Galaxy CEO channels Chumbawamba ahead of Blackrock battle
Crypto investment bank Galaxy Digital has had far from the best start to 2023. Top employees like ex-Goldman MDs and trading heads have been leaving at an alarming rate and Q2 earnings revealed a $46m loss. Nonetheless, CEO Mark Novogratz is ebullient, positioning the firm to go head to head with Blackrock for the first US backed crypto exchange traded fund (ETF).
Following Ripple's successful SEC case, crypto ETFs are popping up everywhere. Blackrock and Galaxy (plus Invesco) are filing for an ETF and Novogratz is prepared to "fight like cats and dogs" to make sure Galaxy is the winner.
Novogratz channeled 90s one-hit-wonder Chumbawamba, saying "I get knocked down, but I get up again," regarding the resilience of the crypto space. When it comes to pay, that mantra has some credence; cash compensation expense this quarter is virtually identical to that of last year in spite of senior exits and the loss. Equity based compensation has fallen dramatically, however.
There are signs that Galaxy is shifting its hiring efforts abroad. Novogratz mentioned it has been hiring "pretty intensely" in foreign offices such as Hong Kong and London, with non-US headcount now making up 20% of the total.
President Chris Ferraro maintained that the US market is paramount to Galaxy, but also mentioned they're expanding elsewhere. Job listings reflect this, as 62% of open roles at the firm are outside the US; most are in the Hong Kong and London offices but there's also an open role for a junior trader in the Bahamas.
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