Technology is reshaping the way financial markets operate. FinTech, a term broadly used to describe innovation in financial services enabled by technology has attracted much attention among market participants, regulators and policy-makers alike.

ICMA’s engagement spans (i) primary markets, (ii) secondary markets, and (iii) repo and collateral markets, with a focus on market electronification ie the use of technology across the securities lifecycle. While the level of adoption of technology solutions varies in each of those areas, the advent of cutting edge technologies such as distributed ledger technology or artificial intelligence has the potential to impact market practice and market structure significantly.

FinTech and market electronification are addressed through ICMA’s various committees, working groups and work streams as well as through bilateral discussions with member firms and technology providers. ICMA seeks to mainstream relevant FinTech developments and market electronification through all of its initiatives, activities, and fora.

A monthly newsletter is sent to FinTech contacts, sign up to the mailing list by ticking the FinTech box (ICMA members only) or contact us.

Related ICMA groups
ICMA resources
Other resources on DLT
New applications


ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee (FinAC)

In light of the pace of technological change, the ICMA Board decided in 2019 to expand the remit of the Board Sub-Group on Technology, tap into the expertise of ICMA’s broad membership, and provide guidance on ICMA’s work through the creation of the FinTech Advisory Committee (FinAC).

In line with ICMA’s mission statement to promote resilient and well-functioning international debt capital markets, the purpose of the ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee is to:

  • Provide guidance on ICMA’s engagement on FinTech
  • Provide transparent advice with the aim to promote straight-through-processing (STP), common and open standards for data and lifecycle events and machine-readability across primary, secondary, repo and collateral markets.
  • Foster the dialogue with industry stakeholders and regulators on regulatory as well as legislative FinTech developments impacting international capital markets.  

Alongside ICMA’s commitment to green, social and sustainability markets, the ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee will work to ensure engagement and advice is applicable to and supportive of the move towards more sustainable financial markets.

The ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee is currently chaired by Armin Peter, Global Head of Syndicate at UBS. Gabriel Callsen (ICMA) is acting as Secretary of the Committee.

See full list of committee members here.


The Electronic Trading Council (ETC) has been set up comprising buy-side heads of trading desks, sell-side senior traders or heads of market structure and/or electronic trading and senior representatives from trading venues and technology providers.

ICMA has created a working group of sell-sides, buy-sides, trading venues and technology providers to help support the development of the Common Domain Model for bond and repo markets. The working group includes front office, middle/back office, IT and legal experts.

The ICMA Future Leaders FinTech Working Group aims to engage the IFL community in ICMA’s FinTech work and provide a network to exchange ideas and present information on FinTech topics of interest relating to international debt capital markets.

Don't miss ICMA Education's livestreamed Primary Market Financial Technology course  running next from 16 March 2022, designed to provide an accessible review of the role of technology in the primary markets.


Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334

Rowan Varrall
Associate, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0317


ICMA primary markets technology directory: ICMA has published its latest edition of the comparative mapping of electronic solutions for debt issuance. The directory compares the key features and capabilities of over 45 technology solutions that are available for a range of functions within the issuance process of debt securities.

Electronic Trading Platform directory: In light of the shift towards electronification, ICMA initially conducted a mapping exercise of electronic trading platforms (ETPs) and information networks in 2015. The ETP directory, which was published as a result, has been reviewed since MiFID II/R entered into force on 3 January 2018. It provides a single source of information on currently 48 infrastructure providers, covering all cash bond classes.

ICMA Repo trading technology directory: ICMA has conducted a mapping exercise of repo electronic trading platforms and other technology solutions. The directory is intended to help market participants understand what execution venues are available for repo trading (D2D or D2C, for instance), product scope, as well as differences in trading protocols, clearing and collateral configurations. The directory also provides information on the venues’ regulatory status, market identifier codes (MIC) and additional services on offer such as regulatory reporting under SFTR.

ICMA Operations FinTech Directory: ICMA’s ERCC Ops FinTech Working Group (WG) initially published a directory of over 80 technology solutions available for repo and cash bond operations in November 2017. The directory is being kept up-to-date on a regular basis and the latest version released in July 2020 has now grown to include over 160 solutions. The directory is divided into 10 categories including collateral management, exposure agreements and reconciliations.

