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Coordinates: 51°30′54.4″N 0°5′29.1″W / 51.515111°N 0.091417°W / 51.515111; -0.091417

Z/Yen Group
Industry Consultancy, Think-tank
Founded 1994; 24 years ago (1994)
Headquarters City of London
Key people

Michael Mainelli

Ian Harris

Mark Yeandle
Website www.zyen.com

Z/Yen is a commercial think-tank, consultancy and venture firm headquartered in the City of London. It works in the financial services, technology and voluntary sectors on a range of projects from research to performance review and strategic management. Founded in 1994 and with associates around the world, Z/Yen has developed collaborative projects such as the London Accord, the Global Financial Centres Index, the Global Intellectual Property Index for Taylor Wessing and Taskforce 2000 (the UK industry response to the Millennium Bug). The London Accord and GFCI are constituent programmes of Z/Yen’s Long Finance initiative, which seeks to answer the question “When would we know our financial system is working?”

Z/Yen conducts market research and intelligence. It publishes most of its research freely on its own website.[1]

Z/Yen has recently published a considerable amount of research on mutual distributed ledger (aka blockchain) technology and its effects on the financial services industry.

The firm has also been contracted by DasCoin, a hybrid cryptocurrency, to publish a white paper on their digital currency explaining its economic modeling and its unique, decentralized-centralized architecture.


Early Years (1994-2000)[edit]

In its formative years Z/Yen’s research and consulting included work for British Gas, the London Stock Exchange, the Defense Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA, now DSTL and QinetiQ) and Bloomberg, amongst others. Z/Yen played a major part in the founding of Taskforce 2000, the private sector initiative designed to alert people to the Millennium Bug. In 1996, Z/Yen established the £1.9M Financial Laboratory, an innovative joint venture between BZW (now Barclays Capital), Royal and Sun Alliance, The London Stock Exchange, DERA (now QinetiQ), City University, City University Business School, The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists and Silicon Graphics. This project won a £750,000 DTI Foresight Challenge award later that year.

In the late nineties Z/Yen’s not-for-profit sector work became a major part of the business, with extended work for Cancer Research Campaign, BEN, The Children's Society and others, plus significant gains at British Heart Foundation and a major trade union. Other work included undertaking a major pan-European study into the market for OTC derivatives outsourcing.

Turn of the Millennium (2000-2005)[edit]

2001 saw the company receive significant recognition in the public arena, with a version of Z/Yen’s bourse game played at St James’ Palace as a part of a Marine Stewardship Council event; prizes were presented by HRH The Prince of Wales. Z/Yen launched PropheZy – a predictive Dynamic, Anomaly & Pattern Response (DAPR) system – in January 2003, receiving a £45,000 Smart Award from the Department of Trade and Industry. VizZy, a complementary visualisation system for PropheZy, was launched a year later.

Benchmarking became a significant section of Z/Yen’s work during this period, with record numbers of investment banks and brokerages participating in 2003.

Recent Years[edit]

In 2005 Z/Yen was appointed by the Institute of Fundraising, with partner Business in the Community, to run the enquiry line and information centre for the Payroll Giving Centre programme funded by the Home Office. Z/Yen created its flagship Global Financial Centres Index for the City of London Corporation in 2007 (bringing it in-house in 2010). 2007 also saw Z/Yen sell its investment banking cost-per-trade benchmarking unit to Aon, and launch the London Accord. This initiative, with the help of over 50 financial service sector contributors, looks to provide an open-source research resource on finance and environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. A year later, Z/Yen launched a way of measuring the immeasurable, the Global Intellectual Property Index, for the legal firm Taylor Wessing.

Recent years have seen Z/Yen found the ExtZy game – creating a stockmarket from the internet – and pose the question, “When would we know our financial system is working?” though the Long Finance initiative. Research has included Index-linked carbon bonds, non-monetary trade and Confidence Accounting.[2]

Towards the end of 2011, Z/Yen decided to strengthen its international presence by establishing a Swiss office in Geneva.

