Future of Finance


Security token markets need issuers and traders even more than investors (20 January 2022)

A Future of Finance webinar with Issuers and Capital Markets Professionals

Thursday January 20 at 2pm UK time

Enthusiasts for security tokenisation must sometimes feel like Old Testament prophets waiting for the new dispensation to begin. Yet the fact that they are waiting at all is a mystery. Theory and practice (albeit modest, so far) both suggest that issuers ought to be queuing up to issue security tokens. Tokenisation would cut their cost of raising capital significantly, by widening the investor base, cutting issuance fees and trimming listing and investor servicing charges. Yet even the most optimistic forecasts do not expect debt and equity security token offerings (STOs) to clear much above, say, US$4.0 trillion by the end of the decade. Which suggests tokenisation will not make much of dent in global equity and bond markets capitalised even today at US$225 trillion. The optimists have many reasons to be cautious about the rate of growth. It is hard to convince issuers to take the risk, especially when many extant STOs have failed to reach their fund-raising target, and securities laws and regulations are out of joint with the new technique. The start-ups aimed at making the primary markets more efficient seem to lack ambition. The sheer plethora and variety of security tokenisation platforms is daunting, and they are virtually all constrained by limited licences and unkind memories of the reputational issues at some crypto-currency exchanges. Though several established stock exchanges have embraced tokenisation, most are worried about cannibalising their existing revenues. So the marquee STO has yet to happen, and the security token markets look set for slow and unspectacular growth. That said, cumulative STOs will offer substantial scope for trading activity – perhaps 20 times as much as the value of accumulated outstandings, or more than US$150 trillion a year by, say, 2030. High-frequency traders, FX traders and hedge funds are already active in the crypto-currency and Decentralised Finance (DeFi) markets and should not struggle to adapt to trading security tokens as well, legacy systems apart. They and other trading houses ought to value round-the-clock trading, new asset classes in tradeable forms and the ability to arbitrage between tokenisation platforms as well as between tokenisation platforms and traditional marketplaces. As liquidity increases, price information will fuel the production of derivative instruments that increase liquidity still further. An active secondary market would do much to boost the primary markets too, not least as a source of price information for new issues. This happy outcome hinges on inter-operability, which in turn depends on the development of standards that make API-intermediated data exchanges between tokenisation platforms and between tokenisation platforms and traditional marketplaces friction-free. And, in the long run, even traders will baulk at the destiny outlined for them already by developments in the DeFi markets: their replacement by algorithmically operated liquidity pools that dispense with fee and spread-earning intermediaries such as brokers and market makers altogether. At this Future of Finance webinar, a panel of experts will consider what is going right and what is going wrong in security token issuance and trading, and share ideas about what can be done to bring a new and better capital market system closer.

Among the topics to be discussed at this webinar are:

  1. What are the advantages that security tokens offer issuers over securities?
  2. Why are security token offerings (STOs) been so slow to take off?
  3. What has the market learned from the securities tokens offered so far?
  4. What factors are constraining the growth of security token issuance?
  5. How big a problem is regulatory uncertainty?
  6. What are the advantages that security tokens offer traders over securities?
  7. Can crypto-currency traders be turned into security token traders?
  8. Will security tokens replace traders with algorithms?
  9. How can the lack of inter-operability between tokenisation platforms, and between tokenisation platforms and traditional capital markets, be bridged?
  10. Have security tokens failed to prove they are a better capital-raising and capital-trading instrument than conventional securities?


Douglas Borthwick, Chief Business Officer INX

Mr. Borthwick has over 25 years of experience in the finance industry, most recently founding and building the Chapdelaine FX electronic and voice trading business for inter-dealer broker TP-ICAP from 2012 to September 2018. Mr. Borthwick held various roles with Morgan Stanley from 1996 through 2005; managing foreign exchange derivatives trading groups in New York and London, with a strong focus on emerging markets. He then ran the strategic trading desk at Merrill Lynch from 2005 to 2006, and the Latin American FX trading business at Standard Chartered from 2006 to 2009. In 2010, Mr. Borthwick managed trading and research areas for startup foreign exchange agency, Faros Trading, a company that was later sold to FXCM in 2013. Mr. Borthwick holds a bachelors of science in Economics from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Yale University’s School of Management.


