Finance and technology: Bank Julius Baer joins Wecan Comply, a pioneering compliance platform

The solution will enable the leading Swiss wealth management group with a dedicated intermediaries business to simplify the exchange of information with its independent asset managers in Switzerland and to receive compliance documents in an ultra-secure manner. This solution is developed by the Swiss fintech Wecan Group, a recognized expert in blockchain technologies.

Switzerland as a key player in the construction of the best regulatory standards

Bank Julius Baer joins Wecan Comply, the world’s first blockchain-based compliance platform for private banks and external asset managers. Wecan Comply is built like a digital vault. The platform runs on a simple web browser and only requires access to the Internet.

As a private bank with a strong entrepreneurial spirit, we are committed to empowering the success of our clients and partners through innovative solutions. We can unequivocally identify with the vision of Wecan Comply and are excited to join the growing community to create value for our intermediary partners in Switzerland, facilitating efficiency gains via pioneering co-creation.

Michel Yigit
Head Intermediaries German-speaking Switzerland

With the entry into force of the FinIA and FinSA laws on January 1, 2020, external asset managers and trustees are no longer supervised by banks, but also by supervisory bodies. The procedures for identifying, controlling and monitoring client relationships are becoming increasingly complex. Measures must be put in place to avoid the increasingly time-consuming duplication of the same tasks.

The result of two years of collaboration between a panel of major financial players, Wecan Comply has been built to best address the compliance challenges of today and tomorrow. The swiss-made solution meets two expectations: to prevent compliance and administrative work from overwhelming the day-to-day activities of asset managers, and to ensure that specific tasks are carried out correctly and reliably, while complying with new regulations.

With the arrival of Julius Baer, Wecan Comply confirms its national presence in both the German and French-speaking parts of Switzerland.

“The collaboration with Bank Julius Baer is a demonstration that Wecan Comply is the gold standard, for the industry, to pool resources and guarantee the best compliance requirements. It is a great pride for Wecan Group and we are pleased that the bank also joins the Board of the Blockchain Association for Finance, which governs the development of Wecan Comply.”

Vincent Pignon, Founder and CEO Wecan Group

Banque Syz joins Wecan comply, the pioneering blockchain platform dedicated to compliance

Banque Syz is pleased to announce that it joined Wecan Comply today, the first global compliance services platform dedicated to private banks and independent asset managers based on blockchain technology. Syz thus joins other major banks of the Swiss financial services industry that already use this platform.

 

This platform has been developed by the Swiss fintech group, Wecan, a recognised expert in blockchain technologies. This highly secure solution aims to simplify the exchange of information with independent asset managers.

“Looking ahead to the future is in our DNA. We built our business on listening to clients, delivering great service and the notion of personalised service”, says Yvan Gaillard, CEO of Banque Syz. “Our independent asset managers have had to deal with changes to the regulatory landscape, which are ever more complex, notably with the LSFin and LEFin Acts that came into force on 1 January 2020, and the increasing amount of requirements in their activities. We are therefore delighted to be able to give them access to an innovative platform that simplifies the compliance process for them”.

After working with a broad range of financial players for over a year, Wecan Comply was created to address the needs of private banks and independent asset managers in the best possible way. The solution enables them to achieve noticeable economies of scale with regards to their compliance procedures.

Built as a smart digital vault, Wecan Comply enables banks and asset managers to store and access data that is necessary for the performance of the compliance function in a highly secure manner using blockchain technology.

As Banque Syz joins the Wecan platform, Switzerland yet again confirms it is a pioneer in the use of blockchain technologies.

“We believe that Wecan Comply represents new opportunities for banks and external Asset managers,” says Vincent Pignon, Founder & CEO of Wecan Group. “The application of blockchain technology has the potential to transform the way to manage compliance with simpler procedures, greater security and the possibility to carry out audits in real time. Wecan Comply is leading the field in blockchain technology and Syz is the bank for the future. By joining forces, we can help external asset managers to bridge the gap between traditional and digital compliance”.

Click on links below to read this article.

