Fund Forum International 2017: A summary
05 Jul 2017
Fund Forum International was held in Berlin between June 12 and 14. Jon Willis, Chief Commercial Officer at Calastone, gives his take on some of the big issues that were raised at the conference.
Calastone Connect Forum London: Blockchain, cost reduction and the rise of passive funds
22 Jun 2017
Calastone held its Connect Forum in London on May 16. Specialists from across the funds world spent the morning talking about technology evolution and how the industry should approach it.
Calastone Connect Forum London: Disruption, distribution and data
15 Jun 2017
Calastone held its Connect Forum in London on May 16. Specialists from across the funds industry spent the morning talking about distribution and some of the changes it is likely to go through.
Calastone successfully completes first phase of blockchain distributed market infrastructure PoC for the funds industry
12 Jun 2017
Over the last few years, as part of our innovation programme, we have been investigating how blockchain could be used to benefit the trading and settlement of mutual funds. In June 2017 we announced the completion of the first phase of our proof-of-concept where we built and tested a new distributed market infrastructure on a blockchain, using the equivalent of a full day’s trading volumes from across our global transaction network.
Fund Forum Asia: A Summary
15 May 2017
Fund Forum Asia took place in Hong Kong between April 24 and April 26. A number of topics and issues consumed discussions, and Calastone looks at some of them.
The power of partnership – asset managers and FinTechs embrace
04 May 2017
Radical changes in society, industry and trade have reset the way in which individuals and businesses conduct themselves. The asset management industry is not immune to these global shifts and today many asset managers across Europe are seeking to redefine their core business models in the face of:
Big changes coming to managed funds: Calastone Connect Forum
25 Apr 2017
As boundaries that once defined sectors and behaviours continue to fade in the face of disruption, now is the time to rethink value propositions, anticipate policy changes and leverage smart technologies that can be applied on a firm and industry scale. This is what we heard from an expert collective gathered recently in Sydney for the Calastone Connect Forum Briefing. Diving into topics as diverse as trends shaping financial advice, the Australian Taxation Office’s (ATO) data transformation, and non-banking potential of the New Payments Platform, each expert acknowledged the continued shift to put individuals and information at the centre of processes.
How robo-advice could reshape fund management in APAC
19 Apr 2017
Robo-advice is gaining stature as independent robo-advice firms grow and traditional fund management firms expand their offering. A growing number of wealth managers – who traditionally focused on very high income earners – are developing robo-advice tools with much reduced AuM thresholds. Data from BI Intelligence predicted robo-advisors would control around $8 trillion in investor assets by 2020, and that $2.4 trillion of robo-adviser AuM will come from APAC.
SWIFT ISO 20022 upgrade: Are you ready?
30 Mar 2017
SWIFT have announced a mandatory upgrade of their implementation of the ISO 20022 messaging protocol, due to go live in November 2017. This includes the investment funds order (setr) messages used as part of the Calastone Order Routing service, specifically order, status and price confirmation messages.
Calastone’s New Zealand expansion accelerating
02 Mar 2017
Calastone continues to grow throughout Australasia following the strong reception from New Zealand where several of the nation’s leaders in funds management are now sending and receiving orders across the network.
What a difference a new year makes
31 Jan 2017
With a new year comes a fresh start, and 2017 will be a year of new challenges and opportunities. 2016 was indeed an eventful year for politics around the world, but it will be 2017 where we will truly start to feel the full effects of some of these changes. If, as the government has suggested, Article 50 is triggered early this year, we should gain some insight into what kind of Brexit (‘hard’ or ‘soft’) we will have and how this could potentially affect the funds industry. We should certainly see greater clarity around fund passporting, so that we, as an industry, can start preparing to make any necessary changes.
MiFID II: the clock is ticking
31 Jan 2017
The Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID) is now only months away and meeting the product governance and target market provisions laid out in the regulation is a sizeable and exhaustive project for fund managers.
Calastone’s operational resilience: managing incidents and operational capacity
30 Jan 2017
Continuous service improvement plays a central role in any well managed business. It is essential in ensuring that a business has the ability to remain competitive and scalable as client requirements change and as incidents arise. Considered and planned metrics allow us to measure and identify areas for improvement and to mitigate potential issues before they become incidents. Calastone’s Operations and delivery teams benchmark and track every aspect of their respective services to ensure they are able to analyse trends and provide the highest quality offering.
