LONDON  - Cryptocurrency asset manager Hilbert Capital has hired former Cevian Capital executive Richard Murray as CEO, it said on Tuesday.

Murray was previously director of investor relations at activist investor Cevian. He has also worked at hedge funds Finisterre and Brevan Howard Asset Management, Hilbert said in a statement.

Murray will bring with him a team of senior business developers who worked together at Brevan Howard, to focus on attracting institutional clients in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, Hilbert said.

Cryptocurrencies have taken a battering this year.

Bitcoin lost around 57% in the first half, while ether has dropped 71%.

But Murray said institutional demand for cryptocurrencies was growing.

"We're in an environment where cryptocurrencies and funds are rapidly moving from the fringe to the core", he told Reuters, adding that institutional investors were looking for crypto investment strategies which reduced the risk of large market swings.

Hilbert Capital is the asset management arm of crypto hedge fund Hilbert Group, which was founded in 2018 and is listed on Nasdaq First North Growth Market Sweden.

Murray's appointment is effective from Tuesday.

Bruce Terry, former U.S. CEO at Brevan Howard, is joining Hilbert's advisory board, Murray said.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn, editing by Ed Osmond)