Who We Are.

A Very Sad Farewell to Chris Prior-Willeard

It is with great sadness that we have to report the death of one our founding members Chris Prior-Willeard, known throughout the industry for his leadership for innovation and change.

Chris Prior-Willeard

Chris had been battling the effects of Motor Neurone Disease but passed away on April 25th. Despite declining health, he continued to bring his technical and legal expertise, along with his drive to innovate, to the development of the new issuer CSD. We will all miss his guidance, razor-sharp wit and sense of humour.

Chris had a rich and varied career in financial services from an unlikely start as a navigator in the merchant navy. Driven by a vast level of knowledge and experience about markets, exchanges and instruments, Chris was always determined to innovate to improve the operation of securities markets. He recognised the power of the “golden record” of securities ownership, and the role of market infrastructure in the enforcement of settlement rules.

He was at the forefront in the establishment of the London meat futures market and the launch of SEAQ International at the LSE. He went on to establish market leading issuer services businesses at The Chase Manhattan Bank and HSBC and following a spell at PwC returned to BNY Mellon to promote the globalisation of share ownership via depositary receipts. He was responsible for the development and launch of BNY Mellon’s Belgian CSD – the first new CSD in Europe for many years and one of the first to sign up to T2S.

Chris’s legacy will be the passion he brought to the safety and efficiency of markets.

He was an enthusiastic farmer, a great companion and an inspiration to us all. He will be sorely missed as we continue the project.

James Zorab


James Zorab has been CEO of The Ascent Group (TAG) since it became established as a VC-backed technology incubator in 2000 and was co-founder with Mike Jacobs of the Codel digital notary which has the longest running immutable hash chain globally since 2005. TAG has spun out a series of other products and services for anti-counterfeiting, data immutability, identity enrolment, GDPR data consent, Immutable rates and benchmarks and now Instant Actions. The latest Codel v 2.0 blockchain patent describes a hash-chain entanglement and public hash chain that addresses the problems of distributed ledger trust, latency, and synchronisation and has just been awarded patents in both the EU, HK, Australia and imminently the US. Following the successful SWIFT ‘Dragonfly’ project, James pioneered the establishment of Instant Actions for solving the problem of corporate actions, more recently extending IA’s remit to address tokenisation and become the UKs first Bank of England regulated Central Securities Depository for 30 years.

Mark Kerns


Mark is a seasoned senior executive with a distinguished career across leading global and regional banks. In his most recent role, he was Head of Investor Services at Standard Bank and a member of the Transactional Products and Services Executive Team. Earlier in his career, Mark was a Director of The WM Company and launched the Bankers Trust Global and Master Custody services in Europe. He also led the Global Master Custody business for JP Morgan based initially in London and then New York. Immediately prior to joining Standard Bank, Mark filled a variety of executive roles at BNY Mellon including Executive Vice President & Head of Fund Manager Services.

Bob Head


Bob’s focus is in Product and Project Management in the post-trade space, with a particular interest in making processes safer and more efficient. He has over 30 years’ experience in international securities and capital markets, which includes being part of the team that developed and implemented the BNY Mellon Central Securities Depository in Belgium. Bob went on to become the Head of Product Management at the CSD. Prior to that, he was the UK-based product manager for JPMorgan’s Transfer Agency business. As a result, Bob has a genuine interest in the funds markets and the development of processes for that asset class. Bob started his career in financial services as a data systems auditor for The Chase Manhattan Bank.

Hardeep Tamana


Hardeep Tamana has over twenty-five years of financial markets experience, working with a number of the largest banking and stockbroking firms. Holding a PhD in geochemistry from Manchester University, Hardeep has also developed a number of next-generation tools for financial services, including proprietary share screening software. Hardeep speaks four languages, served for eight years as CEO of a UK stockbroking firm and with Instant Actions’ partnership with Avenir Registrars Ltd, brings a wide range of leadership, technical and markets expertise.

Henry Raschen


Henry is an experienced director in financial regulatory impact and change. He has a deep knowledge of the regulators and their priorities and requirements for regulatory compliance implementation. Henry has overseen the implementation of bank compliance regimes for MiFID, T2S, key post-2008 financial crisis EU laws, and Brexit UK/EU law onshoring. Henry is a regular contributor of articles and other communications for the trade press, speaking at industry conferences, to industry networks and associations. He is also a chartered accountant with experience of corporate reconstruction and resolution.

Nat Sey


Nat started his career working for Prudential Registrars before pivoting into the world of market data provision, joining Interactive Data Corporation. Through the disciplines of managing client account management, project and product management teams, he developed a wealth of experience in running asset servicing data products and product delivery platforms across Europe. As well as roles managing the reference data business in EMEA and running the firm’s Managed Solutions business in the UK, Nat also conducted strategic analysis of the Hong Kong market whilst embedded there. His most recent appointments were Head of Strategic Alliances and Director of Product Management – EMEA. Nat is a strong supporter of open standards and has served on numerous industry working group.