Capital markets News

Two major asset managers AXA, Union in SocGen tokenization hackathon

societe generale

This week Societe Generale Forge announced the teams selected for its second CAST Challenge Hackathon. The event will explore blockchain and tokenization with Union Investment as a surprise participant. It is one of the top German asset managers with €424 billion in assets under management.

Big French asset manager AXA Investment Managers (AUM €842 billion) is also involved but as a judge alongside ABN AMRO, AXA Investment Managers, Banco Santander, Credit Agricole CIB, and VISA. We’ll return to the asset management angle.

The two tasks for the hackathon are to explore on-chain settlement as delivery versus payment, and to develop smart contracts that use standards developed by ISDA, ISLA, ICMA, and ANNA. 

Apart from Union Investment, the other teams are all startups. We’ve previously written about Obligate (formerly FQX), the Swiss firm helping companies issue bonds and commercial paper on blockchain. Its backers include the Swiss stock exchange SIX and stablecoin issuer Circle.

The other hackathon participants are Cadmos, Ceres Advisory, FeverTokens, Kaiko, Quantoz and We fundia.

The CAST name is based on the CAST Framework developed by Societe Generale Forge for tokenization.

Asset managers embrace tokenization

Perhaps it should not be a surprise that Union is a participant. It is one of the most prolific investors in digital bond issuances. It bought the entire €100 million issuance of the first European Investment Bank (EIB) digital bond that used SocGen Forge’s blockchain platform. 

Both asset managers invested in the second EIB digital bond. Union also invested in the Siemens digital bond. And there’s a pattern amongst asset managers expanding their interest in blockchain. 

Schroders invested in the third EIB bond and is now involved in trials in Singapore with fund distribution platform Calastone for using public blockchain for fund tokenization.

For asset managers, there’s a vast array of tokenization options. They can invest in one-off digital securities. They can issue tokenized funds. But Calastone believes the true benefits come when all the assets within the fund are tokenized enabling many of the fund administration processes to be automated as well as new opportunities such as personalization.

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