In French:

https://www.allnews.ch/content/corporate/banque-syz-rejoint-wecan-comply

https://agefi.com/actualites/entreprises/banque-syz-rejoint-la-plateforme-blockchain-wecan-comply

In English:

https://www.institutionalassetmanager.co.uk/2021/06/21/302154/banque-syz-joins-wecan-comply-platform

https://citywire.ch/news/syz-bank-joins-platform-for-eams-and-banks-data-exchange/a1521514

In German:

https://www.finews.ch/news/banken/46734-banque-syz-wecan-comply-blockchain

 

“Create a more efficient working environment”

Interview with Laurent Pellet, Member of the Board of Directors of the Blockchain Association for Finance, Global Head of GFE, Banque Lombard Odier

By Jérôme Sicard – Photos: Karine Bauzin

On the initiative of Lombard Odier, Pictet and Edmond de Rothschild (Switzerland), the Blockchain Association for Finance was created. It aims to govern the working relationships between banks and external managers present on the blockchain platform developed by Wecan. This platform was designed to facilitate administrative exchanges between banks and asset managers. Having defined the standards and governance rules, the Association now intends to guarantee its durability. Laurent Pellet, a member of the board of directors, explains.

What is the Blockchain Association for Finance?

Laurent Pellet: It is a non-profit association whose main objective is to govern the relationships that will develop between the blockchain platform developed by the WeCan Group in Geneva and its users, namely external asset managers and custodian banks. Let’s take a quick look at this platform. By exploiting blockchain technology, it aims to facilitate the exchange of information and data sharing between banks and external asset managers. On the one hand, managers simplify the compliance procedures with their custodian banks. On the other hand, the banks get better quality data, while reducing the time invested in collecting it.
From this point on, it was important to create an association that ensures that the platform is always in line with the needs of its users. Furthermore, we also felt it was necessary for this association to be able to play a driving role in the future development of the platform, depending on regulatory changes.

What were the reasons for its creation?

First of all, there was a common desire among custodian banks and external managers to create a more efficient working environment thanks to technological innovations like Wecan. There was also, as far as the banks were concerned, a desire to forget the fact that we were competitors in order to develop new solutions together, based on digital technology, in the obvious interest of the Swiss financial centre. We were all ready to work and move forward together, especially as we were all attracted by Wecan’s proposal. However, once we were involved in the project, we were keen to ensure that the relationship between the platform and its users was perfectly defined. We had to be sure that it would last and that we would have final control.

What is the nature of the relationship between the association and Wecan?

We agreed on a Service Level Agreement between the association and the Wecan Group, the main aim of which is to guarantee the continuity of the platform. For example, the association has ensured that it will be able to recover the source codes in the event that the Wecan Group is no longer able to manage the platform or to continue its development. The Association is chaired by Stéphanie Hodara, a well-known legal expert.

Can the association make money from the growth of the platform?

This is not the way we work. The aim of the association is not to make money from Wecan’s work in bringing the technology. On the contrary, we are delighted to be able to contribute to the success of a Swiss fintech with very good potential. For the association and its users, banks or external managers, the gains will be generated elsewhere. For the association, and for the Swiss financial centre more generally, there will be a premium for innovation. For the banks and external asset managers, there will be new ways of working together that will benefit everyone.

How is the association financed?

Banks pay a membership fee. External managers do not. We really want to gather as many people as possible around this great project.

How many external managers have you gathered so far?

More than fifty.

How is it that this project is the first to bring together so many banks in Switzerland?

That’s a difficult question. I would say that it is the combination of several factors. The first trigger was the entry into force of the new laws that now regulate the activity of external asset managers. With the LSFin and LEFin, there is much greater recognition of this profession, which now has a framework within which it can evolve much more easily.
When Wecan approached us at the very beginning, the outlines of the project were still quite limited. They limited themselves to the exchange of documentation. There were three banks around the table: Lombard Odier, Pictet and Rothschild. We very quickly realised that we could go further, to the point of completely digitalising the process of onboarding managers, with all the compliance aspects that go with it. As we were three major players who initiated this project, we thought that we would not have too much trouble motivating others.

What is the most important unifying element for you?

The definition of standards! From the outset, we were convinced that we needed standards that could be accepted and used by everyone, both custodian banks and external managers. This seemed to us to be an essential point. We worked for several months on formalising these standards by bringing together banks and managers around the table and ensuring that everyone’s needs were taken into account. Today, these standards are validated. Insofar as the interests of all parties were perfectly aligned, we moved forward fairly quickly.

How do external managers find their way around today when they join the platform?

