01 March 2017

Carey Olsen advises on innovative blockchain technology launched by Northern Trust in Guernsey

Carey Olsen has worked with Northern Trust and global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright on the launch of their Blockchain financial technology product in Guernsey.

Northern Trust and IBM built a security-rich blockchain, or distributed ledger solution, based on the Hyperledger Fabric. It is available for use for managing the administration of a private equity fund managed by Unigestion, a Geneva, Switzerland-based asset manager with $20 billion in assets under management (also advised by Carey Olsen).

The blockchain technology brings innovation to the private equity market, allowing Northern Trust to improve traditional business processes at each stage to deliver greater transparency and efficiency. It allows the fund to transfer ownership stakes and be managed, serviced and audited throughout the investment lifecycle on a transparent fintech platform offering “one version of the truth” to participants who gain access via secured means.

The blockchain network has been designed to support compliance with current, local regulations. Both government and regulator in Guernsey were kept informed during the development process and have been supportive of the use of fintech to provide innovative solutions.

Carey Olsen provided legal support and advice throughout the development and launch. Norton Rose Fulbright provided advice from an international perspective, given the firm's expertise in the area and global reach.

Partners Tom Carey and Mark Dunster along with counsel, Richard Field, led the Carey Olsen team advising on this innovative product. Mark and Richard advised Northern Trust, whilst Tom advised Unigestion.

Tom Carey said "Guernsey has been at the forefront of developments in the private equity space, being the domicile of choice for PE structures for many years now. This innovation demonstrates how nimble and adaptable Guernsey can be when it comes to innovation in the digital age. The close collaboration between Northern Trust, IBM , the Guernsey government and regulator and other parties involved has been pivotal in bringing the blockchain product to a successful launch. We are proud to have played our part in this technological development for Guernsey." 

Carey Olsen has also joined forces with Northern Trust, Sure and Startup Guernsey to host the island's first Blockchain conference, taking place on 2 March 2017 at St. Pierre Park.

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