Fintech weekly deals and partnerships roundup

BNP Paribas and Millennium Global Investments launch AI FX index

BNP Paribas announced the launch of the BNP Paribas MGI Systematic Currency Alpha Index using artificial intelligence through machine learning. The index, created by BNP Paribas in partnership with Millennium Global Investments (MGI), went live in Q1 2019.

MGI provides systematic FX Signals to BNP Paribas, determining the long or short exposure to four liquid currency pairs selected to represent the global FX market (USDGBP, USDEUR, USDAUD and USDJPY). It’s a “new frontier” for investors seeking cross-asset portfolio diversification thanks to signals generated by an artificial intelligence model that uses machine learning to identify every day the dominant factors driving the performance of currency pairs.

Mark Astley, CEO of Millennium Global Investments, said in a statement: “We are very pleased that BNP Paribas has selected Millennium Global as a product partner. We believe that by offering our innovative strategy through their platform, BNP Paribas will enable a wide range of users to gain access to a solution that is normally only available to large institutional investors.”

Broadridge sets up investment tech for Canadian wealth manager 

Broadridge Financial Solutions announced it’s implemented investment management technology for Gluskin Sheff + Associates. Gluskin Sheff is using Broadridge’s platform of portfolio management, order management, compliance and data analytics capabilities as it scales its wealth management business for future growth.

Gluskin Sheff is an independent wealth management firm that manages investment portfolios for high net worth private clients, families and select institutional investors. The firm will use the technology for workflows and automation across an increasing set of asset classes to scale the business.

“Working with Broadridge allows our firm to pursue and execute on growth opportunities with technology rather than increased headcount,” said Jeff Moody, president and chief executive officer at Gluskin Sheff, in a statement.

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tZERO blockchain market inches towards $100mn equity investment, eyes Asia

Overstock.com announced that a previously announced deal for its crypto subsidiary, tZERO, is not completed, but discussions are ongoing with GSR Capital and Makara Capital regarding a potential transaction. Both have recently signed an MoU outlining a transaction in which Makara and GSR would co-lead an investment of up to $100 million in tZERO common stock, closing the transaction in April. The investors would also assist with tZERO’s expansion in Asia and other regions of the world and link them with portfolio partners.

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Fidelity among investors for Coin Metrics $1.9mn seed round

Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Coin Metrics has closed a $1.9 million seed round of venture funding. Castle Island Ventures led the financing round, with participation from Fidelity Investments, Highland Capital Partners and Dragonfly Capital. The blockchain analytics startup delivers transparent and actionable data to various industry stakeholders including financial enterprises, funds, media and research outlets, and data/application providers.

Tim Rice, co-founding CEO of Coin Metrics, said in a statement: “Our approach to aggregating cryptoasset market data will use the guiding principles from the IOSCO Benchmark for Financial Benchmarks. We intend to bridge the wild west crypto market data world by translating fair value measurements, similar to FASB 157, meant to provide a credible confidence level assessment of fair value pricing for any particular market.”

Fidelity Digital Assets’ blog noted: “Whether you are a trader looking for an edge, an investor trying to understand usage of a specific blockchain, or an engineer looking to see the vibrancy of a particular network that you may want to work on, plenty of data exists for you to evaluate. However, where do you start? Which data should you trust? Do your peers and colleagues consider the same datasets? These are all questions we have asked, and not yet fully answered.

“Specific research and data providers have developed solid approaches. Coin Metrics, delivers transparent and actionable data to various industry stakeholders. The company began as an open source project in 2017 and tapped into the expertise of a community of developers to become a major industry resource.”

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Figure Technologies raises $65mn for home equity blockchain lending

Figure Technologies announced today $65 million in its latest fundraising round. This brings Figure’s total equity funding to more than $120 million as it starts its second year of operations. Led by RPM Ventures and partners at DST Global, with participation from investors Ribbit Capital, DCM, DCG, Nimble Ventures, Morgan Creek and others, the funding is allocated for product and growth.

Figure’s flagship product is a fixed-rate loan that provides online approval in five minutes and funding in five days. It also combines characteristics of a traditional home equity loan and a HELOC (home equity line of credit). Figure has funded more than 1,500 HELOCs in the US for members across 36 states.

Figure built and deployed Provenance, a distributed stakeholder blockchain, in 2018 for loan origination, financing and sales, used by funds, banks and dealers. While the fintech was the first loan originator on Provenance, several others plan to use the platform by mid-2019. Additional use cases, such as investment funds on chain, are also planned for this year.

