Securities services veteran joins digital asset custodian as advisor

A growing number of custody executives are leaving the industry to help assist aspiring digital asset custody providers targeting institutional investors.

By Jonathan Watkins

Custody industry veteran, Colin Brooks, has joined a digital asset custodian’s advisory board three months after leaving his role at Standard Chartered. 

Brooks becomes the latest in a string of high-profile securities services executives to leave the custody world and venture into the digital asset space, a sector intent on adding experienced financial services professionals to its ranks.  

He joins the advisory board of Hex Trust, a provider of bank-grade custody for digital assets, and will focus on helping the organisation scale its banking and financial institutional client base across Asia and Europe. 

Colin’s experience and guidance will be invaluable to its expansion and to ensure Hex Trust continues to build the industry’s leading platform for bank-grade digital asset custody,” Hex Trust said in a statement. 

Brooks – who was named a GC Legend last year– joined Standard Chartered in 2015 when the bank was undertaking a strategic review of its securities services business.   

Following the appointment of Margaret Harwood-Jones as global head of securities services in 2016, and the combination of sales and client service into one unit, Brooks then became vice chairman of securities services and was responsible for driving major changes to relaunch the business within Standard Chartered’s transaction banking division.   

Brooks established himself as one of the custody industry’s leading experts for the Asia-Pacific region during his career. He began his journey in securities services in 1990 at HSBC, working within a small team to create the firm’s custody business.  

Brooks worked his way through various operations roles in the bank’s Hong Kong base, becoming head of service delivery for clearing and custody in 1995. He was then made chief operating officer for securities services for HSBC in Asia-Pacific, where he was accountable for all aspects of the business outside of sales and relationship management.  

In 2004, he was appointed deputy head of HSBC Securities Services for Asia-Pacific, before being made global head of sub-custody and clearing. In this role, he helped HSBC Securities Services establish a foothold in China after working closely with the Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect trading scheme and developing the various back-office and operating procedures needed to facilitate international investment. 

In April, Brooks stepped down as a board member of the International Securities Services Association (ISSA), and was replaced by Harwood-Jones as the bank’s representative.