TD Cowen shuts digital asset unit two years after inception

Cowen Digital officially launched in March last year but had been in the works since early 2021 as institutional investors began increasingly eyeing digital assets.

TD Cowen has closed its digital asset unit Cowen Digital just three months after the acquisition of Cowen by TD, according to an internal email seen by The TRADE.

The note mentions that the inception of the unit came back in 2021, however the launch was made public in March 2022.

The platform offered institutions access to the digital asset ecosystem using trade execution and custody solutions and was launched in response rising demand for cryptocurrencies.

While the note did not cite the crypto winter as a reason, the environment has certainly taken its toll on the institutional digital asset space as a whole.

The communication was signed off by 11 team members, including managing directors Drew Forman, head of Cowen Digital; Eric Rose, head of execution; and Keith Coyne head of product and strategy.

The memo reemphasised the importance of “trusted counterparties who understand the needs of institutional investors” and expresses the unit’s need to operate from “a different home” going forward.

The decision comes just months after TD Bank Group completed its all-cash $1.3 billion acquisition of Cowen, following an initial announcement in August 2022. With the deal, TD added new capabilities in US equities to its remit.

Last year, TD was involved in a string of deals as it aimed to expand its operations into the US, which was understood to be partly linked to strict regulations regarding domestic mergers in Canada. Its bid to buy Tennessee-based First Horizon Bank was reported to have been put on ice just this month.