Clearly, the aim is to lighten their workload by automating compliance checks in a perfectly secure environment. Today, thanks to the platform, information exchanges and document sharing are managed from a single data set that the manager uploads to the platform and then gives access to the partners of his choice. He no longer has to repeat the same manual operations each time. Ultimately, with the digitalisation of these time-consuming administrative formalities, he will be able to free up more time to focus on his core business, namely portfolio management and client relations.

And for Lombard Odier, to take your specific case, what advantages do you think you will gain?

Exactly the same as for the managers. We are going to save a lot of time by minimising the burden of the compliance stack and have a more rewarding working relationship with our external managers. By broadening the framework, it is true that it is also a good way for Lombard Odier to reiterate its taste for and commitment to technological innovation, which is at the heart of its development strategy.

What difficulties do you see in the adoption of this blockchain platform?

Anything that is very innovative, like this blockchain platform, requires a certain amount of time to adapt. Especially since blockchain technology is a wonderful tool for digital transformation, but its image is still a bit too much associated – wrongly – with crypto-currencies. To convince future users of the Wecan platform, it is therefore necessary to explain its mode of operation and the advantages they will gain from it. Over time, adoption will come very naturally.

How do you see blockchain transforming the world of finance and more specifically wealth management?

It is clear that blockchain will have a huge impact on the financial services sector and will create a lot of value in the process. I would just like to mention, as an example, the digitalisation of intangible assets and their appearance on new financial markets. The blockchain will allow the tokenisation of real, illiquid assets, such as real estate, works of art or even prestigious vehicles, in order to offer access to a much broader investor base. Frankly, these are new worlds that are opening up to us today, and they hold great opportunities.

Click here to find this article in French: https://sphere.swiss/creer-un-environnement-de-travail-plus-performant/

Click here to find this article in German: https://sphere.swiss/de/baf-auf-dem-weg-zu-einem-leistungsfaehigeren-arbeitsumfeld/ 

Innovation in the Swiss financial landscape.

 

Presentation of the pioneering  blockchain platform for compliance: Wecan Comply 


With the entry into force of the FinIA and FinSA laws  on January 1, 2020, independent asset managers and  trustees are no longer supervised solely by banks,  but also by supervisory bodies. The procedures  for identifying, controlling and monitoring client  relationships are becoming increasingly complex.  Measures must be put in place to avoid the  increasingly time-consuming duplication of the  same tasks. 

Our digital platform, Wecan Comply, is the result of a  year-long collaboration with a panel of major financial  

players. It has been built in order to best address  the compliance challenges of today and tomorrow.  The swiss-made solution meets two expectations:  to prevent compliance and administrative work  from overwhelming the daily activity of asset  managers, and to ensure that specific tasks are  performed correctly and reliably, while respecting  new regulations.  

Wecan Comply is built like a digital safe. The  solution allows banks and asset managers to store  and exchange their compliance documents in an ultra-secure way, and with ease. The platform runs on a simple web browser and requires only Internet access. 

“We are passionate about helping financial institutions of all sizes dramatically accelerate their digital transformation. Wecan  Comply combines the most advanced compliance services  with the most advanced technology. These enable our clients, leaders in their field, to achieve the industry’s best cost-income ratios of 26.8%”explains Vincent Pignon, CEO of Wecan Group SA.  

The new technologies used in Wecan Comply are particularly well suited for the centralized management of KYC data of independent asset managers by custodian banks. The procedures resulting from these technologies ensure that the data is up-to-date, while the centralized storage certifies the uniqueness of the data. State-of-the-art security also ensures protection against unauthorized access. 

In the near future, even auditors, supervisory  bodies and other third parties will have access to  the data they are interested in. In the broad future,  further extensions of the platform’s services can be  envisaged. 

Wecan Comply is already used by 10 custodian banks  in Switzerland, including Pictet, Lombard Odier,  Mirabaud and Reyl. The latter have invited more than 50 external asset managers to use the platform  and join the 120 active users. Wecan Comply has  grown by 230% since its launch in early 2021. 

The Wecan Comply solution will be presented at an  event organized by GSCGI on June 30, 2021 at the  Metropole Hotel in Geneva.



 

 

Swiss fintech: the blockchain ecosystem is holding up well

Blockchain chronicle. For more than four years, Switzerland has been hosting a number of projects. An overview of this high-potential ecosystem.

