UK-based asset intelligence firm Bridgeweave has announced the launch of an artificial intelligence (AI) powered trading insights product for individual investors. The Investment Insights proprietary platform has been built using CognitiveScale’s Augmented Intelligence software to process large amounts of historical, transactional and real-time data.
Security giant G4S is entering the cryptocurrency market with a new service offering high security offline storage that aims to keep digital assets out of the clutches of hackers. The firm, best known for its cash storage and prison services, is launching a secure storage vault to help financial services firms and crypto traders guard their holdings in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin and other cryptocurrencies from the “wild west” of currency exchanges.
Britain’s leading banks and insurers will join forces to fortify the financial system against cyber attacks with the launch of a dedicated cyber security body. More than 20 of the UK’s largest banks, insurers and securities exchanges are planning the launch of the Financial Sector Cyber Collaboration Centre (FSCC) early next year, in a bid to counter the growing threat to private sector institutions from cyber criminals, the Times has reported.
PayPal has announced new partnerships with American Express and Walmart, as its third quarter results reveal revenue growth of 14 per cent to $3.68 billion. The global payments platform’s statement also showed that 2.5 billion payment transactions were made during the three months to the end of September - up 27 per cent - while 9.1 million active accounts were added - up 15 per cent.
Société Générale (SocGen) is trialling a bank card with a fingerprint sensor, becoming the first French bank to experiment with biometric-enabled cards. It launched the technology following the successful roll out of a new generation card equipped with a dynamic card verification code to 400,000 clients, which the bank suggests is proof of growing appetite for additional card security features.
For FinTech to truly be transformative, a global regulatory approach which accepts the ‘new realities’ created by emerging solutions is needed. This is according to a new white paper from Deutsche Bank, which argues that the emergence of new technology relating to Open APIs, the cloud, blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) has driven increasing volumes of digital data, new market players, business models and evolving client expectations.
Pay.UK, the retail payments authority formerly known as the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), has today published a procurement prospectus with the aim of finding a strategic partner to help deliver retail payment infrastructure. The publication marks the starting point of a competitive process to appoint an organisation to define, deliver and operate the New Payments Architecture (NPA), which will safely and securely process trillions of pounds worth of payments every year.
Blockchain will enter the mainstream as a leading supply chain technology in 2025, according to a new study by the Capgemini, which found that investment in the distributed ledger technology (DLT) is likely to grow by 30 per cent in the next three years.A survey of 450 financial services organisations worldwide found that far from taking the slow-start approach to the DLT, early adopters of blockchain are doubling down on their investments, with 60 per cent saying that blockchain has transformed the way they collaborate with partners.
NatWest has integrated with a new blockchain-based platform that aims to streamline the global syndicated loans market – worth over £3.5 trillion in loan deals last year. The Fusion LenderComm platform - due to go live in November - aims to revolutionise communication between lenders and agents using blockchain to ensure messages are secure and confidential.
All banks will have to adopt artificial intelligence (AI) within the next five years to keep up with the demands of the next generation of customers, according to a former Barclays wealth manager. Akshaya Bhargava, who today launched AI FinTech platform Bridgeweave, also told City AM that banks will need to deploy new technologies in order to meet the expectations of the Millennials who will soon take over from the Baby Boomer generation as part of the $30 trillion “great wealth transfer”.
BBVA has partnered with FinTech venture capital firm Anthemis Group to build a venture creation studio in London. This will deploy capital and resources to businesses that address untapped user needs and attract the best entrepreneurs.
Challenger bank Monese is launching an account for businesses across the UK and Europe. The banking and money transfer service, which prides itself on serving ‘globally connected’ customers, is today offering accounts for UK-registered businesses in 11 languages, and is expected to roll out the service in Europe in the coming months.
Visa is expanding its Token Service for credential-on-file (COF) token requestors, helping to increase security for consumer payments in digital channels. Acquirer gateway and technology partners Adyen, AsiaPay, Braintree, Checkout.com, Cherri Tech, CyberSource, Elavon, Ezidebit, eWAY, Fit-Pay, Giesecke & Devrient, PayPal, Payscout, Rambus, SafeCharge, SecureCo, Square, Stripe, Worldpay and YellowPepper will now be able to tokenise COF digital payments on behalf of their merchant and payment clients.
New research has shown that UK-based small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) encounter regular problems with digital services at the traditional banks they use and are considering moving to mobile-only challengers. A survey of over 450 SME owners by Unisys Corporation also found that Open Banking has the potential to shake up the market and facilitate innovative new propositions SMEs are looking for.
The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has rebranded to become Pay.UK. The payments industry regulator stated that this new identity helps better promote its core purpose, transforming the UK’s payment infrastructure to enable a vibrant economy, as well as being a logical progression from consolidating the UK’s three retail payment schemes – Bacs, Faster Payments and the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company.
AXA Investment Managers has changed the names of its AXA Framlington Financial Fund to the AXA Framlington FinTech Fund, with a new focus on FinTech investment. The UK-domiciled fund will change on 20 November, with a new policy branching out from just traditional banks and insurers into companies providing technological applications throughout the financial services supply chain.
Up to one third of new revenue in the banking sector is being amassed by digital challengers, putting unprecedented pressure on established banks to compete for customer loyalty, according to Accenture. A study of more than 20,000 banking and payments institutions conducted by the consultancy revealed that the UK has seen the most profound disruption in overall market structure, with a 63 per cent rise in new players in 2017.
Standard Chartered and Huawei are developing an Internet of Things (IoT) powered solution that they claim could revolutionise the way corporations communicate with banks for financing or payments. Rather than companies having to manually initiate these transactions through paper-based or emailed instructions, businesses and banks systems will be able to ‘speak’ to each other in real-time, triggering financing or payment instructions through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Coinbase has expanded its European presence with new Dublin office and is going on a hiring spree for various new business-related functions. The digital currency platform stated that its customer base in the European Union (EU) grew faster than any other market in 2017 - and continues to in 2018 - so it began looking for a new base in the region.
Fidelity Investments has become the latest asset manager to embrace the cryptocurrency trend by setting up a standalone company to support Bitcoin and Ethereum trading for hedge funds, endowments and family offices. The US-based spin-off, called Fidelity Digital Assets, will provide an enterprise-grade platform for executing trades in digital assets on a 24-7 basis, mirroring the blockchain’s ‘always on’ trading cycle.
Atos and Google Cloud have launched an artificial intelligence (AI) lab in London, aiming to bring together private and public sector expertise and organisational capabilities to collaborate and unlock cross-enterprise opportunities. The lab will be available to businesses and public sector organisations across Europe to utilise AI technologies, defining and designing use cases relevant to their needs.
A digital payments boom is being driven by developing markets, but the innovation landscape in payments is uncertain as BigTech entrants make their presence felt and incumbents face technical and regulatory complexity in developing collaborative payments ecosystems with FinTechs. This is according to the World Payments Report 2018 from Capgemini and BNP Paribas, which also found that it will take more than bank-led initiatives to grow the new payments landscape.
Berlin-based challenger bank Penta has raised €7 million in its latest funding round.
Penta, which offers bank account services to businesses, has grown rapidly since it launched in December last year.The latest raise by existing investors Inception Capital, brings Penta’s total fundraising to €10M.
UK cybersecurity firm Garrison, which has developed safe web browsing technology, has secured £30 million (£22.7 million) in its latest round of funding. The investment round, led by Dawn Capital, is the company's largest raise from wholly UK-based backers and will be used to accelerate development of national security grade technology for commercial use.
Nationwide is pumping £3million into a competition to encourage FinTech startups to develop Open Banking apps for consumers facing financial challenges.Launching today, the Open Banking for Good (OB4G) challenge is a government-backed scheme aimed at using Open Banking technology and financial data sharing between financial services companies to develop solutions for the one in four financially squeezed households in the UK - equivalent to 12.7 million people.
BABB, a blockchain-based FinTech targeted at ‘the unbanked’, has raised £1.4million in its latest funding round on Crowdcube.The startup, which is hoping to acquire banking licences in UK and Lithuania, raised the money to support its applications following donations from 1,232 investors.
Challenger bank CYBG has announced it has been given the green light from the Prudential Regulatory Authority to use its own risk modelling to establish the levels of capital it should hold.The regulator has granted the bank internal ratings-based (IRB) accreditation, meaning that it could opt to hold less capital as a result of new risk modelling requirements.
The financial services industry should brace for the emergence of a globally dominant digital challenger bank in the coming decade, experts have suggested. Speaking at a panel event at London’s PayExpo, Matt Ford, head of product at challenger bank Tandem suggested that the rapid adoption of digital and mobile banking, as well as the scalability of platforms across borders would usher in an era of digital ‘goliaths’ in the financial services sector which could prove just as disruptive as social media giant Facebook.
Metro Bank has gone live with Insights, its in-app money management tool which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to generate tips and alerts. Developed with Personetics, the opt-in tool applies predictive analytics to users’ spending patterns, which is then translated into tailored prompts.
Facebook is planning to extend its social messaging platforms WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger to become a leading channel of digital payments services, its Northern Europe finance chief has said. Laura McCraken, Facebook’s head of financial services and payments partnerships for Northern Europe told audiences at a panel event at London’s PayExpo that the social media giant is already seeing WhatsApp -which has 1.5 billion users worldwide- used for buying and sharing payment credentials, and explained that Facebook has already started rolling out digital wallet services in emerging markets such as the Philippines.
Digital challenger bank Tandem is launching a new credit card service as part of its plan to help users build a strong credit history. The bank, which regained its banking licence in January this year, has expanded its product offering rapidly to keep up with fellow digital-only players Monzo and Starling.
Mastercard has launched Bill Pay Exchange, a new digital solution to help consumers view, manage and pay bills without having to set up accounts with different billers or remember multiple passwords and dates for payments each month. Offered through banks and credit unions, the technology lets consumers use their mobile banking app to set up all billers, receive notifications when a bill is due, see bill details, and manage multiple bills in one place, including specifying when and how much to pay.
Payment service sharing among banks and FinTechs is a sector “ripe for disruption”, Starling Bank’s chief platform officer has said, as a panel of payments experts made their predictions for the year ahead. Speaking at the PayExpo in London yesterday, Megan Caywood noted that application programming interfaces (APIs) which allow banks and financial institutions to securely share data, are “fundamentally changing” the way that software is created and brought to market, with quick transmission of data allowing banks to access payments at lower cost.
The financial services sector needs a fresh regulatory and tax approach to deal with the challenges and opportunities presented by a rapidly changing technological landscape, according to a new report by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). The report is a result of conversations with financial services firms across the UK, which states that while firms have welcomed the government’s support for FinTech developments such as the regulatory sandbox, they need regulations that are fit-for-purpose in a new technological age.
Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers can now choose to use their voice to verify themselves when accessing their banking over the phone, following the launch of Voice ID by Lloyds Banking Group. Once a customer registers for the service, they will be asked for their card or account number and verified, then they will be asked to say ‘my voice is my password’ to create a unique voiceprint.
Starling is expanding its banking-as-a-service and payment services offer, bringing white label banking to the UK. Access to the digital challenger banks’ proprietary, cloud-based technology via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) will allow companies to launch their own bank accounts and provide customers with payment services such as debit cards.
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s head of operations for digital propositions has claimed the company is “catching up” with digital banking challengers, but has been slowed by having to upgrade legacy systems. Speaking at the PayExpo conference in London yesterday afternoon, Benjamin Morgan praised digital-only entrants to the sector, stating they are “doing a good job”, especially from a customer satisfaction standpoint.
