Grayscale hires LaValle to bolster its ETF team


Cryptocurrency asset manager Grayscale has confirmed the hiring of ETF expert David LaValle to head the company’s ETFs department

Grayscale, the world’s largest digital asset management firm, has added Dave LaValle to its exchange-traded fund (ETF) team as it prepares for potential approval of its ETF application. His announcement as the new global head of ETFs at Grayscale was made through a press release on Wednesday. The firm previously submitted its application to the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2016 but withdrew it shortly after. It then filed another application, but the regulatory body has not yet given its decision on the matter.

There have been doubts about whether the SEC will give the green light on crypto ETFs this year because of the increased oversight introduced by the new chair, Gary Gensler. The investment firm, however, isn’t letting that affect its aim to convert the Bitcoin Trust into an ETF, judging by the new hire. Grayscale has put tremendous efforts and a lot of resources into achieving this goal.

After reaffirming its commitment at the beginning of Q2, the company named the Bank of New York Mellon as its Trust’s asset management service provider. The firm also confirmed that the bank would offer transfer services for the trust if the conversion to an ETF is successful. 

LaValle, the former chief executive at Dallas-based index provider Alerian is expected to spearhead the team and realise the goal Grayscale has been chasing. He will also have a seat at the table of senior managing directors. Grayscale’s head Michael Sonnenshein heaped praise on LaValle, noting that he is a mover and shaker with a wealth of experience.

“Dave is a pioneering leader in the ETF space with expertise spanning critical components of the ETF ecosystem, including product development, distribution, capital markets, trading, and regulation. He will accelerate Grayscale’s ability to realize our commitment to ETFs…

Sonnenshein’s remarks about LaValle couldn’t be any truer considering that the former Alerian chief is an ETF veteran, having dedicated more than two decades of his life to the space. He has previously worked in a related capacity at State Street, where he was the US head of ETF capital markets. Before his stint at State Street, he headed the exchange-traded product (ETP) marketplace at NASDAQ.

Speaking on his hiring, LaValle said, “There’s been a fundamental shift in investor preferences, directly impacting wealth managers and the asset management industry. I’m delighted by the opportunity to… work with Michael and the Grayscale team to advance this digital evolution.”

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