840 companies active in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, that’s the surprising figure shared by the Swiss Blockchain Federation last year. That’s more than 4,400 jobs in the Zug crypto-valley alone.

Finma’s responsiveness in 2017 and 2018 had a lot to do with it. The Swiss regulator, keen to provide a flexible and clear framework for the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of the time, as well as for blockchain projects as a whole have enabled a good number of companies to implement or prosper in Switzerland.

The use of blockchain has intensified in recent months.
The same applies to crypto-currencies.

This is the case with flagships such as Bity, the Ethereum Foundation, Bancor, Wecan Group, Seba, Metaco and Bitcoin Suisse. And this in a variety of applications and activities (participatory finance, tokenisation, asset management, payment infrastructures and banking infrastructures).

The use of blockchain has been increasing in recent months. The same is true with crypto-currencies. In contrast to 2017, leading institutional players are now active in the field. Facebook and its Diem currency project (which recently announced to leave Switzerland) is far from being the only example. In French-speaking Switzerland, major players such as Swissquote are offering crypto services to their clients.

With projects like Dfinity, a kind of cloud 3.0 built on blockchain, Switzerland is also bridging the gap to Silicon Valley. The Zug-based foundation Dfinity has a strong presence in the US and its token, Internet Computer (ICP), is valued at $14 billion on trading platforms.

Switzerland is a pioneer in this field thanks to its responsive financial market regulator and is in pole position.

On the art side, it is now difficult not to hear about the famous NFTs. Christie’s organised the first major auction of a digital work. The latter made the headlines by reaching the astronomical sum of 69 million dollars. Sotheby’s is not to be outdone. The auction house has accepted two crypto-currencies to participate in the sale of physical works.

Blockchain technologies are now increasingly present in the financial world. Switzerland is a pioneer in this field thanks to its responsive financial market regulator, and every year hosts a number of promising projects. Innovation is not a sprint, but a marathon. And understanding the regulations and business models related to blockchain is therefore essential to stay ahead of the game.

The entrepreneur and expert Vincent Pignon and the doctor of law Pascal Favrod-Coune have published a book on this subject, La Fintech en Suisse, published by Schulthess. The book is complemented by a cartography in the form of a website. The latter lists all the players in the Swiss fintech ecosystem, i.e. more than 320 companies spread throughout the Confederation.

FINIA impact over EAMs and Trustees: halfway assessment​

Carlo Pinna (TeamWork)

External asset managers (EAM) and trustees have until the end of 2022 for complying, the next months will be busy!

 

A survey has been launched by several industry players, supervisory bodies, banks, professional associations of independent asset managers such as SAIFA, the Swiss Association of Independent Financial Advisors, and the companies TeamWork and Wecan Group. 

 

This survey for asset managers and trustees aims to simply and accurately assess their understanding of the new standards, their level of preparedness for the implementation of LEFin, as well as their estimates of the financial impact. 

 

Sixteen months have passed since the entry into force of the FINIA obligations, which is just shy of half of the three years given to EAMs and Trustees to obtain the FINMA authorisation demanded by the article 74 section 2.

 

From the FINMA annual report 2020 it emerges clearly that only a minority of authorisations have been granted at the moment. This is consistent with the information collected by the regulator during the “announcement” process.

 

Under the first section of the aforementioned art. 74, FINMA required EAMs and Trustees to announce themselves and declare when they planned to submit the authorisation request.

 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of them (1434, 60 %) announced that they will file the request in 2022 last year available, while 684 (28%) announced that they would have target 2021 and only 284 (12%) indicated 2020 as submitting year for the request.

 

Submerged by requests, FINMA, the surveillance organisms and professional advisors risk to face a bottleneck, especially during the second half of 2022.

 

This “last-minute rush” for the authorisation might disturb the usually orderly operations of the Swiss financial sector, as the process for obtaining the authorisation is not limited to a simple request.

 

The affiliation to a Supervisory Organisation and the application to FINMA for obtaining the authorisation, are indeed time consuming administrative tasks. The underlying work required, however, is even more cumbersome. Before being eligible for an authorisation issued by the regulator, the external asset managers need to carry out a considerable amount of work upstream.

 

Applicants are in fact required to adapt their internal organisation according to the law, and noticeably the art.21 FINIA, appropriately titled “ Risk management and internal control” has a key role in defining the prerequisites.

