Brad Sewell: “I always had an interest in business and people”

Brad Sewell met up with the Hedge Funds Club’s Stefan Nilsson in Melbourne to talk about his move from being a top-level AFL player to working for a digital asset fund manager.

Brad Sewell, an Investment Partner at Melbourne-based fund manager Apollo Crypto, is a former Australian-rules football player who won two Grand Finals with Hawthorn Football Club. Brad holds a Master of Business Administration with bachelor’s degrees in Commerce and Sports Management. After completing a successful career as an AFL player, he has extended his business acumen through sitting on multiple boards and working as an AFL commentator for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. In addition, Brad has been an early and active investor in crypto assets. The Apollo Crypto Fund is an award-winning multi-strategy fund that invests in the crypto assets powering a new financial infrastructure. The Apollo Crypto Fund is led by a team with a rare combination of traditional funds management and crypto asset experience.

You twice won the AFL Grand Final with Hawthorn. Have you ever reached such emotional highs in the investment world?

The short answer is no. It is an incredibly unique experience to have won two Grand Finals. Whilst difficult to explain, that euphoria is fleeting. It is only a matter of weeks before you again begin preparing for the next season. That said, we have some special memories, shared with life-long friends. It is difficult to compare those moments with any other facet of life.

After your playing career ended, you have stayed involved with the Australian-rules football world as a commentator on TV and through AFL-related charity work. Is it important to stay connected with your AFL heritage?

In a small way, due to our team’s success, that AFL connection will be shared at reunions for many years to come. During which time the commentary work is a nice touchpoint.

Following your AFL career, you did an MBA and now work in finance. Did you always have an interest in finance and investments?

I have always had an interest in business and people. Through an MBA colleague, I was exposed to cryptocurrencies and the underlying philosophical shift that this emerging asset class represents. It was this aspect of finance that resonated.

What have you brought with you from your life as an elite sportsman to the asset management world?

The importance of transparency, via communication, is the first thing that comes to mind. Whilst crypto is a stretch for most at this point in time, those that do make an allocation or express interest, I find respond well to a level of candour and honesty.

In recent years you have specialised in digital assets. Why did you opt to focus on that part of the investment industry?

The digital asset class is representative of large parts of today’s global society. Whilst there remains a healthy dose of scepticism and rightly so, digital assets are providing financial and digital freedom, at various levels, to many people. Which grows daily. Being a part of this early adoption/movement is both exciting and, at times, frightening. Yet, it is rewarding being on the front line and assisting others as they explore this emerging asset class.

Melbourne-based fund manager Apollo Crypto was founded in 2017 by CIO Henrik Andersson. How did you end up joining the firm in 2021?

I first met the firm five months after the firm’s inception, at the bottom of a bear market. Following their performance closely, and as my conviction in the digital asset space increased, an opportunity presented itself to assist with raising capital and investor relations. It is an exciting time to not only be working in the digital asset space but more so, with the Apollo Crypto team.