Opportunity in chaos: Asset managers turn to fintech as marketplace evolves
12 Jan 2017
A long process of disruption and adjustment as developments ranging from the technological (e.g. the Chinese invention of gun powder) and the social (e.g. the Protestant reformation in Europe) to the economic (i.e. the rise of the Asian tiger economies in the 1980s and 90s) have forced a fundamental reimagining of ways of thinking, acting and doing business throughout global history.
Funds Industry Roundtable: Reaching for performance
09 Jan 2017
At the end of 2016 Funds Europe hosts a roundtable to talk about industry change, featuring asset managers and operational providers, and about topics including distribution and technology.
Navigating change – leveraging the power of technology
07 Dec 2016
To say that technology has evolved at lightning speed would be an understatement. Innovations including computer-driven portfolio construction and advice (robo-advice), shared ledger technology (Blockchain) and machine learning are progressing at an unprecedented pace. This change is so rapid that businesses are regularly being forced to reassess and re-evaluate their strategies and models. A Calastone whitepaper – “The Accelerating power of technology: lessons for the future of fund distribution” – highlights the funds industry, whether it is the manager, distributor, platform or transfer agent (TA), must embrace technology at every level of their organisation if they are to make effective strategic choices going forward.
Industrialisation of financial services is coming: Calastone Connect Forum
01 Nov 2016
Today’s confluence of technology, regulation and market volatility is supercharging the transformation of Australia’s funds management industry that in five years will look entirely different. That was the consensus of experts gathered at the inaugural Calastone Connect Forum this month, representing a diverse representation of investment management operations, platform administration, banking, venture capital, legal, regulatory and even elite sports to dissect the day’s theme ‘Technology as an Enabler’. Whether it be enabling smoother systems or creating new ones, technology is challenging status quos within financial services and driving cultural acceptance of failure as part of success.
Calastone network now reached over 10,000 trading links worldwide
22 Sep 2016
Since the Calastone Transaction Network went live in 2008, it has grown exponentially. When Calastone was established, transactions in the mutual funds industry were nothing short of archaic. Transaction messaging was still conducted by phone, fax, email, and excel spreadsheet; and the industry had been lacking a transaction network capable of handling and interpreting instructions that was accessible to all.
Brexit and MiFID II: What it means for financial services
13 Sep 2016
Brexit has caused a number of uncertainties among financial institutions although the immediate term volatility appears to have calmed. A recent Calastone survey, which comprised of managers, distributors and transfer agents, acknowledged Brexit will cause market disruption, with over two thirds believing the economic malaise could be a long-term phenomenon. That being said, fund managers, transfer agents and fund distributors are split on the issue, according to the Calastone survey.
Lessons learned point to healthy prospects for MRF
07 Sep 2016
The Jul. 1, 2015, launch of the Mainland-Hong Kong Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) scheme was hailed as a milestone for the asset management industry. A year on, and it is plain to see that the MRF has not delivered the promised benefits – at least not yet.
Calastone Trade Notification: Q&A with Kate Webber, Head of Product Development
24 Aug 2016
We were initially approached by a client who had realised that their settlement instructions to custodians were both time consuming and costly. This was because they were communicating with a large number of custodians, through a variety of different formats. As they were already a user of Calastone Order Routing, we were well positioned to help them automate this part of the transaction lifecycle.
MiFID II: where next for distribution?
27 Jul 2016
MiFID II is going to profoundly change the distribution model. Equally technology and investor demographics and buying patterns will have a huge impact as well. Distributors must embrace this so as to maintain their position in the market.
MiFID II: what should fund managers be thinking about?
20 Jul 2016
MiFID II uncertainties have been well-documented by numerous service providers and lawyers. Now is the time for managers to start implementing practical solutions to overcome or at least demonstrate best efforts compliance with MiFID II. MiFID II obliges fund manufacturers to monitor and understand how their distributors sell their funds.
Robo-advice survey: the results
18 Jul 2016
We recently undertook a worldwide customer survey to understand what the perceived implications of robo-advice will be on the Australian mutual funds market.
The “Secret Sauce” to Success in China under the Mutual Recognition of Funds Program
17 Jul 2016
China’s growth may be slowing, but the investment opportunities presented by the world’s second-largest economy continue to expand. This was abundantly clear at a breakfast briefing Calastone held in June to discuss the opportunities associated with the Mutual Recognition of Fund (MRF) program, which celebrated its first anniversary on 1 July 2016.
The Risk of Regulatory Arbitrage
13 Jul 2016
Fund manufacturers and distributors have repeatedly complained that regulatory arbitrage undermines their ability to attain compliance and complicates their internal processes. It can add costs and confusion, and MiFID II is no exception to this.