 

Entities have to appropriately define a risk management system in place as well as an effective internal control structure to ensure, among other requirements, compliance with legal and internal provisions. That means being able to prove to have covered, under a risk, control and compliance perspective, delicate subject such as wealth management, cross-border activities, market conduct and business continuity. 

 

Currently, most of the actors have internal control and risk management functions that are lacking or even non-existent and now have to be built before the end of next year.

 These procedures have not only to be assembled, but also maintained. This is especially true as auditors, mandated by the Supervisory Organisation, will monitor and verify that all the internal procedures created on paper are effectively implemented.

 

On top of that, the complexity and sensibility of these subjects are such that, in fact, specialists are required with unavoidable professional services fees. An increase in complexity, and therefore costs, both in the short and long term.

 

Additional processes and controls require a well organised structure. Under an administrative standpoint, organisations will become “heavier” and ramified. The additional recurrent internal workload and audit fees will have asymmetrical impact across the market.

 

Fixed structural cost will be more difficult to sustain for small organisations with fewer assets under management. Their business model will be impacted and a barrier for the entry of new actors will be raised.

 

In view of the important ramifications of the LEFin, the understanding of the regulatory and financial impacts, in the short and long term, is essential for the market operators. Hence the importance of such a study which will be distributed to members of the main supervisory bodies, professional associations such as SAIFA, the Swiss Association of Independent Financial Advisors, and compliance solutions such as Wecan Comply. 

 

All readers that might be interested can participate or get in contact to remain informed. 

 

Article wrote by Carlo Pinna (TeamWork) & David Delmi (Wecan Group)

The challenges of security and scalability of blockchain

Editorial Staff, 26 March 2021

Blockchain Chronicle. Transaction speed, defense against irrational behavior. How to meet the growing needs?

There are many topics dealing with crypto-currencies in this phase of growth and attraction for financial assets built with Blockchain technologies. However, one topic is taking a prominent place in these development prospects: digital trust.

The issues surrounding the notion of digital trust have ramifications across the entire Industry 4.0 value chain. Blockchain technology and its impacts on various industries are at the center of interest. Blockchain is becoming increasingly important in financial services, both in terms of value exchange between entities and data validation.
Like finance, the fields of health, insurance, energy, telecommunications or manufacturing are increasingly interacting with Blockchain technology. Security and scalability issues are therefore paramount.

The challenge lies in finding the best balance between low latency
between low latency and high security.

Unlike the Internet, which was built on Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) communication technology, blockchain technologies are numerous and built on sometimes very different technologies. Bitcoin has its own protocol. So does Ethereum. Each blockchain technology develops its own solutions to guarantee security and scalability. The race for the most advanced solution is intense, and the blockchains that best meet specific challenges are being scrutinized.

A well-known issue in the blockchain field, for example, is the latency of a technology. Latency is the time it takes for a blockchain system to process a request. The lower the latency, the better the performance. The subject of latency is eminently linked to that of security. The longer you take to validate an information, the more certainty you will have. The challenge lies in finding the best balance between low latency and high security. Current technologies provide various solutions to solve this objective.

Let’s take the example of Visa, which allows up to 25,000 transactions per second (TPS) . Bitcoin in comparison lags far behind with only 7 transactions per second in 2018. The challenger Ethereum is not really doing any better with 20 transactions per second. Ripple, a less publicized technology but well known to cryptocurrency aficionados, was built primarily to address this transaction count issue. With 1,500 transactions per second, Ripple does better than its competitors, but is still far behind Visa. The advantages of the security of the Blockchain have their disadvantages. The race to improve technologies is intense between the different players.

Private blockchains provide very efficient solutions,
with algorithms that are resistant to so-called Byzantine failures.
Another more complex example is the resistance to Byzantine failures.

This term refers to the ability of a technology to defend itself from non-rational behavior. In a system such as public Blockchains, where the consensus of information validation is central, the ability to protect against malicious validators is paramount. Private blockchains provide very effective solutions here, with algorithms that are resistant to these so-called Byzantine failures.

We understand the importance of advancing the state of the art of cybersecurity by systematically evaluating the various technologies, both in terms of their security and their ability to respond to these issues of scalability and growth. All this while analyzing and evaluating the environmental impact of the solutions used.

