Editors’ Choice Awards 2023: Fintech of the Year shortlist

One of the most exciting award categories of Leaders in Custody, Global Custodian takes an in-depth look at the nominees for the Fintech of the Year award. 

By Editors


FundGuard, the fintech aiming to revolutionise investment funds technology with a next generation AI-powered platform, kicked off 2022 by announcing a $40 million series B investment round – backed by Citi and State Street – and continued to deliver milestones over the 12 months following.  

Partnerships with SIX, Confluence Technologies and State Street followed, to cement FundGuard’s place as a start-up which continues to resonate with the securities services industry. 

Along with a handful of new asset manager, fund administration and custody bank customers, FundGuard has also launched its enhanced investment accounting solution, including support for digital assets; and partnered with Ultimus on a NAV contingency solution. 

The State Street deal stood out to our judging panel as the most significant milestone of the past 12 months – earning it a spot in our Partnership of the Year category also. The FundGuard accounting solution will be integrated for straight through processing from portfolio management and trading in the State Street-owned 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. “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.”   



It appears the ambitions of HQLAx show no sign of slowing down with another year of achievements and milestones. After some years of fund raising, this has certainly been a year of delivering projects and results for the fintech looking to improve collateral mobility among tri-party agents and custodians. 

In July 2022, BNY Mellon and Goldman Sachs completed the industry’s first agency securities lending transactions using the HQLA distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform. 

Through the transaction, HQLAx created ISIN-level securities trackers called Digital Collateral Records (DCRs) from loaned securities it received from BNY Mellon, giving Goldman Sachs a digital copy of those trades. HQLAx claimed the ISIN-level DCRs are the first of their kind, representing specific ISIN quantities held in custody. Those records will enable holders and agents to transfer ownership of any security on the HQLAx distributed ledger, without the need for conventional settlement mechanisms.    

In the following months, the start-up then partnered with Wematch to enhance the mobility of collateral assets in securities finance transactions for mutual clients. Alongside Wematch – and working with JP Morgan and Ownera - HQLAx then completed a successful trial of executing a delivery-versus-payment (DvP) repo transaction across two different DLT platforms.   

The trial demonstrated how rights to securities, recorded in digital collateral records on the HQLAx ledger, and digital cash, recorded at JP Morgan, could be recorded and transferred using two different DLT platforms.   



Another fintech that earns more plaudits with each passing year, Proxymity continues to take the industry by storm.  

In case you didn’t know, Proxymity – the digital proxy voting outfit – connects the world’s ecosystem of issuers, intermediaries, and investors digitally in real time, bringing transparency, efficiency, and accuracy to traditional paper-based processes. 

Over the past 12 months, the fintech has seen some of the largest custodians in the market roll out its service across the world. These include State Street, BNY Mellon and Citi, while Clearstream and FIS, also rolled out similar initiatives.

Some of the results across Australia, South Africa and the UK have been astonishing, with the platform now in use at over 60% of FTSE 100 firms with regards to the latter. In addition, the platform has been adopted by 52% of the wider FTSE 350.   

Proxymity’s team keeps growing, as does its client base and investors, as co-founders Jonathan Smalley and Dean Little keep seeing their Vote Connect platform rolled out in numerous markets and earn the aforementioned plaudits aplenty on the way. 



Led by co-founders Gabino Roche and Stephen Roche, Saphyre is enabling market participants to assess risk faster and speed the onboarding process by eliminating inefficiencies in the booking, confirmation, and settlement process – an offer that has resonated with asset managers, brokers, custodians and administrators alike. 

The start-up claims to eliminate 70-75% of redundant or inefficient post-trade activities. Saphyre digitises all pre-trade data and documents, eliminating redundant manual processes and allowing for secure, expedited access to data throughout the trade lifecycle. 

Subsequently, the fintech has now partnered or collaborated with Citi, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, JP Morgan, Northern Trust, Standard Chartered and Societe Generale on the custody side, and the likes of Franklin Templeton, Legal & General Investment Management and American Century Investments on the buy-side. 

All three of those asset managers came on board over the past 12 months, while there were also developments with around half of the custodians mentioned above.  

Throughout the year, there has also been significant developments on the platform – including allowing for legal agreements to be digitally amended parallel to onboarding, while Saphyre also revealed that it is now being used by its clients to bring integration and transparency to securities lending. 

Alongside the launches have been hires and funding rounds which also underline the success story of the brothers who launched the start-up out of New Jersey.