Editors’ Choice Awards 2023: Asset Servicing Partnership of the Year shortlist

One of our most popular categories of late, Global Custodian takes an in-depth look at the nominees for the Asset Servicing Partnership of the Year award.

By Editors

BNP Paribas – CACEIS 

An example of true collaboration and partnership among custodians, it was announced last year that BNP Paribas and CACEIS were planning to create a specialist joint venture offering issuer services.   

Named Uptevia, the initiative launched officially in January 2023 focusing initially on France but with pan-European ambitions. 

The joint venture offers a wide range of services including shareholder recordkeeping, organising and centralising general meetings, setting up and centralising financial operations, and managing employee shareholding plans as well as similar services for fixed income products. 

At present, CACEIS and BNP Paribas between them facilitate some 800 AGMs a year. The joint venture aims to service some 1,000 AGMs in 2023.    

When the service was first announced in 2022, the two organisations said they expected to contribute between 150 and 175 staff to the new venture – which will be owned equally by the two institutions. 

The initiative is certainly getting some air time during conversations among European securities services initiatives who appear to be intrigued by the partnership. 

Digital Asset – Goldman Sachs 

Digital Asset’s relationship with Goldman Sachs dates back a few years but the last 12 months have seen the partnership truly come to life, hence their inclusion on this list. 

In January this year, Goldman Sachs issued the first fully digital bond on a private blockchain through its GS DAP digital asset platform, developed using Digital Asset’s Daml smart contract language and Canton, the firm’s privacy-enabled blockchain.   

Digital Asset ensured that data is only shared with entitled stakeholders with its privacy protocols, while Daml platforms capture the full complexity of rights, obligations, and cash flows throughout the lifecycles of assets.  

“The past few years have been transformational for blockchain ecosystems, with the technology’s ability to solve real problems for financial institutions being validated,” said Yuval Rooz, co-founder and CEO at Digital Asset, in January.    

“Goldman Sachs has taken the right approach to tokenisation and the underlying blockchain technologies necessary to support this new market. As an early adopter of the technology, Goldman Sachs is paving the way for the future of financial services. We are excited this platform has reached the market and look forward to its continued evolution.”  

Goldman Sachs is one of a number of Digital Asset clients that have gone into production with Daml-based DLT solutions, but the standout from the past 12 months for our editorial judging panel. 

HSBC – Clearstream 

When HSBC announced that it had appointed Clearstream as its partner for administering investment fund activities for fund order routing, safekeeping, settlement and distribution support services, we knew it was a big deal. However, as the months have gone on, it’s a testament to just how much of a significant partnership the agreement is. 

For Clearstream,  it adds another global custodian to its client list which has expanded following a series of investments into its fund services in recent years. Clearstream Fund Centre provides centralised contract maintenance and commission management as well as the exchange of data and information between distribution partners and fund providers. Vestima, Clearstream’s investment fund processing infrastructure, enables processing of all types of funds on a single platform.   

A year ago, JP Morgan announced it would use Clearstream’s Vestima fund processing platform for unlisted managed funds and hedge funds in Australia and New Zealand. 

For HSBC, the collaboration presents a great opportunity to simplify its global post-trade operations and adopt highly-touted digitised solutions. 

At the time of announcement in October 2022, Philippe Seyll, chief executive officer of Clearstream Fund Centre, said: “We are delighted to be collaborating with HSBC in this partnership, which will create high operational synergies and optimise the mutual growth of our funds business. HSBC and its wide and diverse institutional client base stand to benefit from our proven infrastructure, which is recognised for its extremely high levels of asset safety and distribution services capability. We welcome HSBC to our ever-growing community of global custodian clients.”  

State Street – FundGuard  

State Street selected AI-powered SaaS platform FundGuard in October 2022 to serve as a strategic accounting solution for Alpha, its front-to-back solution.  

The custodian was already one of a number of investors which participated in a $40 million Series B funding round for FundGuard back in April of that year. 

The FundGuard accounting solution was integrated for straight through processing from portfolio management and trading in the Charles River Investment Management Solution through to custody and administration. A co-engineered technology-only solution that spans front office and accounting capabilities will also be natively available within the platform for Charles River clients. 

“FundGuard has created a leading next generation multi-book accounting engine and we are excited to work with them as a strategic partner within the Alpha platform to better serve our clients,” said John Plansky, head of State Street Alpha, at the time. 

“Accounting services are a fundamental pillar of Alpha, and embedding FundGuard’s capabilities into our platform will provide clients with the critical data they need to transact and better understand the performance of their investments.”   

The start-up has resonated with the securities services industry in its relatively short lifespan, landing asset manager, fund administration and custody bank clients while launching its enhanced investment accounting solution which included support for digital assets.  

The outfit was selected as one of Global Custodian’s Fintechs to Shape the Future of Securities Services, towards the end of 2022.