Northern Trust to Help Launch Crypto Custody Service

Our free FinTech news roundup also covers Steele’s acquisition of info4c, new hires at RIMES, money flowing into Pico, and an HR exec for BNP Paribas in the Americas.

Standard Chartered’s VC Unit Partners with Northern Trust

Standard Chartered via SC Ventures and custodian Northern Trust are launching an “institutional-grade” custody solution for cryptocurrencies to help financial services firms invest in cryptocurrency-based assets, officials say.

The custodian support is in response to the growing demand for cryptocurrency-based assets that will need support for transaction and settlement processing.

Northern Trust and SC Ventures, the venture capital unit of Standard Chartered, have entered into an agreement to launch Zodia Custody in London, England sometime in 2021, officials say. The launch will need the approval of the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and will have to meet other regulatory and customary closing conditions.

Under the agreement, Zodia will offer the traditional custody principles and the services of a fintech startup via a platform targeting market participants, officials say.

When it launches, Zodia “will provide custody services for the most-traded cryptocurrency assets — Bitcoin, Ethereum, followed by XRP, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash — which represent the majority of client demand and activity,” officials say. These cryptocurrencies represent “approximately 80 percent of the total assets [equivalent to $395 billion] traded on the top cryptocurrency exchanges.”

Now, cryptocurrencies represent 0.3 percent of the global currency and bank deposits and “are forecast to continue growing with a [compound annual growth rate] of 32 percent from 2019 to 2024. While there is increasing interest from institutional investors, they account for only 9 percent of investments in cryptocurrencies at present,” officials say.

“We combine the risk management, compliance, governance, and security approach of a regulated financial institution with the cutting-edge innovation of crypto asset and key management technologies,” says Maxime De Guillebon, CEO of Zodia, in a prepared statement.

Steele Compliance Solutions Acquires info4c

San Francisco-based Steele Compliance Solutions, Inc., which characterizes itself as a specialist in “ethics and compliance management for the world’s largest multinational enterprises and financial institutions,” reports that it has acquired info4c.

Based in Zurich, Switzerland, and founded in 2002, info4c is a specialist vendor that provides compliance data for “decision-making regarding vendors, suppliers and customers.”

Those databases include the following categories, according to a Steele statement: “politically exposed person, state-owned entity, sanction lists, and watchlists & blacklists.”

Steele characterizes its “politically exposed persons database” as its “flagship product” offering, implemented in “thousands of banks, insurance companies, and large global corporate players.”

RIMES Technologies Adds Three Executives

RIMES Technologies, which specializes in Internet-based managed data services and regulatory technology for financial institutions, has hired a new chief product officer, a new revenue officer and a new financial officer.

The new hires are Alex Myers, who becomes chief product officer; Scott Miller, who becomes chief revenue officer, and Matthew Bagley, who becomes chief financial officer.

The three new hires “complement the deep domain and technical expertise” at RIMES in advance of a “new chapter of growth under EQT, the main investor since February 2020,” according to a company statement.

Founded in 1994 and based in Stockholm, Sweden, EQT is “a differentiated global investment organization with more than €62 billion in raised capital and around  €41 billion in assets under management across 19 active funds,” officials say. RIMES was founded in 1996.

Pico Completes $135 Million Investment Round

Pico, a provider of low-latency network services for the financial markets, reports that it has recently closed on a “strategic investment” by Intel Capital, the investment arm of Intel Corp.

Pico provides low-latency market access solutions via a service delivery model, officials say. The PicoNet network platform includes Corvil analytics and telemetry.

The Intel investment “completes Pico’s $135M Series C investment round that will be used to further fuel Pico’s global growth and expansion plans,” according to a Pico statement.

“The strengthening of our balance sheet will continue to allow us to realize our differentiating strategy of investing in building the most globally comprehensive, robust, scalable and high-performance infrastructure in the financial services industry that meets clients current and future needs,” Jarrod Yuster, Pico’s chairman, founder, and co-CEO, says in the statement.

Intel Capital invests in startups in the areas of “cloud and AI infrastructure, 5G, edge, autonomy, cybersecurity, client and gaming, enterprise applications, silicon design and manufacturing, and a wide range of other disruptive technologies,” the vendor says in a statement.

Intel Capital also notes that, since 1991, it has “invested $13.3 billion in more than 1,595 companies worldwide, and 707 portfolio companies have gone public or participated in a merger.”

BNP Paribas Names HR Head for CIB Americas

Claudine Gallagher

French banking giant BNP Paribas has appointed Claudine Gallagher as head of human resources for corporate and investment banking (CIB) in the Americas, effective Jan. 1, 2021, officials say.

As of now, Gallagher is the chief conduct and control officer (CCCO) for CIB Americas and BNP Paribas USA, “a role that she will continue to oversee until mid-2021 as a successor is identified,” according to BNP Paribas officials.

Gallagher will be based in New York and will report to José Placido, CEO of CIB Americas, and functionally to Laure Morsy, head of HR for CIB, officials add. She will maintain her position on the CIB Americas executive committee and join the Global CIB HR regional forum.

Among Gallagher’s objectives will be “the many HR initiatives that have been rolled out over the past few years, and continuing our strong focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion,” according to bank officials.