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)

Swiss banks collaborate for blockchain asset management compliance

Several Swiss banks have joined WeCanComply, a blockchain platform that enables private custodian banks and external asset managers to exchange compliance documents. Last October, it announced it signed up Lombard Odier, Pictet, Edmond de Rothschild and others. 

This week an independent non-profit was set up for governance by the users of the platform, the Blockchain Association For Finance. Other members include the Alliance of Swiss Wealth Managers, representing firms with more than CHF 100 billion ($112 billion) in assets under management.

In the wealth management sector, external asset managers or independent asset managers are not private banks themselves but rather portfolio managers and investment advisers. Custody of the assets is usually taken care of by Private Custodian Banks. This custodial relationship involves quite a bit of compliance, particularly because asset managers typically deal with several custodial banks.

The WeCanComply platform enables an asset manager to create the necessary onboarding documents once and submit them to multiple custodian banks. Likewise, for any changes.

We wondered about the need for a separate association for governance purposes. WeCan explained a key goal is to agree on data standards. So far, they have the standard for onboarding and are planning a know your customer (KYC) standard. The plan is to roll out the standard internationally with local adaptations for each jurisdiction.

The blockchain solution uses Hyperledger Fabric.

Meanwhile, there are several regtech solutions exploring blockchain, including for KYC. The UAE Know Your Customer platform uses norbloc technology for KYC and went into production last year. Sri Lanka is exploring a similar solution.

ALLNEWS: Why should independent asset managers of all sizes go digital?

Blockchain chronicle. Why should independent asset managers of all sizes go digital?

The fourth industrial revolution is under way with its main differentiating feature being its exponential speed of evolution. Technology is already everywhere and continues to grow, especially in the financial industry. According to a report published by McKinsey , the call for individuals and organisations to invest in learning and development has never been stronger. The World Economic Forum recently stated that there is an urgent need for retraining as the world faces more than a billion jobs transformed by technology. Having personally switched from the world of private banking to that of a blockbuster, I am firmly convinced that it is urgent for organisations to integrate digitalisation into our businesses, whatever the size of the organisation concerned. The blockchain in particular has been around for a few years now, so why should the financial industry start working on it now rather than waiting and seeing what happens?

With the increase in cybercrime, threats and hacking attempts against the financial sector are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated. According to a report published by the Boston Consulting Group, financial services companies are 300 times more likely than other businesses to be targeted by a cyber-attack and dealing with these attacks and their consequences has a higher cost for banks and asset managers than for any other sector. Blockchain technology is one of the most secure technologies in the world with its cryptographic hash system. It therefore meets the challenges of cybercrime regardless of the size of the structure concerned.

The second point, in my opinion, is that of data possession and transparency. There was a time when a certain amount of information remained hidden or omitted, but that time is past. Today we want to have easy access to and control over all kinds of data, i.e. to be able to control simply and efficiently to whom and how it is shared. Agility and efficiency in terms of data management should not be reserved only for larger structures. If they have more complex data mapping, a smaller structure has limited resources to devote to it. Technology can thus make it possible to concentrate human capital elsewhere, especially on tasks with higher added value.

Finally, I think the third issue is related to the ease of adoption and implementation of such technology, which is still obscure for some. Smaller structures are generally more reluctant to devote large budgets to the implementation of new solutions because of their means but also because of their internal constitution. Indeed, without an entity specifically dedicated to innovation, this aspect can sometimes be relegated to other priorities. However, the advancement of blockchain technology is becoming more and more mature with the end of the exploratory phase and with it its batch of “ready to use” solutions for the financial industry that is beginning to take shape.

Curiosity is our best ally. Small or large structures, it is wise to keep a watchful eye on continuous improvement. This is why, in my opinion, innovation and digitalisation must be on everyone’s mind today.

Written by Anna Waibel & Camille Ernoult, Wecan Group

Biography

Anna Waibel

Specialist in the transformation and optimisation of processes in the financial sector

Anna Waibel specialises in the transformation and optimisation of processes in the financial sector. She worked at swissnex Singapore and then at Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA for more than 8 years before joining the blockbuster sector as Client Success Manager at Wecan Group.

Blockchain chronicle. Why should independent asset managers of all sizes go

Blockchain chronicle. Why should independent asset managers of all sizes go digital?

