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Reversal: Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo Begin Offering Bitcoin ETFs To Clients

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Leading U.S. investment platforms Meryll Lynch and Wells Fargo are now offering clients access to Bitcoin spot ETFs despite initially hesitating on the move.

As reported by Bloomberg, the firms are offering the ETFs to certain wealth management clients who specifically request the product, which allows clients to directly invest in BTC through an ETF wrapper.

Merrill Lynch Embraces Bitcoin

Last month, Merrill Lynch, the investment management division of Bank of America, was one of U.S. financial giants to receive major rebuke for its initial refusal to allow customer access to the ETFs after their historic launch last month.

At the time, Fox Business reported that Merrill Lynch was waiting to see whether the ETFs could trade efficiently before changing their internal policy, which did not allow for such products.

By all measures, the ETFs have had a massively successful launch. Since approval, shares for funds like the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) now trade at perfect parity with their underlying BTC value after years of trading at a discount.

The ETFs have also drawn massive trading volume, collectively processing a record-breaking $7.7 billion in trades on Wednesday, alongside a record $673 million in net flows. BlackRock and Fidelity’s Bitcoin ETFs proved to be the two most successful ETF launches in history after thirty days.

Given their proven demand, multiple analysts suspected that major wirehouses would likely hurry to offer the products to clients for fear of missing out.

“I’m sure pressure is mounting for them,” wrote Bloomberg ETF analyst Eric Balchunas to X on Wednesday. “They like to see [a] track record and get paid off, but with grassroots demand like this they [are] gonna have to expedite.”

Meanwhile, Bitwise CIO Matt Hougan believes the ETFs are still awaiting a wave of demand from investment platforms that haven’t offered them to clients yet.

“I think there’s an even bigger wave coming in a few months as we start to see the major wirehouses turn on… but this has been Bitcoin’s IPO moment,” he told CNBC on Thursday.

Vanguard Still Opposed to Bitcoin

While Merrill welcomes the ETFs, Vanguard – the world’s second-largest asset manager after BlackRock – still won’t let clients buy the asset through its platform, citing a difference in investment philosophies.

The firm is still a major investor in MicroStrategy and several major Bitcoin mining firms, however.

On Thursday, Vanguard CEO Tim Buckley stepped down from his role after a 33-year run.

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