Northern Trust is to transfer its distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform for private equity (PE) asset servicing to Broadridge, in whatv he companies says is a significant step towards delivering an industry-wide PE blockchain solution.
Following the agreement, Broadridge will develop the platform leveraging blockchain technology developed by Northern Trust. The technology will provide data and analytics tools connecting the complex PE lifecycle for all market participants. Through the platform, PE firms can manage, communicate and engage with investors with greater efficiency. It enhances capital and cash flow management (capital calls, investments, divestments and distributions) and automates the middle office functions for PE.
“The alternatives/PE marketplace is expanding rapidly, and the technology needs of this evolving marketplace are underserved,” says Eric Bernstein, Broadridge’s head of asset management solutions. “Broadridge’s unique position as a network enabler, and successful record in utilising blockchain technology, will allow us to help transform the private equity industry. This is another example of Broadridge’s commitment to driving the innovation roadmap for the financial services industry and has the potential to be a real game changer.”
Initially the solution will be made available to all PE funds domiciled in Guernsey and Delaware, including those administered by Northern Trust. Northern Trust’s PE clients will continue to benefit from the fund administrator’s high-end service and expertise, with the added benefit of having access to an industry-leading platform supported by a global leader in financial technology.
“Northern Trust pioneered the development of blockchain technology that supports the complex PE lifecycle. The platform delivers real-time insight and transparency to all parties, including fund managers, investors and auditors, and enables regulatory access when required,” says Pete Cherecwich (pictured), President of Corporate & Institutional Services, Northern Trust. “For the benefit of our clients and the industry as a whole, it’s now time to hand over the reins to a technology provider with deep FinTech expertise. Broadridge’s administrator-agnostic position, coupled with its DLT leadership and global footprint, make them an ideal firm to open up this innovative technology to the marketplace, paving the way for the digitalisation of the asset class.”
Broadridge plans to further develop and expand the private equity solution, delivering new capabilities across the lifecycle. With a focus on increasing efficiency in the market and providing real business value to clients, this blockchain solution has the potential to benefit the financial services industry by improving transparency, streamlining business processes, eliminating manual reconciliations, and reducing costs. This latest application of blockchain builds on Broadridge’s series of successful blockchain/DLT initiatives, including a proxy vote pilot in conjunction with Northern Trust and other institutions, and a bilateral repurchase solution pilot.
Northern Trust launched the industry’s first deployment of blockchain technology for the private equity market in 2017. Working in partnership with key clients and regulators, Northern Trust continued to innovate and implement additional capabilities, including an automated ‘end-to-end’ capital call process, real-time audit of PE lifecycle events directly from the blockchain, and deploying legal clauses as smart contracts – streamlining the traditionally document heavy process. Northern Trust has secured four US patents for its blockchain innovations.