Archive: November 28, 2017

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New Technology Targeting U.S. Loan Market in Attempt to Increase Liquidity
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MAS releases “A Guide to Digital Token Offerings”
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UK Government Measures for FinTech – Autumn 2017 Budget

New Technology Targeting U.S. Loan Market in Attempt to Increase Liquidity

By Vanessa Spiro and Susan Altman

Loan market participants may soon be able to use blockchain technology and tokenized cash to achieve swifter settlement of loan trades.  Both Synaps Loans and Finastra plan to introduce new blockchain-based platforms next year. They join the platform created by ClearPar and HIS Markit, which plans to reduce or eliminate wire transfers by promoting tokens that can ultimately be exchanged for cash.

The main objective of the technology is to reduce settlement time. Long settlement times result in costly use of capital and render the market less liquid in the eyes of regulators. The time between the agreement on material terms of the trade and the trade settlement date for syndicated loans is much longer–the median recently was 12 days- than that for other asset classes, such as equities. Several processes, such as implementation of the “delayed compensation” rules to incentivize quick settlement, have attempted to reduce settlement time. However, market protocol requires an exchange of finalized assignment documents among buyer, seller and agent bank, collection of “know-your-customer” information by agent bank, borrower consent, receipt of underlying loan documentation, agent bank verification of loan ownership and transfer of ownership on the loan registry.  Even under the best circumstances there are inadvertent delays, including those caused by blackout dates for amendments and absences by workers processing requests.

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MAS releases “A Guide to Digital Token Offerings”

By Nicholas Hanna and Samantha See

On 14 November 2017, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the “MAS”) released  “A Guide to Digital Token Offerings” providing general guidance on the application of the securities laws administered by the MAS in relation to offers or issues of digital tokens in Singapore.

The main consideration is whether the digital token is designed in a way that would make it a product regulated under Singapore’s securities laws i.e. if it behaves like a share, debenture or some other form of security. If a token does not function like a security, then technically, neither will the security laws apply.

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UK Government Measures for FinTech – Autumn 2017 Budget

By Jonathan Lawrence

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, included three measures in his 2017 Autumn Budget on 22 November of interest to the FinTech industry:

  • Regulators’ Pioneer Fund:  The aim is to help unlock the potential of emerging technologies. The new £10 million fund is designed to help regulators to develop innovative approaches aimed at getting new products and services to market.
  •  Tech Nation:  To secure the position of the UK in digital innovation, the Government will invest £21 million over the next 4 years to expand Tech City UK’s reach – to become ‘Tech Nation’ – and support regional tech companies and start-ups. Tech Nation will roll out a dedicated sector programme for leading UK tech specialisms, including FinTech and Artificial Intelligence. Regional hubs will be located in: Cambridge, Bristol and Bath, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield, Reading, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff.
  • AI: The government plans to create a new Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, to enable safe, ethical, and ground-breaking innovation in AI and data-driven technologies. This advisory body is designed to work with the Government, regulators, and industry to help lay the foundations for AI adoption. The Government will also invest over £75 million to progress key recommendations of the independent review on AI, create new AI fellowships, and provide initial funding for 450 PhD researchers.

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