On December 11, 2017, it was reported that Barclays, Credit Suisse, KBC, SIX, Thomson Reuters, and UBS will seek to automate Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) II requirements with a little help from EDCCs on the Ethereum blockchain.
MiFID II regulations are slated to be implemented on January 3, 2018, and have been devised as a method to increase transparency and structure in the marketplace, lower costs, and organize trading behavior. One such requirement will be for each institution to obtain a Legal Entity Identifier (LEI). The project will focus on compiling and managing the data used as a reference for individual LEI entities and enable businesses to better reference their own information against that of similar industry participants. This could include industry classification, identifiers, and European Securities and Markets Authority data.
Thomson Reuters has poised itself to capitalize on any competitive advantage afforded by the forthcoming MiFID II regulatory measures. According to Mark Davies, Global Head of RMS Data Services at Thomson Reuters, "MiFID II creates complex data management challenges for businesses, and this initiative presents a unique opportunity for firms to benchmark content alongside their peers before it is used in regulatory reporting."
Davies added, "This is an exciting and collaborative project that uses the latest blockchain technology to solve a real-world business challenge by improving the quality of counterparty reference data."
Christophe Tummers, Head of Data at UBS spoke of the merits behind using a blockchain as a solution for data comparison:
"Traditionally, a firm such as ours quality checks data against multiple sources but we do not have a quality baseline against peers. Through using blockchain-inspired smart contracts, the reconciliation of data can happen in almost real-time for all participants, anonymously."
Via Microsoft Azure, a permissioned deployment of an Ethereum blockchain, the system allows institutions to share data while retaining anonymity by making use of hashed values that obfuscate the source from which the data are derived. EDCCs integrate with a user interface that gives participants the ability to browse data in real-time and reconcile any inconsistencies in the information.
Robert Jeanbart, Division CEO SIX Financial Information described the application of "blockchain to the challenges of regulatory data management" as "an additional exciting opportunity for SIX to focus its data quality efforts and expertise in regulatory services in a customer oriented way."
Head of blockchain strategy at Credit Suisse Emmanuel Aidoo expressed how the project opens the doors to applying blockchain technology to a broader range of issues: "This is an important project as it establishes blockchain benefits in a broader context than clearing and settlement. The use of blockchain to solve real-world regulatory requirements in a cost effective way is very appealing."
Looking forward, Tummers concluded, "We hope that in future, with the help of further automation, this project can move beyond simply anomaly detection to that of resolution."