Global Custodian’s Most Read Stories of the Year: Part One
It turns out that the Global Custodian team is just as data-obsessed as the securities services industry (only we know how to use it). In keeping with tradition, we now publish the top 10 stories of the year based on pageviews on an annual basis. This year, we also dug into the numbers and calculated our most popular blogs, interviews, reports, podcasts, videos, documentaries and podcasts of the year.
Be sure to keep an eye out for Part 2 which will take a look at the biggest news of the year from Rankings 10-6, but for now here’s a breakdown of some of our other biggest hits of 2021.
The most read interview
Not a year went by without someone trying to buy us, but there was only one natural choice, say BBH partners
Get ready for lots of talk about Brown Brothers Harriman mergers and acquisitions in this year’s most read, and interesting because it’s the State Street acquisition post-announcement interview that you enjoyed the most this year.
After years of what they called “rumors”, Brown Brothers Harriman partners Bill Tyree and Seán Páircéir discussed the transaction which will see the Investor Services unit be acquired by State Street, highlighting the challenges of being a specialist dealer, the benefits of uniting with a larger organization and what it means for their team, their products and their customers.
As for the title, it comes from this quote: “Since I have been a managing partner, and for the eight years that preceded, there has never been a year when we have not been approached by a bank of investment or a large financial institution seeking to acquire the business or part of the business,” explained Tyree, managing partner at BBH and chairman of the firm’s executive committee. “One of the benefits of being a private partnership is that you can’t be bought, you can only be sold.”
Most Read Fireside Friday
Friday by the fire with… Roman Regelman
Earlier this year, Global Custodian brought back its Fireside Friday segment where we interviewed a senior executive each week on a topic critical to the securities services industry. Of the 52(ish) participants, perhaps spoofing, it was the Q&A with Roman Regelman that emerged as the most read article of the year.
BNY Mellon kicked off the year with a series of groundbreaking announcements, including a new front-to-back alliance with Amundi ALTO, an extension of its partnership with BlackRock Aladdin, and the launch of a new Digital Assets unit that will prototype a new custody solution.
These developments build on a number of new changes the world’s largest depository introduced in the previous year as it seeks to transform its service model for customers. BNY Mellon’s CEO of Asset Services and Head of Digital, Regelman, spoke to us about his transformational roadmap and how his latest announcements will guide his approach for the rest of the year.
Honorable mentions should go to State Street’s Mostapha Tahiri and HSBC’s Adnan Hussain, who were not far behind in second and third most-read spots, respectively.
Most read blog
How DTCC ended up at the center of the war between Reddit traders and hedge funds
When we make our annual predictions for the year ahead, there are some things – the pandemic, for example – that you can never predict, and the Robinhood/GameStop saga was another. The most read blog of the year was our insight into how DTCC found itself at the center of the war between Reddit traders and hedge funds.
As outrage over Robinhood’s decision to restrict trading on stocks such as GameStop and AMC has exploded, questions about clearing and settlement have sprung up with increasing speed. We’ve tried to make sense of it all, while the discussion certainly didn’t stop there with this blog in February, as conversations rumbled throughout the year in venues ranging from the US Congress to Sibos.
A World of Opportunities: Evolving the Digital Asset Ecosystem
Just to clarify, this section is our partner content, so these are sponsored posts, however, there have been some brilliant and enlightening posts over the past 12 months. The most read was A World of Opportunities: Evolving the Digital Asset Ecosystem, a conversation with Ryan Marsh, global head of DLT and digital innovation at Citi Securities Services. We noted how digital assets have the potential to transform investment processes within capital markets and how Citi is playing a leading role in helping the ecosystem evolve under the leadership of Marsh and his new crew.
“Whether it is a bond, stock, real estate or cryptocurrency, once digitized it can be serviced in a common type of infrastructure, whether it is be it an exchange, a CSD or a public peer to peer network. If it runs on DLT, it enables atomic, immutable and automated movement of assets which should reduce the cost of investments,” Marsh said. “I think the cryptocurrency market capitalization is going to be overtaken by alternative assets quite quickly and possibly equities as well.”
ESG market trends and green finance
It’s been a tight race for the top spot in our video interviews this year – excluding our documentaries – but Tom Ahern, head of relationship management, Corporate Trust at BNY Mellon, led the market trends in ESG and green finance. Issuers and investors are showing a growing commitment to ESG and green finance and our interview with Ahern delved into these conversations and questions posed. The runner-up in this category was BNY Mellon’s Caroline Butler with her interview after receiving the 2021 Industry Person of the Year award.
Most listened to
GC Stories: Kate Webber
In a year the Global Custodian podcast section has flourished – across There’s Always a FinReg Angle, GC Stories and GC Legends – it’s an interview with Northern Trust’s Kate Webber that has been the most listened to. Webber, Senior Product Manager, Fund Services at Custodian, is also the founder of Women in Asset Servicing, a group created to increase the representation of women at all levels of the financial services industry. Kate discussed the charity’s goals, her journey, some of the amazing women she’s known throughout her life and how they’ve shaped her journey, and the efforts of Women in Asset Servicing in the future. Right behind Webber was a series of There’s Always a FinReg Angle episodes featuring regular guests in Citi’s Sean Tuffy and Firebrand Research founder Virginia O’Shea.
The biggest regulatory story
SEC to bring securities lending ‘out of obscurity’ with new regulatory proposal
Frankly, I’m shocked that CSDR and the buy-in saga isn’t at the top of this section – but not enough to have a Kanye/Taylor Swift moment here – but the most-read regulatory story happened right at the end of the year in The SEC will bring securities lending “out of obscurity” with a new regulatory proposal.
The US securities watchdog is seeking to follow its European counterparts in shining a light on securities lending transactions in a bid to bring transparency to what it has called a dark area of the market.
Exchange Act Rule 10c-1 proposed by the Securities and Exchange Commission would require securities lenders to provide material terms of transactions to a registered national securities association, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. The national securities association would then make publicly available the material terms of the securities lending transaction.
Most read feature
When two worlds collide: Creation of Zodia, an institutional model for the custody of cryptocurrencies
Interestingly, the most-read feature of 2021 was released just two weeks into the year, although you could argue it’s had more time to read. When Two Worlds Collide: The Creation of Zodia, an Institutional Cryptocurrency Custody Model, involved a conversation with Justin Chapman of Northern Trust and Alex Manson of SC Ventures to discuss the launch of the crypto custody offering -currency developed by the two banks.
This was big news at the time, given that it was before many of the biggest custodians had officially announced their foray into digital asset services.
“We believe digital assets are here to stay — not product-type specific — but it will only grow in importance,” Manson said. “However, this is a market where the market capitalization is dominated by retail investors who are experimenting with the asset class and for institutional investors to enter the market, they need the infrastructure.”
Nine months later, Pure Digital successfully executed a live test trade on its wholesale digital currency trading platform, leveraging Zodia Custody.