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Crypto is 'unsuitable' for investors, according to PGIM

In its megatrends study, asset management PGIM denied cryptocurrencies as a feasible investment within client portfolios.

Investors have been concerned about digital currencies this year, following a decline in the value of the steadfast currency Bitcoin and the full collapse of Terra'stablecoins' in May.

The PGIM research even compared modern Bitcoin to the 'wildcat' banking era of American history, when state financial institutions developed their own, often highly unstable, currencies prior to the establishment of a federal currency in 1863.

Shehriyar Antia, head of thematic research at PGIM, said while cryptocurrencies have “heroic” aims, pricing is based on speculative behaviour and is an “unreliable diversifier and an inadequate safe haven asset or inflation hedge”. He said: “Despite ongoing scepticism surrounding cryptocurrency, a number of traditional financial institutions have been making large investments into crypto recently.

“Based on the evidence, we at PGIM continue to view cryptocurrency as more of a speculation that is not yet suitable for long-term investment or fiduciary institutional portfolios.”

Risk-adjusted returns have not been much different than other asset classes, said Antia, “but with more frequent and greater drawdowns”.

He said: “To include any asset class in our client portfolios, we need to be convinced of three factors: it requires a clear regulatory framework, it must be an effective store of value, and it needs to have a predictable correlation with other asset classes.

“Cryptocurrency does not meet one of these three criteria currently.”

Antia added: “The unsettled regulatory backdrop and the significant ESG concerns – not just around climate but also around governance – pose additional headwinds for long-term investors and further demonstrates why we see no reason for cryptocurrencies to be a part of institutional portfolios.

”The PGIM report did however see value in crypto’s underlying blockchain technology, arguing that it represents a highly secure and robust system for verifying and recording transactions.

According to the report: “Investors would be wise to focus on blockchain use cases with well-defined practical applications that address real-world problems today, especially in the financial services sector.”



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