ICMA Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) regulatory directory: ICMA has conducted a mapping exercise on DLT regulatory guidance, legislative initiatives, as well as related strategy papers and recent publications in selected jurisdictions across Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. Its aim is to provide a sense of the direction of travel, anticipating future regulatory DLT guidance and legislative change, which will pave the way for broader adoption of DLT.

ICMA CSDR-SD technology directory: To assist market participants prepare for CSDR implementation, ICMA has gathered technology solutions aimed at managing the requirements under CSDR Settlement Discipline. The initial focus of ICMA’s CSDR-SD technology directory is toward those solutions assisting firms in the management of cash penalties. This is intended to provide a consolidated overview of the functionalities of market solutions, such as calculation, aggregation, reconciliation, invoicing, reporting, and appeals or claims management processes.

ICMA FinTech regulatory roadmap: ICMA has compiled a non-exhaustive list of key FinTech regulatory, legislative and innovation initiatives in the form of a roadmap. The objective is to highlight relevant FinTech developments relevant to bond markets. The content is divided between national, EU, and global initiatives.

FinTech and Sustainable Finance Library: ICMA has compiled a non-exhaustive list of recent publications on the topic of FinTech and sustainable finance in bond markets. The library aims to highlight the current views from academic, market, and official sector studies on the development of financial technologies to further global sustainable debt capital markets.

FinTech Glossary: An initiative of the ICMA Future Leaders to provide greater clarity around FinTech acronyms and terms.

Publications and media:

March 2022
ICMA response to ESMA Call for Evidence on a DLT Pilot Regime

January 2022
ICMA briefing note: Electronic Trading Directory review & ETC member feedback, Q1 2022
Common Domain Model for repo and bonds: ERCC survey results and next steps
Common Domain Model: a bond market perspective

October 2021
ICMA Brief: Operations FinTech Directory Review & ERCC Member Feedback, Q3 2021
Digital representation of transactions: CDM for repo and bonds

August 2021
FinTech regulatory developments in the second quarter
ICMA, ISDA and ISLA sign MoU on the Common Domain Model, laying the foundations for a digital future for financial markets

July 2021
ICMA response, regarding bearer bonds, to UK Law Commission consultation paper Digital assets: electronic trade documents

April 2021
FinTech and sustainable finance library
Updates to DLT regulatory directory
ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee
FinTech regulatory developments in the first quarter
ICMA Common Domain Model for repo and bonds

January 2021
FinTech and sustainable bond markets
Digital bonds and the fixed income lifecycle
ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee
FinTech regulatory developments in the fourth quarter
CDM for repos and bonds
ICMA FinTech Forum 2020
The Philippines: mobile app for retail investors

October 2020
FinTech regulatory developments in the third quarter
ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee
CDM for repos and bonds
DLT regulatory directory

July 2020
FinTech regulatory developments in the second quarter
ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee
CDM for repos and bonds
Updates to DLT regulatory directory

June 2020
ICMA response to European Commission Consultation on a new digital finance strategy for Europe / FinTech Action Plan
ICMA Podcast: Electronic trading, performance during the crisis and future developments

May 2020
ICMA Podcast: FinTech, technology risks and the COVID-19 crisis
ICMA Podcast: Electronic signings - an English law perspective in the time of COVID-19

April 2020
FinTech regulatory developments Q2 2020
CDM repo workshops
ICMA FinTech Advisory Committee
ICMA FinTech webinar on the developments in the debt capital markets and potential implications for Asia-Pacific. Access the recording here and the presentation here.
ICMA Podcast: The impact of COVID-19 on the Chinese capital market and digital economy

March 2020
ICMA response to EC consultation on an EU framework for markets in crypto-assets (security tokens)

January 2020
FinTech regulatory developments Q1 2020
DLT-related legislation and regulatory frameworks

October 2019
FinTech regulatory developments Q4 2019

July 2019
Big Data in securities markets
FinTech regulatory developments Q3 2019

April 2019
FinTech regulatory developments Q2 2019
Where is my blockchain bond?

