SETL, a blockchain-based settlement system for the investment funds industry, has gone live with its pan-European funds record keeping platform IZNES having successfully processed its first transactions.
The IZNES platform was launched in 2017 in partnership with four French asset managers with the intention of going into full production in early 2018. One of these four firms, OFI Asset Management, has now successfully used the system with a selected number of clients.
The investment funds industry is notorious for its convoluted post-trade processes with numerous intermediaries adding time and cost to the transaction lifecycle. Consequently there has been much anticipation about the potential for distributed ledger technology to add muich needed efficiency.
The potential has also led to the launch of a number of blockchain-based initatives in recent months, including the announcement from fund processing firm Calastone that it will migrate its underlying network to the blockchain.
SETL executives have hailed its move into full production with CEO of SETL France Pierre Davoust referring to the fact it can be "deployed with minimal impact on other business processes and logic".
Meanwhile Peter Randall, CEO of SETL Development and former CEO of mutliateral trading facility Chi-x Europe, said that once the project is fully operational it will be "the single largest instance, by value, of a permissioned blockchain in the world".
But one implication of the introduction of services like IZNES is that they remove the need for transfer agents, typically large bank-based players that manage the record-keeping process for fund redemptions and subscriptions and it remains to be seen how these powerful bodies will react to the threat of disintermediation.