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Northern Trust, PwC enable real-time private equity audit via blockchain
Northern Trust, in collaboration with PwC and other audit firms in Guernsey, has developed a solution that would allow audit firms to carry out audits of private equity lifecycle events directly from the blockchain.
In February 2017, Northern Trust launched the first commercial deployment of blockchain technology for private equity. With the latest enhancement, an audit firm would be able to have its own blockchain node, providing access to relevant fund data to enable real-time audit capabilities.
“By expanding our private equity blockchain ecosystem to the audit community, Northern Trust has enabled audit transactions to be recorded on a blockchain in real time,” said Pete Cherecwich, president of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust. “This will result in direct efficiencies to both the audit firms and Northern Trust, and provide investors with a more timely and valued assurance product.”
The new solution, based on the open source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric, gives the audit firms access to a “golden copy,” or immutable master record, of the fund’s data from their own offices. The audit firms can then either transfer the required data into internal applications to complete the audit process or develop new tools to complete the audit directly from the blockchain.
“We are excited to be able to leverage the distributed ledger within Northern Trust's private equity system to innovate our approach to auditing private equity funds.” said Nick Vermeulen, partner at PwC Channel Islands. “Our ability to directly access distributed ledgers such as the one within the Northern Trust system will allow us to build upon our own blockchain investments. Such innovation assists clients as they invest in the opportunities arising from emerging technologies. This ongoing process will help ensure we are in the best possible shape to adapt in the coming years of change.”
Northern Trust said that it will explore expanding the new solution into other asset classes and jurisdictions based on the success with its initial platform.