Citi, Credit Suisse, HSBC, R3 and Axoni Develop Reference Data Blockchain

A new blockchain prototype enables buy- and sell-side financial firms to maintain governance of reference data ahead of EMIR.

The R3 blockchain consortium has announced that seven buy-side and sell side firms, including AB (Alliance Bernstein), Citi, Credit Suisse and HSBC, have collaborated with it and Axoni to explore how blockchain technology could streamline reference data processes.

The group recently completed a multi-month proof of concept (PoC) exercise that aimed to build a distributed ledger prototype that can enhance the risk management, cost and efficiency issues inherent in managing financial reference data.

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The prototype was created using Axoni Core to simulate the collaborative management of reference data, as well as the use of that reference data for corporate bond issuance. The technology enabled participants to interact with reference data after issuance, with any proposed changes requiring validation by the underwriter to ensure the ledger provided a single, unchangeable record of all data related to the bond.

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Reference data makes up 40% to 70% of the data used in financial transactions and includes information such as financial product specification, issuer detail, counterparty information, currencies, corporate actions and prices. It requires constant maintenance as reference entity names, counterparties, and securities data change over time. New regulations such as EMIR in Europe and the Dodd-Frank Act in the US have highlighted the need for financial institutions to effectively manage and maintain reference data.

David Rutter, CEO of R3, comments: “Quality of data has become a crucial issue for financial institutions in today’s markets. Unfortunately, their middle and back offices rely on legacy systems and processes – often manual – to manage and repair unclear, inaccurate reference data. Distributed ledger technology – which allows financial institutions to push these functions to a cloud environment – removes the need to reconcile multiple copies of data, providing a sophisticated and agile solution to the headaches currently caused by these legacy systems and processes.”

Thomas Chippas, COO, Axoni
Thomas Chippas,
COO, Axoni

Thomas Chippas, COO of Axoni, comments: ”This project demonstrates distributed ledger technology’s value in financial markets beyond commonly-discussed use cases such as trade settlement and cash movement. A reliable, distributed, synchronized reference data store will eliminate vast amounts of expensive, replicated infrastructure and workflows across industry participants. It was a pleasure to work with R3 and the other participants. We look forward to helping this effort progress.”

“Using Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology as a shared reference data backbone for the industry makes intuitive sense. Our vision is to demonstrate how distributed ledgers applicability can go beyond settlement and help reduce duplicate reference data costs and improve data latency which will ultimate lower costs and reduce operational risks,” said Emmanuel Aidoo, who heads the Distributed Ledger and Blockchain effort at Credit Suisse.

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