Passporting into the European Union can continue after Brexit, but one expert has warned that it will “become a lot more complicated”. Paul Anning, a partner in the financial institutions group at law firm Osbourne Clarke, told delegates at the PayExpo conference in London that companies must start considering exactly which European countries are most crucial to their business.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox process has brought benefits but has highlighted various challenges for FinTech firms in testing their models, according to a study by Deloitte. The consultancy firm collaborated with Innovate Finance to survey a number of companies participating in the FCA’s sandbox, which allows business to try out innovative products, services and delivery method on real consumers in a regulatory ‘safe space’ before going to market.
New research has found that 83 per cent of European business decision makers expect blockchain to have an important or very important impact on their industry, but only two per cent of businesses are interested in collaborating with other firms for wider industry advancements as part of their blockchain strategy. Technology consultancy firm Cognizant surveyed over 1,500 senior executives across banking and financial services, manufacturing, retail, healthcare and insurance, finding that Europe is potentially quite conservative when assessing the significance of blockchain.
Schroders has taken a minority stake in Qwil Messenger, the first FinTech startup to have joined its global in-residence programme. The chat platform, which enables firms and clients to communicate directly through one app, joined the investment manager’s Cobalt programme earlier this year. This undisclosed investment formalises Schroders’ relationship with Qwil.
Starling is partnering with InsurTech startup So-sure to offer customers mobile insurance directly from their phones. In the latest third party-partnership to feature on its app-based marketplace, the digital challenger bank will enable customers to apply for an insurance policy in minutes.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has published the results of a study into pricing algorithms and whether they could be used to support illegal practices. Whilst there was little evidence of companies using algorithms to show personalised prices, it did find that they were sometimes used to change the order in which products are shown to shoppers.
Payment processing, machine learning and data solutions firms have fuelled a $40 billion boom in UK FinTech mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in the first half of 2018, according to a new report. A study of M&A activity in the sector by advisory firm Hampleton Partners recorded 141 transactions in the first six months of the year, with a total value of $39.3 billion - up 26 per cent on the previous half year.
The Luxembourg Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) have signed a cooperation agreement for cooperation over financial innovation in each jurisdiction. The agreement provides a framework for information sharing between the two regulators on FinTech and RegTech, formalising the previously close relationship between the ASIC and the CSSF.
The differing approaches to data breaches of British Airways and Equifax have been cited as best practice and a cautionary tale, respectively, under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Speaking at the IP Expo conference in London yesterday, OneTrust’s vice president of sales and business development Kevin Kiley said that while Equifax drip fed information which it turned out had been known for months - while senior executives sold company stock - British Airways immediately contacted affected customers and went public with the breach.
Companies will see an upsurge in personal data requests under General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) rules as high profile cyber security breaches become more commonplace, a data privacy expert has warned. Speaking at a panel discussion at London's IP Expo 2018, Kevin Kiley, vice president of sales and business development at OneTrust, said “I think we will see organisations struggle with data subject rights”.
A new report from PA Consulting has revealed that financial services firms expect to lose business and revenue if regulators do not embrace innovation and evolve with technology trends. The consultancy questioned 500 directors with responsibility for compliance and regulation issues in UK organisations, along with 2,002 consumers.
Pelican, the only mobile first, multi-broker network regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has announced its latest Seedrs funding round.Founded by ex-City brothers Peter and Mike Read after seven years of building financial exchange platforms for companies such as Gain Capital and LCG, the platform is designed to allow retail traders and investors to chat, share and compare live trades in customised social groups.
Companies should prepare for the inevitability of a cyberattack as criminals develop increasingly efficient ways to infiltrate networks, according to experts.Speaking at a panel discussion at London’s IP Expo 2018, Claire Albois-Galcoix, marketing director at Yubico, a password security provider, warned the audience that ransomware attacks such as the Wannacry outage in 2017 should now be considered part of the everyday threat landscape as criminals widen the scope and scale of their operations.
N26, a German digital bank which has 1.5 million customers across Europe, is launching its current account to UK customers today. The app-based bank, which was launched in Berlin in 2015, is backed by Tencent, the Chinese internet giant, Paypal co- founder Peter Thiel, and Hong Kong business magnate Li Ka-shing. It has raised £165 million in funding so far.
Digital technologies - namely the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing and blockchain - will increase trade growth by up to 34 per cent by 2030 thanks to lower costs and higher productivity. However, they could also create a challenging environment for those seeking to keep up with the latest innovations, according to the 2018 edition of the World Trade Organisation’s flagship World Trade Report.
The current hype around artificial intelligence (AI) is getting to proportions where it risks overtaking common sense in terms of business decision-making, according to several experts. Speaking at the IP Expo 2018 conference yesterday afternoon, Sophos senior security advisor Paul Ducklin told the audience that senior executives should avoid “letting AI hype take over your common sense”.
The number of cyber security breaches to hit financial services firms trebled in the first eight months of 2018 compared to the previous two years, according to a new report. Bitglass, a cloud access security broker (CASB), analysed the incidence of security threats and breaches across the financial services sector worldwide and compared the results for 2016 and 2018.
Britain’s departure from the European Union should not unleash a “race to the bottom” in regulation, the chairman of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said. Speaking at a conference run by the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME), Charles Randell warned against a move towards ‘light touch’ standards as the UK seeks to compete as a global financial centre after Brexit.
A majority of the UK’s chief information officers (CIOs) believe IT holds the key to improved customer experience, according to a new study which found that 45 per cent of purchasing managers plan to invest more in artificial intelligence (AI) and other new technologies in the coming year.A survey of 1,200 CIOs from the UK conducted by KPMG and management consultancy Harvey Nash found that 60 per cent of those asked said that management in their firm was looking to IT to boost customer experience and engagement, which was the priority for 62 per cent of those asked.
Dashly, the UK’s first ‘always-on’ mortgage switching platform, has launched today, claiming to have the potential to kill comparison sites. The LendTech startup gives consumers free, automatic alerts when it pays to switch to another mortgage, without having to manually update their mortgage data.
A group of 14 Italian banks working on a blockchain trial has successfully passed the first phase of technical procedural verification, with work now being done on a substantive test of the processes in the field. Two months’ worth of data - or 1.2 million movements - was uploaded to the infrastructure that corresponds to the banks working on the ‘Spunta Project’. A statement noted the performance was good, so the next test will involve participating banks working on a daily basis with the new application based on distributed databases.
Monzo is looking to reach 10 million customers and has long-term plans to expand internationally, according to one of its lead engineers.Matt Heath, who has helped design the challenger bank’s infrastructure since its launch in 2015, predicted that the lender’s rapid growth will far outstrip the one million current account customer mark it passed last month.
Despite UK families owning an average of five smart home devices, only 15 per cent utilise software or apps to protect the Internet of Things (IoT) devices in their home. A survey conducted by Open-Xchange in collaboration with Censuswide among 2,005 parents also found 17 per cent do not use any protection at all, while 67 per cent use anti-virus and anti-spam software to protect only their desktop devices from malware, adware and phishing tactics.
The insurance technology (InsurTech) sector is booming, but traditional insurers are increasingly concerned about the entrance of BigTechs into the sector , according to the inaugural edition of the World InsurTech Report from Capgemini and Efma. A combination of surveys and interviews with traditional insurance firms and InsurTech firms, covering over 140 executives across 33 markets, showed that the industry expects disruption and new competition to come from companies and manufacturers like Amazon, Facebook and Google in the US and Alibaba and Tencent in China.
The government of Canada has put together an advisory committee to investigate the possibility of introducing Open Banking. Minister of finance Bill Morneau announced the appointment of its four members: TD Bank technology head Colleen Johnston, Montréal-based entrepreneur François Lafortune, Dentons law firm partner Kirsten Thompson, and tech hub MaRS Discovery District chief executive Ilse Treurnicht.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Tesco Bank £16.4 million for failings related to a massive cyber attack in 2016 which left customer data vulnerable. The financial watchdog issued the penalty to Tesco’s banking arm over its “foreseeable” failure to exercise “due skills, care and diligence” in protecting customers from the cyber-attack.
Softomotive, a robotics startup specialising in the automation of business processes has landed $25 million and will relocate to the UK as part of its global expansion strategy. The startup, which was founded in Athens in 2005, develops Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software to automate repetitive tasks.
HSBC has become the latest bank to apologise to customers after it was hit by a glitch in its online banking services early this morning. A spokesman for the bank said the issue had now been resolved and the mobile app was now operating “business as usual.”
TSB bank has again apologised after customers reported fresh disruption to their mobile app and internet banking services this morning.A spokesman for TSB said that the services were "recovering back to normal levels" this afternoon and advised customers to retry their apps and online banking if they have had issues. He added that cards, branch and telephone services continue to operate as normal.
Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is exploring the launch of a standalone digital bank which will operate under the brand name Bo.The lender’s plans for an app-based consumer bank to take on FinTech challengers like Monzo and Atom bank, as well as the proposed name, are understood to have been briefed to around 100 staff yesterday.
Alibaba, the Chinese eCommerce group, is partnering with Banking Circle to facilitate its digital payments around the globe. Reflecting Alibaba’s ambitions to grow the reach of its online marketplace and technology business, the tie up is intended to facilitate online cross-border payments, and is likely to see increased business activity in Europe.
New research has found that 42 per cent of people in the UK think the government should regulate artificial intelligence (AI) and 11 per cent consider the government responsible if something goes wrong with AI.London-headquartered law firm Bristows commissioned Censuswide to survey a representative sample of 2,103 people, finding that half do not trust AI with their personal data.
Openbank, the Santander Group's digital bank, has launched automated investment and micro-investing services. Customers are offered five risk alternatives with an estimated forecast of the profitability that they can achieve with each of them. The options consist of a diversified portfolio of up to 15 investment funds indexed to equities, fixed income, monetary assets, real assets and assets that are uncorrelated with the financial markets, such as property or infrastructure.
UK cybersecurity firm Darktrace, which uses AI technology to boost the cyber defence systems of airports, financial institutions and major corporates, has raised $50 million in Series 3 funding, valuing the company at $1.65 billion. The company has grown rapidly since it was founded by intelligence cyber operations experts and Cambridge mathematicians in 2014. Its Enterprise Immune System, an autonomous response technology branded Darktrace Antigena, uses AI-driven machine learning to identify and respond to in-progress cyber-threats in real time.
Stripe, the payments technology firm, has been valued at $20 billion after its latest funding round raised $245 million.The US FinTech rival of PayPal which was founded in 2010, announced that it would use the money, raised by Tiger Global along with DST Global and Sequoia, to fuel rapid expansion of the business and its engineering talent base internationally, particularly in Asian markets.
VoxSmart, a RegTech firm specialising in mobile communication is enabling staff at Singaporean energy and commodity firms to trade on WeChat and WhatsApp.The UK-based company, founded in 2006, launched the cloud-based mobile communications surveillance service built on their proprietary VSmart technology in Singapore two years ago.
Citi has launched a virtual account allowing institutional clients to segregate out their balances in a single physical account. The lender says the new Virtual Accounts use proprietary technology to offer corporate treasury clients enhanced visibility, control and efficiencies through centralised payments, receivables and liquidity management.
JPMorgan has expanded its Interbank Information Network (IIN) - the first live blockchain service offered by the firm - to more than 75 banks, the largest number of banks to join a live application of blockchain technology. “We’ve been actively exploring how emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI and an enhanced digital experience can be deployed in our treasury services business to better serve our clients’ ever changing needs,” said Takis Georgakopoulos, global head of treasury services. “We will lead the market with the rollout of a robust pipeline of innovations over the coming months, beginning with the launch of IIN.”
