FinTech news from the SEC & Whistleblowers, Cassini & AcadiaSoft, Profile Software & 7QFS, BMO & Clearpool, AxiomSL & SFTR.
CMA Starts Phase 2 Review of FNZ-GBST Union
A U.K. regulator, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), is moving ahead with a formal investigation into FNZ’s acquisition of GBST Holdings Ltd., following a recent announcement that CMA officials were mulling this next step.
“On 30 March 2020, the CMA decided that it was or may be the case that the following merger has resulted or may be expected to result in a substantial lessening of competition within a market or markets in the United Kingdom,” according to an announcement from CMA, dated April 8.
“Pursuant to section 73A(1) of the Act, Acquirer had until 6 April 2020 to offer an undertaking to the CMA that might be accepted by the CMA under section 73(2) of the Enterprise Act 2004 (the Act),” according to the CMA.
“On 6 April 2020 the Acquirer informed the CMA that it would not be offering any undertakings,” according to the CMA. “The CMA has therefore decided to refer this merger for a phase 2 investigation pursuant to sections 22(1) and 34ZA(2) of the Act.”
FNZ officials will be cooperating with the CMA.
“FNZ notes the CMA’s decision to refer the acquisition of GBST by FNZ to a phase 2 investigation. FNZ looks forward to continuing to work with the CMA to address their concerns,” a spokesperson for FNZ tells FTF News.
CMA adds that the text of this decision will be post to its website at https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases “as soon as is reasonably practicable.”
This Phase 2 investigation follows the recently completed the Phase 1 inquiry that found FNZ and GBST “are close competitors in what is a concentrated market with few other significant suppliers. Smaller or less well-established firms find it difficult to enter or scale up because of the risks and reluctance of customers to change suppliers,” according to a CMA statement.
Whistleblower Gets $27 Million from the SEC
The SEC has awarded more than $27 million to a whistleblower, putting the total amount of its whistleblower rewards program at more than the $400 million, officials say.
The latest recipient “alerted the agency to misconduct occurring, in part, overseas,” according to the SEC. “After providing the tip to the commission, the whistleblower provided critical investigative leads that advanced the investigation and saved significant Commission resources.”
“This award marks several milestones for the program,” says Jane Norberg, chief of the SEC’s office of the whistleblower, in a prepared statement. “This is the largest whistleblower award announced by the Commission this year, and the sixth largest award overall since the inception of the program.”
To date, the SEC has awarded approximately $425 million to 79 individuals over the past eight years.
“All payments are made out of an investor protection fund established by Congress that is financed entirely through monetary sanctions paid to the SEC by securities law violators,” according to the SEC. “No money has been taken or withheld from harmed investors to pay whistleblower awards. … Whistleblower awards can range from 10 percent to 30 percent of the money collected when the monetary sanctions exceed $1 million.”
Here’s a link to report a tip: visit www.sec.gov/whistleblower
Cassini Clients Get Link to AcadiaSoft Platform
Cassini Systems, founded in 2014, a provider of pre- and post-trade margin analytics for the derivatives industry, reports the advent of an initial margin agreement with AcadiaSoft Inc., a provider of risk and collateral management services for non-cleared-derivatives providers.
Under the agreement, Cassini clients now have automated access to AcadiaSoft’s reconciliation platform, Initial Margin Exposure Manager (IMEM).
Cassini clients will have a “one-stop shop for IM requirements across cleared and bilateral over-the-counter … and exchange-traded derivatives transactions,” the vendor says in a statement.
Clients will be able to use the pre-trade analytics to “make key decisions on how best to execute a transaction, as well as forecast and optimize their portfolios,” according to the Cassini statement. “Then, on a fully automated basis, the clients can send Cassini-generated CRIF (Common Risk Interchange Format) end-of-day files to IMEM for reconciliation on the AcadiaPlus platform.”
Acadia’s headquarters are located in Norwell, Mass., with offices in London, New York and Tokyo.
Cyprus Firm Deploys Profile Software Solution
Profile Software, a financial processes provider, reports that 7Q Financial Services (7QFS), a Nicosia, Cyprus-based boutique investment firm that specializes in asset management, has gone live with the Axia wealth and fund management software.
The investment firm will use the Axia system to “comprehensively address its fund management requirements and support its investment activities in the most automated manner,” according to a prepared statement from the vendor.
Officials at 7QFS picked Axia “following a thorough vendor assessment,” according to Profile Software. The Axia platform offers performance and risk analysis tools and support for back-office operations via fund accounting, fees/charges and reconciliation functions.
In particular, 7QFS officials say they will be using Axia’s client portal, dashboard panels and alerts for client service support, according to the vendor.
In its statement, 7QFS spotlights its “diverse client base,” which includes investment and pension funds, insurance companies, and high net worth private investors.
BMO Financial Group Completes Clearpool Acquisition
The Bank of Montreal’s BMO Financial Group reports the completion of its acquisition of Clearpool Group, Inc., which BMO characterizes as a “New York-based provider of holistic electronic trading solutions and an independent agency broker-dealer operating in the U.S. and Canada.”
BMO first announced the acquisition on January 22 of this year.
The statement also points out that Clearpool “continues to be a separate broker-dealer with information barriers to secure clients’ confidential information,” and that the acquisition is “not expected to have a significant impact on the financial results of the bank and will reduce CET1 ratio by approximately 10bps.”
The CET1 ratio is one measure of a bank’s solvency.
During the transaction, BMO Capital Markets acted as financial advisor and Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP acted as legal counsel to BMO.
Financial Technology Partners acted as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis, & Bockius LLP, Murphy & McGonigle and Stikeman Elliott LLP acted as legal counsel to Clearpool.
AxiomSL Launches Solution for Europe’s SFTR Push
AxiomSL, a regulatory reporting and risk management solutions vendor, unveiled an offering to help firms comply with the Securities Financing Transactions Regulation (SFTR) initiative of the European Union to open up the securities financing markets via the reporting of these transactions to a trade repository (TR).
The AxiomSL reporting service helps counterparties manage regulatory data collection, validation, enrichment and submission to relevant TRs and/or regulatory bodies via a single platform, vendor officials say.
“The solution easily integrates with other systems,” according to AxiomSL officials. “Clients, ready to meet the SFTR rules this April now extended deadline to July 2020, will use this extra time to refine their operational processes.”