Credit Suisse tests blockchain for processing fund trades

FILE PHOTO: A worker repairs a Credit Suisse sign at a branch in Zurich, Switzerland, on November 1, 2018. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Credit Suisse’s asset management arm has successfully tested blockchain to process investment fund trades, the latest financial institution to show an interest in technology that could speed up transactions and keep them secure.

Credit Suisse Asset Management used a blockchain-based platform to process an unspecified number of trades, an online bank and an order-routing platform involved in the test said.

Portugal’s Banco Best and Luxembourg-based platform Fundsquare said in their statement after the test that it had showed cross-border distribution over blockchain was “more efficient, scalable and timely in processing.”

Credit Suisse confirmed the test was conducted but did not say whether the asset management arm, which managed funds worth more than $400 billion as of September, would use the technology more widely.

The investment fund industry relies heavily on transactions and settlements that are often complex and time consuming to process.

Blockchain, a technology first conceived to underpin the cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared database designed to process and settle transactions swiftly. Entries cannot be changed, so fewer checks are required to ensure trades are secure.

Swiss exchange SIX said this month it planned to launch its new SDX trading platform using blockchain to speed up trading in the second half of 2019.

Investment fund transaction network Calastone said it would shift its system to blockchain in May. The London-based firm provides back and middle-office services to more than 1,700 firms, including JP Morgan Asset Management and Schroders.

Calastone, citing research by consultants Deloitte, said the global fund industry could save as much as 3.4 billion pounds ($4.4 billion) a year in costs by moving to blockchain and pooling trading and settlement processes.

Reporting by Tom Wilson; Editing by Edmund Blair