Deployments of real-time payment systems are surging worldwide, with 40 active real-time payment programs around the world, up from 25 in 2017 and nearly three times as many as were in FIS’ inaugural 2014 study. The financial services technology firm’s fifth annual report found five payments programs under development, with another 16 expected to be live in the next 12-18 months – double the number of programs on the radar in 2017.
Financial regulators have issued more than $26 billion of fines for non-compliance with sanctions, Anti-Money Laundering (AML) rules and Know Your Customer (KYC) in the past ten years, according to a new study which ranks the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority as the toughest regulator in Europe. A data study compiled for Fenergo, a client lifecycle services provider for financial institutions, found that the FCA accounted for the majority of fines issued by European regulators, which issued a collective $1.7 billion of penalties over the past decade.
Concirrus, an EY-backed InsurTech startup supplying the marine and motor analytics market, has landed £5million in investment, taking its total funding to £12million so far.
The London-based startup founded in 2012, counts brokers, insurers, major fleets and reinsurers among its clients. In April this year it announced a global agreement with EY, the financial services and consultancy firm, which will sees the two working together to drive adoption of Concirrus’ technology in the market.
Banks that commit quickest to Open Banking practices will win the most market share, according to a panel of experts. MIT Technology Review Insights, in association with Oracle Financial Services, interviewed senior executives directly involved with Open Banking from institutions including Citi, HSBC, ANZ, Standard Chartered Bank, BBVA and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.
Apple and Salesforce have announced a broad strategic partnership aimed at growing software as a service (SaaS) offerings to businesses. The alliance, announced ahead of customer relationship management (CRM) platform Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce developer conference in San Francisco today, comes as consumer technology company Apple looks to expand its enterprise strategy and access more corporate sales through online apps.
A total of £503.4 million was stolen by criminals through authorised and unauthorised fraud in the first six months of 2018, according to data from UK Finance. During the same period, the finance industry prevented £705.7 million of unauthorised fraud, equivalent to £2 in every £3 of attempted unauthorised fraud.
Tesco Bank could reportedly be facing a record £30 million fine from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over an attempted hack in which criminals tried to siphon money from customer accounts.Sky News reported that the regulator is weighing up whether to impose the largest ever fine for a cyber attack-related incident on Tesco’s banking arm, over the attempted hack in November 2016 which forced the lender to suspend all online transactions.
Barclays has launched a digital platform for its corporate banking division in Western Europe to support multi-country banking.The new platform will enable international and institutional clients of Barclays based in Portugal, Spain, France and Ireland to access new digital corporate banking services, with Germany lined up to join next year before expanding to other European countries.
Initial details of a new procurement process for the clearing and settlement layer that will form the backbone of the New Payments Architecture (NPA) have been announced by the New Payment System Operator (NPSO). The NPA is a new conceptual model for payments in the UK, which will take over the processing of more than £6.7 trillion of Bacs, Faster Payments and potentially cheque payments every year, from 2021. Bringing them together will simplify the rules, standards and processes that banks and others need to follow to use the systems.
Santander has announced that Emma Leith is to join the bank’s UK operations as chief information security officer. Leith will join the bank with immediate effect, following a spell as director of cyber strategy and programmes at Barclays International. She previously held the chief information security officer role in corporate functions and commodity trading divisions at BP Oil International for seven years.
Revolut’s annual report has revealed £14.8 million worth of total losses after tax during 2017, as operational costs rose 52 per cent from the previous year. These were largely attributed to costs associated with its card scheme, acquiring and user acquisition, as the mobile-only bank’s app trebled its customer base from 450,000 to 1.3 million. The report also detailed plans for how the FinTech will deal with Brexit, with applications being made for e-money licences in Luxembourg, in addition to a previous application for a full banking licence in Lithuania.
Modulr, a FinTech startup offering digital payments accounts for businesses, has announced plans to open a new office in Edinburgh following its latest investment round. The London-based startup, founded in 2016, is to use the funding to create more than 30 new jobs and grow its software engineering, customer support, risk and compliance and finance teams as it seeks to take advantage of the burgeoning FinTech scene in Scotland’s capital.
A total of 71 InsurTech funding transactions during the second quarter of 2018 marks a record high, although the total of $579 million invested is down 20 per cent against the previous quarter, according to Willis Towers Watson. The consultancy firm’s latest industry report found that the second quarter also set a new record for the volume of incumbent participation in InsurTech investments.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), FWB Park Brown, Dell Technologies and the Times Scotland have partnered to launch a competition to identify and support the next generation of financial technology pioneers in Scotland. With a prize fund totalling £125,000 on offer, the project aims to encourage and reward world-class ideas in FinTech innovation.
Cleo, a FinTech offering a money management app for Millennials, has landed $10 million in a Series A funding round. The investment round was led by Balderton Capital, which backed Nutmeg and Revolut, and will form part of Cleo’s plans to launch their own range of financial products.
Online banking services across Royal Bank of Scotland Group - including RBS, NatWest and Ulster Banks - went down this morning, with millions of customers unable to access their accounts via online and mobile apps.The group said the issue has now been "resolved" across its network of retail banks.
In addition to traditional challenges, retail banks globally are now facing new forms of competition: the Open Banking ecosystem, emerging technologies and soaring customer expectations. This is according to the 2018 World Retail Banking Report from Capgemini and Efma, which surveyed more than 10,000 retail banking customers in 20 countries.
ING Ventures, a £300 million fund set up by the Dutch banking group, has invested £6.7 million in Cobase, an Open Banking platform which will expand its client network and develop functions such as a robo-assistant to monitor transactions. Cloud-based solution Cobase, which is an arms-length venture of ING Bank, allows users to view balances and transactions from several bank accounts in one place, initiate payments and use cash management services on a single platform.
UK financial services firms expect their use of web chat to grow from 24 per cent today to 89 per cent by the beginning of 2020, according to new research. A survey of over 200 UK contact centres by ContactBabel found that the use of interaction analytics is expected to rise from 33 per cent to 77 per cent in the next two years, while automated speech recognition is expected to increase from 17 per cent to 52 per cent over the same timescale. Much of the latter is being used to reduce fraud and the time required to take phone customers through security.
Equifax has been fined £500,000 by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) after the data of 15 million Britons was left exposed by a massive cyberattack. The data breach occurred between 13 May and 30 July 2017 and affected information belonging to 146 million people worldwide.
Banks and trading firms are to launch the world’s first blockchain platform for commodities trading.The new platform developed by Komgo SA, a Genava-based company, is backed by 15 major investment partners and is expected to launch before the end of 2018.
Spending on RegTech platforms will exceed $115 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $18 billion in 2018. Analysis from Juniper Research found that increased regulatory pressures, as demonstrated by the recent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) implementation, are driving businesses towards regulatory technology solutions to meet greater compliance challenges.
Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) has launched a FinTech digital sandbox, allowing financial institutions and FinTechs to experiment on products and solutions in a digital platform environment, supported by regulatory standards developed by the United Arab Emirates’ Financial Services Regulatory Authority (FSRA). The sandbox will let participants source and procure FinTech solutions locally and globally, adopt and orchestrate the best ones that meet their business needs, and tap cross-border market access to grow and scale their business.
RBS is reportedly in the early stages of trialling two standalone digital banks under the NatWest brand as part of plans for a potential line of online-only products. The bank is testing a new business banking platform as well as a separate digital retail bank, the Press Association reported, citing a senior source.
A report from the Treasury Select Committee has urged regulation needed for the ‘Wild West’ crypto-asset market, to tackle problems including volatile prices, hacking vulnerabilities, minimal consumer protection and anonymity aiding money laundering. Crypto-assets, and most Initial Coin Offerings (ICO), are currently not within the scope of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulation, read a statement. Crypto-asset investors are therefore currently afforded very little protection – namely there are no formal mechanisms for consumer redress, or compensation.
Revolut’s head of business development has revealed that as its budget won’t stretch to marketing to older demographics, the mobile-only bank is relying on sons and daughters to educate and convert their parents. As part of a panel at UK Finance’s Digital Innovation Summit yesterday afternoon, Andrius Biceika admitted that the challenger bank still had a way to go before it is regarded as customers’ main banking service.
Santander has announced plans to build a £150million tech hub in Milton Keynes. The bank said its investment in a new office campus would serve as its flagship UK technology centre for the UK’s most innovative industries, and would bolster the government’s plans for a “growth corridor” between Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.
Academics investigating the impact of automation have found that augmented workplaces are deemed to be ‘more human’ than the traditional office environment. The study by Goldsmiths, University of London showed that companies investing in augmented workplace technology such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) scored 33 per cent higher on factors deemed to make a workplace feel more human.
Nearly one third of cybersecurity breaches in UK financial services firms go undetected for longer than a week, according to new research from Accenture. The consulting firm surveyed more than 800 enterprise security practitioners, including 75 from the UK, and found that financial services firms successfully stopped 81 per cent of cyber attack attempts in 2017, up from 66 per cent in 2016.
Setoo has closed an €8 million Series A funding round - bringing the total amount raised to date to €10.3 million - with AXA’s InsurTech startup studio Kamet being the main investor in this seed round. The insurance-as-a-service company helps e-businesses create and sell protection tailored to consumer needs. Setoo quickly and easily builds and integrates products that are automatically embedded into the customer journey, with one-click underwriting directly on digital assets and personalised protection with automatic compensation.
NatWest and G4S are working together to pilot the UK’s first intelligent cash management solution for businesses later this year. Business will get access to automated account crediting of cash transactions without having to deposit that day’s takings in their local branch.
Yolt has become the first third-party provider to complete Application Programming Interface (API) connections under the new Open Banking regulation with nine of the UK’s biggest High Street banks. Combined with challenger banks Monzo and Starling, there are now 18 banks connected through APIs, with users granted access to a total of 35 different banks and cards. Currently performing around 1.5 million calls every week to Open Banking APIs, Yolt’s is the biggest user of these interfaces.
LendInvest has raised £30.5 million in its latest funding round, which was aimed at preparing the startup for a potential IPO. The online platform for property financing and investment has become one of the UK’s largest non-bank mortgage lenders since its launch in 2013. It lends finance to professional property investors and developers, allowing individuals and financial institutions to invest in the loans.
Legal requests for businesses to hand over internal data to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have more than doubled in the past five years. Law firm Pinsent Masons says 1,032 ‘Section 2’ notices have been issued by the SFO in 2017-18 without the government agency needing to seek approval for the orders through the courts. This number is up more than 123 per cent on the 463 notices issued in 2013-2014.
MortgageGym has announced the successful completion of a funding round of £3.8 million from investors, including LSL Property Services, which is the parent company of the UK’s second largest mortgage network. The GoCompare Group has also increased its shareholding as part of this investment round. Following the LSL investment, MortgageGym is valued at £12 million despite only having fully launched its proposition earlier this year. The funding will enable ongoing investment in the company’s development of mortgage robo-advice and artificial intelligence services.
Legal & General has announced a new strategic partnership with GrowthEnabler, the platform which delivers data and intelligence on disruptive technologies and digital innovations. The partnership is part of L&G’s strategy to drive digital innovation and transformation across the business. Founded in 2015 by Aftab Malhotra and Rajeev Banduni, GrowthEnabler identifies the most innovative and valuable startups and digital solutions for corporates to engage with – via acquisition, joint venture or other forms of commercial partnership. Opportunities are identified and managed via the company’s insights platform - the Personalised Intelligence Interface, Pii - and team collaboration tools.
