Northern Trust Bets on Open Architecture


Global asset manager and custodian Northern Trust has adopted an open architecture that will simplify integration with a range of best-in-breed vendors, according to company officials.

“We do not believe that we have to own every piece of the value chain,” said Stephen “Biff” Bowman, CFO of Northern Trust during its first quarter earnings call. “An example is an order management system. It is our goal to allow our clients to access our technology and allow them to communicate and process their trades in an efficient manner.”

The OMS market is competitive with some very good providers, he noted. “We think being able to partner and integrate with those vendors is very important.”

Northern Trust has integrated with significant OMS providers, which includes Bloomberg. The asset manager stated at the end of March that it had added support Bloomberg AIM.

The firm’s strategy aims to drive operational efficiencies for clients, minimizes implementation costs, and reduces operational risks, according to Pete Cherecwich, president of corporate and institutional services at Northern Trust.

“Our approach to supporting the needs of asset owners and asset aggregators is all about optionality, flexibility, collaboration and ultimately driving performance,” he said in a prepared statement on March 26.

In other recent news, Northern Trust has reached a milestone with its private equity blockchain, which the firm has operated since 2017. The asset manager can now deploy legal clauses from digital agreements as smart contracts onto the blockchain.

Northern Trust worked with tech startup Avvoka to enable Emerald Technology Ventures and its investors to negotiate, review, and digitally sign agreements, such as limited partnership agreement side letters.

“The ability to leverage digital documents that include smart contract code across multiple platforms is a very significant step toward the future digital environment of securities servicing,” said Cherewich in a separate statement.