Calastone’s Head of Product Development, Kate Webber, discusses how Calastone Settlements is delivering value to the industry
05 Jul 2016
In the UK fund industry today, whilst most order-taking is currently performed electronically, the settlement of those orders were still being done manually. Not only that, often the settlement for those orders were done on an order by order basis. We realised there was an opportunity to develop a product that not only provides an STP service for settlements, but one that could also reduce the amount of traffic relating to the number of settlement payments sent significantly impacting liquidity for both senders and receivers.
The impact of MiFID II delays
05 Jul 2016
Repeated delays to MiFID II have frustrated market participants, and these have undermined their planning processes. This uncertainty – coupled with a lack of clarity over various MiFID II specificities – have caused issues among fund distributors and manufacturers.
Q&A with Morningstar’s Ramsin Jajoo about hard ‘truths’ for managed funds
30 Jun 2016
It helps to be agnostic in today’s investment management sector, as capital flows more freely and broadly across classes, borders and structures. Sharing our bird’s eye perspective is global investment research group Morningstar, whose Head of Asset Management Solutions Ramsin Jajoo recently addressed our Connect Forum in May, highlighting three “inevitable truths” as shaping flows.
Asia Region Funds Passport – a simple yet significant start
30 Jun 2016
It’s been nearly five years since APEC finance ministers announced their support for the creation of a pilot Asia Region Funds Passport structure, and the forthcoming launch of the Asia Funds Passport should provide a launching pad for Australian fund managers who would like to distribute relatively simple retail products across the region.
Sarah Hayward discusses how Calastone Reporting supports reconciliations and distributions challenges
30 Jun 2016
The end of the financial year is here and with it comes the seasonal challenges for managed fund back offices to reconcile all holdings and prepare annual tax statements. Relieving this administrative burden that intensifies at tax time, Calastone has developed Calastone Reporting, a domestic and cross-border reporting service incorporating 4 statement types: for reconciliation - statements of holdings and statements of transactions; and for distributions -statements of tax and statements of income. Sarah Hayward, Managing Director of Australia and New Zealand, explains the unique features of Calastone Reporting and the relief it brings for all reporting cycles, particularly during the tax season.
Fund Forum Berlin: A Summary
29 Jun 2016
Distribution and the processes behind it have changed markedly over the last few years. This has been triggered by a number of factors including regulation, innovations in technology and evolving investor buying patterns and demographics. An inability or reluctance to respond appropriately to these market transformations will undermine the ability of managers and distributors to sell their products.
MRF opportunities still to be realised
06 Jun 2016
Foreign fund managers have been increasingly eyeing China’s asset management industry, amid rapid growth of wealth and liberalisation of the capital markets. Specifically, China’s capital markets and funds industry have undergone major changes over the last two years. Assets in domestic public mutual funds have grown 10-fold in 10 years and now control US$1.2 trillion.
Know your business
13 May 2016
Calastone’s Rob Swan talks about how fund management businesses need and would benefit from greater visibility of clients and distributors.
The changing face of distribution in China
04 May 2016
The liberalisation of China continues to rumble on. The Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) initiative, which permits Hong Kong domiciled fund managers to sell their products to mainland Chinese retail investors, and conversely Chinese managers to distribute into Hong Kong, has gained traction. The rules permit Hong Kong managers to sell into China without having to go through the hassle of entering into an equity partnership with a mainland financial institution.
Calastone's operational resilience: the importance of business continuity planning
28 Apr 2016
When I started my career, business continuity was viewed as a nice to have, but it is now at the core of every well managed business. Whether it be terrorism, natural disasters, release errors, power failure or sabotage, a strong business continuity plan (BCP) is the responsibility of everyone in the company. If implemented correctly, it mitigates risk to acceptable levels and allows the business to continue functioning regardless of circumstance.
Asset Servicing Times interviews Calastone's Jon Willis on the main challenges for distributors in the mutual funds industry
25 Apr 2016
MiFID II Delegated Acts will challenge global fund distributors
19 Apr 2016
Proposals for the second iteration of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID II) first surfaced in 2011. After five years of intense debate and lobbying, MiFID II’s tumultuous passage towards implementation is nearing an end. In essence, the rules seek to bring about greater transparency across markets and financial institutions. MiFID II was initially meant to come into force in January 2017 but after intense lobbying, it has been pushed back by one year until January 2018. Regulators including the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) recognised market participants would struggle to build the necessary infrastructure and technology to ensure MiFID II compliance. The rules have been mired with uncertainty but the European Commission (EC) published the first of its Delegated Acts on April 7, 2016, which provided further clarity on a number of outstanding issues.
