DeFi for the big boys – Wave Digital Assets

Date: 28 Mar 2023

Karen Jones

Citywealth Editor and CEO Karen Jones interviews Matteo Dante Perruccio, President and shareholder at Wave Digital Assets.

Matteo Dante Perruccio, Wave Financial

After a 30 year long history in traditional finance, including on the board at Jupiter Asset Management and being CEO of Hermes BPK Partners which was a £3bn hedge fund JV with the British Telecom Pension Scheme, Matteo Dante Perruccio is now the President and shareholder at Wave Digital Assets, a $1.5bn US based digital asset investment management firm who are an SEC, Registered Investment Advisor in California. David Siemer and Ben Tsai founded Wave Financial in 2018 as a venture capital firm investing in crypto and blockchain with the idea that, although crypto is a new asset class, investors should have access to regulated, compliant vehicles and strategies.

Wave, which now also provides crypto products to institutional and private wealth clients, has expanded into Europe after a previous successful partnership with Criptonite Asset Management. They are buying a minority stake in the Geneva based firm.

Matteo who was previously a Chairman of an MFO in Italy, says he came across crypto by accident in 2018 and although he thought at first that it was nonsense, he now believes it will change the world. “I am fascinated by it.” He says. Despite this belief though he adds “There are plenty of clowns, in the sector though.” And I have to agree with him on that point. 

Wave Digital Assets, with this acquisition, now has a FINMA-regulated Swiss operation. The deal was put together by law firm Gasser Partners in Liechtenstein.  Matteo says the reason for the move is that “The type of families we deal with in Switzerland are forward thinkers. We already have two banks who want to integrate with us for crypto.”

He comments further “This is a retail innovation that has started low and is going backwards to go high. Everything else starts institutional, then it gets watered down for retail. I think governments will have to take responsibility for who they will license, even though they don’t want egg on their face.” He says, adding. “Wave is a big supporter of regulation because we want to ‘get the big money’”.

Of other countries and their strides in legislation he says “MENA in Dubai are leading the way. They have set up their Virtual Asset Regime as a new asset class and are making sure that it is under control” He adds that regulation is often led by the USA then sometimes the UK then UK law would be adopted by Hong Kong and Singapore then the Middle East. But he says now there is a decoupling in that the UK doesn’t follow the USA any more although there is a great deal of conversation back and forth. He says with stable coins for instance there is a concern about diminishing sovereign currency.

He says “Wave set up because they wanted to get their own crypto assets managed and organisations like Goldman Sachs were not touching it. They were a registered state advisor only in crypto and digital assets but as it grew to $1bn we also got an asset management license. We are not a retail player. All customers are qualified investors. It is not just Criptonite Asset Management Geneva we are buying into, we are talking to groups in Hong Kong and Singapore to have regulated organisations there. “

He adds, “Subject to regulatory approval we will grow our investment in Criptonite Asset Management. We will be using ‘actively managed certificates’ which is a Swiss vehicle that allows you to list on a Swiss exchange (as long as its actively managed). It is only available to qualified investors. We also have a Bitcoin strategy with a dividend; token trading; DEFI and derivative strategies which is essentially creating yield by buying and selling them. We will also manage money for other institutions and coin protocols. Many of these organizations sit on their own tokens; historically they sold the tokens to create money but we now offer treasury management for corporates because some people may have millions of them, so we will help them generate income with active management of their coins.”

As bitcoin prices rise and banking uncertainty makes the market nervous, we are sure that Matteo and his team will ride a wave of increasing interest in crypto.

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