Since 1990, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan has managed hundreds of billions of dollars in assets for nearly 200,000 education workers, holding stakes in traditional investments from airports to shopping centers.
But on Thursday the Canadian pension fund warned in a statement it had suffered a hit from a more alternative gamble: The fund had sunk as much as $75 million into FTX International, the troubled global cryptocurrency exchange, in a financing round last year.
The Canadian pension fund is just one of many entities affected by the unraveling of FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried, its onetime highflying chief executive, who in just a few chaotic days has seen his fortunes dramatically turn.
On Friday, FTX announced that it would file for bankruptcy and that Bankman-Fried is resigning as its CEO. The move affects some 130-related companies, including large global crypto exchange FTX.com — the bulk of FTX customers are overseas — as well as FTX.US. The small American-centric sister firm has long been considered separate but is now suffering the same fate as the flagship. The company has appointed John J. Ray III, who helped oversee Enron’s unwinding, to lead FTX’s parent company.
Everyday investors, along with celebrity endorsers, venture-capital firms and others are all facing deep uncertainty in the aftermath.
“This could be a very significant event for a lot of investors, especially retail investors,” said Chester Spatt, a former chief economist of the Securities and Exchange Commission and professor of finance at Carnegie Mellon University, noting the struggle many customers would face to get their money out in a bankruptcy.
He also said that he was “really sorry, again, that we ended up here” and that “Hopefully things can find a way to recover. Hopefully this can bring some amount of transparency, trust, and governance to them. Ultimately hopefully it can be better for customers.” Many Twitter users replied with sharp skepticism.