The Week in Digital Wealth (3/22/23)


By Christopher Hamman

Last week went by with diminished fears of a total banking sector coming to a halt. 

Yes, there are failures in the financial space, but by and large, the industry is chugging along!

Larry Fink continued to push for tokenization in his annual letter, and it seems the SEC and CFTC are still in a “rock-paper-scissors” scenario to see who wins per crypto classification.

The top guns at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management are moving forward with ChatGPT4, and the Fed disclosed FedNow’s July launch.

This is your week in digital wealth! 

WealthTech, RegTech and Treasury

RQD* Clearing/FINRA
Trade data processing firm RQD* Clearing announced the receipt of approval from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) to offer equity and option portfolio margins. The regulatory assent came after an 18-month process that saw RQD* improve its business processes to pass FINRA’s stringent requirements. 

The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) 
Post-trade financial services company, the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) launched its new LIBOR Benchmark Replacement Index solution to aid a shift to Secured Overnight Financing Rate Data (SOFR) from LIBOR benchmark rates come June 30, 2023. 

Key players can access the index via DTCC’s LENS, a reporting and documentation platform, and view debt securities. 

This marks the end of an era for LIBOR., which has been a critical resource for the debt industry. 

Intercontinental Exchange, Inc.
Premier exchange infrastructure and solutions firm ICE reported record trading levels that haven’t been rivaled since March 12, 2020. 

ICE hit 14 million futures and options contracts on March 13, 2023, with a 3 million average daily volume (ADV) in contracts year-to-date. 

Morgan Stanley Wealth Management/OpenAI 
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management is leading the AI integrations race with the revelation of its partnership with OpenAI, the research lab behind the popular ChatGPT. 

Per the partnership, MSWM is working with OpenAI to create an AI solution based on the new ChatGPT4, the latest iteration of OpenAI’s conversational solution. 

The solution will provide all kinds of content, including insights and financial data for financial professionals

Crypto, Blockchain and Digital Assets

In his annual letter, BlackRock Chairman Larry Fink indicated that while the digital asset space received lots of media attention,” the tokenization of asset classes offers the prospect of driving efficiencies in capital markets, shortening value chains, and improving cost and access for investors.”

Fink also said that developed countries like America are lagging in digital payments. 

Gary Gensler/SEC
The SEC Chairman, Gary Gensler, continued hitting hard at the crypto space, indicating to reporters that Proof-of-Stake (PoS) cryptocurrencies are securities. 

His views are in direct contrast to those of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Rostin Benham, who suggested that Ether, the biggest PoS cryptocurrency token by market capitalization, is a commodity. 

FinTech, Personal Finance, and App

Nitra, a spending management solutions firm for physician’s private practice, joined Visa’s FinTech Fast Track Program and VisaNet, its global payments network. 

This improves business management for private physicians and gives them access to payments on the go. 

Data solutions firm ForwardAI disclosed it had updated its Precise API tool to enable seamless financial decision-making. 

The Precise API provides accounting and financial data to small and medium-sized business lenders. 

Per the update, faster and more efficient access to data allows lenders to make decisions swiftly while providing quicker credit decisions to customers.

Expense management solutions firm Fyle revealed the launch of a no-code expense management platform for banks and financial institutions. 

The new platform has several features, including direct-to-customer integration with banking and financial products and services without needing to deal with backend integrations. 

Banking, Payments and Infrastructure

FinTech banking solutions firm Mercury revealed it had expanded FDIC insurance to $5 million for its customers. 

The twelvefold increase will work via Mercury Vault, a new product that allows deposits of over $5 million to be invested in US Government bonds (Mercury Treasury’s Vanguard money market funds). 

Mercury will hold funds in the customer’s name, and automation will be available soon. 

Federal Reserve/FedNow
The Fed announced that FedNow, its real-time payments system, will go live in July.Certification and testing will begin in the first week of April, with the capacity for instant payments for all kinds of financial institutions post-launch. 

Treasury Prime
Banking-as-a-Service Provider Treasury Prime launched OneKey Banking, a flexible banking solution that seamlessly adjusts to the growth and business conditions of financial institutions.

OneKey Banking resolves the many issues that banks face per fast growth situations and increased demand for products and services.

REtech, Insurtech and Investing

InsurTech firm Sure disclosed the launch of Retrace, a one-click solution that enables e-commerce merchants to offer customers several solutions, including return shipping protection and more. 

Retrace comes with a full suite of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that can allow for the integration of insurance solutions within e-commerce ecosystems. 

LoanCare, LLC
Mortgage sub-servicing firm LoanCare LLC introduced Velocity Servicing™, a dedicated unit that helps resolves the many issues of credit-sensitive loans.

Velocity Servicing™ deploys data analytics to identify triggers, data sets, and conditions that could lead to distressed loans, enabling clients to deploy solutions and mitigate the risk of default via customer management.