Switzerland, a pioneer in blockchain technology, has understood the value of such an evaluation system. Teams from the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) led by Professor Rachid Guerraoui, in collaboration with the Wecan Group, are developing a methodology to assess the vulnerability, performance and impact of the many current and future blockchain technologies.

In view of the few pioneering solutions, the growing interest of public and private players, and the ever-increasing variety of sectors affected by these innovations, the question of choosing the best solutions is obviously pivotal.

From real estate securitization to tokenization​

Editorial Staff, 19 March 2021

By 2025, 10% of the world’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – or $24 trillion – will be stored and traded using blockchain technology, according to the World Economic Forum. This is the so-called “tokenization” process.

 

For this series of interviews, five experts propose to demystify tokenization in their field of expertise: from the point of view of the real estate developer, the independent manager, the bank and the auditor.

 

For this first interview, Vincent Pignon, a blockchain expert, explains the main principles of tokenization applied to real estate securitization. Founder and CEO of Wecan Group, which launched the Wecan Tokenize solution, Vincent is an active entrepreneur in the field of finance and distributed ledger technologies (Blockchain). Executive director of the blockchain program at CREA and previously blockchain advisor at the State of Geneva, Vincent holds a PhD from Mines Paris Tech.

 

How is digital impacting the way we invest in real estate?
Digital has started to impact the way to invest mainly in the first step which is onboarding. Investors now have the opportunity to make an indirect investment in real estate, with a process that is 100% digital. This started with crowdfunding, in the years 2010-2015 mainly, in different forms, both in equity and in debt. We then saw an evolution to give access to several real estate projects and the secondary market with tokenization. One of the challenges of tokenization is to bring liquidity to indirect real estate investment through platforms like crowdfunding.

What are the advantages of tokenization compared to real estate securitization?
The main benefit of tokenization is to reduce the transaction costs of an indirect real estate investment by having a digital representation of the real estate asset or the vehicle that invests in the real estate asset. The vehicle can be a fund share that will be represented by a digital token that can be purchased by investors on the primary market. It can then be exchanged, peer to peer, without necessarily going through a market place or OTC.

This real estate security will be able to be split in a much finer way than a fund share, reserved for qualified investors. This will open up the prospect of a retail investment in this type of asset, but will also make it possible to create a portfolio of real estate assets with shares in an apartment, a house or a building in different cities around the world, which can be arbitrated and resold much more easily.

What is the state of the tokenization market in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, the market is still in its infancy. The first initiatives date back to two years ago. FINMA, the financial regulator, took a position quite early on the different categories of tokens or, more precisely, of “security tokens”, which can be used for tokenization.

There are several initiatives on the real estate theme, whether in Zurich or in other European cities, but always starting from Swiss vehicles or platforms. This is a market that is developing.

Today, there are two problems to ensure that it develops more rapidly: firstly, to be able to secure or “custodize” the digital tokens, since these are securities that need to be stored and secured in the best possible way – and today there is not yet the infrastructure, particularly in the banking sector, to be able to do this – and secondly, to be able to have a liquid, lively secondary market, on which investors come to exchange securities.

These are the issues on which the Swiss stock exchange is working. Some players, such as digital asset banks, were created in 2020, notably Sygnum and Seba, and other players are emerging in this field. There will most likely be an acceleration of the tokenization market in Switzerland from 2021 to 2025.

 

More concretely, how does tokenization work? Who is it aimed at?

Tokenization works in different ways depending on the vehicle and the underlying objective. The simplest form is to use a traditional process, i.e. securitization, and on this securitization to digitalize only the securities. Instead of doing “paper-stone”, as we have experienced in recent years with funds, we will do “token-stone”. We represent the stone by a digital token and it is this digital token that we will then distribute to investors, whether they are institutional, qualified or retail. This is the simplest way to proceed: we keep the initial value chain and we make a digital representation of the security that has been created. This is as valid for equity as for debt.

 

Can you give us a concrete example of tokenization?

The first example is Capelli, a real estate developer based in Switzerland with a company listed on Euronext. Capelli has tokenized bonds on its real estate development operations. In this case we have a bond that has been tokenized, distributed on which we have an annual dividend payment. The operation was done through a Luxembourg vehicle and it is this vehicle that was tokenized. The second example, Geneva Management Group, is more or less similar. These are fund units that have been tokenized, distributed, purchased by qualified investors only and for which there is an OTC secondary market.

