBs are an effective way for companies to show a commitment to an ESG goal without raising funds for particular projects.

Neha Coulon, the bank’s global head of ESG solutions, noted that demand for sustainability products was reflected in leveraged loans. She said that the first two months of 2021 had seen eight sustainability linked loans in the European leveraged loan market compared to about seven throughout 2019 and 2020.

From Reuters:

Barclays has expanded its private banking business to France and Italy as it seeks to grow its European wealth business amidst Brexit.

It has appointed Bernard Corneau and Carlo Baronio as heads of private bank coverage in France and Italy respectively, both based out of the lender’s investment banking offices in those countries.

The duo will be supported by Barclays’ newly established European hub in Dublin as the bank, in common with many other lenders in Europe, shifts from serving corporate and wealthy individual customers out of a London hub to a more pan-European model.

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