Blockchain: Australian Stock Exchange turns to Indian IT giant TCS after ‘failure’ of its blockchain project

Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has signed an agreement with Australia’s primary securities exchange, ASX. Under the deal, the Indian IT giant will provide next-generation clearing and settlement platforms to the Australian market. ASX will implement TCS BaNCS for market infrastructure to enable the transformation.

TCS to rebuild software after ASX’s earlier flop
The TCS product will be used to replace ASX’s existing platform for cash equities clearing and settlement, TCS said in a statement. The new platform will be on a state-of-the-art technology stack with TCS BaNCS for Market Infrastructure and is proposed to be implemented in two releases. TCS will overhaul the exchange’s clearing and settlement software, reportedly opting for a route that will take less customisation after ditching a much-criticised blockchain-based effort.

According to a report by news agency Reuters, the choice is a major departure from its decision in 2017, announced with much fanfare, to be at the vanguard of adopting blockchain-like technology for use in critical financial architecture, an attempt that resulted in repeated delays before it was shelved last year. It is also said to represent a more cautious approach as ASX will switch to the new software in stages, rather than the “big bang” changeover that its users considered risky.

TCS software used in more than 20 countries
With an ability to support multiple markets, currencies, and asset classes, TCS BaNCS for Market Infrastructure is said to have been adopted by market infrastructure institutions in more than 20 countries.

TCS’s software is used by exchanges around the world including in Finland and Canada for functions it would be expected to perform for ASX’s Clearing House Electronic Subregister System, or CHESS, the Australian exchange said on Monday, November 20.

TCS President for BFSI Products and Platforms Vivekanand Ramgopal said, “Our selection is an affirmation of our track record in this mission-critical business, continuous investments in our products, and shared vision of how we see the future of market infrastructure institutions in a technology-led world.”

While the clearing service is expected to be delivered in the first phase, the settlement depository and sub-register services will follow in the second phase. This staged approach is expected to reduce overall delivery risk and help manage the impact on industry stakeholders.

ASX Managing Director and CEO Helen Lofthouse said the TCS product is expected to meet the needs of today’s market and provide important industry and customer benefits, like improved scalability, maintaining high operational and resilience standards, while providing improved scalability and the ability to support future market growth as required.