By Svea Herbst-Bayliss

BOSTON (Reuters) – Galaxy Digital Holdings Ltd, a crypto-oriented financial services firm, on Thursday said it hired an executive from asset management giant Blackstone Group to help grow its business and expand product offerings.

William Burt, a former managing director at Blackstone, joined Galaxy Digital as chief operating officer of Galaxy Digital Asset Management, which oversees some $2.9 billion in assets, this week, the company said.

At Blackstone, Burt was chief operating officer of the group’s $55 billion Portfolio Solutions group which invests with many of the world’s leading hedge fund managers for clients including pension and sovereign wealth funds.

During the decade Burt worked for Blackstone’s hedge fund unit BAAM, he played a key role in helping allocate investments and liaise with clients. Before Blackstone, he worked at McKinsey & Company.

At Galaxy Digital Asset Management, Burt will oversee day-to-day operations in the asset management business and report to Steve Kurz, Global Head of Asset Management.

“Bill’s decades of experience scaling investment management businesses will be invaluable as we continue to rapidly expand our capabilities,” Kurz said.

Galaxy Digital was founded by former hedge fund manager turned cryptocurrency pioneer Michael Novogratz in 2018 as an investment management firm which then expanded into investment banking and trading to serve institutional and wealthy individual clients.

The New York-headquartered firm listed shares in Toronto in 2020 and is expected to list in the United States in the first quarter of 2022.

Galaxy Digital has made a number of hires from traditional financial firms including appointing former Goldman Sachs executive Michael Daffey as chairman last year.

Blackstone has seen a large group of executives leave its hedge fund unit over the past year, including most recently John McCormick, BAAM’s former co-head, and Min Htoo, BAAM’s former co-chief investment officer. (This story corrects year Galaxy Digital was founded to 2018 from 2006 in paragraph 7)

(Reporting by Svea Herbst-Bayliss; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)