Two separate new businesses – Gryphon Investments Advisors Bahamas and Agio Digital Ltd. have made history. The two investment firms recently formed an alliance to change the digital asset landscape in The Bahamas. Prime Minister Hon. Philip “Brave” Davis lauded both companies for their accomplishments, highlighting the many benefits of international professionals collaborating closely with Bahamian professionals as a means to grow the financial services sector and deepen its capacity.
“Businesses like these, help uphold and facilitate the very mandate of economic stimulation my Government is promoting and continues diligently to advance. Following the economic strain of the COVID-19 pandemic felt worldwide, it is essential more than ever to drive the
economic framework of The Bahamas and provide the necessary legislation and support needed for Bahamians to establish financial freedom and empowerment,” he said.
“This is why businesses like Gryphon and Agio are crucial to establishing and strengthening our country’s golden market position in the financial and digital assets space. Agio has now made history as the first digital platform for alternative investments based in The Bahamas
and the first Bahamian owned company to be licensed as a digital wallet provider for crypto.
The collaboration of these firms brings together a powerful alliance of international and local expertise, resources and network to maximize global financial success. Businesses like this will bring together a remarkable opportunity for our country by strengthening the financial landscape of The Bahamas. We will continue to build on our leverage of world-class financial service expertise, diversify our economy, engage a whole new generation of Bahamians and lead the way in innovation.”
During the joint launch event on Monday, 25 th April 2022, CEO of Gryphon Investment Advisors Bahamas, Zev Crystal, and CEO of Agio Digital, Brian Jones, explained how they plan to bring new offerings to their clients. Zev Crystal “that in the decentralized financial world we can now offer additional value propositions to our clients. We also have strategic partnerships with Generation Three Bahamas (G3B) our family office business, that continues the expansion of Generation Three Family Partners (G3FP) – and locally we have an alliance with Capital Union Bank as our Bahamian banking partner.”
Gryphon has been approved to operate as a regulated Asset Manager and Investment Advisor in the Bahamas by the Securities Commission of The Bahamas. This approval allows Gryphon to offer its Bahamian platform to wealth managers, family and multi-family offices globally.
“One of our key pillars is to be able to offer global wealth management partners that work on our platform, a comprehensive, digital platform. This has been achieved through our alliance with Agio. Our focus for the past 30 years has been involved with fixed income. We
are now partly shifting that focus to the decentralised finance (DeFi) segment of the crypto ecosystem, which is a very similar characteristic when comparing stable coin yields to short term bonds but with a true return,” Mr. Crystal added.
Agio is the first alternative investment platform serving as a conduit to investing in the new web3 economy, while providing investment vehicles to bolster the underserved capital market in The Bahamas. Brian Jones, who previously served as Director of the Bahamas Financial Services Board, former Director at UBS, and former President and Managing Director at Deltec Fund Services, leads the groundbreaking firm providing alternative investment infrastructure and auxiliary services, such as tokenization with its operations in The Bahamas and Dubai.
“I had to find a way to pursue my passion for digital assets and at the same time continue to pursue my passion for funds.
And so over the past year, I have been working with my experienced team to achieve this goal. We feel that this is happening at the right time, and everything is falling into place. We are looking to open up capital markets in a way that it hasn’t been opened in the past and we are looking to bring access to many Bahamians who have been struggling to break into this space,” he said. The team of Agio includes other noted Bahamian professionals such as attorney Andrew Rolle who is the President of BISBA, Bahamas Investments and Securities Business Association and network engineer and cyber security expert, Hamid Bhatti.
Mr. Jones noted that the company also seeks to be good corporate citizens and found a way to do this through a partnership with noted artist Antonius Roberts, to help support the Incubator for Collaborative Expression (ICE) project, a space where creatives can manifest
their work. Mr. Roberts explained why he was enticed by working with Agio to promote his prolific artwork through non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
“I’ve been around long enough to know that if we want to move forward in the creative industry it is important for us to consider collaborating, particularly with the financial sector.
I’ve been privileged to be involved with the kind of coordination and development of a lot of large national programmes such as the Central Bank of The Bahamas art show and FINCO art programs. Those relationships lasted for over 30 years simply because of the relationship with the financial sector. So, when Brian came to me it piqued my interest not just for profit but to create opportunities for young creatives,” he said.
Recently, the Government presented a white paper on digital assets that will enable Bahamians to access digital assets using Bahamian dollars and for them to pay taxes using digital assets.
In 2020, the Digital Assets and Registered Exchange Bill (DARE) was passed and paved the way for the issuance of cryptocurrency in The Bahamas. Attorney General Hon. Ryan Pinder, who also brought brief congratulatory remarks, said Agio will assist in the substantial growth of the sector and lauded the company for its innovation.
“A key component of the government’s white paper on digital assets is embracing in the furtherance of a new industry and leading the way in education and exposure through participation in the industry whether it be from a consumer point of view and a professional point of view,” he said. “This is something to be extremely proud of- marrying what Brian’s vision is and what his experience is, and I am deeply, deeply proud of what Brian has been able to do launching this framework of innovative digital wallet and alternative asset administration.”
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