Sebastien Chaker interviews Z-Ben Advisors’ Jasmine Baker on the rapidly changing Chinese funds market
12 Apr 2016
Fintech only as powerful as the problem it solves
05 Apr 2016
Fintech is lauded as the great enabler of innovative frontiers, however, the reality for most is that it presents the critical means to remain competitive, agile and sustainable in a high-cost economy. Anticipation around which market segment is next to be disrupted in today’s digital world can often overshadow the achievements and efficiencies already being delivered by smart financial technology.
Asia-Pacific: An Evolving Region
09 Mar 2016
The opportunities for fund managers in Asia-Pacific (APAC) should not be underestimated. The region accounts for one third of the global economy, while its middle class continues to grow. APAC’s burgeoning high net worth population (HWNI) is likely to edge past North America imminently, according to data from the World Wealth Report 2015 published by Capgemini and RBC Wealth Management. Cash-heavy institutional investors including pension plans, insurance companies and corporates are looking to invest their capital in this low interest rate environment, and fund managers could provide an excellent channel for this. But what are the regional drivers and changes that will further abet capital raising opportunities for fund managers in APAC?
The £153bn opportunity for funds
15 Feb 2016
According to calculations based on analysis of UK trading data, £153bn of settlement payments are taking place needlessly within the UK funds industry. This figure represents a potential liquidity wastage as high as 53%. Whilst managing intraday liquidity remains priority on the list of concerns confronting CFOs at the outset of 2016, £153bn worth of unnecessary settlement payments plainly illustrates continued inefficiencies within the market. How can CFOs and Heads of Treasury seemingly close this gap, thereby reducing liquidity exposure?
The Changing Face of the Fund Platform Market
11 Feb 2016
The fund platform market has changed significantly with the passage of various regulatory initiatives around inducements and retail investor protection in the UK and EU. The market is developing fast and it is crucial industry participants keep up with the pace of change.
What lies ahead as we enter 2016?
12 Jan 2016
As we all return to work, hopefully rested and energised after the seasonal break, we have a unique opportunity to survey the year ahead and place focus on what will be important. So what are the big topics for 2016?
Managing the Momentum
08 Jan 2016
Funds Global talks to Sebastien Chaker about Calastone’s plans for the Asia funds market amid the gathering momentum of automation.
Understanding the implications of MiFID II - seminar summary
02 Dec 2015
Calastone hosted a seminar on 11th November regarding the implications of upcoming regulation MiFID II on the funds management industry. The purpose of the seminar was to raise awareness of MiFID II and encourage debate and collaboration between all parties. Topics covered included; an Overview of MiFID II, The Impact of MiFID II on Distributors, The Appropriateness Test and A Fund Manager’s Perspective.
MiFID II and Fund Distributors: The Challenge Ahead
29 Oct 2015
The implications of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) should not be underestimated. Its breadth and depth will impact nearly every facet of financial services. At the heart of MiFID II lies investor protection and transparency. Fund distributors and fund providers will not be excused from this incoming regulation, and should start to take note and prepare for the imminent changes MiFID II will bring.
Full Speed Ahead: The Dramatic Growth of Funds Automation in Asia
22 Sep 2015
Fund automation in Asia has grown tremendously over the past few years. Whilst 2012 estimates showed that over 80% of fund orders were processed manually, today over 50 of the largest fund distributors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan have implemented a solution to automate their investment fund transactions, of which 30 have selected the Calastone funds messaging network.
MRF update: A single connection for fund distribution in China
22 Sep 2015
Recent volatility on the Chinese stock market has probably come as a relief to those operational departments that had been expected to support the new Hong Kong China Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF). The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (HKSFC) launched the scheme at the beginning of July, yet the regulators’ attention has now been diverted away from approval of MRF funds in order to find ways to stabilise and reassure the market instead.
Global visibility - Hunting for the Holy Grail
15 Sep 2015
Rob Swan, Managing Director and Head of Pan-European Business Development, discusses the importance of data transparency for effective distribution expansion.
Fund distribution in China: Are you ready for MRF?
29 Jun 2015
Five weeks. Chinese and Hong Kong fund managers, custodians and distributors have not been given much time when it comes to setting up operational process flows from and into their respective countries. The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (HKSFC) announced the launch date for the Mutual Recognition of Funds (MRF) as 1st July 2015.
