Lee Braine

Director of Research and Engineering in the Chief Technology Office, Barclays

Lee Braine is not your average banker. A computer scientist by training, he is responsible for the CTO’s research and engineering efforts, leading its technology architecture for distributed ledgers and as well as its engagement in quantum computing. In other words, his role is to explore new technologies that could bring the bank, and the industry, to new heights.

Some of the innovative projects Braine is working on include the Utility Settlement Coin, an initiative bringing together 15 financial institutions that have strategically invested in the fintech startup Fnality to create a new wholesale payments system based on blockchain technology, allowing instant settlement finality using digital money tokens that are backed by funds deposited at central banks. He is also working to drive adoption of the International Swaps and Derivatives Association’s Common Domain Model, a new standard for post-trade processes.

Braine’s recent research has looked at smart contracts, distributed ledgers, and how quantum computing can optimise the settlement efficiency of batches of securities transactions.

“Technology is foundational to the delivery of modern-day financial services,” says Braine, who is a member of the International Capital Market Association’s Fintech Advisory Committee and the New York Fed’s Fintech Advisory Group.

He says innovation is often produced by entrepreneurs and startups, and he sees an opportunity for City of London behemoths like Barclays to partner with those disruptors.

“Incumbent firms will be impacted and potentially even displaced if they don’t adapt,” he says.