The funds industry is looking at adopting new types of technology, from automation to ESG reporting, blockchain and tokenisation. A FundsTech roundtable in March explored how these will revolutionise the sector.
AJ Harper (Head of sustainable finance, ETFs and asset managers, Euroclear)
Luc Falempin (CEO, Tokeny Solutions)
Alexander Stevens (CEO, Greenomy)
Petra Roche (Client relations and projects, Metrosoft)
FundsTech – Where has digital transformation been the most evident in the industry over the past year or so, and what’s been driving this?
AJ Harper, Euroclear – We are looking closely at how to create dashboard views into the underlying data that constitutes people’s ownership of investment products. Dashboards have been around for quite some time, so the innovation is not in the dashboard itself. Rather, the innovation is in all the data structuring that happens from the point of sale, perhaps at an institution that has a high-net-wealth client in Chile and then moves into an ETF via the market exchange, then goes through a financial market infrastructure such as Euroclear and ends up at an issuer.
Petra Roche, Metrosoft – If you look at the pandemic, Covid-19 has probably removed the traditional barriers to digital transformation. Financial services institutions that have historically struggled with their digital transformation journey were able to identify gaps in their technologies and respond quickly to close them. The pandemic has just highlighted where those gaps are.
I was impressed by how quickly financial institutions in Luxembourg, for example, have gone from scarcely imagining their employees working from home to transitioning tens of thousands of employees to a remote working model. And doing that with a large percentage of their workforce abroad in Germany, France or Belgium.
Luc Falempin, Tokeny Solutions – We saw many large groups changing their priorities. Digital became the top priority and tech became an enabler. There was a realisation that a shift was possible and needed. It accelerated our business.
Also, we saw a different kind of demand from the end investors because they want more transparency. When everything becomes digital, you want to get more data, visualise it and know exactly who is doing what to make sure you put your money in the right place.
Alexander Stevens, Greenomy – Digital transformation has been most evident in the field of environmental, social and governance (ESG) innovation. The challenges are the lack of ESG data and the necessity of putting in place technologies that can potentially help generate proxies and capture raw data to generate the mandatory ESG reporting. For us at Greenomy, this is the field we are experts in. We are an innovator and a tech provider focusing specifically on ESG.
We have a market infrastructure approach where we are partnering up with other innovators and established players. Everyone has their niche, and by bringing all together, we can generate much more added value for the entire market.