January 2019
FinTech regulatory developments Q1 2019

October 2018
FinTech regulatory developments Q4 2018

September 2018
Regulatory approaches to Fintech and innovation in capital markets

July 2018
Electronification in primary bond markets
FinTech regulatory developments Q3 2018

April 2018
ICMA’s engagement on FinTech and market electronification
FinTech regulatory developments Q2 2018

October 2017
Market electronification and FinTech

July 2017
ICMA’s engagement on market electronification and FinTech
FinTech: Government bonds in Kenya

April 2017
FinTech, DLT and Regulation

January 2017
Bond trading market structure and the buy side

April 2016
Evolutionary change: The future of electronic trading of cash bonds in Europe

October 2015
An introductory Q&A on blockchain technology


Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334

Rowan Varrall
Associate, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0317

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), often referred to as Blockchain, has stirred a lot of interest and enthusiasm across the financial industry. Although discussions are still at a very early stage, DLT is believed to have the potential to substantially change the way financial markets are operating today, promising important cost savings and efficiency gains in particular in the post-trade space. Regulators and law makers around the world, concerned with the regulatory implications of the technology, are increasingly joining the debate. This webpage aims to provide an overview of the most important contributions, focusing on key early regulatory initiatives in this space but also referencing some of the most important industry initiatives and selected other research on DLT. The aim is not to offer a comprehensive list of available sources on DLT but to limit the overview to the key initiatives. The list will be updated on an ongoing basis as the discussions on DLT are evolving and the impacts are becoming more clear.

Official sources

BIS (Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures): Working Paper No 811 'Embedded supervision: how to build regulation into blockchain finance' (September 2019).

ECB: Potential use cases for innovative technologies in securities post-trading, ECB AMI-SeCo HSG FinTech TF, (January 2019).

ESMA: Report on The Distributed Ledger Technology Applied to Securities Markets (7 February 2017) following a Discussion Paper (published on 2 June 2016 for consultation). This follows up on an earlier Call for evidence on Investment using virtual currency or distributed ledger technology (published on 22 April 2015) and the responses received to that consultation.

European Commission Blockchain Observatory & Forum: Legal and regulatory framework of blockchains and smart contracts (September 2019).

European Commission Expert Group on Regulatory Obstacles to Financial Innovation (ROFIEG): 30 Recommendations on Regulation, Innovation and Finance (December 2019).

European Parliament: Distributed ledger technologies and blockchains: building trust with disintermediation resolution of 3 October 2018, 2017/2772(RSP).

FCA: Feedback Statement on Distributed ledger technology, FS17/4. (December 2017).

FINRA: Distributed Ledger Technology: Implications of Blockchain for the Securities Industry (January 2017).

FSB: Decentralised financial technologies – Report on financial stability, regulatory and governance implications (June 2019).

IOSCO: Research Report on Financial Technologies (February 2017).

ISO: Blockchain/DLT standards ISO/TR 23455:2019 (September 2019).

ITU: Technical Report FG DLT D4.1: Distributed ledger technology regulatory framework (August 2019)

UK Jurisdiction Taskforce: Legal statement on cryptoassets and smart contracts (November 2019).

Selected other research

SWIFT Institute: The Impact and Potential of Blockchain on the Securities Transaction Lifecycle (9 May 2016)

Some key industry initiatives

A multitude of industry initiatives are under way to develop use cases on DLT, among which several important collaborative cross-industry initiatives, including:

Post Trade Distributed Ledger group (PTDL): PTDL is a London-based industry group that aims to provide a forum where financial institutions can explore and share ideas about how DLT can transform the post-trade space. The membership is diverse and includes nearly 40 financial institutions and prominent market infrastructures.

Hyperledger Project: The Hyperledger initiative was launched in December 2015. The project is led by the Linux Foundation and involves both major financial institutions and large technology firms. The idea is to provide an environment to identify and address important features for a cross-industry open standard for distributed ledgers. Members include well-known blockchain start-ups such as the R3 Consortium (see below) and Digital Asset Holdings (DAH).

R3 Consortium: R3 is a New York based start-up which leads a consortium partnership with over 40 of the world's largest banks. It aims to provide a forum for the creation of common standards for the use of DLT in finance and create blockchain applications. Unlike the other two initiatives, R3 is a commercial venture.

A more detailed overview of industry initiatives is available here (financial news).


Alexander Westphal
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy, Secretary to the ICMA European Repo and Collateral Council (ERCC)
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0333

Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334

Rowan Varrall
Associate, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0317

Applications of distributed ledger technology, artificial intelligence/machine learning, big data analytics or cloud computing have significant potential to alter the lifecycle of bonds, from issuance, trading to settlement, and impact the functioning of financial markets. ICMA has produced a listing of new applications of fintech in bond markets taken from public sources, such as press announcements.



Gabriel Callsen
Director, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0334

Rowan Varrall
Associate, Market Practice and Regulatory Policy
Direct line: +44 20 7213 0317

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