NewsMarch 20, 2018 by Kate Leaman

Northern Trust Launches Real-time Audit Facility via Blockchain Technology

Northern Trust Corporation (Nasdaq: NTRS), a leading provider of wealth management services, announced that audit firms can now carry out audits of private equity lifecycle events directly from the blockchain. It can be remembered that NTRS, in collaboration with IBM and other key stakeholders, launched the first commercial deployment of blockchain technology for the private equity market on February 21.

The latest enhancement allows an audit firm to have its own blockchain node, providing access to relevant fund data to enable real-time audit capabilities. With this facility, Northern Trust, which has partnered with PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and other audit firms in Guernsey, has proved that auditors can now access fund data held on the private equity blockchain to audit specific events.

The solution developed by Northern Trust is based on the open source Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric. Northern Trust is also using the IBM Blockchain Platform on the IBM Cloud to develop and run the network with hardware assisted cryptography and key management to enhance the safety and scalability of these transactions.

Continuing development of the audit capabilities and the automation of the audit process by PwC will allow audits to be completed in real time as lifecycle events occur. This will help ensure that audits are more streamlined and efficient, increasing transparency of the underlying transactions to the audit firms.

Pete Cherecwich, president of Corporate & Institutional Services at Northern Trust, said

“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. 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.”

Nick Vermeulen, partner at PwC Channel Islands told

“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. 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.”

About Northern Trust

Founded in Chicago in 1889, Northern Trust has offices in the United States in 19 states and Washington, D.C., and 23 international locations in Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. As of December 31, 2017, Northern Trust had assets under custody/administration of US$10.7 trillion, and assets under management of US$1.2 trillion.

About PwC

With offices in 157 countries and more than 236,000 people, almost 400 of whom are based in Guernsey, Jersey and Alderney, PwC is among the leading professional audit service provider in the world.