Auditing firm KPMG is expanding its digital risk management offering with the acquisition of a minority stake in AdviceRobo, a Dutch LendTech startup. AdviceRobo is developing a technology that predicts financial risk associated with people and companies who want to take out loans and applies artificial intelligence (AI) analysis on non-financial data including the behavioural patterns of potential borrowers.
The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have signed an arrangement to foster greater cooperation in FinTech. This supports both authorities’ efforts to facilitate FinTech development and innovation in their respective markets and is the CFTC’s second FinTech cooperation arrangement with a non-US authority.
Financial services companies are turning to FinTechs for help developing their payments technology, according to research into digital transformation across the industry. A report by law firm DLA Piper, based on a survey of 270 international financial services companies, revealed that 61 per cent of businesses plan to collaborate with FinTechs to improve their services officering, with 41 per cent viewing payments technology as the primary area for investment.
Nationwide has pledged to invest a total of £4.1 billion in technology transformation over next five years, including the re-platforming of digital assets. The building society is looking to create up to 1,000 new jobs and open a new UK technology hub, with a strategy focused on driving UK service leadership through digitisation and multi-channel technology integration across the High Street and mobile channels.
A group of cryptocurrency and blockchain startups and investors have formed the Blockchain Association, a lobbying group to amplify their influence in US politics. The trade association’s initial members include San Francisco-based Coinbase and Boston-based Circle Internet Financial, two of the biggest digital currency exchanges. Blockchain-focused investment firms Digital Currency Group and Polychain Capital have also joined.
A new report from the Association for Financial Markets in Europe (AFME) and PwC has found that 95 per cent of survey respondents identified the opportunity for cost reduction as the most important driver for the adoption of technology, but only 28 per cent felt that their current investment allocated to this strategic change was sufficient. Examining technology innovation in Europe’s capital markets, the research revealed that 90 per cent believed the impact of new technologies on the workforce will lead to business and IT skills merging and future roles becoming more relationship focused. It suggested competition for future skills will be high, requiring banks to both invest in re-skilling the existing workforce and driving cultural change to attract new talent.
More than seven out of 10 people say they feel devices such as smartphones and tablets have become far too complicated over the past five years, with users admitting they neglect basic IT security as a result. Lifeline IT surveyed 1,000 consumers, finding that three quarters failed to regularly back-up their laptop or computer because it is too complicated. Only four out of 10 feel confident their entire digital life is securely backed-up and a further 64 per cent say they do not trust cloud storage.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has responded to a LINK report today showing a continued fall in the number of free-to-use ATMs, expressing concern over the trend. The first of cash machine network LINK’s ‘Footprint’ reports revealed that between the end of January and the start of July this year, the number of free-to-use ATMs reduced from 54,500 to 53,200 – a two per cent reduction in the size of the 1,300 ATM-strong network.
Barclays has claimed to be the first UK bank to enable customers to view their current accounts from several other UK banks within its mobile banking app. Customers who have a personal or business current account with Lloyds, Halifax, Bank of Scotland, RBS, NatWest, Nationwide or Santander can choose to view their balances and transactions when they log into the Barclays Mobile Banking app.
BMW Financial Services has partnered with Wrisk in a deal that will see the InsurTech startup become the sole supplier of BMW and MINI car insurance. It follows Wrisk’s time in the first BMW Innovation Lab last year, which saw the team win on the final pitch day after developing the platform now being used.
The uptake of mobile and online banking led to widespread decline in the number of bank branches across the EU in 2017, according to new figures from the European Banking Federation (EBF). The EBF’S annual update on the banking sector in Europe shows another consecutive year of contraction in banks’ physical presence across the bloc last year, with reductions both in staff numbers and branches as the industry took steps to boost efficiency and profitability.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has released a white paper outlining the potential opportunities and implications that developments within regulatory technology (RegTech) may have for broker-dealers. The US regulator of brokerage firms conducted an in-depth review on the emergence of RegTech tools within the securities industry, highlighting five areas where industry participants have most prominently leveraged RegTech innovations: surveillance and monitoring, customer identification and anti-money laundering compliance, regulatory intelligence, risk management and investor risk assessment.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s chairman has warned of the potential for new technologies to create new risks in financial markets, as he addressed the regulator’s approach to FinTech and RegTech. Speaking at the launch of the regulator’s annual report this morning, Charles Randell stated that innovation in areas like big data and machine learning are a test of the FCA’s abilities to adapt.
Paxos, a US-based blockchain startup, has been approved by New York regulators to launch a ‘stablecoin’ currency pegged to the US dollar. The firm claims the Paxos Standard, which will be pegged to the dollar on a 1:1 basis, is the world’s first regulated crypto asset. It added that the dollar pegging will reduce the volatility seen by other cryptocurrencies and digital assets.
Ravelin has announced an £8 million Series B fundraising round led by BlackFin Capital Partners to expand its overseas business and extend its market reach. Existing investors including Amadeus Capital Partners, Passion Capital, and Playfair Capital also participated in the round.
Wagestream has landed the backing of major tech investors including Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, and Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon. The payroll finance app, which hopes to help firms end the payday poverty cycle by allowing employees to access their wages before payday, has raised £4.5 million in its latest funding round.
Residential rent-to-own specialist Unmortgage has raised £10 million to help scale the business. The UK-based LendTech startup saw investment from Augmentum Fintech - which put in £2.5 million - alongside existing investor Exponential Ventures, and others.
TSB is planning to bring forward the publication of a report into its botched IT migration to the end of the year.The embattled retail bank, which last week saw its chief executive Paul Pester stand down following a series of IT failures, has asked law firm Slaughter & May to split a report they are compiling into two parts in order to fast track the process.
The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has published the third version of its Open Banking Standards, building on those launched in March. The latest update effectively gives account providers who implement them in full, a solution that complies with the EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
Lloyd’s Lab, the global insurance market’s new innovation accelerator, opened its doors this week following a search for technology talent that drew more than 200 applications from 36 countries. Start-ups, entrepreneurs and businesses from as far afield as the US, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Ireland and the UK, presented ideas ranging from live-streaming drones for fast risk and disaster assessment, to harnessing the Internet of Things for live cargo tracking.
Acorn Oaknorth, a London-based FinTech lender, has secured $100 million in funding in a deal that values the company at $2.3 billion. Oaknorth, the groups’ UK lending arm, will have a loan book of $2.8 billion by the end of the year and has lent more than $ 1.7 billion of new capital to more than 300 UK businesses since it secured a banking licence in 2015.
Citigroup has reportedly set up a unit to invest in FinTech startups and get a foothold in innovations in debt markets. The new venture - operating in the US banking giant’s credit markets, municipal securities and securitised-markets groups - will invest in firms developing new trading infrastructure technology, data analysis, machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Clear standardisation is crucial to unlocking the opportunities of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and Open Banking, according to Deutsche Bank.In a white paper published yesterday, the investment bank warned that in order for banks, corporates and FinTechs to make a success of Open Banking, there is a need for standardisation of application programming interfaces (APIs), which are likely to underpin such systems.
British Airways (BA) is investigating the theft of personal and financial data of 380,000 customers after hackers gained access to its website and mobile app. The airline is urging customers who believe they may have been affected by the data breach to contact their bank or credit card provider, after revealing that its systems were compromised by a sophisticated hacking operation between 21 August and 5 September.
The Financial Conduct Authority’s chief executive has used regulatory sandboxes as an example of the importance of global cooperation between supervisory bodies, stressing that “the topic of multilateralism is so fundamentally important right now”. Speaking at the Eurofi Financial Forum this afternoon, Andrew Bailey said that in terms of financial innovation, there is no constraint on any domestic choice on the model of sandbox or what is accepted into them.
InsurTech start-up Homelyfe has teamed up with money management platform Yolt to offer integrated home insurance services via mobile app. Under the new partnership, users of Yolt, a FinTech venture backed by ING Bank, will be able to source a home insurance quote in 60 seconds.
Payment Service Providers (PSPs) and billers have being invited to register and play their part in developing ‘Request to Pay’ – a new way to improve the control, flexibility and transparency of bill payments. The portal has been launched by the New Payment System Operator (NPSO), which is responsible for setting the standards and rules in retail payments. The Request to Pay service is an innovation which will be ready for the market to competitively launch from next year.
Mobile-only challenger bank Monese has secured $60 million in capital as part of a Series B funding round. The investment, which will be used for product development and international expansion, brings the total funding since launch to $76 million. This new funding round was led by Kinnevik, with participation from PayPal, Augmentum Fintech, and International Airlines Group for its loyalty and data business Avios Group. Existing investors, including Investec’s INVC Fund, also participated.
Lloyds Banking Group is to shed nearly 400 jobs as part of company-wide plans to boost the bank’s online and mobile services. The shake-up, which forms part of a three year plan to equip the bank for an increasingly competitive digital market, will also see 435 new roles created in the bank’s transformation division.
Goldman Sachs is reportedly ditching plans to open a trading desk for cryptocurrencies due to uncertainty over the regulatory framework surrounding cryptocurrencies. Executives at the US investment bank have concluded that many steps are still yet to be taken by governments and regulatory authorities before a regulated bank would be allowed to trade cryptocurrencies, according to the Business Insider website, citing sources familiar with the matter.
A glitch in terminals run by Cardnet, a joint venture by Lloyds Bank and First Data, resulted in thousands of shoppers being charged twice for debit card payments. The operating error in Cardnet terminals occurred on 29 August, leading to duplicate transactions coming out of customer bank accounts but transactions showing up only once on shop, pub and restaurant receipts.
JaJa Finance, a London-based FinTech startup, is gearing up to launch a mobile-first credit card after securing £7 million in funding.The FinTech uses chat-based onboarding and offers users of its app the chance to manage their credit card through their mobile. Other features include instant credit issuing, tagging and search of transactions, and the ability to share credit limits with trusted family and friends.
Reinsurance giant Munich Re has agreed to buy Relayr, a German Internet of Things (IoT) startup for industrial machinery, in a deal that values the company at $300 million. Berlin-based Relayr uses enterprise middleware and IoT solutions to enable industrial companies to extract data from their machinery and speed up digital transformation.
Work and pensions secretary Esther McVey has finally backed the industry to deliver the long-awaited pensions dashboard. The dashboard should allow people to view all their pension pots in one place, from State Pension entitlements to company defined contribution and defined benefit schemes.
Starling bank has teamed up with InsurTech firm Anorak to offer life insurance services to users of its mobile banking app. Anorak, a life insurance advice service which uses APIs and machine learning to risk profile customers, has joined a growing pool of financial services accessible through Starling bank’s app-based marketplace.
Paul Pester, the chief executive of crisis-hit TSB bank, is stepping down with immediate effect as the company continues to battle IT failures which began in April. Pester, who has led the challenger bank for seven years, has been heavily criticised for his role in a botched IT migration that left thousands of customers without access to online banking.
The number of smartphone users relying on software-only biometric security could grow by more than 250 per cent over the next five years, according to new analysis. A new report from Juniper Research predicts that the biggest shift in mobile payment security will be the move towards software-based methods, which rely on standard smartphone components.
Funding Circle, a digital platform for small business lending, is gearing up to launch an IPO which could see the business valued at £2 billion.The fast-growing FinTech, which launched in 2010, connects SMEs looking for finance directly with investors seeking returns. The plans for a £300 million floatation on the London Stock Exchange this autumn were confirmed in a registration document filed this morning. Funding Circle plans to offer 25 per cent of its shares.
