British investment managers get green light for tokenised funds

LONDON (Reuters) – British investment managers have got the go-ahead to develop tokenised funds, in which assets are split into smaller tokens backed by blockchain technology, the industry’s trade body said on Friday.

Tokenisation, or fractionalisation, of funds will enable a fund’s assets to trade more cheaply and transparently and investors to buy into a wider range of assets, industry proponents say.

Funds authorised by Britain’s Financial Conduct Authority can take the first steps towards offering tokenised funds, provided the investments are in mainstream assets and valuation and settlement arrangements don’t change, the Investment Association said in a statement.

“Fund tokenisation has great potential to revolutionise how our industry operates, by enabling greater efficiency and liquidity, enhanced risk management and the creation of more bespoke portfolios,” said Michelle Scrimgeour, chief executive of Legal & General Investment Management.

Scrimgeour is chair of a working group which is working with the FCA and Britain’s finance ministry to open up opportunities for tokenised funds. Other members of the working group include BlackRock, M&G and Schroders

Blockchain is a digital ledger that records ownership of tokens. So far, its main use has been for cryptocurrencies, which remain a relatively small part of the global financial system.

Britain is looking to bolster liquidity in its asset management sector in a revamp of its rules following Brexit.

Investment managers and exchanges in the United States, Europe and Asia have already taken tentative steps in offering tokenised funds.

(Reporting by Carolyn Cohn and Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by Sharon Singleton)