Press Release: EquiChain - A global capital markets infrastructure platform to drive market efficiency and improve global investor access in emerging and frontier markets
AL, February 15, 2017 at 13:43 BST
A working distributed ledger technology-based solution built by senior capital markets practitioners
EquiChain, a London-based Fintech company with an Asia regional office in Hong Kong, announces its working prototype for capital markets. The company plans to implement a full end-to-end pilot in 2017, positioning EquiChain to deliver the full potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The company also announces the closing of its initial funding round, secured from its board members, advisors and close stakeholders.
EquiChain has already established an impressive coalition of active supporters, including top global asset managers such as Henderson Global Investors and Legal & General Investment Management. Reflecting its focus on enhancing the investment viability of emerging and frontier markets, beginning with the Middle East, EquiChain is also supported by the Abu Dhabi Global Market, Bahrain Bourse, and Qatar Stock Exchange.
To ensure EquiChain’s capital markets platform maximises its potential in the years ahead, the company has established two industry working groups, one focusing on Institutional Investors, the other on Market Infrastructure. These working groups bring together thought leaders from across the industry to ensure an effective and considered development of the platform while embracing current and future regulatory requirements.
Nicholas Bone, EquiChain’s Founder & CEO said: “The current securities transaction lifecycle is complex, costly, time-consuming and fraught with risk. EquiChain will use DLT to redefine securities transaction flows creating a full end-to-end capability. EquiChain’s core platform is an independent, flexible foundational technology that allows incumbent market participants to redefine their roles in the industry. EquiChain creates a verifiable, transparent and immutable flow of information, facilitating direct interaction and enabling the streamlining of market processes. EquiChain’s innovation will catalyse industry collaboration to define a new capital markets operating model.”
Bone continued: “Blockchain is particularly relevant for emerging and frontier markets, which are often perceived by foreign investors as being higher risk, while typically having less cumbersome existing infrastructure to accommodate. DLT gives such markets the opportunity to leapfrog existing solutions to deliver greater efficiency, liquidity, and ease of access.”
EquiChain is also notable for its world class board which includes Peter Sands, former Group CEO of leading international bank, Standard Chartered plc, and Chief Technology Officer Hugh Madden, co-founder of one of the largest blockchain solutions providers in the industry, ANX International.
The EquiChain advisory board benefits from the deep experience of Markus Ruetimann, former Group COO of global asset manager, Schroders plc. EquiChain has also engaged Professor Eva Micheler, Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics, whose work focuses on the infrastructure underpinning financial markets. Sonia Rossetti, a banker and Chair of SWIFT UK National Member will bring her expertise in establishing industry standards, product development and a governance culture to EquiChain.
Peter Sands said: “The hype phase of blockchain is over. Now it’s time to deploy workable solutions that deliver tangible business benefits.”
Markus Ruetimann, Senior Advisor, commented: “Accessing frontier and emerging markets poses many operational challenges. EquiChain's solutions will make investing, trade tracking and data flows much more efficient and robust. This will make these markets more accessible for investment, whilst reinforcing local infrastructure.”
Hugh Madden said “EquiChain’s working prototype is a hybrid system which consolidates the currently siloed functions of a securities transaction such as an asset manager, custodian, broker, exchange and Central Securities Depository. EquiChain also allows the direct interaction and the exchange of value between market participants, without the current need for multiple touchpoints and the inefficient interaction of different systems. EquiChain’s use of cryptographic signatures reduces counterparty risk and prevents fraud, making blockchain- based transfers safer than other alternatives.”
Madden will serve as Chief Technology Officer and lead the technical direction of EquiChain. He brings 17 years of experience in developing and managing institutional and retail financial technology operations, in addition to designing low latency trading platform architecture.
Bone said: “To the best of our knowledge EquiChain is the most developed solution bringing the benefits of DLT to capital markets. We are thrilled by the positive support for EquiChain received so far from leading global asset managers, infrastructure and regulators. This is also a testament to EquiChain’s unrivaled management and technology teams, and our world-class advisory board.”
Amanda Tung, EquiChain
Will Swan, Powerful Ideas In Action
For more details, please visit equichain.com.
Distributed ledger technology - sometimes known as ‘blockchain’ – is a combination of cryptography and peer-to-peer technologies to create a robust, decentralised platform for processing payments and other transactions.
Founded in 2015 by CEO Nicholas Bone, EquiChain is a London-based Fintech with an Asia regional office in Hong Kong. The EquiChain management team comprises globally recognised industry veterans from finance and technology backgrounds. The core team unites seasoned senior professionals with expertise across business lines and institutions from shop floors to executive suite.
Blockchain & financial markets
Blockchain is seen by many in the financial services sector as having significant potential. 80% of banks are predicted to initiate blockchain technology by 2017. Blockchain technology firms have seen over USD1.4 billion of venture capital investments over the past 3 years, and over 90 central banks are engaged in blockchain discussions worldwide. (Source: WEForum)
In the capital markets space, blockchain technology has the potential to provide many benefits across financial supply chains for both buy-side and sell-side firms as well as custodians and CSDs. Including:
- Reduced settlement time, potentially to real time settlement of trades and real time confirmation.
- Standardising data requirements to improve efficiency of clearing processes
- Reducing counterparty risk through automated validation
- Reduced operational risk through reduced manual errors
In turn, practical and real applications of blockchain technology that address real world issues with current financial services processes and infrastructure have the potential to create greater financial system stability, regulatory transparency, and access to capital markets by a wider range of firms and corporations.