HSBC has reportedly hired one hundred new employees to work on a digital initiative to boost its small business banking operations and face down competition from FinTech challengers. ‘Project Iceberg’, based in the bank’s Aldwych offices, is a sign that the bank has opted to improve on its existing structures to build its digital bank, rather than follow rival incumbents in developing standalone digital operations, according to City AM, which spoke to sources close to the project.
Zurich Insurance Group has launched the Zurich Innovation World Championship, a global competition to collaborate with the brightest and best InsurTech start-ups and entrepreneurs. The competition focuses on start-ups with established products or services, and will provide the winners with the opportunity to apply their solutions to Zurich’s customers in selected countries.
TSB has suffered yet another IT meltdown, with customers unable to use its internet banking, mobile phone app and telephone self-service. The challenger bank, which was left reeling by a major IT collapse in April this year, released a statement on Twitter this morning apologising to customers for ongoing issues throughout the weekend following a session of planned maintenance work on Friday evening.
Google and Mastercard have reportedly struck a secret deal to allow merchants to track when online ads have led to sales at bricks and mortar stores. Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc and Mastercard brokered the partnership during protracted negotiations lasting about four years, according to sources cited by Bloomberg.
Pagaya Investments, a US-Israeli FinTech that uses machine learning and big data analytics to manage institutional money, has raised $14 million in a private funding round. The round was led by venture capital fund Oak HC/FT and Harvey Golub, the former chairman and chief executive of American Express, who will join Pagaya's board.
Ebury has become the first FinTech to go live with SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi). The UK-based firm got on board to help its clients fast-track their international payments. Half of gpi payments are credited within 30 minutes, many within seconds – and almost 100 per cent within 24 hours.
Complaints to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) about potential data breaches have more than doubled since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect. Information released under a Freedom of Information Request from law firm EMW showed that there were 6,281 complaints between 25 May, when GDPR came into force, and 3 July, a 160 per cent rise from just 2,417 complaints over the same period in 2017.
Teenagers will be able to make payments through wearable health tech devices as part of a new current account offering from Starling Bank. The digital-only bank has launched a current account for 16 and 17 year-olds offering a range of tech-driven payment options including FitBit Pay and Garmin Pay, in addition to the contactless payments through Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Pay.
Lendstar, a German social finance app enabling peer to peer payments and lending, has announced it is filing for bankruptcy. The Munich-based FinTech, founded in 2012, allowed friends to chat, pay, split bills and lend money for free on a secure mobile app.
Banks, FinTechs and telecom firms are reportedly considering bids to join the first generation of virtual banks in Hong Kong, as the territory’s regulator prepares to issue its first online-only banking licences. Companies considering a potential bid to the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) are said to include Ant Financial, the FinTech affiliate of Chinese retail giant Alibaba, Chinese investment group Tencent, and Ping An Insurance, a Chinese holding conglomerate, according to sources who spoke to Reuters.
Salary Finance, a financial fitness app that helps employees to save, has raised $20million in Series B funding led by Bleinheim Chalcot and Legal & General to launch in the US and support growth in the UK. The UK-based FinTech, launched in 2015, partners with employers to help staff switch from debt into saving through loans and financial support facilitated by salary deduction schemes.
UBS has closed its SmartWealth digital financial advice platform and is selling off the technology to US automated advice firm SigFig. A message on the website says that the service, which only launched in March 2017, is closed to new customers.
JPMorgan is set to appoint former Google executive Apoorv Saxena this week as its new head of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning services. Based in Palo Alto, California, he will report to John Fathers, head of big data and pattern ownership, Saxena will also serve as the head of asset and wealth management AI technology.
Royal Bank of Scotland has joined up with challenger bank Starling to help it with plans for a standalone digital bank. According to a shareholder letter sent by Anne Boden, chief executive of Starling, which was detailed in the Sunday Times newspaper and confirmed to FStech, Starling has signed “a contract to provide payment services to support new initiatives at RBS/NatWest”.
Apperio, a legal tech start-up offering analytical technology to FTS100 companies, has raised $10 million in a Series A funding led by Revolut backer Draper Esprit.The automated, cloud-based technology, which enables clients including Just Eat and Network Rail to track and run analytics on legal spend in real-time, has seen revenues grow by 300 per cent in the past 12 months and has grown its team to 20 people.
A UK FinTech delegation has joined prime minister Theresa May on her first official trip to Africa, hoping to establish trade and export links while visiting emerging markets South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. Representatives from the Financial Conduct Authority, London Stock Exchange Group, Standard Chartered, Azimo and Farm.ink were among the 29 leaders on the trip.
Traditional retail banks are lagging behind digital-only challengers, with only two per cent seeing themselves as drivers of innovation, according to Roland Berger research. The consultancy firm’s European Retail Banking Survey took in 60 senior staff members at banks of various sizes across 10 different countries. It found that when they were asked to state who was driving the establishment of banking platforms, banks came only fourth (44 per cent) after the tech giants (80 per cent), digital challenger banks (68 per cent) and FinTechs (65 per cent).
More than three quarters of millennials would prefer to leave their wallet rather than their mobile phone when leaving the house, suggesting rapidly changing attitudes to payment methods amongst younger generations.In a survey of 200 UK consumers conducted by Compass Plus, a payment software provider, millennials were given the choice between leaving the house with their mobile phone or their wallet, with 77 per cent opting for their phone.
Post-purchase customer engagement platform Narvar has announced a $30 million Series C financing round led by Accel, which also led Narvar’s Series A round. Existing investors including Battery Ventures participated in the round, as well as new investors Salesforce Ventures and Scale Venture Partners. In conjunction with the financing, Accel partner Ryan Sweeney will join Narvar’s board.
Citi is partnering with Spotify to enable customers in Asia to pay for the music streaming service with their credit card points. In the first link up of its kind, US-based bank is offering customers of its Pay and Points capabilities to sign up for the ad-free Spotify Premium service and pay with points amassed on card payments.
TSB is to postpone its shift to Mastercard to process its card payments in order to focus on restoring its computer system back to strength following an IT collapse in April.The High Street lender had announced plans to migrate to Mastercard from Visa Europe for its card operations by December this year, but the changeover has now been delayed until at least 2019.
Deutsche Bank has extended its FinTech portfolio through the acquisition of a minority stake ModoPayments.The equity taken in the US paytech firm will enable the investment bank to expand its transaction banking franchise and improve its existing digital B2B and B2C payment services.
Disruptive technology could lead to the loss of 50 per cent of banking jobs within the next decade, according to former Barclays chief executive Anthony Jenkins. More than half of Britain’s 7,000 bank branches are at risk of closure, said the former bank boss, with rapid advances in automation leading to swingeing job losses.
Electronic money and payment institutions from the European Economic Area (EEA) will be able to continue passporting into the UK for three years under government plans for a no-deal Brexit. In a paper published yesterday - one of 25 technical notices of a total of 80 due to be released in the coming month - the government set out plans for dealing with the consequences for financial services and cross border contractual arrangements if the UK exits the EU without a negotiated deal on 29 March 2019.
The shortlisted entries for this year’s Payments Awards have been officially announced. Now in their 6th year, the awards recognise card and payments excellence and innovation. Winning entries will come from those companies, individuals and organisations who have launched and/or implemented the most outstanding payments solutions, initiatives and projects during the past year.
Vestigo Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on FinTech, has successfully closed its Vestigo Ventures Fund I with $58.9 million. Founded by David Blundin, chairman of Cogo Labs; Mark Casady, chairman of LPL Financial; and managing director Ian Sheridan, the firm focuses on companies that are applying technology - blockchain, artificial intelligence and big data - to improve market structures, provide operational solutions, enhance worksite management and support personal wealth strategies.
Goldman Sachs is rolling out new digital consumer savings platform, Marcus, to its UK staff ahead of a public launch in the coming weeks, according to an internal staff memo seen by FStech.The US investment bank’s ‘easy access’ online savings account was launched in the US in 2016, and will be offered to bank staff initially to gather feedback on its functionalities before it goes to market.
The government has warned that in the event of a no-deal Brexit, consumers would face slower and more costly credit card payments when they buy European Union products, while British citizens living abroad could lose access to their bank accounts altogether. The details come as part of 25 technical notices - the first of 80 due in the coming weeks - published in Westminster today, which explain how companies and the public should prepare for a deal or no-deal exit from the EU.
Financial advisory firm deVere is bolstering its FinTech offering with the launch of a new investment app. Available for Apple and Android, the app will offer its client base - largely made up of expatriates and international investors - a platform to monitor investments in real time, keep up to date with news that could impact returns and access to a chat system or direct line to an advisor.
Monzo is reportedly planning to launch a record £20 million crowdfunding round as it eyes up a coveted $1billion valuation from new investors. The digital challenger bank is said to be mulling the equity crowdfunding drive, which would see existing customers offered the chance to participate in the UK’s largest crowdfunding round to date via its mobile app, City AM reported.
Younger generational groups, in particular Millennials, are significantly more open to receiving automated financial advice and investment management than their elder counterparts. Crealogix commissioned a survey of 1,200 consumers aged 16 and above at the end of July, finding that more than 60 per cent of those aged between 30 and 37 stated they would be receptive to an automated financial service, rising to almost 70 per cent of those aged between 22 and 29.
The majority of UK chief executives are frustrated by short termism and the pressure from their board to deliver results on multi-year digital transformation projects. This is according to new research from KPMG, which surveyed 150 chief executives in the UK. It found that 72 per cent feel there are unreasonable expectations for return on investment with regards to digital transformation projects.
Revolut has launched a metal card that will give customers up to one per cent cashback in either fiat or cryptocurrency, withdraw up to £600 per month free from international ATMs and offer a dedicated concierge service for booking everything from flights to festival tickets. Revolut Metal customers will also get unlimited foreign exchange, free international money transfers, 24/7 priority customer support and overseas travel insurance covering areas including health, dental, flight and luggage delays.
Aviva has partnered with Amazon to enable customers to find out how much they have saved in their pension fund through a conversation with AI bot Alexa. Customers registered on MyAviva are now able to link their account with Alexa, asking the voice assistant to tell them the value of their pension pot. Aviva Canada have also developed a skill which allows consumers to ask Alexa for a motor insurance quote.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and flying cars are among this year’s top technology trends, according to a new study, which also revealed that the hype around blockchain is cooling as its enters mainstream use. The annual trends survey conducted by research firm Gartner, which tracks where tech trends are on the ‘hype cycle’ in their journey from next big thing to mainstream usage has determined that distributed ledger technology (DLT) and driverless technology have passed the peak ‘hype’ phase of inflated expectations.
Aberdeen Standard Investments has launched a new fund that utilises machine learning to identify sources of potential returns. The Aberdeen Global Artificial Intelligence Global Equity fund is the product of a collaboration between Aberdeen Standard Investments’ Quantitative Investment Strategies (QIS) team and the Mitsubishi UFJ Trust Investment Technology Institute in Tokyo, Japan – a centre of excellence in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and financial technology.
Ant Financial, the Chinese electronic payment affiliate of Alibaba, has reportedly pushed back its plans for an IPO due to financial hurdles and a government crackdown on non-traditional financial institutions. The fast-growing payments startup was valued at $150 million (£117billion) in its latest fundraising round in June, but has decided to delay rumoured plans to list in 2018, according to the Financial Times.
