Asset manager AllianceBernstein (AB) announced it is integrating blockchain technology across its EU domiciled-global platform through a partnership with Allfunds Blockchain. Alliance Bernstein had $735 billion in assets under management at the end of March. Its sister company is Equitable Life and Equitable Holdings owns almost two-thirds of the firm. Meanwhile, Allfunds Blockchain is part of the listed Allfunds (Market cap €4.5bn/$4.7bn) fund distribution company.
“Across multiple departments at AB and in partnership with Equitable Holdings, we underwent a deep exploration of the value that the blockchain technology unlocks,” said Ronit Walny, Head of AllianceBernstein’s Investment Innovation Center.
She continued, “We anticipate that this technology will be transformative to the asset management industry, uncovering significant transactional efficiencies and enhanced transparency as well as operational agility that makes investment solutions available to a broader investor base.”
Allfunds, which administers almost $1.5 trillion in funds, launched its blockchain subsidiary in 2020. To date, it has mainly announced activities in Spain. These include its FAST solution for funds transfer. Apart from enabling speedier transfer, if there’s a single source of truth for a transaction, it reduces the risks of rejection and errors and enables enhanced monitoring.
AB’s reference to enabling a broader investor base may be a nod to the Allfunds fund tokenization project. A year ago, it partnered with Spanish asset manager Renta 4 Banco to tokenize funds as part of Spain’s Regulatory Sandbox. And earlier this year, it announced it had processed its first live transactions.
The tokenization solution uses smart contracts for the entire process, including tokenizing fund issuance, distribution, settlement and registration of fund participants. Allfunds uses the Ethereum enterprise blockchain Quorum and has a partnership with ConsenSys, the Ethereum development house.
Blockchain for fund administration, distribution
Another large fund administrator, Apex, has made a big splash in blockchain in the last few months. It took a major stake in FundAdminChain and also partnered with Blockchain.com Asset Management. The first big fund distribution platform to adopt blockchain was Carlyle-owned Calastone. And blockchain solution FundsDLT is backed by the Clearstream, Credit Suisse Asset Management, and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.