The fourth industrial revolution is under way with its main differentiating feature being its exponential speed of evolution. Technology is already everywhere and continues to grow, especially in the financial industry. According to a report published by McKinsey , the call for individuals and organisations to invest in learning and development has never been stronger. The World Economic Forum recently stated that there is an urgent need for retraining as the world faces more than a billion jobs transformed by technology. Having personally switched from the world of private banking to that of a blockbuster, I am firmly convinced that it is urgent for organisations to integrate digitalisation into our businesses, whatever the size of the organisation concerned. The blockchain in particular has been around for a few years now, so why should the financial industry start working on it now rather than waiting and seeing what happens?

With the increase in cybercrime, threats and hacking attempts against the financial sector are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated. According to a report published by the Boston Consulting Group, financial services companies are 300 times more likely than other businesses to be targeted by a cyber-attack and dealing with these attacks and their consequences has a higher cost for banks and asset managers than for any other sector. Blockchain technology is one of the most secure technologies in the world with its cryptographic hash system. It therefore meets the challenges of cybercrime regardless of the size of the structure concerned.

The second point, in my opinion, is that of data possession and transparency. There was a time when a certain amount of information remained hidden or omitted, but that time is past. Today we want to have easy access to and control over all kinds of data, i.e. to be able to control simply and efficiently to whom and how it is shared. Agility and efficiency in terms of data management should not be reserved only for larger structures. If they have more complex data mapping, a smaller structure has limited resources to devote to it. Technology can thus make it possible to concentrate human capital elsewhere, especially on tasks with higher added value.

Finally, I think the third issue is related to the ease of adoption and implementation of such technology, which is still obscure for some. Smaller structures are generally more reluctant to devote large budgets to the implementation of new solutions because of their means but also because of their internal constitution. Indeed, without an entity specifically dedicated to innovation, this aspect can sometimes be relegated to other priorities. However, the advancement of blockchain technology is becoming more and more mature with the end of the exploratory phase and with it its batch of “ready to use” solutions for the financial industry that is beginning to take shape.

Curiosity is our best ally. Small or large structures, it is wise to keep a watchful eye on continuous improvement. This is why, in my opinion, innovation and digitalisation must be on everyone’s mind today.

Written by Anna Waibel & Camille Ernoult, Wecan Group

Biography

Anna Waibel

Specialist in the transformation and optimisation of processes in the financial sector

Anna Waibel specialises in the transformation and optimisation of processes in the financial sector. She worked at swissnex Singapore and then at Union Bancaire Privée, UBP SA for more than 8 years before joining the blockbuster sector as Client Success Manager at Wecan Group.

Success for the 11th edition of the Crea Digital Day. ​

11th Crea Digital Day

Among the speakers was Wecan’s director, Vincent Pignon, who also hosted the event. His company specializes in blockchain, one of the themes chosen for this day. He also said he was very satisfied with the day, which was focused on transmission. For him, one of the challenges consists in explaining to the general public the sometimes technical thermal baths.

After having given a definition of the blockchain, “a register in which one can record any type of information”, Vincent Pignon gives several concrete examples, in order to popularize his subject.They will aim to promote the adoption of this technology and will target business and technical profiles. These e-learning offers, launched next spring, are already available for pre-registration with an early-bird discount.

Major Swiss financial players create the Blockchain Association for Finance (BAF)

Zürich, February 9th 2021– Major players of the Swiss financial landscape announce the creation of the Blockchain Association for Finance (BAF).

The BAF is an independent non-profit organisation based in Zurich, Switzerland, that brings together Banks and External Asset Managers to improve compliance and administrative exchanges thanks to technology.

BAF’s mission is to provide governance and management rules for a blockchain-based platform (Wecan Comply – www.wecancomply.com), aiming at simplifying the sharing of information among, on the one side, banks and, on the other side, external asset managers. At a future stage, the platform may also aim at simplifying the sharing of information among all financial services providers, other financial intermediaries, auditors and supervisory authorities. Wecan Comply platform’s long-term viability and its sustainability are ensured by the BAF.

To fulfil its mission, the BAF will monitor regulatory changes in order to ensure the compliance of the Wecan Comply platform with the laws and rules in force and to determine and improve the common standards for the onboarding of external asset managers and the ongoing exchange of due diligence information between banks and external asset managers. The association is also in charge to determine and decide on the necessary common developments, improvements, additional specifications or common functionalities of the platform. Workshops with experts and the members, regarding regulatory developments will be organized.