 

And what are the risks associated with the tokenization of assets?

Today, the main risks are less regulatory than technological. From a regulatory point of view, the main aspects have been addressed, both by the financial regulator, FINMA, but also by the Swiss Confederation. We have a legal and regulatory framework that is adequate. The main issues now, which will also be addressed in this series of interviews, will be the tax aspects, in particular how an investor will consider the taxation of these digital tokens and the second is the technological security of holding these assets, with the risk of losing them or potentially having a trusted third party who will custodian them, store them on behalf of investors. This could be a bank or a securities trader, or potentially an external manager who will be able to store these “security tokens” on behalf of its clients.

 

How do you see the evolution of tokenization and the use of blockchain for investments?

It is obvious today that all assets will be tokenized, whether they are banked or unbanked assets. So real estate will potentially be even more so than banked assets. There is going to be a market challenge for all the players, especially the banks, to be able to include this type of asset in their AUM and also to offer advice and storage. This is an industry issue that goes beyond Switzerland and is most likely global. It will also most certainly change the infrastructure for processing digital assets, whatever they are, at the level of the exchanges, but also of the banks and of the various players in the industry, such as brokers, dealers, operators, fund structurers and those managing these funds. In a few years this will become mainstream, it’s something that I think is inevitable for the industry.

 

Finally, what advice would you give to people who want to get into real estate tokenization?

This is an opportune time to get into real estate tokenization. There is a lot to create, including standards as well as discussions with the various stakeholders such as the regulator, market operators, banks and players who will play the role of broker and dealer on the liquidity part of the market.

 

The challenge is really to consider that we are still at the very beginning of this fundamental evolution but that it is inevitable. We need to be able to work with players who have already mastered these operations to a greater or lesser extent, so as not to recreate the wheel, but rather to try to build on something that has already been done.

 

The motivations of the players who are involved in tokenization are rather to be able to improve the procedure, to reduce the time and costs of transactions in order to optimize the whole process.

Wecan Group Says It Simplifies Clients’ Compliance Life

Editorial Staff, 10 March 2021

One of the successful firms in this news service’s recent Swiss external asset managers awards programme, Wecan Group, explains why it thinks it reached the level to win such accolades and how it intends to push forward.

We recently talked to Anthony Lamy, chief revenue officer and partner at Wecan Group, about its award-winning success in our Swiss external asset manager awards programme.

 

What sets you apart from your peers this year and why?
Wecan Comply was initiated with and for the actors of the financial industry. The administrative burden created by the regulatory requirements has been a hot topic in the industry for years now. Everyone is complaining about it but not much has been done to truly address the problem. Tackling this is at the heart of our mission, we want to truly simplify the compliance process for banks, independent asset managers, and trustees. What sets us apart is that we work together with the finance industry in order to respond to their needs. We have built a platform that is not only extremely user-friendly but that will also help the industry move towards a paperless onboarding process in the coming years. 

How have your colleagues contributed towards the success of your organisation?
At Wecan, we are trust network builders. Our small yet skilled team is committed to providing the best technical expertise and user experience to our clients. The entire team has spent a lot of time talking to the platform users in order to understand what their pain points are. Our ambition is nourished by a strong team spirit. In the daily professional life, this translates into simple, well-constructed and well-executed actions.

What are you going to do to stay on the front foot in a fast-growing but also challenging region such as this?
Earlier this year, the Blockchain Association for Finance was launched, it will allow the platform to stay on top of regulatory changes and enable Wecan Comply’s stakeholders to make strategic decisions about future features we develop.  

We are going to bring new use cases to the platform, other financial actors that have approached us and want to also benefit from our platform for their specific use case ( ie trust companies, insurance companies, other.) 

Then, the next step for Wecan Comply is to connect to official registers that will increase the simplicity of use and create even more trust in the data available on our platform. 

 

What challenges have you had to overcome to reach your present standard?
Our initial challenge was to bring financial actors together and understand their pain points and see if we could provide a solution that would meet their requirements. Our vision was not only to create a digital tool, but to create a real collaborative network between banks and their partners in which they can align on new ways of working together and drive a positive impact on both sides. We managed to overcome this challenge by having all actors actively engage in the discussion, and we built a proof of concept to allow them to decide if the idea would actually produce results for them. 

A second challenge was to be extremely didactic about blockchain technology. 

