United Fintech in fifth takeover deal, fully acquires Cobalt

abdelaziz Fathi

United Fintech, a London-based start-up looking to buy a slate of capital markets fintechs, has acquired a 100% stake in post-trade infrastructure provider, Cobalt.

Fully taking over the London-based technology business, United Fintech makes its fifth acquisition in second year of operation to “save big banks from Big Tech.”

The move comes nearly 11 months after the company acquired a minority stake in investment management specialist, Athena Systems. United Fintech also bought a 25% stake in execution performance analytics specialist, FairXchange, with the intention of fully acquiring the firm over the next few years.

Founded in 2015, Cobalt allows its clients to access new sources of much-needed liquidity in the FX and crypto spaces. The company’s platform leverages blockchain-derived concepts to create a single, shared view of every transaction. As such, the offering helps reduce costs for buy-side firms to connect and trade currency and digital asset markets by combining trading, technology and credit services into one product.

By creating a single and shared view of a transaction, Cobalt DL frees up back and middle office resources that are currently overwhelmed by multiple unnecessary license fees, ticketing charges, IT overheads and staff costs. This allows foreign exchange traders to reduce credit risk and cost efficiently.

Cobalt’s current customer base includes top tier banks like Deutsche Bank, Citi Bank, Barclays, BNP, Natwest, ABN Amro and Standard Chartered Bank. Its technology is being supplied in part by First Derivatives, a Northern Ireland company that is also an investor.

Commenting on the latest acquisition, Christian Frahm, founder and CEO at United Fintech said: “Cobalt is at the forefront of critical institutional trade infrastructure for foreign exchange and digital assets, leading the field in innovation that empowers banks to keep pace with the ever-evolving capital markets. Foreign Exchange is a core part of a bank’s infrastructure today. In the future I’m convinced digital assets will become a key asset class in the sophisticated money management space, while financial institutions and banks will need a high level of expertise and know-how to thrive in the coming digital banking era.”

Andrew Coyne, Co-Founder & Chief Product Officer, Cobalt, added: “I am very happy that Cobalt is now part of the United Fintech family. They will help us accelerate shared infrastructure adoption for the benefit of all market participants. This will allow our clients to access markets more efficiently, with better control and lower cost.”

United Fintech is the brainchild of Christian Frahm, founder of Copenhagen-based global holding company CFH Group. Frahm, who launched the City startup in November 2020, also worked for a time at both Bloomberg and Saxo Bank.

The startup promises to enable banks and financial institutions to access new technology and accelerate their transition to a digital world. Over the next five years, United Fintech plans to acquire and scale-up a number of small to medium-sized engineering-led fintechs.

It mentions areas of interest, including trading platforms, liquidity management and regulatory reporting tools, Big Data tools, institutional blockchain, bots and virtual assistants.

 

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