Olaf Ransome, CSD Function Head Consultant, SDX

Olaf is the Head of the CSD Function at SDX. His focus is on all matters custody cross the digital asset spectrum.  He is also known as the The Bankers’ Plumber. In the last 11 years, Olaf has consulted to banks and FinTechs to help them master their processing; optimising control, capacity and cost. Previously, Olaf worked at both Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Salomon Brothers where over the course of over 20 years he worked in Operations, Custody, Private Banking, Operational Risk, Transaction Banking, Islamic Finance & Prime Brokerage. In that time, Olaf has worked in London, New York and Zurich, which is where his home is now.


Lars Holst, Founder and CEO, GCEX

An expert in E-FX with over 20 years of experience in the banking sector, Lars founded GCEX in response to financial institutions’ growing demands for access to the nascent digital assets market. Prior to GCEX, Lars co-founded and served as CEO of CFH Clearing utilising his unique background from both the retail and banking side and the technology sector of the industry.  He successfully sold the company in 2019.


Henry Chong, Chief Executive Officer at Fusang

Fusang is Asia’s first fully-licensed and regulated digital stock exchange for tokenised securities, assets and crypto. Our unique combination of Licences, Technology and Services allows Fusang to uniquely provide an end-to-end platform to tokenise assets globally. Licensed in two jurisdictions, our offering via Fusang Exchange, Fusang Vault, and Fusang Digital Identity, provides a solution for both issuers and investors. Henry has a vision of making it as easy to invest into a company as it is the buy their products online! Henry holds a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Philosophy, Politics & Economics, and a Master of Arts from the University of Oxford. Henry also holds a Masters of Science in Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics & Political Science, where he wrote his thesis on the behaviour of family offices. He also holds a Diploma in Information Technology, completed at the age of 12, and a Certificate in Chinese Language & Literature from Peking University. He is also a member of the University of Oxford’s research group on digital assets law and regulation. Henry is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.


Mark Smith, CEO and Co-Founder at Symbiont

Mark leads the organization’s business strategy, product development, technology vision, organizational performance, fundraising, and executive management team. Founded in 2013, Symbiont is the result of the merger of Bitcoin 2.0 project Counterparty.io and  MathMoney f(x), which Mark founded.

A respected CEO, Board Member, Founder, Innovation and Capital Markets visionary, Mark brings over two decades of global markets experience in financial services and technology. As a pioneer in the electronification of the markets and today a recognized champion for digital ledger technology, Mark spearheaded the development of Symbiont’s Assembly™, the first enterprise blockchain platform used today by organizations such as Vanguard and StateStreet. He is an advocate for blockchain technology as a tool to solve complex operational inefficiencies, deploying disruptive technologies within institutional and non-institutional customer segments, capital markets, and alternative investing, with an expertise in foreign exchange ecosystems.

Throughout his career, Mark founded four fintech companies that have gone from start-up phase to exit including The NexTrade ECN, MatchBook FX, Lava Trading, and Anderen Bank of Tampa Bay.  He is a Founding Board Member of the Association for Digital Asset Markets (ADAM) and on the Board of USA Swimming Centers for Excellence.


Moderated by Dominic Hobson, Co-Founder Future of Finance

Dominic Hobson has worked for himself for 30 years. He was one of the founders of Asset International, a transatlantic financial publishing, events and survey business, which was sold in 2009.

Since then, Dominic has contributed to the work of two data businesses covering financial markets, run a peer group network for hedge fund managers, and co-founded the Future of Finance, which hosts events on innovation in finance.

As one half of Hobson Cardew, Dominic also provides consultancy services to a number of financial services businesses and market infrastructures.


For more information please contact Wendy Gallagher on wendy.gallagher@futureoffinance.biz