SWIFT announced it’s involved in a blockchain project for sharing data about corporate actions such as dividends, stock splits, and rights issues. The trial involves seven securities organizations, including American Century Investments, Citi, Vanguard and Northern Trust, using the Assembly enterprise blockchain from Symbiont.
Vanguard is a long-standing Symbiont client, and Citi is a Symbiont investor.
The challenge with corporate actions is the multiple participants between the stock and the investor, including central securities depositories (CSDs), local and global custodians and asset managers. Creating a golden record of corporate actions that is shared should reduce discrepancies.
Apart from the 11,000-strong SWIFT payments network which is essentially a messaging network, SWIFT has two messaging standards, ISO 15022 used for securities settlement and asset servicing, and the broader ISO 20022. For the corporate actions the data is standardized using the SWIFT Translator and then written to Symbiont’s blockchain.
“If the solution proves successful, intermediaries would need to field fewer queries from clients about corporate action data. It also means global custodians and asset managers could reduce the number of people who spend their time manually scrubbing corporate action data,” said Tom Zschach, Chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT.
Symbiont has a range of banking and capital markets solutions, including for mortgages, asset-backed securities, index data and FX derivatives margin calculations. A year ago, it won a $71m victory in a legal case against IHS Markit, the owner of IPREO, a former Symbiont joint venture partner.
Meanwhile, SWIFT has extended its blockchain experiments. It’s interested in playing a similar role as it does today by creating a network for cross border digital currency payments and has been involved in interoperability experiments. It has also been involved in trials for tokenized assets.