List of current members: Banque Pictet & Cie SA, Bank Lombard Odier & Co. Ltd, Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA, Hyposwiss Private Bank Geneve SA, Gonet & Cie SA, Sygnum Bank, Reyl & Cie SA, Banque Cramer & Cie SA, Mirabaud & Cie SA, Banque Internationale à Luxembourg (Suisse) SA, Pleion SA, Capitalium Advisors SA, Bedrock SA, Fransad Gestion SA, OLZ AG, Stanhope Capital, Alliance of Swiss Wealth Managers.

The board of the association is composed of members from Altenburger law firm, Banque Pictet & Cie SA, Bank Lombard Odier & Co. Ltd, Edmond de Rothschild (Suisse) SA

and the Alliance of Swiss Wealth Managers (ASWM).

For more information, visit www.BlockchainAssociationforFinance.org

Wecan Comply: How to use the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain for real-time compliance auditing

The state of compliance today

Compliance today is hampered by a real lack of coordination between its various players. Indeed, each actor uses its own processes and tools. Some have invested in technological innovation while others continue to use more traditional methods. The situation is such that nothing has yet been really proposed to facilitate compliance exchanges between external asset managers and their custodian banks.

The administrative workload is heavy and is increasing: the list grows daily, with a new regulatory alert in financial services alone issued every seven minutes according to Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence. And it is estimated that 15 to 25% of a company’s revenue is wasted because of poor data quality and management says Experian plc. Indeed, information is, most of the time, structured internally but exchanged externally by mail, email, phone or fax in a very inefficient and unsecured way. For EAMs, onboarding at a custodian bank therefore requires several hours of work: the announcement process carried out at all the custodian banks, which can go up to more than 50 hours, is still very manual today.

In addition, the annual review (partial or complete) of the relationship with the bank is an important process for the bank and requires administrative verification work that can take several months.  

Compliance efficiency thanks to blockchain

The administrative burden caused by the duplication of compliance processes will be considerably reduced, thanks to blockchain. It will make it possible to digitize and streamline the management of information, thus avoiding many errors. Bockchain technology will enable independent managers to implement much more reliable, smooth and secure operating procedures.

The Wecan Comply platform makes it possible to digitize and standardise the information exchanged between financial players in order to facilitate and streamline exchanges between banks and independent asset managers in a secure manner. The objective is to enable financial players to pool their resources on non-competitive and non-differentiated subjects in order to improve auditability and, eventually, to automate it. This will not be available immediately, but the Wecan Comply platform will soon be linked to official registers. Managers will thus be able to ensure that their custodian banks have direct access to all kinds of official documents, without having to worry about collecting and processing them. By skipping these verification steps, they will be able to save time while limiting the risk of fraud.

The Blockchain Association for Finance: a unique compliance network

Wecan Comply is an ambitious project aimed at optimizing compliance processes. It is the first blockchain infrastructure addressed to Private Banks, thus significantly opening up the prospects of use cases. Several banks and independent asset managers have already joined this unique network: Pictet Group, Lombard Odier Group, Edmond de Rothschild, REYL Group, Hyposwiss Private Bank Genève SA, Gonet, Banque Cramer, CAPITALIUM Wealth Management, PLEION Gestion de fortune, and Fransad Gestion SA. In order to carry out this project, Wecan Group has created an industry standard that meets the best regulatory requirements set by regulators. With a view to ensuring neutrality and the proper functioning of the platform, the members of the network have created an association: the Blockchain Association for Finance.

Systematic and real-time compliance status

The platform allows EAMs and banks users to track and receive real-time alerts for all changes to ensure the compliance of documents and information shared. It monitors, reports and analyzes events and changes while ensuring the security of the environment thanks to Hyperledger Fabric. This solution enhances the security by allowing the user to instantly know who made a specific change, when, and from which entity. Since the data stored is authenticated by multiple institutions and continually up to date, the compliance offices have a real-time reporting of the compliance status and can share it at any time to the management or the external auditors.

