Nivaura Announces Continued Expansion with Recent Santander Collaboration and New Hires
LONDON, 18 September 2019 – Nivaura, a regulated fintech company focused on primary market digitization and automation, announced its continued expansion with the completion of a successful collaboration with Santander to execute a bond issue, which is a real money pilot, as well as several recent hires.
Banco Santander, S.A. issued a USD20million 1 year bond with a 1.98% coupon with Santander Corporate and Investment Banking (CIB) as dealer and Allen & Overy as deal counsel. Both parties used Nivaura’s flagship document automation and transaction management engine, Aurora, and the settlement process was managed through integration with the public Ethereum blockchain, registered in a permissioned manner.
This issue by Santander, which is not subject to secondary trading, was significant because it was the first time a bank issuer has tokenized cash and securities on the public Ethereum blockchain, i.e., the first end-to-end blockchain bond. It makes the transaction faster, more efficient and simpler, and it also demonstrated the ease with which issuers and dealers can interact to execute a transaction using new technology.
John Whelan, Santander’s Head of Digital Investment Banking, said “This is unique for several reasons. First, it allowed us to assess how Nivaura’s transaction technology can be leveraged across Santander’s investment banking innovation roadmap. Secondly, this was about proving that a completely digital front-to-back transactional process can be conducted using both tokenised securities and cash. Finally, the fact that this was performed on a public blockchain using a regulated custodian, enabled exploration of how such architectures may scale in future.”
Daniel Fletcher, a debt capital markets Partner at Allen & Overy, highlighted that “While tokenisation of both cash and securities by a large financial institution was a key area of innovation, another area of impact will likely be the extent to which the platform can automate the population of transaction data and assimilate the documents into the wider transaction process as part of the digitisation of the life-cycle of a bond. As with the advent of MTN programmes, this technology has the potential to reduce the time and cost of bringing bonds to market.”
“We’re delighted to have worked with Santander on this important project”, said Avtar Sehra, CEO of Nivaura. “This transaction is reflective of our efforts to establish partnerships with key capital markets participants and to demonstrate the efficiency that automation can deliver to those parties.”
Accompanying the expansion in business, Nivaura has made several significant hires. Recently, Duncan Phillips joined Nivaura as Chief Commercial Officer, and will be responsible for setting the company’s commercial strategy.
Phillips was previously Managing Director and Global Head of Capital Markets at Ipreo, a Blackstone portfolio company, and continued in the same role after the company was acquired by IHS Markit. Prior to joining the technology industry, Duncan was Managing Director at Citigroup, where he worked for 15 years in a series of debt syndicate roles in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
“The team has done some incredible work here and I’m delighted to join them,” said Phillips. “I was drawn to Nivaura because of the products that are being built – they’re innovative and address genuine issues in capital markets. In addition, there’s a number of fast-developing partnerships with clients in multiple jurisdictions that I hope to contribute to.”
In addition to Phillips, the firm has made a number of hires across its product management, development and implementation teams, including senior recruits from Deloitte and Goldman Sachs.
Nivaura builds technology solutions that digitize and automate key processes in capital markets. Its modular and customizable products combine innovation with legal and regulatory rigour to deliver primary market service utilities.
Nivaura’s flagship platform, Aurora, can be used by banks, issuers and law firms to create and execute legal documents relating to new issues, and to efficiently disseminate relevant data to securities depositories and custodians. The platform is designed so that securities can be settled using traditional infrastructure or distributed ledger technology.
Founded in 2016, Nivaura has participated in all five FCA regulatory sandboxes, gaining its MiFID and CASS approvals. In 2019 Nivaura closed a $20m strategic investment round, with investors including London Stock Exchange Group, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Orrick, Santander InnoVentures, Aegon Asset Management, Middlegame Ventures and Digital Currency Group.