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Rimilia partners with CEE association for credit management automation

Rimilia announced a partnership with the Association of Credit for Central and Eastern Europe (ACCEE) for adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and cutting-edge technology in accounts receivable in Central and Eastern Europe.

Rimilia provides intelligent finance automation solutions so that customers to get paid on time and control their cashflow and cash collection in real-time. Its software uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to predict customer payment behavior and easily match and reconcile payments, removing the uncertainty of cash collection.

ACCEE is the leading provider of best practice in credit management in Central and Eastern Europe, working with clients and partners to implement continuous improvement and sustainable processes through their specialized training and recommended technology partners.

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Crypto finance firm Circle picks NICE Actimize for market surveillance

NICE Actimize announced that Circle will be using its market surveillance and protections strategy. Dubbed the Cloud Markets Surveillance (MS) solution, Circle will augment key infrastructure to guard against market manipulation across its exchange and trading products which currently see more than $3 billion in monthly trading volume.

The surveillance system detects sophisticated forms of market manipulation including pump and dump, layering and insider trading – all significant threats to crypto trading. It has fully automated surveillance and end-to-end workflow management, investigation, audit, and reporting/dashboard capabilities. It also utilizes ActOne, an AI-enabled financial crime investigation management platform that serves as the next generation alert and case management platform.

“As we lead the digital financial services industry with breakthroughs in artificial intelligence and advanced analytics, NICE Actimize will continue to innovate on behalf of the newest financial product categories, including cryptocurrencies, digital wallets, and more,” said Craig Costigan, CEO of NICE in a statement.

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Nivaura raises $20mn led by London Stock Exchange

Nivaura has closed a $20 million seed funding round led by London Stock Exchange Group, which took a minority stake. Funds will be used to add to the startup’s business development and technical teams, with a view to bulk up on machine learning and natural language processing expertise. The company also plans to enter new jurisdictions and cover new asset classes.

Alan Morgan, Nivaura chair and former senior partner at McKinsey and head of Financial Services, said in a statement: “We’re seeing a lot of generalized workflow and process automation startups, but little or no firms focused on capital markets, and even less narrowing in on primary issuance.”

Founded three years ago, Nivaura’s focus is on the deployment of digital investment banking platforms for banks, exchanges and other financial institutions, to connect and automate fragmented and manual processes involved in the issuance and administration of instruments such as any form of bonds, loans, equity, and structured products.

Spencer Lake, Nivaura board member and former vice chairman of HSBC’s global capital markets business, added: “Digitizing investment banking products and processes is seen by many as something on the horizon, but Nivaura is helping firms to make it a reality today without the need for large scale change programs and disruption to existing businesses.”

Nivaura has already successfully proven the platform for structuring, distributing, executing and settling financial instruments both traditionally by enabling settlement through existing clearing infrastructure, and as tokenized instruments that are registered and settled on public blockchains. One such success was the world’s first automated cryptocurrency denominated bond issuance supported by capital markets law firm Allen & Overy.

By working with major law firms such as Allen & Overy and Linklaters, in addition to participating in all of the first four FCA regulatory sandboxes, where it gained its MiFID and CASS (Client Assets Sourcebook, FCA) regulatory approvals, Nivaura has made regulatory and legal rigour core to the platform. Law firms Linklaters and Orrick are investors in the latest seed round extension and Allen & Overy is continuing its support.

Read the full release and read an analysis here

NY crypto exchange Gemini joins BT Radianz cloud

BT announced that cryptocurrency exchange and custodian Gemini Trust has joined the BT Radianz Cloud, which has a membership that consists of thousands of brokers, institutions, exchanges and clearing and settlement houses. Gemini customers can cross connect directly to its trading infrastructure and Radianz’s member institutions can access Gemini’s cryptocurrency platform.

“Adding Radianz Cloud connectivity to our current low latency offerings in the NY5 data centre allows our existing institutional customer base to access our FIX interface whether they are directly connected or in AWS. This strengthens our institutional investor connectivity and helps us better scale our offerings in this space,” said Nick Vigier, chief information officer at Gemini.

Via a network connection engineered for the international financial markets industry, members of the Radianz Cloud can access thousands of applications and services from more than 400 providers critical to the every-day running of the global financial sector.

Read the release

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