EquiChain’s Management Team
Nicholas Bone founded EquiChain in 2015 and currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer. He has 20 years’ global banking expertise spanning operations, product development, network management, sales and relationship management, with a specialism in emerging markets. Bone is known as a thought-leader and strategic thinker on capital markets and post-trade securities services, from his broad experiences across transaction, investment and central banking. He has previously served at the Bank of England, Deutsche Bank, BNY Mellon and most recently at Standard Chartered plc as an executive director. Bone was a member of the ISSA working group on DLT and was a judge on SWIFT’s Innotribe 2016 DLT Challenge. He is widely considered to be the one of the most high-profile senior bankers to willingly walk away from a banking role and into fintech.
Hugh Madden joined as the Chief Technology Officer to oversee and manage the technical direction of EquiChain. Madden is a financial markets and systems-security professional with 17 years’ experience. He has broad expertise in developing and managing institutional/retail financial industry technology operations, in addition to designing low latency trading platform architecture. Madden is also a successful serial entrepreneur. He co-founded ANX International, one of the largest blockchain solutions players in the industry, employing over 100 staff members and supporting over 3 million users in 50+ countries. Madden has been invited to speak to institutions, industry and regulatory bodies worldwide to share his insightful perspectives on DLT, including Goldman Sachs, PwC, Hong Kong Institute of Bankers, the World Islamic Banking Forum and London Blockchain Week.
EquiChain’s Advisory Board
Peter Sands, Board Director and Principal Advisor was Group Chief Executive of Standard Chartered plc from November 2006 to June 2015. He joined the Board of Standard Chartered plc as Group Finance Director in May 2002, responsible for Finance, Strategy, Risk and Technology and Operations. Prior to this, Peter was Director and Senior Partner at worldwide consultants McKinsey & Co. Before joining McKinsey, Peter worked for the United Kingdom’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Peter has served on various boards and commissions, including as a Director of the World Economic Forum and Co-Chairman of Davos, Governor of the United Kingdom’s National Institute for Economic and Social Research, Member of the International Advisory Board of the Monetary Authority of Singapore, Member of the Browne Commission on Higher Education Funding in the United Kingdom, Member of the China People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign People’s Global CEO Council, Co-Chair of the UK-India CEO Forum, Board Director of the Institute of International Finance, Chairman of the International Monetary Conference, Member of the International Advisory Board of Lingnan University, China, Trustee of the Camden Roundhouse, London. Peter is currently a Senior Fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at Harvard Kennedy School, where he is working on a range of research projects in financial markets and regulation, fintech and global health.
Markus H Ruetimann, Senior Advisor: Markus was Group Chief Operating of Schroders plc from 2004 to 2016. His global responsibilities included information technology, information security, institutional portfolio services, fund services, data services and change management. Prior executive positions included Global Head of Technology & Portfolio Services at UBS Global Asset Management (1999 - 2004) and COO of Phillips & Drew (1988 - 1998). Based in Zurich, Geneva, New York and London (current), Markus is well known to the financial services industry, having contributed to various market initiatives over many years.
Advising the Board on strategic matters, Markus will draw on his extensive experience in industry segments such as global asset management, wealth management and asset servicing.
Professor Eva Micheler, Senior Independent Advisor (pro bono) is an Associate Professor of Law at the London School of Economics (LSE). Intermediated securities and holding and transfer systems have been a significant focus of her work, which has been cited by the UK Supreme Court and the Austrian Oberster Gerichtshof. She recently advised the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills on questions relating to intermediated shareholdings. She is an active member of several committees and boards including the Investor Protection and Intermediaries Standing Committee at the European Securities Markets Authority (ESMA), the management committee of the Systemic Risk Centre at LSE and the board of the Institute of Central and East European Business Law in Vienna. Eva has written widely on corporate and comparative law and contributes regularly to Gower and Davies' Principles of Modern Company Law and to Gore-Browne on Companies.
In addition to her work at the LSE, she is also an ausserordentlicher Universitätsprofessor at the University of Economics in Vienna and teaches regularly at Bucerius Law School in Hamburg. Prior to joining the LSE Law Department, Eva studied law at the University of Vienna and at the University of Oxford, where she was a TMR fellow at Oxford's Faculty of Law.
Sonia Rossetti, Independent Advisor, is a Managing Director, Corporate Affairs, Brand and Marketing for Standard Chartered plc, prior to this she was an MD in their Global Transaction Banking business. Responsible for capital and balance sheet management for Transaction Banking, having led the Product groups in over 45 markets globally across Asia, Africa, Middle East, Americas and Europe, managing Transaction Banking working capital capabilities and solutions across cash management, trade finance for corporate clients, securities services and correspondent banking for financial institution clients. Prior to this, she has served at ABN AMRO and RBS and held positions in Relationship Management, Sales, Product Management and Operations across areas of Cash Management, Card Services, Trade and Securities Services. Sonia has over 25 years of experience in leading major infrastructure developments in payment services and channels, integration and divestment of businesses in a number of geographies and regulatory engagement globally. Sonia has been actively involved in the City of London RMB initiative and represented SCB on various forums in the development of RMB.
In 2016 Sonia became the Chair of SWIFT UK National Member Group and SWIFT UK board Chair.
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