Insurance premiums generated by emerging InsurTech services will exceed $400 billion by 2023, up from an estimated $187 billion in 2018, according to Juniper Research. The consultancy’s analysis found that InsurTech platforms will equip insurers to meet the challenges of diminishing margins and increased competition. However, while tech firms enable rapid transformation of traditional insurance business models, the adoption of these platforms by incumbents has been limited due to relatively slow rates of innovation within the industry.
FinTechs have hit back at the chief economist of the Bank of England’s warning that the UK will need a skills revolution to avoid “large swathes” of people becoming “technologically unemployed” due to artificial intelligence (AI) making many jobs obsolete. Andy Haldane said that job losses would be compensated for by the creation of new jobs as a “new technological wave” broke over society, but noted that lessons must be learned from previous shifts in industrial technology.
The UK generated £81.3 trillion in cashless payments in 2016, almost double the amount spent in any other European country, according to new research from Expert Market. The study assessed data for all 29 countries in the European Union, looking at the number of cashless transactions and total revenue from digital payments to determine the countries with the most digitally-ready businesses.
Previse, a FinTech startup that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to automate invoice payments to suppliers, has raised $7 million (£5.5 million) in series A funding. The London-based firm, which has developed technology that allows companies to pay B2B suppliers as soon as they receive an invoice, announced the investment from FinTech vehicle Augmentum and American venture capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners.
Ripple has signed collaboration deals with three new digital asset exchange partners for xRapid – the company’s cross-border payments product. xRapid is reliant on a healthy ecosystem of global digital asset exchange partners, enabling payments to move between currencies and XRP quickly and efficiently. The new deals include Bittrex, which will now be the preferred digital asset exchange for transactions that move through US dollars
Challenger bank Starling is rolling out its first unsecured loan products, offering customers the chance to choose how they structure lending up to £5,000. Users of the mobile-only bank can request a loan through its app and will have instant access to the funds as soon the borrowing has been approved. They will then be able to decide the dates of payment and the repayment schedule.
While several automated, or ‘robo’, advice startups have recently called it quits, analysis from GlobalData suggests the fledgling industry can still offer competitive advantage to traditional wealth managers. Following in the footsteps of WorthFM, SheCapital and Owners Advisory, New York-based robo advisor Hedgeable finally went out of business on 9 August 2018, just short of its 10-year anniversary.
Blockchain specialist Axioni has closed a $32 million Series B financing round, led by Goldman Sachs and Nyca Partners. The new funding, which brings the total investment in Axioni to over $55 million, will be used to enhance its data synchronisation technology, expand its suite of infrastructure products and broaden the network of enterprises leveraging distributed ledgers.
Blockchain continues its advance as a RegTech tool of choice as the American Association of Insurance Services (AAIS) announced it is using distributed ledger technology from IBM to automate its new regulatory reporting platform. The AAIS, a not-for-profit advisory organisation for the US property and casualty insurance industry, has launched a platform called openIDL (open Insurance Data Link) to improve regulatory and compliance processes and increase accuracy.
Deposit Solutions, an Open Banking platform for savings deposits, has closed a $100 million investment round led by Vitruvian Partners. The company’s platform enables institutions to gain access to deposit funding from the clients of other points-of-sale in different markets without having to set up and operate their own deposit infrastructure for new customers. Deposit Solutions also operates its own proprietary points-of-sale under the brands of Zinspilot and Savedo, which market the deposit offers of its partner banks directly to savers.
US retail giant Amazon is considering the development of a UK insurance price comparison site after contacting leading European insurance firms to see if they would contribute products. This is according to a report from Reuters, which stated that three industry executives told the publication that they have held talks with Amazon regarding the possible launch of a site. One executive told Reuters that talks were part of several discussions Amazon is having with insurers, while a second said there was no imminent plans for launch.
The first trial of an authenticated voice banking service has been launched to customers in Canada. Innovation Credit Union and Conexus Credit Union will take part in a pilot by banking services provider Central 1 which will see customers control a number of bank account actions via voice command on Amazon Alexa devices.
ClauseMatch, a London-based regulation technology (RegTech) firm has become the first company to join the Investment Association (IA) in the new FinTech membership category.
The trade body launched its drive to recruit members into the new category in a bid to boost engagement between FinTechs and members in the asset management industry.
The FStech Awards are returning for their 19th year in 2019, with financial institutions and technology providers now able to submit their entries for a chance to win a prestigious trophy. Celebrating technology excellence and innovation within the UK and EMEA financial services sector, the 2019 FStech Awards will have 28 trophies up for grabs, including one new category – Cryptocurrency Innovation of the Year.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have rolled out a new initiative which requires banks to publish information on their services - including online and mobile services - to enable customers to easily compare accounts from different providers. The new requirements follow an independent survey of thousands of personal and small business customers.
Alternative payment methods, such as mobile and digital wallets, are steadily displacing traditional payment methods such as cards, bank transfers and cash/cheques in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. Data and analytics company GlobalData forecasts the APAC e-commerce market to grow from $1.6 trillion in 2018 to $2.3 trillion in 2022.
Millennials are the generation most likely to embrace new technologies such as Open Banking but they also hanker after the human touch when it comes to managing their finances, according to new research. A survey of 1,000 adults conducted by Altus, a UK-based financial services consultancy, suggested that over half (53 per cent) of 25-34 year olds would be happy to allow a web-based service to review and manage their personal finances, compared to 35-44 year olds (51 per cent), 45-54 year olds (47 per cent) and the over 55s (38 per cent).
Security flaws in a number of market-leading mobile point of sale (MPoS) devices could leave customers open to fraudulent charging and vulnerable payment methods, according to researchers. Leigh-Anne Galloway and Tim Yunusov, researchers from security firm Positive Technologies, looked at seven MPoS devices popular in the US and Europe, including devices sold by Square, iZettle, PayPal and SumUp.
Capital On Tap has secured £90 million in debt funding from M&G Investments and Triple Point Investment Management, along with a £50 million debt line from Citibank and Pollen Street Capital. The startup is not publicly disclosing its valuation, but it has now raised over £30 million of equity and £200 million of debt to date.
Millions of fax machines could be vulnerable to malicious hackers using booby-trapped image data to gain access to internal networks, security researchers have found.
Yaniv Balmas and Eyal Itkin, security researchers at CheckPoint, a US software company, found that the owners of more than 300 million active fax numbers could be leaving themselves open to so-called ‘faxploitation’ attacks.
The Bank of England (BoE) is looking to explore the demand for introducing synchronised settlement to the renewed Real-Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) service. It has issued a call for interest from FinTech firms to help investigate the potential and understand the design implications for organisations which would interface with the system.
Moneyhub has secured Payment Initiation Services Provider authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority, a step further from its current Account Information Services Provider status. The financial management platform has also launched an application programming interface (API) gateway, which it described as a ‘one stop shop’ of personalised, permission-based, financial data sources, giving development teams access to data streams to help build innovative customer solutions.
The World Bank has chosen Commonwealth Bank (CBA) to be the sole arranger of the first global bond to be created, allocated, transferred and managed using blockchain technology. The Australian dollar denominated ‘bond-i’, or Blockchain Offered New Debt Instrument, has been developed with input from the investor community, including Northern Trust, QBE and the Treasury Corporation of Victoria.
Norwegian banks Sbanken, Sparebanken Vest, and Sparebanken Sogn og Fjordane have joined forces to let customers view accounts from across all three in either’s online banking platform. The initiative is set to be rolled out well in advance of next autumn’s mandated introduction of the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), giving the banks a head start in the FinTech-led account aggregation space.
INTL FCStone’s London-based Precious Metals Division has started using Paxos’ technology to automate trade confirmations, reduce errors and secure instantaneous reconciliation. The startup’s service will confirm all of the trades INTL FCStone executes on a daily basis, eliminating thousands of manual tasks every day, while improving operational precision.
A combination of incumbent insurers wanting to update their propositions, and startups realising they require help scaling up, means the InsurTech space is ripe for partnership. This is according to the Association of British Insurers’ assistant director and head of strategy, data and analytics Matt Cullen, who suggested that the market is finally getting closer to making technology pay.
JDA Software has completed the acquisition of Blue Yonder, which builds artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for retail and supply chain. JDA hopes the acquisition will accelerate its Autonomous Supply Chain capabilities by connecting its systems and data to enable automated and more profitable business decisions. Blue Yonder’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions also further fuel development of JDA’s Luminate cognitive SaaS platform and solutions.
Serious security vulnerabilities have been discovered in several leading mobile, desktop and web stock trading applications by IOActive. Alejandro Hernandez, senior security consultant at the cyber security firm, tested 16 desktop applications, 30 websites and 34 mobile applications, finding “major vulnerabilities” that can allow malicious actors to gain access to a user’s personal banking information, steal money and gain insights into net worth and investment strategies.
Visa has announced an investment and partnership with Israeli FinTech firm, Behalf, which provides working capital solutions for small businesses and financing for business purchases. As part of Visa’s investment, Behalf’s small-business clients will be offered a tokenised virtual card, a credit-based payment solution that gives businesses instant financing for their business purchases.
More than 33 billion records will be stolen by cyber criminals in 2023 alone, according to Juniper, representing an increase of 175 per cent on the 12 billion records expected to be compromised in 2018. Despite this, Juniper forecasts that cyber security spend will only increase by an average of nine per cent per company per annum, in spite of new legislation mandating strong cyber security and authentication measures.
CurrencyFair has announced an Asian expansion through the acquisition of Hong Kong-based Convoy Payments. The deal is part of the Irish money transfer service’s €20 million investment plan to drive global growth, which will also see the creation of 90 new jobs over the next 18 months. These will be created with particular emphasis on product development, customer service, compliance and marketing and global partnership development.
US FinTech firm Steady has secured $9 million in a Series A funding round, led by Propel Venture Partners – BBVA’s venture capital investment unit. Steady is an income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce, offering income-building opportunities, an income tracker and exclusive discounts. The firm helps workers to find and apply to new opportunities that match their availability, abilities and interests.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has, in collaboration with 11 financial regulators and related organisations, announced the creation of the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The network builds on the FCA’s proposal earlier this year to create a global sandbox, providing a more efficient way for innovative firms to interact with regulators, helping them navigate between countries as they look to scale-up new ideas.
CYBG is working with The ID Co. to integrate its DirectID Open Banking platform into the bank’s mobile banking app. Customers of CYBG’s banking app - called B - will now be able to import banking data from a range of UK banks including: Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds Group, Santander, RBS, and Nationwide, as well as digital banks such as Starling and Monzo.
Facebook has reportedly asked several leading US banks to share financial information about their customers – including card transactions and checking-account balances. As part of a push to become the portal where people buy goods and services, the social media platform has been in talks with the likes of JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Citigroup, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office will launch the first FinTech sandbox in the US, easing regulatory burdens for companies to test innovative FinTech products and services while remaining subject to the state’s consumer protection laws. Navigating state regulatory requirements can often take several months and cost tens of thousands of dollars. The new sandbox will provide firms with relief by lifting some regulations and allowing some products and services to be live-tested in a marketplace limited to a capped number of consumers.
Australia’s digital-first UBank has introduced a new feature that allows customers to follow the real-time progress of their home loan application online. The bank wanted to streamline a process that is generally complex and confusing, with customers often getting frustrated when trying to get a status update from different customer service agents. Earlier this year, UBank also launched a chatbot to help potential home buyers and refinancers complete their online home loan applications.
