Rest has confirmed it could be one of the first APRA-regulated funds to reposition a small portion of the funds it manages on behalf of its members into cryptocurrencies.
In a statement provided to Fintech Business sister title, InvestorDaily, chief investment officer Andrew Lill said that “while we are certainly considering cryptocurrencies as a way to diversify our members’ retirement savings, we will not be investing in the immediate future”.
“Any investment is more likely in the medium term.”
Rest is currently conducting “extensive research” into the asset class prior to making any decisions.
“We are also considering the security and regulatory aspects of investing in this class.”
Earlier this month, in a major vote of confidence in crypto assets, Commonwealth Bank announced it would allow its customers to hold and use bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies via its 6.5 million-user banking app.
“We believe we can play an important role in crypto to address what’s clearly a growing customer need and provide capability, security and confidence in a crypto trading platform," CBA CEO Matt Comyn said at the time.
Crypto has been at the centre of debate in government circles this week, with finance minister Jane Hume announcing on Tuesday that Australians who choose to invest in that asset class should be able to do so.
Speaking on 2GB radio, Ms Hume said that while crypto is not her cup of tea, it is not a fad and “it isn’t going away”.
“Australia should step forward on this cautiously – that’s sensible – but not fearfully, because we are good at this. We are good at innovation, and we are good at financial services, and there are many opportunities for Australia to grasp here,” Ms Hume said.
Earlier this week, ASIC's Joe Longo urged caution among Aussies investing in crypto.
“In my view, consumers should approach investing in crypto with great caution. The maxim, ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’ comes to mind,” Mr Longo said.
Just last month, ASIC issued a new information sheet on crypto assets and exchange-traded products that would provide practical examples of how regulatory obligations can be met by market participants.
For now, ASIC has said that it is only willing to accept crypto-linked investment products where the underlying asset meets a set of criteria. This includes a high level of institutional support, reputable service providers, a regulated futures market and a robust and transparent pricing mechanism.
At this time, it is likely that only bitcoin and Ethereum would meet these requirements.