Custodian banks save time by accessing in one place standard and structured information coming from their EAM. And they have a real-time compliance status linked to all data. Wecan Comply solution drives efficiency and cost effectiveness, reducing the painful administrative work. Banks are processing top-notch quality of data since all information is validated by other banks of the network. All exchanges are digital, onboardings are faster and there is a real-time auditability of all modifications.

Why we choose Hyperledger Fabric

Wecan Comply uses Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain platform for enterprises hosted by the Linux Foundation. Hyperledger Fabric enables private actors to exchange information while retaining ownership of their data. Each party is clearly identified, and every transaction is authenticated, authorized, validated and tracked.

Thanks to Hyperledger Fabric there is no central administrator: each bank and EAM controls its own information in a fully encrypted and secured network. As a solution provider, Wecan Comply does not have access to the information exchanged. It is only powering the network. Hyperledger Fabric offers a high level of security by ensuring that data access is only made after the user’s private key has been verified by the system. This eliminates the chance of unauthorized access and gives individuals greater control over their information. In addition, the platform is certified by a zero-knowledge proof technology that allows to protect the privacy of all users and to decentralize data control and sharing.

The world of compliance tomorrow

The union of financial players within a network offers good prospects for development.  In particular, data exchange among custodian banks, regulatory bodies and auditors will benefit from significant gains in efficiency.

The next step for Wecan Comply is the connection to the official registers that will create a real ecosystem around compliance and thus release all the value of the platform. Wecan Comply was initiated with and for the actors of the financial industry. Our ambition is then to apply this method to all regulated professions where there are standards in order to guarantee a monitoring and audit of compliance in real time.

By Vincent Pignon, Omar El Mansour and Justine Latta

The blockchain at the service of banks​

Blockchain technology to increase productivity in banking compliance

According to an annual study conducted in 2020 by Thomson Reuters, the three main challenges of banking compliance revolve around regulatory developments, budget and resource allocation, and data protection.

The cost of compliance continues to rise. Indeed, without a competent, well-resourced and technologically aware compliance function, companies are unlikely to be able to manage and mitigate regulatory challenges. New technologies could provide opportunities to increase productivity while reducing costs.

In Switzerland, the new Financial Institutions Act (FINA) and Financial Services Act (FSCA) that came into force in January 2020 impose new compliance and auditing standards that are difficult to meet without new technologies. The increased requirements imply administrative work that needs to be optimised. The administrative workload is heavy and growing, as shown by the Accenture “2019 Global Financial Services Consumer Study” with almost two thirds of respondents confirming that some compliance responsibilities are now being transferred from the “second line of defence” to the “first line”. In the face of these challenges there is a need to accelerate the digitalisation of banking compliance.

The advantages of the Blockchain for the sector

Emerging technologies such as blockchaining offer significant potential to transform operations and regulatory productivity, according to the Deloitte report “The Future of Regulatory Productivity, powered by RegTech”. By improving compliance productivity through process efficiency, companies save compliance-related costs. In general, a blockchain compliance platform provides an immutable and aggregated record, a more efficient compliance process especially for KYC / AML and also for transaction reporting.

In terms of data protection, decentralised registry technology increases the level of security and reduces the number of errors, allowing multiple transactions to be carried out with confidence. At a time when cyber security is a priority, the sharing of information between parties is secure and entities remain in control of their data: the technology allows information to be stored in an encrypted manner while allowing information to be shared intelligently with selected entities. Thus, entities or individuals have complete control over the information they share and with whom they share it. Financial institutions are increasingly likely to integrate blockchain technology into their systems over the next few years, according to the PwC Global FinTech Survey.

Streamlining the relationship between independent asset managers and custodian banks

Within banking compliance there is one aspect in particular where the application of the blockchain deserves special attention. Today, the relationship between independent asset managers and custodian banks is indeed largely impacted by compliance management and the processes are sometimes still complex and repetitive. Onboarding with a custodian bank requires several hours of work and is still done manually for some of them. Compliance documents are stored by banks in a heterogeneous way. Despite the start of digitisation, each entity uses its own tools and standards. The exchange between platforms is impossible and the updating of data is complex. As for the annual review of relations with the bank, the process requires administrative verification work that can take up to several months.