Intercontinental Exchange has revealed plans to form an open and regulated platform where consumers can buy, sell, store and spend digital assets. Called Bakkt, the new company will be working with various organisations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks and others to add expertise in risk management, technology and consumer experience. By leveraging trusted market infrastructure, Bakkt is being designed to help the digital asset markets evolve securely while supporting transaction flows.
Investors who backed Revolut in the digital bank’s latest investment round on Crowdcude have now realised returns of 19x on their original investments. In July 2016, Revolut held a funding round on Crowdcude which enabled the public to invest as little as £10 or as much as £5,000. In April this year, Revolut received a $250 million investment led by DST Global, setting a valuation of £1.2 billion.
Russia’s Sberbank has appointed senior vice president and chief technology officer David Rafalovsky as head of the Technology Block, where he will carry out strategic management of Sberbank’s technology functions. Prior to joining Sberbank, Rafalovsky spent 20 years at Citigroup in the US, where he started his career as a lead solutions architect and worked his way up to global head of finance and risk infrastructure technology.
UK-based FinTech firm Zopa has announced it has raised £44 million in the first phase of its latest fundraising round, marking its largest funding round to date. The funding comes during an exciting time for the firm, who reported full profitability last year for the first time since 2012. The injection of funding will be invested towards the capital needs of the new bank it has been building.
Asian online to offline (O2O) mobile platform Grab Holdings has raised $2 billion in its latest fundraising round. Toyota Motor Corporation joined the likes of OppenheimerFunds, Ping An Capital, Mirae Asset Management, Cinda Sino-Rock Investment Management Company, All-Stars Investment, Vulcan Capital, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Macquarie Capital.
Barclays is partnering with Europe’s largest online invoice financing platform MarketInvoice to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the UK manage cash flow and accelerate growth. The bank has committed to a significant minority stake in the FinTech firm to give Barclays’ SME clients access to innovative forms of finance. Founded in 2011, MarketInvoice has funded invoices worth more than £2.7 billion, helping small businesses with their cash flow.
Nearly two thirds of UK companies are planning a significant increase in IT investment next year, in response to fears around the impact of Brexit, according to new research by MHR Analytics. The business intelligence and analytics provider commissioned Censuswide last month to survey 200 decision-makers in large and medium sized UK businesses.
Almost three quarters (72 per cent) of UK adults have not heard of Open Banking, while just one in three (28 per cent) are aware of it, according to a YouGov survey. In terms of who has heard of the term, it is those in the older age groups that are more likely to be aware. Almost 40 per cent of those aged over 55 have heard of open banking, against just 14 per cent of those aged 18-24.
Nationwide Building Society has announced its second investment as part of a £50 million Venturing Fund designed to create long-term FinTech partnerships. Hazy, based in London and formed just 18 months ago, is an online platform that helps businesses share data responsibly. Its artificial intelligence-driven solution is able to seek out and anonymise personal data, supporting businesses in ensuing customer data is as private and secure as possible.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting on rules and guidance to improve conduct standards and communications in the payment services and e-money sectors. Its paper proposes to extend the application of the Principles for Businesses and certain specific rules about promotions and communications so that they cover wider categories of businesses – including those authorised or registered under the Payment Services Regulations or the Electronic Money Regulations.
The US Department of the Treasury has outlined improvements to the regulatory landscape in support of FinTech innovation. “Creating a regulatory environment that supports responsible innovation is crucial for economic growth and success, particularly in the financial sector,” said secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. “We must keep pace with industry changes and encourage financial ingenuity to foster the nation’s vibrant financial services and technology sectors.”
New research from Frost & Sullivan has found that UK consumers have only a marginal degree of trust in organisations to protect their digital data. The Digital Trust Index is based on various metrics, including how willing customers are to share personal data with organisations, how well they think organisations protect that data and the extent to which consumers believe companies sell their personal data to third parties. The index is based on a rating out of 100, with 100 representing “total trust”.
The UK has attracted more FinTech investment than any other country during the first half of the year, with fundraising worth $16.1 billion (£12.3 billion). KPMG’s industry report found that China came in second place with $15.1 billion, followed by the US at $14.2 billion. Globally, FinTech investment took in $57.9 billion across 875 deals during the first half – up 34.2 per cent compared to the whole of 2017, which recorded just $38.1 billion overall.
Australia’s Commonwealth Bank has demonstrated a new blockchain platform to ship and track seventeen tonnes of almonds from Sunraysia in Australia to Hamburg in Germany. The trade was underpinned by distributed ledger technology (DLT), smart contracts and the internet of things (IoT), which tracked the shipment from packer to end delivery in parallel to existing processes.
AXIS Capital Holdings has launched AXIS Digital Ventures, a new unit to lead partnerships with entrepreneurial companies focused on data and analytics with high value insurance applications, new product opportunities and new distribution models. The Digital Ventures business is also charged with introducing innovative technologies across the company’s businesses, following an announcement earlier this year about strengthening its operating model to become more agile and better positioned to leverage change.
Legal & General’s FinTech business has made a £3 million investment in software as a service (SaaS) company Smartr365. The business was established in 2016 with the aim of helping mortgage brokers deliver a digital and more efficient service for customers. Its services include online fact finding tools, customer verification processes and a unique customer portal.
Contrary to widespread perception, new research has revealed that 88 per cent of crypto exchanges want industry regulation. The figures come from crypto-friendly payment company Mistertango, which interviewed 24 crypto exchanges across Europe, Asia, South America and Oceania, with total daily trading volumes of over $100 million.
Driven by payment cards and mobile wallets, in-store contactless payments will reach $2 trillion by 2020 – representing 15 per cent of total point of sale transactions. This is according to new research from Juniper, which found that contactless payments will exceed the $1 trillion mark for the first time in 2018, a year earlier than previously anticipated. The study found that growth will be driven by strong adoption in Europe as well as the Far East and China.
Financial market infrastructure group CLS has announced a collaboration with IBM to develop a proof of concept (PoC) for distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform LedgerConnect. The aim is to enable banks, buy and sell side firms, FinTechs and software vendors to deploy, share and consume services hosted on a shared distributed ledger network.
Cross-border B2B payments technology firm TransferMate has announced a €21 million investment from Dutch bank ING. The two companies have also agreed a strategic partnership, with TransferMate’s services made available to all SME and corporate clients of ING. TransferMate’s cross-border API technology and global payment licences will reduce international payments costs and improve cash flow for ING business customers who send or collect funds cross-border.
TSB has reported a £107.4 million first half loss, with its botched IT migration in April at least partly to blame. For the first six months of 2018, the British High Street bank recognised additional post-migration costs totalling £176.4 million.
While just 15 per cent of travel companies have attempted new payments innovations in the past three years, 81 per cent plan to initiate at least some new innovation projects in the next three years. These are the findings of 78 in-depth interviews with payments managers from hotels, airlines and travel intermediaries conducted by technology firm Amadeus.
Following a post-implementation review of its crowdfunding rules, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is opening a consultation on new rules for loan-based crowdfunding platforms. The changes are designed to address the ways in which the loan-based crowdfunding model has developed since the regulator last reviewed the sector in December 2016. Since then, the FCA has observed the variety of loan-based crowdfunding business models, some of which have become increasingly complex.
Several law firms and technology companies have agreed to work together to launch a public, permissioned blockchain network, which aims to redefine how legal products and services support the networked economy. The Agreements Network brings together law firms BakerHostetler, LegalBono and ErdosIP and FinTechs Clause, Crowdcube, LexPredict, Libra, Mattereum, Monax, Rymedi, TransparentNode and Wolfram Blockchain Labs.
CYBG - owner of Clydesdale Bank, Yorkshire Bank and digital banking service B - has announced a strategic partnership with PayPal, designed to enhance digital payment options for customers. The partnership will enable customers to link their debit and credit cards with PayPal accounts directly from the B mobile banking app.
Visa has signed a strategic agreement with MoneyGram that is aimed at modernising and digitising the process of sending and receiving money overseas. Using Visa’s real-time push payments platform, Visa Direct, the agreement will enable secure cross-border remittances. Once live, MoneyGram’s service will enable its users to choose their preferred method of sending and receiving funds.
The UK’s banking industry is stepping into a new era, according to one challenger bank boss, with traditional High Street players starting to take notice of the FinTech revolution. “I think we are definitely beginning to take steps in to a new era of banking, but this will largely be influenced by technology,” stated Norris Koppel, chief executive and founder of mobile banking app Monese. “This is something we have seen the traditional banks begin to embrace, perhaps this is to keep up with the fast pace being set by digital challenger banks.”
Dutch FinTech Five Degrees has acquired Icelandic banking IT provider Libra as part of its international growth plan. The deal adds value for customers of Five Degrees through its core banking solutions in the field of securities and loans, offering a clear roadmap to retire obsolete and expensive back-end systems.
Credit Suisse Asset Management’s FinTech fund NEXT Investors has announced final closing with approximately $261 million of capital commitments. The fund has a diverse group of investors, including financial institutions, ultra-high net worth individuals, fund of funds, and family offices across the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has banned the former directors and shareholders of the now dissolved Secure My Money for taking fees of over £7.2 million from approximately 124,000 online customers by duping them into believing they had been approved for short term loans. Between November 2013 and July 2014, David James Carter Mullins, Edward John Booth, Christopher Paul Brotherton and Mark Robert Kennedy all lacked honesty and integrity as they had deliberately misled often vulnerable customers, in relation to fees and services provided through web-based brands i-loansdirect, LoanZoo and the1loan.
Customers of digital currency exchange Coinbase will now be able to spend their cryptocurrency balances on e-gift cards, following a partnership with WeGift. Customers in the EU and Australia will now be able to spend the funds in their crypto accounts with retailers including Nike, Tesco, Uber, Google Play, Ticketmaster, Zalando and more. There will be no Coinbase withdrawal fees, while there will be bonuses on selected e-gifts.
SWIFT, along with a number of corporates and banks, has announced plans to start testing an enhanced multi-bank standard to improve cross-border payments for multi-banked corporates. This enhanced standard, designed and built in conjunction with 10 multinational corporates and 12 leading banks, streamlines the process for treasurers by allowing them to initiate and track SWIFT global payments innovation (gpi) payments to and from multiple banks in a single format.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) is looking to carry out a market review into card-acquiring services and has published draft terms of reference for consultation. Card payment use is growing, with the PSR stating that last year in the UK, 13.2 billion payments were made by debit card and an additional 3.1 billion payments by credit card. Also in 2017, for the first time, debit cards became the most frequently used payment method.
Mobile biometrics will authenticate $2 trillion worth of in-store and remote mobile payment transactions annually by 2023 – 17 times the $124 billion expected in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper, which expects the growth to be driven by over 2,500 per cent growth in remote biometric transactions. The study predicts that remote m-commerce transactions will reach over 48 billion in volume by 2023, representing around 57 per cent of all biometric transactions – up from an estimated 28 per cent in 2018.
Distributed ledger technology (DLT) provider Digital Asset has partnered with Google Cloud to make its blockchain platform and developer tools available on the Google Cloud platform. Developers now have access to a comprehensive suite of tools and services to build, test and deploy distributed ledger applications on-demand and without having to configure the underlying platform. In collaboration with Google Cloud, Digital Asset has expanded its developer programme to include the DAML platform-as-a-service (PaaS) on Google Cloud Platform.
Banks are increasingly using advanced ATM software platforms to modernise customer identification and authentication, improve customer personalisation and maximise the performance of self-service channels. This is according to consulting firm RBR, which interviewed 30 leading banks, finding that while most ATM transactions are still carried out using the traditional card and PIN combination, advanced software platforms now support a wider range of technologies and form factors.
