Technology News
All About technology

FinClear shows ASX its technology can create a new settlement system

0 1


Private companies including Circle In, a parental and caregiver support platform, have started to digitise their shareholder register on the FCX system. It expects to have 30 private companies using it by Christmas, with a pipeline of around 100 including companies managed by several venture capital funds.

At present, private markets operate with no centralised function and investors typically hold share certificates in different places and manage registers with Excel spreadsheets. Mr Ferrall said the system’s efficiencies for private unlisted markets would create a “better experience for corporates to remain private longer”.

No more post-trade

FinClear CEO David Ferrall: “Our technology could be seen as a precursor for solutions to listed markets here in Australia over time.” Kate Geraghty

He also pointed to its ability to settle in real-time, a process known as ‘atomic settlement’, where payment and the change in ownership happen simultaneously in the blockchain, which ‘tokenises’ both share certificates and Australian dollars.

“As soon as you have securities sitting on a distributed ledger and cash sitting on the same ledger, and you want to exchange the security or subscribe for a security, this means you can have atomic settlement – real-time settlement,” he said. “There is no such thing as post-trade anymore.”

With the ASX’s failures to create a new CHESS raising questions about blockchain, Mr Ferrall said FinClear’s project “proves the technology works for the correct implementation” and the “underlying smart contract principles are very sound”.

FinClear’s efforts could provide a blueprint for ASX as it considers a Plan B to replace CHESS, and it hopes to show it to other global equity market operators, many of which have set up ‘sandboxes’ to experiment with alternative clearing and settlement systems.

“Our technology today could be deployed into the European or UK sandboxes. It could also be seen as a precursor for solutions to listed markets here in Australia over time,” he said. “We are not representing today that it could replace CHESS, but it is a demonstration that the technology could be applied to listed markets over time.”

In the United States, Carta has created a similar alternative private market management system, but it is not using distributed ledgers.

FinClear has applied to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for a ‘tier 2’ exchange licence that will allow it to offer peer-to-peer trading of private capital in a secondary market. The FCX platform can be used now to orchestrate a capital raising through a process intermediated by an issuer.

Custody structure

FinClear and its software arranges settlement for around half the public equity market, including the largest retailer broker CommSec. It has around 550,000 end clients and works for around 300 intermediaries, processing billions of dollars in equity trades each year for stockbrokers. It purchased Pershing Australia in 2021.

The technology has allowed FinClear to create a direct-ownership structure for a wealth platform, in contrast to existing wealth platforms like Panorama which use a custody structure, under which the custodian is the beneficial owner of the securities.

FinClear says the FCX system is agnostic to asset class and could be useful for unlisted funds, potentially commodities, or even legal contracts to allow for trading of intellectual property.

Circle In, which creates family-inclusive workplaces for more than 75 companies including Coca-Cola, EY, Atlassian, Ashurst and Xero, said it had been managing its shareholder register on an Excel spreadsheet. Bringing this onto a digital ledger will allow it to improve stakeholder management, and make it easier for its investors to interact with the company in one place, its co-CEO said.

“We see FCX as a unique offering and perfect for a growing company like Circle In, by helping to simplify capital raisings and looking after our investors,” said Circle In co-CEO, Kate Pollard.

“It is important to have a highly secure platform and FCX will take away the daily pain of managing our investor register, and facilitate the administration side of things, while building a community of investors that we can access, along with moving capital raisings into real time.”

Mr Ferrall said it would apply to the private markets the same highly regulated processes it is required to use settling trades in public markets. “We are applying same scrutiny to unlisted markets. The difference is we are creating a token on the distributed ledger, as opposed to showing it in a normal ledger customers might be used to.”

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.