Since Bitcoin's release in 2009, there has been a considerable amount of interest in the underlying distributed ledger technology (aka blockchain) which facilitates its transactions. Z/Yen's excecutive chairman Michael Mainelli, in association with Professor Mike Smith, has been working with mutual distributed ledgers, or MDLs, since the early 90's. Due to this expertise and recent interest in MDLs, Z/Yen shifted much of its research and resources towards this developing technology and community.

In late 2016, DasCoin, a new hybrid cryptocurrency, asked Z/Yen Group to organise a Long Finance seminar to introduce the a new cryptocurrency, ahead of its official launch on 14 January 2017 in Hong Kong. Entitled “DasCoin: A Hybrid Digital Store of Value System”, this seminar seeks to understand the intellectual thinking behind DasCoin, a hybrid solution which combines centralised and decentralised currency approaches. Z/Yen compared and contrasted DasCoin with other currency systems out there, from Bitcoin (obviously) to Ethereum, zcash, and others, on dimensions including governance, distribution criteria, authentication, the nature of the blockchain (public vs private) and the ecosystem surrounding the cryptocurrency.



  • Clean Business Cuisine: Now and Z/Yen - (2000) [3]
  • Information Technology for the Not-for-profit Sector - ICSA Publishing (2001) [4]
  • Expertise: Search and Deploy - (2003) [5]
  • The Road To Long Finance: A Systems View Of The Credit Scrunch - (2009) (with Bob Giffords)[6]
  • The Price of Fish - Nicholas Brealey Publishing (2011) [7]


  • In Search of the Eternal Coin: A Long Finance View of History - (2010, Eternal Brevities, Malcolm Cooper),[8] freely available online.
  • Time To Stop Betting The House: Mortgages, Resilience and the Long Finance - (2010, Finance Shorts, David Steven) [9]
  • Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow: The Future of Pensions - (2010, Finance Shorts, Con Keating) [10]
  • Capacity, Trade and Credit: Emerging Architectures for Commerce and Money - (2011, Michael Mainelli, Stephanie Rochford and Chiara von Gunten) [11]
  • Don't Stop Believing: The State and Future of UK Occupational Pensions - (2011, Finance Shorts, Con Keating) [12]
  • Confidence Accounting: A Proposal - (2012, Ian Harris, Michael Mainelli and Jan-Peter Onstwedder) (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI), Long Finance, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA))[13]
  • Backing Market Forces: How to Make Voluntary Standards Work for Financial Services Regulation - (2013, Michael Mainelli and Chiara von Guten) (Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment CISI, Long Finance)
  • Chain of a Lifetime: How Blockchain Technology Might Transform Personal Insurance - (2014, Michael Mainelli and Chiara von Guten) (Z/Yen Group, Long Finance)
  • Sharing Ledgers for a Sharing Economies: An Exploration of Mutual Distributed Ledgers (aka blockchain) - (2015, Michael Mainelli and Chiara von Guten) (Journal of Financial Perspectives, Volume 3, Number 3, EY Global Financial Services Institute)
  • Chain Reaction: How Blockchain Might Transform Wholesale Insurance - (2016, Michael Mainelli and Bernard Manson) (PwC and Z/Yen Group, Long Finance)
  • The Missing Links in the Chain? Mutual Distributed Ledgers (aka blockchain) Standards - (2016, Michael Mainelli and Simon Mills) (States of Alderney, PwC, Cardano Foundation, Long Finance)
  • From Slips to Smart Contracts: Intelligent Technology in the London Wholesale Insurance Market - (2017, Michael Mainelli and Bernard Manson) (Z/Yen Group, Long Finance, and The London Market Group)
  • A Wholesale Insurance Executives Guide to Smart Contracts - (2017, Michael Mainelli and Bernard Manson) (Z/Yen Group, Long Finance, and The London Market Group)


A regularly updated list of articles can be found in the 'Knowledge' section of the Z/Yen Website.

Regular Indices[edit]

  • Global Financial Centres Index [14]
  • Global Intellectual Property Index [15]


External links[edit]