In other news, STP hires from Northern Trust, BetaNXT taps Broadridge & Liquidnet embraces ESG.
American Century, Citi & Vanguard Join SWIFT Project
SWIFT, the global financial messaging, systems, and services cooperative, reports that it is “collaborating with seven securities players — including asset managers and custodians American Century Investments, Citi, Vanguard and Northern Trust — to drive efficiencies in communicating significant corporate events.”
The corporate actions project is based upon “an ambitious solution” from vendor Symbiont, maker of an enterprise-wide blockchain/distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform, officials add.
When a corporate actions event occurs via a publicly traded company such as dividend payments, exchange offers, mergers, Dutch auctions or related events, “the information needs to be quickly shared with investors, creditors and all other key stakeholders,” SWIFT officials say. “Automation of these communications has improved in recent years, but it’s still heavily dependent on manual processes that create both added costs and risks for market participants.”
“As part of a new pilot project to further automate and increase the accuracy of the corporate action workflow, SWIFT is trialing fintech Symbiont’s proprietary technology platform, Assembly, using its smart contracts and blockchain capabilities to create a network effect that leverages the 11,000+ institutions connected to SWIFT globally,” officials say.
“This can lead to significant efficiencies. Corporate action data from SWIFT messages is translated by the SWIFT Translator and uploaded in Symbiont’s blockchain. Their smart contract technology can then compare information shared between participants and flag discrepancies, contradictions or inconsistencies across custodians,” says Tom Zschach, chief innovation officer at SWIFT, in a prepared statement.
The project is intended to eliminate “complexity for asset managers, custodians, brokers and other recipients downstream as they receive information about the same event from multiple issuers and, in some instances, with missing, contradictory or inaccurate data,” according to SWIFT. “They then have to manually comb through, compare and clean the data to arrive at a single accurate picture of the event so they can make relevant decisions.”
The SWIFT-Symbiont solution is “in development with a pilot group of participants that are set to test it and provide feedback in September,” according to SWIFT. The results will be shared and if successful, the new offering will be applied “to more corporate event types and will assess the potential to bring it to production for the wider SWIFT community.”
STP Taps Northern Trust for New President
STP Investment Services, which characterizes itself as an “end-to-end investment operations service provider that services more than $340 billion in total assets,” has hired Dan Houlihan as its president.
Houlihan is an industry veteran whose mandate at STP includes making use of his industry experience to help STP refine its services and expand its offering globally.
Before joining STP, Houlihan was executive vice president and head of asset servicing for the Americas at Northern Trust. “There, he led a team of more than 3,000 employees supporting all client segments including: asset managers, asset owners (sovereign, pensions, foundations and public funds), hedge funds, private capital funds and insurance companies,” per the STP statement, which notes that he “was also chairman of Nicsa, a not-for-profit trade association working to connect all facets of the global asset management industry.”
“Since our founding in 2008, we have been steadily expanding our capabilities to meet the evolving front-to-back-office needs of our clients,” STP’s founder and CEO Patrick Murray says in a statement. Murray will “continue guiding the firm’s vision and growth initiatives,” the statement adds.
STP Investment Services also points out that it has “twice in a row” been named as Outsourced Provider of the Year by Financial Technologies Forum (FTF). — L.Ch
BetaNXT Hires from Broadridge for Head of Sales
BetaNXT, which characterizes itself as the “next wave in wealth management technology and outsourcing solutions,” reports that Dan Ciavarella is joining as head of sales and relationship management. He is a sales and marketing veteran and will report directly to BetaNXT Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Stephen C. Daffron.
“Wealth management firms are on the cusp of a once-in-a-generation growth opportunity. BetaNXT provides an interconnected platform that enables firms to deliver a transformative wealth management experience,” Daffron says in a statement.
Ciavarella was most recently head of sales for the wealth management segment at Broadridge Financial Solutions.
According to a recent World Economic Forum report, “retail investors are seeking more investment advice and would invest more if they could trade on a single platform that offers a simple, consolidated view of their assets with clear, transparent fee structures. To succeed in this new normal, leading firms are seeking an end-to-end, holistic wealth management experience. It’s a remarkably simple objective, with profound implications for the future,” Daffron adds in the statement. — L.Ch
Liquidnet Joins the Sustainable Trading Initiative
Liquidnet, which characterizes itself as a “technology-driven agency execution specialist,” reports that it has become a member of Sustainable Trading, a “non-profit membership network dedicated to transforming environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices within the financial markets trading industry.”
Sustainable Trading “brings firms together to devise practical and sustainable solutions to industry-specific ESG issues as well as providing a mechanism for self-assessment and benchmarking,” according to a statement.
“Liquidnet joins a fast-growing network of financial firms committed to driving positive ESG change in the financial markets trading industry,” Duncan Higgins, founder and CEO of Sustainable Trading, says in the statement. “We look forward to their valuable contributions to the member-led workstreams that are considering ESG challenges and defining industry best practices, on wide-ranging topics from environmental impacts of global trading infrastructures to workplace diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Liquidnet was founded in 1999. Its current network includes “more than 1,000 institutional investors that collectively manage $33 trillion in equity and fixed income assets,” the firm adds. — L.Ch