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BNP Paribas using blockchain to take action on corporate announcements


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BNP Paribas using blockchain to take action on corporate announcements

BNP Paribas Securities Services is not looking to disrupt an industry with its corporate events blockchain platform. Rather, the company is trying to leverage the technology in a way that adds value to asset servicing clients.

BNP Paribas Securities Services recently announced that it is teaming with Tata Consultancy Services to launch Corporate Event Connect, a blockchain-based platform that can provide users with data on company announcements. The platform disseminates information on an array of corporate actions such as M&A announcements, stock splits, issuances, coupon payments and dividend updates, said Bruno Campenon, head of financial intermediaries and corporates for BNP Paribas Securities Services.

The company started to work on the platform because a lack of standardized corporate data "has always been a problem" for clients, Campenon said Oct. 16 at the Sibos conference in Toronto. "Clients are asking for more data quality, more control of the information you're sending, and they want it quicker."

Along with solving a pain point for customers, BNP Paribas Securities Services sees the platform as a way to separate itself from the competition. Campenon said the securities servicing industry is commoditizing, and his clients have indicated that finding a better way to deliver the corporate action information is a potential differentiating factor that could set an asset servicing business apart.

Campenon said his company spent about €150 million on the project, and it could take 18 months or so before the full platform is ready for the market. The company is using the product internally and has a beta system for clients.

The first stage of the project was to build a critical mass of data, and the company would like to open it up to external actors as a second stage, said Johann Palychata, BNP Paribas Securities Services' head of blockchain digital transformation. He noted that the platform is customizable. For instance, it can translate information into different languages, provide users with analytical charts or distribute raw data.

Tata Consultancy Services' Vivekanand Ramgopal, a vice president and co-head of TCS Financial Solutions, said the platform can help users take advantage of corporate actions more quickly because the information gets disseminated as soon as it is entered into the system.

"You're not having flows from one system to another, one database to another," he said. "All of that is eliminated."

Ramgopal said the platform uses previously existing tools for data scrubbing and applies it to blockchain. However, it was not a breakthrough technology that led to this idea for the corporate event platform, Campenon said.

"The technology was not the driver to this," he said. "The driver was the service we wanted to open up."