U.S.-based asset manager, Digital Asset Investment Management (DAiM), has launched the country’s first employer-sponsored 401(k) retirement plans supporting Bitcoin.
According to a Nov. 19 announcement, DAiM will serve as the advisor and fiduciary in helping companies “create a 401(k) plan that offers several recommended model portfolios of varying risk to traditional assets and allocation of up to 10% to Bitcoin.”
The BTC will be held in cold storage by Gemini Trust, allowing DAiM to transfer Bitcoin to former-employees who have left participating companies.
DAiM’s crypto-friendly plans are compliant with the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, and will be able to be offered by employers from 2021.
While U.S. citizens have been able to include crypto assets in their individual retirement accounts, 401(k) rollovers, and brokerage accounts since the Internal Revenue Service began taxing Bitcoin in 2018, DAiM COO Adam Pokornicky told Cointelegraph that, “It’s been impossible to offer Bitcoin inside actually company-based plans until now.”
“The difference is, you can take an old 401k plan and convert it to an IRA when you leave a job or employer to invest in Bitcoin, but it’s never been possible to invest in Bitcoin while working at a company without taking a penalty or quitting your job until now.“
Pokornicky said that the traditional wealth management industries have been “slow to warm up to Bitcoin,” noting there are “barely any investment advisors offering licensed and regulated access to Bitcoin directly in brokerage and retirement accounts.”
He attributes the sector’s reluctance to “serious regulatory red tape” surrounding crypto compliance, emphasizing that it took “almost a full year of slow-building” before DAiM was approved to offer its employer-sponsored services:
“As an advisor, you can’t just start managing and advising for Bitcoin because you want to. There’s an enormous amount of work and compliance that needs to be done to develop operational frameworks, infrastructure, and strategic partnerships that need to be married together to be compliant in every state you operate.”
Pokornicky also noted “booming” demand for retirement investments in Bitcoin, adding: “We’ve seen most demand from individuals between the ages of 28-45.”