Columbia Investment Management Company president and CEO Kim Lew thinks that cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
“I think it will have profound effects,” she said in a recent interview, adding, “There are many different avenues that it can go.”
Lew explained that people could build many new things within the crypto ecosystem, such as stablecoins and nonfungible tokens. “I think clearly it’s going to play some role. Not clear what role it would play,” she added.
Lew said that it’s important for Columbia Investment Management Company, the firm responsible for managing Columbia University’s $11-billion endowment, to dabble in crypto assets a little “just so that we make sure that we follow.”
She stressed that it’s important to ensure that the company has a relationship with people who are developing expertise so that “we can leverage that expertise to decide which way to go.”
While crypto is not an asset class that Columbia would invest a lot in at this point due to high volatility and the risks involved, Lew believes that cryptocurrency is one of the roads open for exploration for long-term investors.
After working for 13 years at the Ford Foundation in executive roles, Lew was hired by Columbia University last year to oversee the endowment of one of the wealthiest colleges in the United States.
She is definitely not alone in her interest in crypto as a recent Fidelity survey conducted with the participation of 1,100 institutional investors reveals. The research shows that almost 70% of participants — including high-net-worth investors, family offices, digital and traditional hedge funds, financial advisors and endowments — expect to invest in digital assets within the next five years.