PwC partners Northern Trust to launch blockchain audits

22 March 2018

Big Four professional services firm PwC has partnered global asset management company Northern Trust to launch a new blockchain-based auditing system. The platform will enable audit firms to access fund data stored on a private equity blockchain, in order to audit specific events in real time.

Northern Trust announced the launch of what it believes to be the first commercial implementation of blockchain technology for private equity at the end of February, allowing a limited number of clients to manage ownership shares on a transparent Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) platform. The company, which reportedly holds over ‎$123.9 billion in assets, says the solution is based on the open source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric, using IBM’s blockchain platform to provide safety and scalability of transactions.

According to Chicago-based Northern Trust, a latter development of the system means audit firms can now have their own blockchain node, managing access to relevant fund data that enables real-time audit-capabilities. This most recent development was made in partnership with auditing giants PwC, and is designed to provide auditors with instant access to a secure “golden copy” of private equity lifecycle events. The firms hope that this will improve the efficiency of the auditing process, making the underlying transactions more transparent to audit firms.PwC partners Northern Trust to launch blockchain auditsIn a statement, PwC said that the auditing tool created with Northern Trust was custom-built with the bank and is separate from the technology revealed last week, with potential opportunities for them to "interface" in the future.

Commenting on the potential future applications of the platform, Guernsey-based PwC Partner Nick Vermeulen, added, "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."

Blockchain technology is being widely accepted by various businesses and institutions around the world to improve the efficiency, safety, and speed of information exchange. The Big Four professional services firms of PwC, and its competitors DeloitteKPMG and EY are no exception to this. Each of the gang of four has released its own report on the role that blockchain will play in the future of auditing, while implementing new solutions for clients based around the technology.

Recently, this saw PwC itself work with Arc Net to implement a food supply chain solution using blockchain to prevent fraud. EY, meanwhile, extended its partnership with SAP to increase the deployment of blockchain globally, and KPMG backed the plans of start-up Etch, a firm looking to leverage the technology to improve efficiency and security of payroll procedures.


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Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

05 April 2019

Grey Consulting has forged a new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of the brightest creative innovators, headquartered at Somerset House, London. The partnership hopes to tap into the experimental community to develop pioneering solutions for Grey Consulting’s clients.

In August 2018, one of the world’s largest design agencies surprised the business world by launching a dedicated consulting outfit. The news came as the two industries continued on their trajectory towards a historic synthesis. The consulting industry has been engaged in a pitched battle with the advertising and design space for the past few years, as the former increasingly encroaches on the territory of the latter via a protracted campaign of mergers and acquisitions; but there had been little traffic moving in the other direction.

At its launch, Grey Consulting was not billed as a direct competitor to established consultancies. However, the firm behind the new entity hopes that its creative experience will give it a competitive edge in winning consulting business from its existing clients. The Grey Group is a global advertising and marketing agency with headquarters in New York City, and 432 offices in 96 countries, operating in 154 cities. Grey Consulting opened its doors with a view to aiding clients within the areas of business and brand design, innovation and digital transformations.Grey Consulting and Makerversity announce strategic partnership

Now, as the firm looks to further expand its footprint in the market, Grey Consulting has unveiled details of a ground-breaking new alliance with Makerversity, a 500-strong community of creative innovators headquartered at Somerset House, London. The alignment with Makerversity is hoped to unlock the potential of collaborating with one of the world’s most experimental communities.

Makerversity curates and convenes the best talent across product design, fashion, art and experimental architecture, sustainable materials, IoT, digital manufacturing, and coding. It provides spaces and workshops for professional makers to develop and create their work, supported by Somerset House Trust. The alliance is expected to enable Grey Consulting to develop pioneering solutions for its clients, together with innovators who make something amazing for a living, every day. 

Leo Rayman, Grey Consulting CEO, commented, “This gives our clients the potential to access a network of some of the most diverse and innovative individuals in the world today. Being so tightly connected to a community of makers means we don’t just develop transformational strategies but can quickly realise them in three dimensions. This sets Grey Consulting apart from the pure play strategy houses who are sometimes criticised for not making their thinking real at the pace modern businesses require.” 

Fiona Dent, CEO of Makerversity, added, “Makerversity acts as a catalyst for unexpected encounters, fostering collaborations between an incredible range of the brightest leading creators and innovators. Our experimental approach and engaged members, whose own practice is defining our world, create highly original new outcomes. We are delighted to bring this philosophy to a wider audience and generate interesting projects for Makerversity members through our partnership with Grey Consulting.”