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London Startup Aims to Bring Bond Sales Closer to Automation

Katie Linsell

(Bloomberg) -- A fintech venture backed by some of the largest U.K. law firms and London Stock Exchange Group Plc has launched a product to digitize key parts of an archaic process of selling new bonds.

The system, developed by London-based Nivaura, brings negotiation of the fine print in bond terms online so that legal documents can be drafted and signed digitally, according to a statement seen by Bloomberg News. It aims to speed up bond sales and potentially do away with laborious processes of submitting data by hand at banks, law firms and clearing houses.

Nivaura raised $20 million in seed funding earlier this year from investors including LSEG, Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Banco Santander SA and Aegon NV. It also created the first regulated cryptocurrency bond in 2017.

Nivaura’s system will start by targeting private placement notes issued from medium-term note programs - a market that sees almost $500 billion of issuance a year, according to the firm. It will later expand the platform to include syndicated transactions.

A competing platform, Origin, set up by former Nomura Holdings Inc. traders Raja Palaniappan and Robert Taylor, is also digitizing legal contracts and connecting borrowers and dealers in debt markets. Luxembourg Stock Exchange has acquired a 10% stake in Origin, the company said Wednesday.

Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News, provides services that facilitate bond ordering and distributes information on new debt offerings.

(Updates with Luxembourg Stock Exchange’s acquisition of Origin stake in fifth paragraph.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Katie Linsell in London at klinsell@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Vivianne Rodrigues at vrodrigues3@bloomberg.net, Chris Vellacott

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