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Digital Asset Closes $40m Funding Round, Announces Senior Hire Digital Asset announced that it has raised over $40 million of Series B financing from existing and new investors, led by Jefferson River Capital.  The latest round brings the total funding raised by Digital Asset to over $110 million as the company expands its global presence. Additionally, the firm has expanded its executive team with Clyde Rodriguez, former co-CTO of Two Sigma Investments, joining as chief information officer and CTO of engineering. “Distributed Ledger Technology has the potential to bring greater transparency, security and efficiency to financial services and beyond. We are in the early stages of an important technological transformation that requires strong engineering discipline to deliver credible and practical solutions,” Rodriguez says. “I am excited to join a world-class team that has the necessary skill and focus required to accelerate these important innovations, while helping our customers embrace the benefits of DLT.” 
SGX Expands US Presence Singapore Exchange (SGX) has expanded its US presence, opening SGX America in Chicago.  SGX says it presence in the US will enable it to better serve a growing client base in the region and meet the rising international investor appetite to access and risk manage Asian exposure. Loh Boon Chye, CEO of SGX, says, “This is an important milestone in SGX’s international expansion strategy and reinforces our status as Asia’s most connected exchange. SGX’s knowledge of the Asian markets, and the diversity of our Asia-linked futures and options will resonate with investors in North America, who are increasingly looking East for growth opportunities across asset classes. A physical presence in the US will also better enable us to develop connectivity with the world’s largest equities and fixed income market.”
Bernanke: Geopolitics is the Biggest Risk to the Financial System Geopolitics represents the single biggest threat to financial markets, warned Ben Bernanke, former chairman of the US Federal Reserve, at an event in Toronto yesterday. Speaking at the Swell event hosted by Ripple, Bernanke noted that the financial crisis of 2007-2008 was so severe because different elements of the financial system has become so interlinked that stressful conditions in one area soon spread to other parts of the system. However, he argued that the financial markets are systemically safer now and that the biggest threats to these markets come from external sources. 
NEX Optimisation Partners with Baton NEX Optimisation, NEX Group’s post-trade services unit, has announced that Baton Systems, a high-speed payments infrastructure provider, has joined NEX Infinity as the first third party to provide its services through the platform. The two businesses say they have been working in partnership alongside an existing but un-named large, multinational bank client of Nex to deliver a new post-trade solution for FX spot transactions delivered through the Infinity platform. The solution combines Nex Optimisation’s existing matching and confirmation services with Baton’s settlement and payments services.
BAML Launches Multicurrency Netting Tool Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) has announced that it has expanded its payments capabilities with the launch of a new multicurrency netting solution. The bank says the new solution centralises inter-company payments, enabling large companies that operate across multiple borders to reduce both the number of payments and the total value of payments made between companies that regularly invoice one another. Large corporations typically make hundreds of inter-company payments worth millions of dollars every month, the bank further adds.
ISDA Seeks to Establish Digitalisation Framework The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) has published a conceptual version of its ISDA Common Domain Model (CDM), which sets out the required elements to achieve a single digital representation of trade events and actions – something it says is “an important precursor to realise the full potential of new technologies, such as distributed ledger and smart contracts”. When fully developed, ISDA says the CDM will provide an industry standard blueprint for how derivatives are traded and managed across the lifecycle.
Sonia Reforms in April 2018 – BoE The Bank of England has formally announced that its reforms to the Sonia interest rate benchmark will take effect on Monday 23 April 2018. The reforms, which were announced earlier this year and see Sonia replace Libor as the interest rate benchmark for UK markets, will result in the Bank of England taking on the end-to-end administration, including the calculation and publication of Sonia, broadening the coverage to included overnight unsecured transactions, and the use of a VWAP methodology to calculate the rate.
Knott to Step Down at NEX Optimisation Just weeks after announcing it was allocated additional funding to its post-trade business, NEX Optimisation, NEX Group has announced that its CEO, Jenny Knott, has decided to step down from the role. At the start of October Nex provided a trading update in which it revealed it would be spending more on building out the Optimisation business, a move that was interpreted in some quarters as a profit warning. Today the firm has announced Knott’s departure and appointed Ken Pigaga as CEO of Nex Optimisation.
Last Chance to Complete Our Data Survey This week represents your last chance to tell us what you think about a variety of data-related topics from TCA to data mining, as our quarterly survey closes on Thursday. The role of data in FX markets is becoming even more important, from the numbers that drive a pricing engine, through the analysis that underpins the risk management procedures, to the data that provides post-trade execution analysis, it is now, more than ever, at the heart of the FX industry.
Swift Publishes Early Findings from DLT PoC Swift has published an interim report on the proof of concept for real-time Nostro reconciliation using a Swift-developed distributed ledger technology sandbox with 33 global transaction banks, as part of its global payments innovation service. The PoC is testing whether DLT can help banks reconcile Nostro accounts more efficiently and in real-time, while lowering costs and operational risk. The report provides an overview of the PoC to date, including technical objectives, early findings on the potential business benefits, as well as key challenges that still need to be addressed to achieve industry-wide adoption.