Natixis Completes First Transaction on Blockchain Platform: Tech Roundup

•Natixis successfully completes transaction on FundsDLT blockchain platform
•Best app award goes to Bank of America
•Brown Brothers Harriman creates fintech position
•Aussie regulators rule on non-bank ‘bank’, non-bank fights back and wins

Natixis Asset Management announced on Wednesday that investors have successfully purchased shares on its blockchain-based fund distribution platform, FundsDLT.

FundsDLT was developed with help from InTech, KPMG Luxembourg and Fundsquare, a subsidiary of the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

Investors can purchase shares through the FundsDLT mobile app, which transmits the order to the platform and all involved parties. The transfer agent, CACEIS, approves or declines the transaction, which initiates the clearing and settlement process.

Blockchain can be particularly useful for asset managers in Europe, where cross-border fund transactions must comply with the Undertakings for the Collective Investment of Transferable Securities framework, Moody’s wrote in a sector note on July 4. Furthermore, as of January 2018, European asset managers will have to comply with the revised Markets in Financial Instruments Directive, or MiFID II, which requires that they make sure investment products meet their clients’ needs.

“The common repository of identities shared among market participants will facilitate compliance in areas such as Anti-Money Laundering (AML)/Know Your Client (KYC), and will remove the duplication of work between the entities carrying out these tasks,” Moody’s wrote.

(Related: Synaps Successfully Tests Blockchain Loan Servicing: Tech Roundup)

S&P Global Market Intelligence ranked Bank of America’s mobile app as the best among 28 retail banks’ offerings based on the number of features offered and their popularity among consumers.

Features like balance and fraud alerts, person-to-person payments and fingerprint login were common among all the apps in the ranking. Bank of America distinguished itself by being one of only a few banks to offer budgeting tools, credit score tracking and cardless ATM access in the app.

One feature it doesn’t offer (along with all but three of the other banks) is picture bill pay, which lets consumers add payees to their account by taking a picture of a bill. BBVA Compass was the only bank in the top five to offer that feature.

Wells Fargo’s mobile app was the second best, according to S&P’s ranking. Ally Bank, which only operates online, came in ninth.

S&P noted that as interest rates rise, mobile apps will be an important tool for banks trying to keep deposit costs low. “Well-designed mobile apps could help banks hold onto core deposits in what is likely to be an increasingly competitive environment for such funding,” the agency wrote in a statement.

(Related: Redtail Ditches 'One-Star' App for New Mobile Experience)

Brown Brothers Harriman created a new position to unite the bank’s data and technology solutions. Michael McGovern will serve as the new head of investor services fintech offerings, the bank announced in late June. McGovern was previously chief information officer and head of systems for BBH.

"BBH's focus on asset managers and financial institutions means that a lot of what we develop for ourselves to achieve efficient, scalable and compliant cross-border operations is directly relevant to clients,” McGovern said in a statement. “Clients can use these innovations as their own, whether or not they also use BBH for financial or business process outsourcing services. This is a great time and a great opportunity to help clients achieve their strategic objectives with digital and data solutions." 

Geoffrey Cook, partner responsible for BBH Fintech, noted that many asset managers look for efficiencies in their middle-office operations. However, “if the real objective is transformation, asset managers will want to go beyond an organizational construct that was developed before automation and big data. Mike's experience applying information technology across the borders of front, middle and back offices is rare and differentiated. It's the kind of competence our forward-thinking clients can put to use with today's new and emerging technologies.” 

(Related: What Financial Firms Can Learn From the Geek Squad)

An Australian equity crowdfunding intermediary that used the word “bank” in its name was challenged by regulators over potential confusion to consumers.

The Australian Financial Review reported on Monday that the Australian Prudential and Regulation Authority had refused to approve the crowdfunder’s name, Bankrolla. Authorities argued the name could confuse consumers who would think the firm provided typical banking services.

The firm turned to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, which overturned APRA’s refusal with more than a little disdain for the regulator’s concern. The tribunal’s deputy president, Stephen Frost, noted that the word “bankroller” is “not suggestive of banking activity,” and its “somewhat playful adaptation 'bankrolla' even less so," The Australian Financial Review reported.

"Only the quite unusually stupid would think a business with that name satisfies the same level of capital adequacy, depositor priority and other prudential requirements that apply to [authorized deposit-taking institutions]," Frost said, according to the publication.

--- Read Targeting US, Mobile Ransomware Follows the Money: Kaspersky on ThinkAdvisor. 

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