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ASX Deputy CEO Hiom departs to focus on blockchain

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Today the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) announced that Deputy CEO Peter Hiom is leaving on July 1. He wants to focus on fintech and blockchain and hence will be joining investment firm Motive Partners. Hiom led the distributed ledger technology (DLT) project to replace the ASX CHESS settlement system, which is due to go live in April 2023.

ASX was ahead of the game when in 2016, it decided to adopt blockchain for the CHESS replacement. It partnered with startup Digital Asset, at the time headed by JP Morgan veteran Blythe Masters, who is now a partner at Hiom’s new employer Motive Partners. Masters is also CEO of MOTV.U a special acquisition vehicle (SPAC) launched in December 2020 with $414 million to spend on the fintech sector.

The stock exchange emphasized that responsibility for the delivery and governance of ASX’s CHESS replacement continues with Tim Hogben. He was with the project from the start and took over day-to-day management when the project entered the delivery phase in October 2020.

“ASX has a long history of innovation in financial markets and it has been a privilege to have been part of its journey,” said Hiom. “These are exciting times in global financial markets and I look forward to continuing to play a part in shaping the industry’s future.”

It’s fair to say that the ASX went up a learning curve, not just for technology but especially about governance and how incumbents react to innovation. Although, in some ways, the ASX solution is not disruptive, it removes inefficiencies, which some companies make a business out of addressing. That particularly applies to shareholder registrars. ComputerShare and others have repeatedly voiced objections, including with the competition authorities.