Switzerland’s stock exchange – owned and managed by SIX – has just announced that it is building a fully integrated trading, settlement and custody infrastructure for digital assets. SIX is regulated as an operator of Financial Market Infrastructure (FMI) by Swiss Authorities, FINMA and the Swiss National Bank, and intends that the planned ‘digital asset ecosystem’ – SIX Digital Exchange (SDX) – will enjoy the same standard of oversight and regulation.
It will be the first market infrastructure in the world to offer a fully integrated end to end trading, settlement and custody service for digital assets. The service will provide a safe environment for issuing and trading digital assets, and enable the tokenization of existing securities and non-bankable assets to make previously untradeable assets tradeable. Following an agile approach to meet the needs of today’s dynamic environment, the first services will be rolled out in mid-2019.
The service will be mainly based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The implementation approach will provide a bridge for clients from the traditional to the new world, in a timeframe which allows clients to choose for themselves how and when to avail themselves of the new opportunities the new ecosystem provides.
According to Thomas Zeeb, Head Securities & Exchanges, SIX:
The digital space currently faces a number of key challenges. These include the absence of regulation that ensures official safety, security, stability, transparency and accountability – all of which contribute to a lack of trust. The challenge is less in the trading of assets but rather in the custody and asset servicing, including asset safety. Do you adopt a model with many sub-custodians, including inefficient interfaces and with inherent risks, or do you go with a recognised and regulated infrastructure provider who provides all steps of the chain in an integrated and secure model? We believe that the latter has significant value. As the stock exchange infrastructure for Switzerland, we know what it takes to build and run mission-critical and scalable, systemically important services.
Jos Dijsselhof, CEO SIX, added:
This is the beginning of a new era for capital markets infrastructures. For us it is abundantly clear that much of what is going on in the digital space is here to stay and will define the future of our industry. The financial industry now needs to bridge the gap between traditional financial services and digital communities. This is the role that we at SIX can play. SIX is in a unique position in that it runs the entire securities and payments value chain for Switzerland already, and is ideally positioned to create the digital ecosystem for the future, allowing existing and new market participants to develop their business models for the opportunities available in this new environment. These are strengths that we can bring to the digital space and contribute meaningfully to what is one of the most innovative and dynamic environments of our time.