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Vanguard Embraces Blockchain to Enhance OTC Currency Market: Tech Roundup

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Vanguard teamed with fintech firm Symbiont, Bank of New York Mellon, Franklin Templeton and State Street on a blockchain initiative designed to enhance the over-the counter currency market.

Vanguard is “actively exploring the application of distributed ledger technology (DLT) to foreign-exchange forwards, bringing transparency and workflow efficiencies to” the OTC currency market, it and Symbiont said Tuesday in a joint announcement.

As part of a pilot program, Vanguard has simulated multiple 30-day FX forward contracts with its partners in the initiative – a proof of concept that is “reflective of how the firms would conduct the first test trades of FX forwards on a DLT network in the future,” Vanguard and Symbiont said.

“The current environment emphasizes the need to streamline, automate, and secure critical business processes,” according to Warren Pennington, principal and head of Vanguard’s Investment Management FinTech Strategies Group.

Vanguard has been working with Symbiont since December 2017 to simplify the data management process by leveraging Symbiont’s blockchain platform, Assembly, the companies said.

The pilot initiative is “one of a number of use cases we are looking at in our efforts to modernize trade lifecycles and improve the client experience,” according to Jason Vitale, head of FX at BNY Mellon.

BNY Mellon Partners With Wilshire on Target Date Solution

BNY Mellon Investment Management partnered with Wilshire Associates to launch the BNY Mellon Investment Management Custom Target Date Builder.

“The new advisor platform will provide more choice to the target date fund business that is now dominated by large fund providers,” the companies said in a joint announcement on Tuesday. Retirement plan advisors will now be able to design and build turnkey custom target date solutions, access institutional quality research and glide path management expertise that the firms said were only available via the largest, multi-billion dollar plans in the past.

The BNY Mellon Investment Management Custom Target Date Builder “empowers advisors to provide plan sponsors and plan participants with a new level of customization, scalability and open architecture” target date solutions, the companies said.

Advisors can also now “democratize the solutions available for plan sponsors and combine active and passive in low-cost” mutual funds and Collective Investment Trusts, the firms noted.

The platform also reduces liability for plan sponsors; diminishes investment manager and longevity risk for participants; provides competitive pricing leveraging the efficiencies of the BNY Mellon advisor distribution and Wilshire’s investment and research capabilities; and offers plan-level customization for participants with the potential for better outcomes, they said.

Riskalyze Enhances Its Offerings to Help With Reg Bi Compliance

As the June 30 deadline approaches for advisors to comply with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Regulation Best Interest rules, fintech firm Riskalyze unveiled four enhancements to its product line designed to help them, it said.

The new lineup of compliance-optimized features includes:

  1. Report Attachments: Available in Riskalyze Select, advisors and firm administrators can now ensure that all client-facing printed materials satisfy Reg BI’s disclosure obligation by attaching their Customer Relationship Summary (Form CRS) to client-facing reports, the company said.
  2. New Detailed Portfolio Stats: Available in Riskalyze Elite, Detailed Portfolio Stats is now equipped with new analytics, new widgets to analyze portfolio composition and “additional layers of configuration for drilling into a recommendation,” the firm said.
  3. Tax Intelligent Trading: “Instead of the rigid rules-based framework that traditional rebalancers use, Riskalyze’s proprietary trading optimization engine provides advisors with a detailed analysis of tax liabilities in a trade list, and allows them to intelligently optimize trades for the right combination of target accuracy and minimized tax impact,” the firm said.
  4. Enterprise Cloud: Available for enterprise clients, this new portal “centralizes the deployment of Riskalyze and surfaces configuration, compliance data, and business intelligence to home offices,” it said.

The new features in Riskalyze Select, Riskalyze Elite and Autopilot Trading are being rolled out into all applicable user accounts this month, the company noted. Enterprise Cloud is “being deployed at six enterprise firms, and will be rolled out in phases to eligible enterprise clients,” it said.

Oranj Adds Turnkey Managed Portfolios

Wilshire Associates joined the growing number of asset managers making their mutual funds available on the Oranj model marketplace for financial advisors, the companies said in a joint announcement on Tuesday.

Wilshire Managed Portfolios provide independent broker-dealers and RIAs with “access to the type of investment discipline used by sophisticated institutional investors,” the companies said. Through the turnkey managed portfolios, advisors gain access to Wilshire’s dynamic asset allocation structures, institutional-caliber investment managers and risk management expertise, they said.

The Wilshire Premier Allocation Portfolios offer exposure to various types of asset classes, investment styles and investment managers, the firms said.

Prior to the addition of Wilshire, Oranj said June 16 that Liberty One Investment Management, a solution-focused third-party asset manager, joined the Oranj platform.

Addepar Names Ruchir Swarup CTO

Ruchir Swarup joined Addepar as chief technology officer, the fintech firm announced.

Swarup previously served for 19 years as managing director at BlackRock, where he was responsible for strategy, design and development of post trade capabilities of that firm’s flagship Aladdin platform, Addepar said. He was also a member of BlackRock’s Global Operating Committee.

At Addepar, Swarup will head up all technology teams, including data engineering, platform and product engineering, the firm said.

Addepar now manages data for almost $2 trillion in assets on the platform and serves more than 400 family offices, RIAs and banks, it said.

Broadridge Creates AI-Driven Digital Execution Platform

Broadridge Final Solutions announced that its new artificial intelligence-driven corporate bond trading platform, LTX, executed its first trades.

Broadridge partnered with Jim Toffey, founder of Tradeweb Markets, to create LTX, which the firm said combines powerful AI with a new digital execution protocol that “enables broker-dealers to significantly improve market liquidity, efficiency and execution for their buy-side customers.”

LTX was built on Broadridge’s US Fixed Income post-trade processing platform, which it said processes more than $6 trillion in notional volume per day across 40-plus dealer clients.


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