BNY Mellon fund laments it should have bought Bitcoin, not gold

U.S.-based financial institution BNY Mellon, the world’s largest custodian bank and asset servicing company, states that the recent performance of one of its exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, was significantly impacted by its lack of exposure to companies investing in Bitcoin.

The BNY Mellon Opportunistic Small Cap Fund (DSCVX) gained 35% from September 1, 2020, through February 28, 2021, underperforming its benchmark, the Russell 2000 Index — which produced roughly 41.7% over the same period.

Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission indicate the firm laments not purchasing shares in leading business intelligence firm MicroStrategy (MSTR) — which invested billions into Bitcoin last year, holdings that have since grown to more than $4.8 billion. The filings state:

“Fund performance was hurt as well by a decision not to own MicroStrategy, whose stock surged when it announced it had invested in Bitcoin.”

The document also notes that the fund’s position in gold mining company, Alamos Gold, “hampered performance as shares were hurt by weak gold prices.”

According to ETF.com, 88 ETFs are currently exposed to MicroStrategy, including the sixth-strongest performing fund of 2021 so far, the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF (BLOK) — which is heavily exposed to crypto firms and is the single-largest holder of MSTR by percentage allocation with 5.20% of its portfolio invested in Microstrategy.

On average, U.S.-based ETFs have allocated 0.57% of their capital to MicroStrategy.

Since announcing its first Bitcoin investment in August 2020, MicroStrategy has accumulated $2.2 billion worth of BTC — with the firm’s crypto stash having appreciated in value by 120%.

Over the same period, the price of MSTR has skyrocketed by 385% from $135 to $655 at the time of writing. In early February, MSTR was trading at record highs above $1,270.

BNY’s small-cap ETF typically invests a minimum of 80% of its assets into the stocks of companies with a low market capitalization from the Russell 2000 Index. Some of the fund’s largest allocations include North American airline SkyWest, enterprise cloud provider Cloudera, and healthcare provider Acadia. Roughly 23% of its investments are in the industrial sector, 17.5% are in healthcare, 15.9% are in technology, and 14.2% are in financial services

After opening 2020 trading at roughly 27.5%, DSCVX crashed as low as $16 during March as the economic impacts of the coronavirus became apparent globally. Since then, the fund has more than doubled in price to trade for more than $37.

Despite regretting the lack of MSTR exposure of its Opportunistic Small Cap Fund, BNY Mellon is making significant investments in the crypto sector, leading the $133 million Series C funding round of institutional crypto custodian Fireblocks last month.

In February, BNY Mellon also announced plans to offer Bitcoin custody services.

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