25 May 2022

Osborne Clarke helps Paris crypto-asset manager secure regulatory landmark

Arquant Capital becomes first digital asset manager to be authorised by top regulator

Paris business district

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Osborne Clarke has advised Paris crypto-asset adviser Arquant Capital on its successful bid to become the first crypto specialist to be authorised as an asset management company by France’s financial regulator, the Autorité des Marchés Financiers (AMF). 

The move allows Arquant to offer investors access to actively specialised professional funds directly invested in digital assets and ends a three-year approval process. 

The company said it was planning to launch its first specialised professional fund dedicated entirely to blockchain platform Ethereum in the coming days.

Osborne Clarke’s team was led by regulatory partner Karima Lachgar and included tax partner Dorothée Chambon and employment partner Jérôme Scapoli. Lachgar handled governance, operations and procedural matters as well as the contract negotiation with Arquant’s service providers and clients.

Eron Anglele, Arquant’s co-founder and CEO, singled out Lagchar’s role in the process as a key component of the eventual success of the authorisation. 

“From the beginning of our activity we aimed to facilitate access to digital assets for professional investors and to provide a solution for managing volatility risk in this asset category," he added. "These are two main obstacles for these investors to benefit from the advantages of diversifying their portfolio into crypto-assets.”

Lachgar said Arquant’s successful bid represented “a particularly innovative strategic structuring of the management offer and investment strategies”. 

She said the team’s knowledge of the asset management and crypto-asset sectors as well as their “close and trusting” relationships with France’s financial market authority played a role in structuring their strategy for the first-of-its-kind move by Arquant. 

Lachgar, who joined Osborne Clarke last year from CMS’s arm in Paris, has extensive experience dealing with tokenisation platforms, payment marketplaces, blockchain, and fintech companies in France and internationally. 

France is regarded as a leader in European crypto innovation and has just become the first EU country to grant the world's largest crypto exchange Binance regulatory approval.

Last month, meanwhile, Norton Rose Fulbright advised cryptocurrency exchange Bybit on its entry into the UAE market as the platform switched its global headquarters from Singapore to Dubai. 

And in March, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough led Tokyo-based cryptocurrency marketplace Coincheck through a special purpose acquisition merger with Thunder Bridge Capital Partners worth $1.3bn.
 

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