More Wall Street veterans join crypto firms

Amber manages about US$1.5 billion of trading capital and expects revenue to surge tenfold to US$500 million this year.
Amber manages about US$1.5 billion of trading capital and expects revenue to surge tenfold to US$500 million this year.PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - A group of former Goldman Sachs Group and Morgan Stanley executives have joined a crypto-trading platform started by their peers, part of a growing cohort of Wall Street veterans betting on the volatile world of digital assets.

Amber Group has appointed former Goldman Sachs partner Dimitrios Kavvathas as chief strategy officer, and ex-Morgan Stanley managing director Todd Miller as chief operating officer for the Americas.

Sotirios Kavvathas, a younger brother of Dimitrios who held leadership roles at auditor BDO and Royal Bank of Scotland, will serve as the operations chief for Europe, the Hong Kong-based start-up said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 23). It also added three regional directors for Europe, all of whom hail from the finance industry.

Amber, founded in 2018 by five Morgan Stanley traders, belongs to a crop of fledging firms developing financial services - from over-the-counter trading to derivatives and structured products - for professional crypto traders and investors. In June, the firm raised US$100 million from investors including DCM Ventures and Tiger Global Management, boosting its valuation to $1 billion.

The start-up added 250 employees in the past eight months, bringing its global headcount to nearly 450, chief executive officer Michael Wu said in the statement. The new hires will help the firm formulate its global strategy and engage with regulators and institutional clients.

Mr Dimitrios Kavvathas, Amber's new CSO, was among Goldman Sachs executives charged by the Malaysian government in 2019 during the 1MDB scandal. After the case was settled last year, all proceedings against him arising from his former role at the bank's Asia division had been discontinued and no further action will be taken, an Amber spokesperson said.

Amber manages about US$1.5 billion of trading capital and expects revenue to surge tenfold to US$500 million this year, co-founder Mr Wu said in an interview in June.