(NEWSManagers.com) – After years of testing, it’s time to go to the full-scale use case. The asset manager Natixis Investment Managers has been marketing “for a few weeks” all its money market and short-term bond UCITS via blockchain technology to its corporate treasurer clients and institutional investors. And for the occasion, its partner in this area, FundsDLT, has just opened a branch in France, the group’s first physical location outside Luxembourg. “We have extended our Luxembourg approvals in France via the European passport to support our client and shareholder Natixis IM,” announced Olivier Portenseigne, CEO of FundsDLT, at a conference co-organised by L’Agefi and FundsDLT.
This is the first deployment of blockchain in the commercialization of funds on a large scale in France. And the Natixis IM group intends to open “by the end of the year” this new technology to its entire range of UCITS including all its affiliates, from Mirova to Ostrum via Loomis Sayles, with corporate treasurers and institutions. The distribution segment (private banks, advisors, etc.) will be opened in a second phase.
FundsDLT is not the only player in blockchain fund distribution – the Frenchman Iznes has also been in business for a long time – but Joseph Pinto, head of distribution for Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific at Natixis IM, said that the group chose FundsDLT a few years ago because it was looking for a technology that would allow it “to meet all our needs, both for funds under French law, Luxembourg or Irish law and also for an international clientele and not only French”. FundsDLT is developing blockchain technology with the Etherum protocol. “Marketing works extremely well because there is greater speed for the customer experience and more transparency for us because we know more quickly what is happening in our money market UCITS,” says Joseph Pinto. Natixis IM is FundsDLT’s third client for use cases after Italy’s Azimut and a second client who wished to remain anonymous.
Today, in France, the distribution of funds is highly fragmented, shared between banks, financial advisors, custodians, insurers, fund platforms and transfer agents. Asset managers are often “blind” to the behavior of end customers. “The idea with blockchain is to address the problems of lack of transparency and cross-border distribution difficulties that this fragmentation generates, with a new infrastructure and the modification of current operating models,” explains Gilles Maréchal, the head France of FundsDLT.
The France pioneer in regulation
The France is a pioneer in regulation thanks to the Pacte law and the Shared Electronic Recording Device (Deep). Europe is also in the process of preparing texts since the European Commission published in September 2020 its “Digital Finance Package” aimed at developing digital finance. “The European market will soon be able to go beyond the learning and testing phase and enter a more industrial field of dematerialization of financial securities in blockchain,” warns Franck Guiader, director of Gide 255, at Gide.
FundsDLT also plans to open other offices in Europe, particularly in Ireland, as well as in Asia. It does not plan for the moment to open up to the distribution of crypto assets such as bitcoin but rather to digital currencies that will be launched by central banks or commercial banks such as that of JP Morgan.