David Bailin is Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer (CIO) at Citi Private Bank, a subsidiary of Citigroup focused on serving high-income individuals and families. He is listed on the Citibank website as a “wealth specialist”. Bailin spoke about bitcoin in an interview with Yahoo Finance.
“I tell people that there is no doubt that I believe bitcoin will do well because of the level of interest that comes from everyone.”
However, he noted that it “scares him”. Bailin joined Citi in 2009 as Global Head of Managed Investments and was promoted to Global Head of Investments in October 2017.
“At Citi Private Bank and Citi Global Wealth, we are really focused on the idea of key and opportunity investments,” Bailin said. The former represents 85% or more of the total stake in a traditional portfolio and focus on “fundamental investments”. The latter are where Citi customers can choose to have a bitcoin exposure.
He also stated that: “To get this exposure to bitcoin, if you do not have real bitcoin, any of these funds or structures can be a very, very ineffective way to do this.”
In January, Citi announced that it had created a single wealth management body, Citi Global Wealth, by merging wealth management teams into Global Consumer Banking and the Institutional Clients Group.
Bailin also said he was looking for ways to offer his customers bitcoin exposure, including an “overall performance swap” that could allow customers to “invest in real digital currency appreciation“. He said, “I think this is probably the most effective way to do it.”
The Citibank wealth expert added that although bitcoin may be the hottest topic of discussion right now, it sees better opportunities for Citi customers in “unstoppable trends” such as Big Data, satellite technology, solar and much more. Bailin then said:
“These kinds of giant unstoppable trends, as we call them, are really great investment opportunities, which are probably long-term, or in my opinion certainly long-term, much better than bitcoin”.
He added that with these investments, “you can identify them, quantify them, find companies involved and you can see that the size of the market we are talking about is excellent.”
Earlier in the month, Citigroup released an in-depth report stating that bitcoin was at a critical juncture and could become the preferred currency for international trade. “We could be at the beginning of the mass conversion of cryptocurrency into mass acceptance currency.”