Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) Acquires a Stake in Blockchain Startup SETL

Financial services firm Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) has acquired an interest in SETL, the blockchain startup which was unveiled three years ago with the aim of deploying a multi-currency and multi-asset institutional settlement and payments infrastructure. SETL was founded by Peter Randall who is widely known for starting Chi-X, an equity trading platform for European markets.

“We are pleased to announce that we have extended our shareholder register with both new and existing partners and have agreed the scope of a number of revenue generating projects,” said Peter Randall, the chief executive officer of SETL.

IZNES platform

The acquisition of a stake in SETL by Citi follows the blockchain startup going live with a record-keeping platform known as IZNES. The platform was launched last year in collaboration with four asset managers based in France. Other institutions that have made investments in SETL include Deloitte, S2iEM, Computershare and Credit Agricole.

Citi’s investment in SETL comes in the wake of the financial services company seeking to expand in the wealth management market of Asia by offering tools that are only typically reserved for the super-rich also available to the mass affluent. According to the retail banking head of Citi for the Asia Pacific region, Gonzalo Luchetti, services such as wealth planning and portfolio diversification are being offered to both Citi priority and Citigold customers. Citi priority targets clients who have investible assets of between $50,000 and $150,000 while Citigold targets those with investible assets of between $150,000 and $10 million.

Fastest growing wealth market

Last year the value of the assets that Citi has under management in the Asia Pacific region grew by 17% last year. This year the financial services firm intends to expand this business at a similar rate in a wealth market that has emerged as the fastest growing in the world.

Though other Wall Street banks have focused on the ultra-wealthy with regards to wealth management, Gonzalo argued that there is also interest among the mass affluent for diversification as well as the global insight firms such as Citi offer. This is because local banks don’t possess trading desks that are located in different countries spread across the globe.

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