Morgan Stanley becomes first major U.S. bank to offer clients access to bitcoin funds

Morgan Stanley has become the first big U.S. bank to offer its wealth management clients access to bitcoin funds, CNBC reported on Wednesday.

In an internal memo, the bank told its financial advisers it would launch access to three funds allowing ownership of bitcoin, CNBC reported, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter.

The decision was taken after the bank’s clients demanded exposure to the cryptocurrency, according the report.

Morgan Stanley did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Bitcoin surged to a record high of $61,781.83 on Saturday, but has since fallen as investors consolidated gains and on news of plans by India to ban cryptocurrencies.

The cyrptocurrency has been gaining mainstream acceptance lately, with Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc and Square Inc betting on it.

Last month, Bank of NY Mellon Corp formed a new unit to help clients hold, transfer and issue digital assets.

Access to the funds will only be allowed to people who have at least $2 million in assets held by the bank. Investment firms with at least $5 million at the bank will also be eligible. In both cases, the accounts have to be at least six months old, according to the report.

The bank will limit investments to 2.5% of total net worth even for investors with enough assets to qualify, the people said.

The two funds that will be offered are from Galaxy Digital, crypto firm founded by Michael Novogratz. The third fund is a joint effort from asset manager FS Investments and bitcoin company NYDIG. Clients could start investing in these funds next month, the report said.