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FinTech and market electronification
Technology is reshaping the way financial markets operate. FinTech, a term broadly used to describe innovation in financial services enabled by technology has attracted much attention among market participants, regulators and policy-makers alike.

ICMA’s engagement spans (i) primary markets, (ii) secondary markets, and (iii) repo and collateral markets, with a focus on market electronification ie the use of technology across the securities lifecycle. While the level of adoption of technology solutions varies in each of those areas, the advent of cutting edge technologies such as distributed ledger technology or artificial intelligence has the potential to impact market practice and market structure significantly.

FinTech and market electronification are addressed through ICMA’s various committees, working groups and work streams as well as through bilateral discussions with member firms and technology providers. ICMA seeks to mainstream relevant FinTech developments and market electronification through all of its initiatives, activities, and fora.


The ICMA board subgroup on technology was established at the beginning of 2018 to provide further guidance on ICMA’s engagement on FinTech and market electronification. In line with ICMA’s mission statement to promote resilient and well-functioning international debt capital markets, the purpose of the board subgroup on technology is to help identify technology trends and consolidate ICMA’s cross-cutting engagement related to FinTech and market electronification by:
  • Providing guidance on ICMA’s engagement with the industry related to the topic;
  • Promoting best practice & common standards;
  • Fostering the discussion with all involved parties on technological developments impacting all segments of the debt capital markets infrastructure;
  • Helping inform ICMA members on technology trends and the potential of practical impact on international debt capital markets.
The current members of the ICMA board subgroup are:

Armin Peter (UBS, Chair of board subgroup), Jean-Marc Mercier (HSBC, Deputy chair of ICMA board), Juan Blasco (BBVA), and Mandy DeFilippo (Morgan Stanley, Chair of ICMA board).

Secretary to the ICMA board subgroup: Gabriel Callsen


The Electronic Trading Council (ETC) has been set up comprising buy-side heads of trading desks, sell-side senior traders or heads of market structure and/or electronic trading and senior representatives from trading venues and technology providers.

The ERCC Ops FinTech Working Group was set up in 2016 by members of the Operations Group (Ops) of the ICMA European Repo and Collateral Council.

ICMA has created a working group of sell-side members to help support the development of the Common Domain Model for bond and repo markets. The working group includes front office, middle/back office, IT and legal experts.


Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334


ICMA primary markets technology mapping directory: ICMA has published the second edition of its comparative mapping of electronic primary bond markets solutions. The directory compares the key features and capabilities of 28 technology solutions that are available for a range of functions within the issuance process of debt securities.

ETP mapping directory: In light of the shift towards electronification, ICMA initially conducted a mapping exercise of electronic trading platforms (ETPs) and information networks in 2015. The ETP mapping directory, which was published as a result, has been reviewed since MiFID II/R entered into force on 3 January 2018. It provides a single source of information on currently over 40 infrastructure providers, covering all cash bond classes.

ICMA Ops FinTech mapping directory: ICMA’s ERCC Ops FinTech Working Group (WG) initially published a mapping directory of over 80 technology solutions available for repo and cash bond operations in November 2017. The directory is being kept up-to-date on a regular basis and the latest version released in July 2019 has now grown to include over 125 solutions. The directory is divided into 10 categories including collateral management, exposure agreements and reconciliations.

FinTech Glossary: An initiative of the ICMA Future Leaders to provide greater clarity around FinTech acronyms and terms.


