Former BlackRock Executive and Bitcoin Advocate Becomes Vanguard’s New CEO

Last Updated on May 15, 2024

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Website of The Vanguard Group. Source: Jarretera -

Key Takeaways:

  • Salim Ramji, previously at BlackRock where he supported Bitcoin initiatives including the launch of a Bitcoin ETF, has been appointed as the new CEO of Vanguard, marking a potential shift in the company’s approach to cryptocurrency.
  • Vanguard, traditionally hesitant about integrating Bitcoin into its investment offerings, may see changes under Ramji’s leadership, with speculation about enabling access to spot Bitcoin ETFs through its brokerage services.
  • Despite these potential changes, industry analysts remain skeptical about Vanguard launching its own spot Bitcoin ETF soon, although Ramji’s past support for blockchain and Bitcoin suggests he might influence broader acceptance of these assets at Vanguard.

Salim Ramji, a former BlackRock executive known for his supportive stance on Bitcoin and blockchain technology, has been appointed as the new CEO of Vanguard.

This development is particularly notable because it marks a departure from Vanguard’s traditional reservations about Bitcoin.

Ramji’s involvement in launching BlackRock’s spot Bitcoin exchange-traded fund (ETF) earlier this year has sparked speculation about potential changes in Vanguard’s approach to cryptocurrency investments.

On May 14, Vanguard announced that Ramji would take over as CEO, replacing Tim Buckley, who has been known for his critical views on Bitcoin.

Industry experts are now speculating whether Ramji’s leadership could lead to a reversal of Vanguard’s long-standing policy against Bitcoin, particularly regarding the trading of spot Bitcoin ETFs on its platform.

James Seyffart, an ETF analyst from Bloomberg, expressed skepticism about Vanguard launching its own spot Bitcoin ETF anytime soon under Ramji’s leadership.

However, he did suggest that Ramji might influence the company to allow its clients to purchase spot Bitcoin ETFs through its brokerage services.

Eric Balchunas, another Bloomberg analyst, echoed a similar sentiment, noting that Ramji’s past positive remarks about Bitcoin and blockchain could open new doors for Vanguard.

He described the appointment as a “semi-shock,” highlighting the significance of Vanguard hiring an outsider for the CEO role for the first time.

Ramji’s departure from BlackRock occurred shortly after he played a key role in the launch of the iShares Bitcoin Trust on January 11, 2024.

He previously served as BlackRock’s Global Head of iShares and Index Investments and was a member of the firm’s Global Executive Committee.

Vanguard has been under scrutiny from some of its long-time customers since January, following its decision not to offer spot Bitcoin ETFs on its brokerage platform.

This decision came at a time when Vanguard was introducing products like the “Inverse Jim Cramer ETF.”

Despite the changing landscape and the increasing integration of cryptocurrencies in investment portfolios, Vanguard has maintained that products like Bitcoin do not align with its investment philosophy, which traditionally focuses on asset classes such as equities, bonds, and cash.

These are considered by Vanguard as the foundational elements of a robust, long-term investment strategy.

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