Why Fund Managers Should Ensure Personal Trading Policies Address Cryptocurrencies and ICOs (Part One of Two)

Fund managers that invest in cryptocurrencies or cryptocurrency-related strategies must ensure that their personal trading policies take these instruments into account in order to address the conflict of interest that arises when employees invest in the same assets held by the managers’ funds. Hedge fund managers that have not invested in cryptocurrencies, however, cannot simply ignore the existence of this emerging asset class, because their employees may want to either trade in virtual currencies or participate in initial coin offerings (ICOs). As a result, all fund managers – even those whose investment strategies do not include cryptocurrencies or ICOs – should ensure that their personal trading policies address these assets. This two-part series discusses the inclusion of cryptocurrencies and ICOs in fund manager personal trading policies. This first article analyzes why fund managers must amend their personal trading policies to address cryptocurrencies and ICOs. The second article will explore the factors fund managers must consider when determining how to do so and examine the challenges in allowing employees to trade in this asset class. For more on personal trading policies generally, see our three-part series “Key Legal and Operational Considerations for Hedge Fund Managers in Establishing, Maintaining and Enforcing Effective Personal Trading Policies and Procedures”: Part One (Jan. 19, 2012); Part Two (Jan. 26, 2012); and Part Three (Feb. 9, 2012).

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