Ground Control: Intraday liquidity meets Calastone’s Net Payments Hub
05 Jun 2015
This week, Schroders announced their adoption of our Net Payment Hub providing them with earlier known payment position and timely payment on settlement, in association with Barclays. As has been well articulated in a recent Cap Gemini paper, “Many banks dealing with large value payments cater to most of the liquidity requirements in the long run; however, intraday is an area which has not been focussed upon by many banks till date.” Basel III rules also require that capital held by banks must be of a higher quality, meaning that access to capital is much more expensive than it used to be.
Momentum of a pipe dream: the operational challenges of Asian fund passports
03 Jun 2015
With rules and operational arrangements currently being developed in earnest, the dawn of the Asian funds passport seems fast upon us. Headlines in the FT have progressed from the rather negative “Regional mutual fund passport a ‘pipe dream’” in 2011, to the more positive “Asian fund passports gain momentum” in February 2015. But will an Asian funds passport really prove useful for fund managers? Industry experts, such as Lawrence Au, head of the Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Securities Services, think it will result in change in Asia, but only if investment companies customise their funds to suit Asian markets. Ernst & Young, one of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, has erred on the side of caution, advising: “Any firm with regional aspirations in Asia should at least consider its potential response to the proposals.”
Insights from ITAS 2015, Luxembourg
12 Mar 2015
Another February, another ITAS and the Luxembourg sun was shining on the fund management industry. Unlike many previous years, there were some clear statements on how our industry is likely to revolutionise: not brought by regulation alone, but because of fundamental changes in the way that the end investor behaves and their expectations from those they interact with.
The Investor of the Future
23 Feb 2015
In the midst of ski-season, for this year’s ITAS we're heading off-piste. Every year in Luxembourg the funds industry assembles for this important conference to discuss a broad spectrum of essential topics. Regulation, distribution, oversight. Value chain alignment, platform developments, product diversification. Without question all highly relevant and important, but I worry that all the while kindling wood is being laid under the industry’s feet and investor behaviour is radically changing. As an industry, will we be fit to serve investors of the future regardless of what generation they belong to?
Structured Products Service
13 Oct 2014
Last month we proudly introduced our new structured products service in collaboration with Novia and Investec. For the first time, customers’ structured product transactions can now be fully automated which marks another significant step forward for the funds industry.
Calastone with Barclays at the SWIFT Business Forum – London 2014
28 Apr 2014
Calastone is excited to be taking a team to the SWIFT Business Forum at the Brewery in Chiswell Street, London on Tuesday (29th April), where the keynote speaker this year is Lord Mayor of the City of London, Fiona Woolf.
Thanks and congrats!
18 Oct 2013
We’re in a great mood in the London office this week. Our feet having just touched the ground following a whirlwind week of meetings and information sharing sessions during a collective visit from all our regional offices’ colleagues from across the Atlantic, the Continent, Down Under and over in Hong Kong while celebrating our 5th anniversary party alongside so many of our much-respected clients (thank you again to all of you who came along to Madison), we have new reasons to be cheerful this week.
Thank you for five years of support
13 Sep 2013
Whenever a business receives a cash injection to aid its progress, the doubters suggest it raises questions over its sustainability while those more supportive types are itching to know where the money is going to be spent.
Calastone Australia whips up a Superstream
24 Jun 2013
There's been a lot of media interest in Calastone Australia recently. The industry as a whole has been committed to automating both the managed fund and super space. We are at a stage where the accessibility barriers to entry are slowly coming down and funds are becoming more comparable in client experience to an equity.
Shannon Sweeney takes over the mantle to lead Calastone Australia
09 Apr 2013
As Calastone’s expansion into the Australian market continues apace, we were very glad to welcome the arrival of Shannon Sweeney as our new Managing Director, Australia. Shannon’s appointment underlines our commitment to the Australian market and is just the first step in an exciting future.
Calastone are one to watch in 2013 according to the FinTech Top 50 Watchlist
03 Apr 2013
Calastone, the global transaction network for the fund industry, has been singled out as one of the key companies helping to shape the future of financial services. Calastone’s work to remove all technical barriers to the automation of fund transactions was recognized by the inaugural FinTech 50 Watchlist, a shortlist of fifty European firms whose innovative use of technology is helping to transform the way the financial sector works.
Calastone Australia passes Tipping Point
21 Mar 2013
With over 40% of the market now able to send or receive orders via Calastone, 150 market participants gathered in Sydney and Melbourne to hear from Industry leaders about how automation has benefitted both their businesses and client offerings.
The global fund industry – A future in flux: Part 1
20 Feb 2013
It’s been a tumultuous few years for everyone within the financial sector. A whole raft of pressures continue to bear down on a sector already somewhat beleaguered by economic uncertainty and with each new year, new clients and new technologies bring new demands to work smarter and achieve more for less.