Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX) Signs Memorandum To Support Adoption Of Distributed Ledger Technology

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange (ADX), the region’s leading financial market, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) and seven leading global Central Securities Depository (CSD) companies to collaborate on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) implementation in post trade operations, as well as capital market transactions.

Today, securities processing, particularly in areas requiring multi-party contact and involving extremely cumbersome manual processes carry significant inherent cost and risk. As a part of the MOU, SWIFT and the CSDs have defined the product requirements for an e-voting solution based on DLT that includes common standards (ISO 20022) and principles.

Other aspects of the MOU include fostering collaboration amongst the CSD community in DLT research and development, helping define the role of financial market infrastructure providers in markets based on distributed ledgers and; identifying, defining and developing additional use cases for DLT in a CSD environment and the post-trade landscape, such as services for different kinds of DLT-based digital assets.

In addition, the group will focus on creating and adapting common standards and principles for the use of DLT amongst CSDs and the financial industry, and promoting the adoption of those standards and principles to other parties, including regulators.

Confirming the importance of the CSD Working Group on DLT, the International Securities Services Association (ISSA) recently endorsed the group and included it as part of a new work stream within the Association’s existing Working Group on DLT, giving this initiative greater industry visibility. As a part of ISSA, the CSD Working Group on DLT will initially focus on digital assets with a goal to establish a business framework for how these assets could be used in the post-trade space. The framework will identify key definitions, classifications, services and post trade service provider roles. Findings from the use case on digital assets are expected to be published in Q2 of 2018.

Rashed Al Blooshi, Chief Executive of ADX, emphasised the importance of the MoU in building on ADX’s reputation for technological leadership and delivering the highest standards of disclosure and transparency.

Al Blooshi said: “As the first market in the MENA region to enter into an agreement of this kind, this signing marks another significant achievement for ADX. The Exchange will open channels of constructive dialogue with various stakeholders to identify the common principals, standards and business rules needed for the successful implementation of DLT in post trade operations, with the aim of enhancing the speed and security of capital market transactions.”

Al Blooshi highlighted the benefits that DLT implementation will bring ADX, including more efficient clearing and settlement operations through the reduced requirement for human input, increased system flexibility and data integration, and reduced costs and time.

Al Blooshi added: “ADX’s launch of the ‘Blockchain for e-Voting’ in 2016 used in Annual General Meetings was in line with the Abu Dhabi Digital Government’s directives to enhance the quality and speed of services through innovation and creativity, and underscored ADX’s interest to actively participate in the field of digital solutions for stock markets. This technology provides real-time, credible and transparent information, and allows parties to access information for inspection and auditing purposes within a secure digital environment.”

Al Blooshi concluded: “ADX is committed to contributing to the vision of Abu Dhabi Digital Government and Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 in achieving an effective and sustainable digital transformation that supports the national economy and sustainable development of the Emirate. The MoU cements the cooperation and coordination frameworks between the signatories to adopt DLT and to advance the technical structure of global securities markets.”