July 2019
Big Data in securities markets
FinTech regulatory developments Q3 2019

April 2019
FinTech regulatory developments Q2 2019

January 2019
FinTech regulatory developments Q1 2019

October 2018
FinTech regulatory developments Q4 2018

September 2018
Regulatory approaches to Fintech and innovation in capital markets

July 2018
Electronification in primary bond markets
FinTech regulatory developments Q3 2018

April 2018
ICMA’s engagement on FinTech and market electronification
FinTech regulatory developments Q2 2018

October 2017
Market electronification and FinTech

July 2017
ICMA’s engagement on market electronification and FinTech
FinTech: Government bonds in Kenya

April 2017
FinTech, DLT and Regulation

January 2017
Bond trading market structure and the buy side

April 2016
Evolutionary change: The future of electronic trading of cash bonds in Europe

October 2015
An introductory Q&A on blockchain technology


Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often referred to as Blockchain, has stirred a lot of interest and enthusiasm across the financial industry. Although discussions are still at a very early stage, DLT is believed to have the potential to substantially change the way financial markets are operating today, promising important cost savings and efficiency gains in particular in the post-trade space. Regulators and law makers around the world, concerned with the regulatory implications of the technology, are increasingly joining the debate. This webpage aims to provide an overview of the most important contributions, focusing on key early regulatory initiatives in this space but also referencing some of the most important industry initiatives and selected other research on DLT. The aim is not to offer a comprehensive list of available sources on DLT but to limit the overview to the key initiatives. The list will be updated on an ongoing basis as the discussions on DLT are evolving and the impacts are becoming more clear.

Official sources

ESMA: Discussion Paper on Report on The Distributed Ledger Technology Applied to Securities Markets (January 2017) following a Discussion Paper (published on 2 June 2016 for consultation). This follows up on an earlier Call for evidence on Investment using virtual currency or distributed ledger technology (published on 22 April 2015) and the responses received to that consultation.

European Parliament: ECON Draft Report on FinTech: the influence of technology on the future of the financial sector - 2016/2243(INI) (published on 27 January 2017); ECON report on virtual currencies (adopted by the ECON Committee on 26 April 2016)

ECB: Occasional paper series: Distributed ledger technologies in securities post-trading Revolution or evolution? (22 April 2016); and related speech by ECB Executive Board member Yves Mersch: Distributed ledger technology – panacea or flash in the pan? (25 April 2016)

FCA: Discussion Paper on distributed ledger technology (April 2017)

UK Government Office for Science: Distributed ledger technology: Blackett review (January 2016)

BIS (Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures): Reports on Distributed ledger technology in payment, clearing and settlement – An analytical framework (February 2017), and Digital Currencies (23 November 2015)

FINRA: Distributed Ledger Technology: Implications of Blockchain for the Securities Industry (January 2017)

IOSCO: Research Report on Financial Technologies (February 2017)

Selected other research

SWIFT Institute: The Impact and Potential of Blockchain on the Securities Transaction Lifecycle (9 May 2016)

Some key industry initiatives

A multitude of industry initiatives are under way to develop use cases on DLT, among which several important collaborative cross-industry initiatives, including:

Post Trade Distributed Ledger group (PTDL): PTDL is a London-based industry group that aims to provide a forum where financial institutions can explore and share ideas about how DLT can transform the post-trade space. The membership is diverse and includes nearly 40 financial institutions and prominent market infrastructures.

Hyperledger Project: The Hyperledger initiative was launched in December 2015. The project is led by the Linux Foundation and involves both major financial institutions and large technology firms. The idea is to provide an environment to identify and address important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers. Members include well-known blockchain start-ups such as the R3 Consortium (see below) and Digital Asset Holdings (DAH).

R3 Consortium: R3 is a New York based start-up which leads a consortium partnership with over 40 of the world's largest banks. It aims to provide a forum for the creation of common standards for the use of DLT in finance and create blockchain applications. Unlike the other two initiatives, R3 is a commercial venture.

A more detailed overview of industry initiatives is available here (financial news).


Alexander Westphal
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy, Secretary to the ICMA European Repo and Collateral Council (ERCC)
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0333

Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334
Applications of distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence/machine learning, big data analytics or cloud computing have significant potential to alter the lifecycle of bonds, from issuance, trading to settlement, and impact the functioning of financial markets. ICMA has produced a listing of new applications of fintech in bond markets taken from public sources, such as press announcements.



Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334