Next-generation capital markets platform iSTOX passed a major milestone on 1 Feb 2020 when it graduated from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’s FinTech Regulatory Sandbox.
ICHX Tech Pte Ltd (ICHX), the Singapore-based operator of the iSTOX platform, has been approved by MAS as a recognised market operator (RMO) and a capital markets services (CMS) licensee. This makes iSTOX the first capital markets platform using distributed ledger technology (DLT) to feature integrated issuance, custody and trading of digital securities to be approved and licensed by a major regulator.
A Big Step Forward
“This is a big milestone both for iSTOX and for the financial industry as a whole,” said Danny Toe, Founder and CEO of ICHX. “We started this just over two years ago as a vision of how investing could be done better. Today we truly emerge as a 21st century financial institution.”
“While capital markets have seen many changes and innovations over the years, the underlying core infrastructure hasn’t really changed since the advent of electronic trading decades ago,” said iSTOX Chief Operating Officer Darius Liu. “We are proud to deliver an operational platform that can address market demand while meeting the robust regulatory standards and licensing conditions set by MAS.”
MAS Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty hailed iSTOX’s graduation as a success of the program: “We are delighted that the regulatory sandbox has enabled iSTOX to validate its technological innovation with actual customers in a safe manner,” he said. “This has again demonstrated that proportional regulations through sandbox experimentation can foster innovation and bring new benefits to consumers and the financial industry. We look forward to further our collaboration with innovators as we build a smart financial centre.”
Chew Sutat, Senior Managing Director and Head of Global Sales & Origination at Singapore Exchange (SGX), said, “Capital markets across the world are evolving at a rapid pace and those that embrace innovation and set new benchmarks will prove successful. Singapore has long been a world-class fintech hub, known for its innovative business environment. This recognition of iSTOX will further elevate Singapore’s capital markets position globally.”
Looking Ahead To 2020
Graduation from the MAS sandbox means the removal of restrictions for iSTOX, including limitations on the size of issuances that it can host and number of investors that can be onboarded.
“We are very excited to graduate from the sandbox as we are now fully operational and moving ahead at full speed,” said Chief Commercial Officer Choo Oi Yee. “In addition to opening registration for accredited and institutional investors, we’re working hard on a pipeline of exciting issuances across different asset classes.”
Drawing on the power of advanced smart contracts and DLT to streamline the issuance and trading process, iSTOX brings private capital markets into the 21st century. By allowing buyers and sellers to connect directly, iSTOX removes longstanding barriers that have prevented a far greater pool of investors from access to private market opportunity.
Compared with traditional trading venues, iSTOX is a more flexible, affordable and inclusive alternative, and offers investment options that were previously inaccessible.
Key investors of ICHX include Singapore Exchange (SGX), Asia’s leading international multi-asset exchange; Heliconia, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings focused on investing in fast growing companies;
Japan’s Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings (via subsidiary Tokai Tokyo Global Investments); Thailand’s Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group; and South Korea’s Hanwha Asset Management.
Further strengthening its digitised security ecosystem, ICHX has also forged partnerships with law firms Allen & Overy, Allen & Gledhill, Rajah & Tann and Dentons Rodyk; with corporate finance advisors SAC Capital and RHT Capital; and with professional services firm PwC Singapore and audit firm Deloitte.
2018, SEPTEMBER: Singapore Exchange, Asia’s leading international multi-asset exchange and Heliconia, a subsidiary of Temasek Holdings focused on investing in fast growing companies, agree to join ICHX as investors.
2019, MAY: ICHX is accepted into the MAS Fintech Regulatory Sandbox.
2019, SEPTEMBER: Kiatnakin Phatra Financial Group, a prominent Thai investment bank and pioneering private wealth business, agrees to join ICHX as an investor.
2019, OCTOBER: Tokai Tokyo Financial Holdings (via subsidiary Tokai Tokyo Global Investments), a prominent Japanese financial services firm, agrees to join ICHX as an investor.
2019, NOVEMBER: ICHX completes the world’s first issuance, custody and trading of a regulated DLT-based security on a single integrated platform.
2020, JANUARY: Hanwha Asset Management, South Korea’s leading comprehensive asset management company, agrees to join ICHX as an investor.
2020, FEBRUARY: ICHX graduates from MAS’ sandbox as a regulated RMO. ICHX is also awarded a CMS licence to carry out dealing in capital markets products and to provide custodial services.
For more information, visit https://istox.com/sandbox-graduation