Blockchain technology would make it possible to fluidify these exchanges but also the audit. This is notably what the Wecan Comply blockchain platform offers by pooling resources and standardising the information exchanged between financial players. Thanks to ultra-secure data exchange in real time, data quality is improved and the reduction in operational work results in a significant reduction in operating costs. Technological innovation is an opportunity for both independent asset managers and custodian banks to spend more time on their business priorities through products and services with high added value for their clients rather than on regulatory requirements.

Tomorrow’s compliance…

Today financial institutions are trying to automate controls and monitoring in the areas of KYC/AML, trade monitoring, reconciliation and others. Some institutions have begun to integrate the blockchain into this automation, notably through the fluidity of exchanges between banks and independent managers made possible by pioneering solutions such as Wecan Comply. And this is only the beginning of compliance on the blockchain. In the future, regulators will seek to have direct access to these tools, either on a continuous basis or during surveillance controls, according to the PwC report “Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption”. The possibilities offered by technology are numerous and tomorrow auditing can be automated and platforms connected to official registers by replacing PDFs with certified information.

Therefore, it is essential that companies integrate data and compliance checks as a priority today. It is short-sighted to focus solely on compliance with existing regulations. Companies need to include this thinking now to gain a better understanding of where their data and associated controls are located. By doing so, they will enhance their credibility with regulators today and be ready for the future.

Article written by Nathan Douet and Camille Ernoult

Mirabaud joins the Wecan platform

Geneva, 12 January 2021- Mirabaud & Cie SA is pleased to announce its decision to join the blockchain platform Wecan Comply, a Swiss Fintech company created in 2015 to facilitate and standardise the administrative integration of its independent asset managers (EAM).

This platform will streamline the process of exchanging and validating legal documents, using blockchain technology, between the bank and the EAMs. Wecan Comply is the first global banking compliance solution based on blockchain technology; its objective is to standardise the compliance documents downloaded directly onto the platform by EAMs.

According to Pierre Donnet, head of independent asset managers at Mirabaud & Cie SA: “The quest for excellence in service is Mirabaud’s daily raison d’être. We favour technological progress wherever it can help us streamline administrative tasks, as this allows us to devote more quality time to our clients and focus more on their specific needs. »

 Nicolas Mirabaud, Managing Partner, adds: “Technology is not an end in itself, but a means to achieve our real objectives, namely to guide and serve our clients as well as possible. In this respect, we attach great importance to our EAM clients. This digital solution, which offers a secure and normative approach created by Wecan Comply, allows our EAMs and Mirabaud to focus on what really matters: customer needs. »

Gonet & Cie SA joins forces with the Wecan Comply blockchain platform

Logo Banque Gonet

Geneva, 7 December 2020 – Gonet & Cie SA is pleased to announce that it is joining the Wecan Group and its innovative Wecan Comply project, a digital platform for data exchange between independent asset managers and custodian banks that is currently in the launch phase.

Launched last October and now involving a dozen or so players in the financial sector, Wecan Comply (https://wecancomply.com/) was developed with the aim of simplifying the multiple interactions between banks and independent asset managers, reducing the workload associated with all compliance processes and sharing information in real time. The pooling of resources, the simplification of information sharing and the quality of this data are key regulatory issues, particularly following the entry into force of the LSFin and LEFin laws on 1 January 2020.

As part of a visionary dynamic and convinced that the highly targeted use of new

technology will be a key factor in the development of relations between financial and technological providers.

their customers, Gonet & Cie SA has decided to make its contribution to the Wecan Comply project and its future users by joining the platform.

Maryline Stiegler, Head of the Bank’s Independent Wealth Managers (IWM) Department comments: “As a private bank on a human scale, we are very close to our IWM partners and their needs, and we therefore feel it is important to support them through a visionary digital solution that aims to optimise compliance processes via blockchain capabilities with very promising potential in our business. »

Gonet & Cie SA is one of the forerunners in services for independent asset managers in the Geneva financial centre, having worked for over 30 years with this professional clientele with specific and demanding requirements. “We also share the same values of independence and entrepreneurship,” adds Maryline Stiegler, “and know how necessary it is for them to have access to processes and tools that enable them to concentrate on advising clients rather than on often intrusive administrative tasks. »

Founder and CEO of Wecan Group, Vincent Pignon comments: “We are delighted that a player with such a long experience of independent asset managers as Gonet Bank is joining the Wecan Comply platform, which aims to approve financial players of all profiles for the benefit of all. ».