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ATB Financial joins R3 distributed ledger consortium


March 10, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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ATB Financial announced Thursday that the Alberta-based financial services provider has joined the consortium of financial innovation firm R3 to design and apply distributed and shared ledger-inspired technologies to global financial markets.

Block chain network and programming concept on technology backgroundThe company will be collaborating with more than 75 of the world’s largest financial institutions, notes a statement from ATB Financial, Alberta’s largest home-grown financial institution with assets of $46.8 billion.

Wellington Holbrook, ATB Financial’s chief transformation officer, calls the prospect of collaborating with those companies exciting.

“We know through listening to our customers how important it is to get the most out of the technology available to us,” Holbrook says. “Developing distributed and shared ledger technology will benefit the entire banking industry and we’re ready to see what’s possible.”

The global initiative – which operates in New York, London and San Francisco – seeks to “develop ground-breaking commercial applications for the financial services industry that leverage the appropriate elements of distributed and shared ledger technology,” the ATB Financial statement notes.

“The R3 team of financial industry veterans, technologists and blockchain and cryptocurrency experts collaborate with consortium members on research, experimentation, design and engineering to help advance this technology to meet banking requirements for identity, privacy, security, scalability, interoperability and integration with legacy systems,” the statement explains.

“We are delighted to welcome ATB Financial to our ever-growing network of members in Canada,” says R3 CEO David Rutter.

“Distributed and shared ledger-inspired technology holds the potential to revolutionize the infrastructure used by participants in all financial markets, and we continue to diversify and grow our member base to reflect the interests of sell- and buy-side firms across the globe,” Rutter adds.

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In early February, Hannover Re, Generali Group and SCOR announced they had joined the blockchain insurance industry initiative B3i, bringing the total number of insurers and reinsurers in the initiative to 15.

Members of the B3i initiative – launched last fall by Munich Re, Aegon, Allianz, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance Group – will explore the potential of distributed ledger technologies to better serve clients through faster, more convenient and secure services, Munich Re reported in a statement at the time.

Related: Hannover Re, Generali Group and SCOR join blockchain insurance industry initiative B3i

“If blockchain technology proves to be a viable tool, it could transform the insurance industry through a shared, transparent record of contract-related information,” Hannover Re noted in February.

“Streamlining communication and transactions would subsequently improve industry processes and provide better insurance services to customers,” the reinsurer added.

B3i intends to share first results in June.

Related: Aegon, Allianz, Munich Re, Swiss Re and Zurich launch blockchain initiative B3i