Following the lead of their clients, financial advisors are starting to embrace cryptocurrencies as an investment, according to a new survey.
The percentage of advisors who currently use or recommend cryptocurrencies to their clients jumped to 14% from less than 1% in both 2019 and 2020, according to the 2021 Trends in Investing Survey by the Journal of Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association, supported by Onramp Invest. That was the largest jump among any category of investment vehicle. Private equity was second with a rise to 12% from 9% in 2020, while most other categories either slipped or stayed the same. Additionally, 26% of planners said they planned to increase their use or recommendation of cryptocurrencies over the next 12 months.
Much of the increased interest by advisors in cryptocurrencies stems from a grassroots movement, with 49% of advisors saying that in the last six months, clients have asked them about the digital money. That’s up from 17% last year and is similar to what others in the industry have noted. Some of the recent popularity of cryptocurrencies has stemmed from announcements from corporate giants like PayPal and Visa allowing payments using cryptocurrencies and Venmo allowing cryptocurrency investments with as little as $1.
Goldman Sachs Global Head of Digital Assets Mathew McDermott recently attributed his firm’s push into cryptocurrency to “client demand, pure and simple” and declared cryptocurrency a new asset class. “I see investor interest in crypto enduring,” he said in a report. “We’ve crossed the Rubicon in terms of institutional buy-in, and there is much greater value in the space than there was three or four years ago.”
Financial advisors increasingly seem to agree with that. In the survey, 28% of respondents said cryptocurrencies were a viable investing option that has a place in a portfolio. That’s up from 1.8% in 2018. And only 6%, a third of the percentage in 2018, saw cryptocurrencies as a fad to be avoided.
The survey, fielded in March, received 529 online responses from financial advisors.