Cybersecurity and trust are at the heart of our mission. Therefore it is essential for us to make sure that each bank and EAM understand that they can control their data in a fully-encrypted and secured network, like in a private data vault. As a solution provider, we are only building the network, we will not be able to access any of the banks’ or EAMs’ documents.

 

To whom do you look for inspiration and ideas?
We pride ourselves in being a platform, that means we have a true open mindset. We look at how other platforms have managed to convince users at scale and we replicate those best practices. We are trying to bring a tech mindset to the financial industry.

 

What do you hope will be the result of receiving this accolade? How does it help your business in this region?
By receiving this award, we hope to gain visibility but also to show our legitimacy in the world of finance. We have already succeeded in bringing together some of the great names of Swiss finance. As from Q2 2021, we aim to accelerate our growth and this award will show people who do not know us yet, that industry experts recognise the impact our solution will have.

EPFL and Wecan Group will develop a blockchain methodology with the support of Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Agency.

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 – Wecan Group, has been selected to be part of Innosuisse, a program lead by the Swiss Innovation Agency. The aim of this project is to build bridges and create synergies between the research and business area. Through this project, Wecan Group is going to partner with EPFL to develop a methodology to evaluate the scalability and security of any blockchain project.

The project is part of many dynamics that combine in-depth knowledge in cybersecurity and data protection to help bring Switzerland to the forefront of these digital trust issues. The goal of this project is to advance the state-of-the-art of cybersecurity by offering a solution that evaluates the vulnerability and the performance of a blockchain-based application. There appears to be little to no comprehensive work done in the area of blockchain evaluation.

EPFL teams lead by professor Rachid Gerraoui together with Wecan Group will develop a unique methodology to highlight potential points of failure of a blockchain-based application and deliver an open-source evaluation framework to monitor key performance indicators.

This open-source assessment framework will ensure compliance with the highest security and quality standards for all actors developing blockchain-based applications in Switzerland and abroad.

The methodologies and evaluations framework developed by the EPFL will be tested and improved on a Wecan Group blockchain platform called Wecan Comply (www.wecancomply.com) .

Wecan Group has also been selected to be part of the Tech 4 Trust program (https://trustvalley.swiss/tech4trust/) that is supported by EPFL.

About  EPFL Distributed Computing Laboratory :

 

The Distributed Computing Laboratory has developed over the last two decades innovative solutions on Transactional Memory (https://dcl.epfl.ch/site/transactions), Cryptocurrencies (https://dcl.epfl.ch/site/cryptocurrencies), Safe AI and in particular Distributed Machine Learning from the perspective of Byzantine resilience (https://dcl.epfl.ch/site/safeai), as well as from the perspective of Private Recommender Systems (https://dcl.epfl.ch/site/web-alter-egos), and more recently,  Distributed Algorithms for New Technologies: RDMA and NVRAM

 

 

 About Rachid Guerraoui:

 

Rachid Guerraoui has been affiliated with the Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique of Saclay, Hewlett Packard Laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and College de France. He has worked in a variety of aspects of distributed computing, including distributed algorithms and distributed programming languages. He is most well known for his work on e-Transactions, epidemic information dissemination and indulgent algorithms (http://lpdwww.epfl.ch/rachid/index.html).

 

About Wecan Comply:

The objective of the Wecan Comply application is to reduce the compliance workload while improving data quality. This unique platform is facilitating communication between External Asset Managers and their custodian banks, allowing faster onboarding, bringing real time compliance for the first time, and improving data quality. Visit wecancomply.com

About Wecan Group

Wecan is a swiss based company created in 2015. First active in crowdfunding we started actively looking into blockchain as a way to improve our solution. Realizing that we needed to pivot hard to put this technology at the core of our business, Wecan shifted to blockchain technology in 2018. We are now helping others to reinvent their business thanks to blockchain rather than witnessing others disrupt them.

We address our partner’s needs in different industries through our blockchain competencies and a co-creation process. We create value by offering them tailor-made and innovative solutions thanks to our blockchain expertise and strategic competencies.

Wecan brings a new dimension to blockchain projects, it’s not about the technology nor the hype, it’s about allowing real collaboration among actors. The real blockchain journey starts when efforts on non-competitive topics are shared and you can focus on added value tasks.

https://www.wecangroup.ch/ (official website)