PayU has announced the acquisition of Israeli payment technology provider ZOOZ, supporting ongoing expansion into high-growth markets. The move brings PayU’s total sum of investments and acquisitions to more than $350 million since it began a series of strategic moves across the globe in 2016. The ZOOZ and PayU teams will work together to build a flexible ‘Payment OS platform’ that can support evolving merchant and broader payment industry needs.
PropTech company Goodlord has partnered with Open Banking provider TrueLayer to enhance its functionality and service offering to letting agents, landlords and tenants. Founded in 2014, Goodlord’s proprietary technology streamlines deposits, contracts, compliance, tenant move-in assistance, insurance and referencing.
Barclays has announced plans to develop a new campus in Glasgow, which will provide a state-of-the-art workplace for the bank’s functions, technology and operations teams. Barclays has agreed to purchase the office development from Drum Property Group and is currently working with them to finalise the design of the new facility as part of the wider Buchanan Wharf development on the River Clyde.
Singapore’s OCBC Bank has revealed plans to reduce the number of bank teller positions by half over the next two years, as it drives forward with branch digitalisation. Bank tellers will be retrained over the next five years to be able to perform digital or advisory roles, while $14 million will be invested in the deployment of new ATMs and digital service kiosks across the bank’s estate.
The Investment Association (IA) has established the first cohort of innovators for Velocity, its FinTech accelerator for the asset management industry. The 24-strong Velocity advisory panel, chaired by Schroders’ chief digital officer Graham Kellen, will oversee the selection process, providing guidance on the adoption of emergent technology across front, middle and back office operations.
Key industry stakeholders have warned that the UK’s exit from the European Union could lead to a serious ‘brain drain’ in the booming FinTech sector. Speaking at last week’s London FinTech Week, senior spokespeople at various venture capital firms with stakes in the industry gave honest opinions on what impact Brexit could have.
Cambridge City Council has installed two contactless donation terminals, where members of the public can donate to Cambridge Street Aid – a charitable fund for the homeless in the city. Passers-by can donate using contactless debit or credit cards, or smartphones – 24 hours a day at one terminal, or any time during the Visitor Information Centre’s regular opening hours.
The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has appointed Paul Watkins to lead its new Office of Innovation. Acting director Mick Mulvaney said the Office of Innovation “will make significant progress in creating an environment where companies can advance new products and services without being unduly restricted by red tape that belongs in the 20th century”.
The prolific MoneyTaker hacking group has stolen around $910,000 from Russia’s PIR Bank by gaining access to its network by compromising a regional branch’s router. Cyber security firm Group-IB confirmed that the attack started in late May 2018. The router had tunnels that allowed attackers to gain direct access to the bank’s local network – a characteristic technique of MoneyTaker.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has published its Open application programming interface (API) framework for the banking sector. Its formulation is one of the seven initiatives announced by the HKMA last September to prepare Hong Kong for a new era of Smart Banking.
Cisco will be investing $100 million to accelerate digital innovation in the UK, supporting partnership with industry, government and academia. As part of the initiative, the IT and networking company has collaborated with University College London (UCL) to open one of the world’s largest artificial intelligence (AI) research centres, with a focus on addressing industry challenges and developing AI talent in the UK.
UK FinTech firm PayBreak has secured an additional £15 million of funding from specialist banking group Paragon as part of its growth plans. PayBreak specialises in digital point of sale finance through online retailers, allowing customers to spread the cost of payments on purchases through its online lending platform.
JLT Employee Benefits has acquired digital saving and investment service Moola, subject to regulatory approval. The deal is aligned to JLT’s strategy of helping UK businesses deliver better employee financial, emotional and physical wellness. Moola offers ISAs, GIAs and tax efficient investment portfolios, along with free educational content to empower individuals with the knowledge to make smarter decisions with their money.
Moneysupermarket has revealed plans to launch a new FinTech firm dedicated to the mortgage market, Podium, as part of its interim results. “Customers are already looking to us for help with mortgages and we are developing a new mortgage comparison tool to find them the most appropriate mortgage online,” read the report.
An academic has warned that even the smallest error in RegTech solutions can create systematically erroneous outcomes, leading to large scale liability risks. Veerle Colaert, a professor of financial law at KU Leuven University and a member of the European Securities and Markets Authority stakeholder group, published a paper this week looking at how technological solutions have emerged to help with regulatory compliance requirements.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has announced intentions to open a Dublin office ahead of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019. “DTCC has had a strong presence in Europe for over two decades, including in London, Wrexham, Brussels, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Our continued growth and desire to get ahead of new regulatory obligations, because of Brexit, now takes us across the Irish Sea to Dublin,” said Simon Farrington, managing director for EMEA at DTCC.
Santander has installed a new bank operating system from nCino, which will provide business customers with faster loan processing and a superior digital experience. The new cloud-based platform is accessible to customers from any device and will cut the time taken to deliver loan processing by 40 per cent. The solution combines customer relationship management, loan origination, account opening, workflow, enterprise content management and instant reporting capabilities.
BlackFin Capital Partners is positioning itself as the largest independent FinTech fund in Europe after finalising a €180 million final closing. BlackFin Tech 1’s investment thesis attracted a range of high profile investors, including: Bpifrance, Vaudoise Assurances Group, Groupama, Sogecap (Société Générale Insurance), Natixis Assurance, Swiss Life, German public bank KfW, Belgian insurer Securex, the groups MACIF, BNP Paribas, as well as large family-offices from the sector and regional entities of banking groups Crédit Agricole, Banque Populaire et Caisse d’Epargne.
The Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published a report delivered to the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on crypto-assets, stating that they do not pose a material risk to global financial stability at this time. The FSB has developed a framework, in collaboration with Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI), to monitor the financial stability implications of developments in crypto-asset markets. The report sets out the metrics it will use to monitor these markets as part of an ongoing assessment of vulnerabilities in the financial system.
Credit checking company ClearScore is to use Open Banking to give consumers detailed insight into their financial situation to prompt mortgages and credit card switching. Set for a Spring 2019 launch, the OneScore service will combine credit scores with information pulled from current accounts, savings and insurance to give a financial ‘healthscore’, with analysis of spending patterns and recommendations on how to save money.
Amir Nooriala has joined FinTech challenger bank OakNorth as chief operating officer, where he will be responsible for internal operations, technology and change delivery of the bank, including all IT systems and operational processes. Nooriala joins the bank from BGC Partners, where he led the restructuring of the broker’s change function.
NatWest has joined Marco Polo, the trade finance platform that uses blockchain technology to reduce the costs, risks and time involved in businesses trading with each other. The initiative is coordinated by the financial technology firm TradeIX and R3 to collaboratively apply emerging blockchain technology to the global trade finance market.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) has released a survey to collect views on the emerging InsurTech industry. The industry body is aiming to get a better picture of those not directly active in the insurance value chain on InsurTech and the technology-enabled innovation in insurance that could result in new business models, applications, processes or products.
Since implementing a new advanced operations management system, Nationwide Building Society has enjoyed better real-time visibility of work and available-skilled resources. Nationwide felt that it was no longer sufficient to just review past performance as a guide for future operational plans, but required breaking down the data silos, cross-training employees and sharing skilled resources. The building society enlisted the support of ActiveOps to provide new tools and proven training for staff.
The UK has all the resources, as well as industrial and governmental will, to become a global hub for blockchain and the crypto economy by approximately 2022, according to a new report. This year should mark the inflection point at which it will become clear if the UK has marshalled its existing resources across industry, government, academia and thought leadership to achieve this exciting opportunity.
UK consumers are looking for innovative, digital payment experiences with their banks, according to a new YouGov survey on behalf of Ondot. The results found that online security and fraud prevention tops the list of what British consumers think banks should guarantee – with 60 per cent wanting peace of mind when using their cards online. The survey also discovered that consumers are keen to play a much more proactive role in managing their personal finances.
Mastercard has announced a partnership with payments technology firm Worldpay, focused on expanding acceptance options and making digital payments more convenient and secure. Through the partnership, Worldpay will offer Mastercard’s Pay by Bank app to merchants in the UK starting in early 2019. Pay by Bank enables customers of UK businesses to make online payments for goods via their mobile banking app, directly from their bank account.
The wealth management sector has a new entrant, in the form of Tiller, which promises to combine proactive investment management with intelligent technology. Looking to differentiate itself from other digital-only wealth managers, Tiller is offering actively-managed funds and themed investment baskets alongside low-cost passive investment products.
Saudi Arabia’s Capital Market Authority has granted FinTech experimental permits to Riyadh-based startups Manafa Capital and Scopeer. This follows the regulator’s backing for FinTech earlier this year, aiming to provide a regulatory framework that is conducive for financial innovation.
Only 20 per cent of companies surveyed believe they are compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), while 53 per cent are in the implementation phase and 27 per cent have not yet started their implementation. This is according to a survey carried out by Dimensional Research on behalf of TrustArc in June among 600 IT and legal professionals with responsibility for privacy at companies required to meet GDPR compliance, split equally among the US, UK, and European Union.
Japanese payments firm Paidy has seured $55 million in a Series C funding round, led by ITOCHU Corporation, with participation from Goldman Sachs. Paidy provides an instant post-pay credit service for e-commerce customers in Japan. No pre-registration or credit card is required to use Paidy; customers simply purchase products online using a mobile phone number and email address, settling a single monthly bill via bank transfer, auto credit or at a convenience store.
Metro Bank has launched its developer portal, opening up its platform to Financial Conduct Authority-registered third parties wishing to build services on top of its application programming interfaces (APIs). Built in collaboration with Google’s Apigee team using Apigee’s Edge API management platform, the self-service portal allows access to the bank’s PSD2 API documentation and sandbox. Developers will also be able to access the API documentation and test out simple API queries that return sample data.
Today marks six months since the second payment services directive (PSD2) was introduced across Europe, promising to open up the traditional banking and payments space to the innovation of FinTech challengers. But, as several industry experts admit, so far there has been little to show in terms of new products or consumer communication.
BBVA has announced the finalists of its FinTech competition Open Talent, which received more than 6,000 entries from startups across 80 countries. Open Talent has been designed to drive and support disruption in the banking sector, seeking innovation that allows it to build services beyond those traditionally offered by a bank. The competition will help the FinTechs grow by providing them with access to the bank’s services and processes.
Banking app Emma has closed a £420,000 seed funding round led by Kima Ventures and Aglaè Ventures. The London-based FinTech aims to provide money management for Millennials, helping them avoid overdrafts, find and cancel subscriptions, track debt and save money.
Nationwide has announced it will work with government and other businesses through the Inclusive Economy Partnership, challenging the FinTech community to develop Open Banking technology that helps improve the lives of the one in four UK households who are financially squeezed – equivalent to 12.7 million people. Launching in September, Open Banking for Good will convene established FinTechs and start-ups, through to innovators and debt and money charities.
The financial services industry could expect to add up to $512 billion to global revenues by 2020 through ‘intelligent automation’, robotics process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and business process optimisation. This is according to a new study from Capgemini, which surveyed 1,500 senior executives from 750 global organisations.
In order to stay relevant in the financial services space, traditional institutions must have a strong collaboration programme. This is according to a panel at London FinTech Week, which discussed how banks must prioritise innovation and collaboration with FinTech players. “Innovation is a mindset – a willingness to change,” said Simon Rogerson, chief executive of Octopus Investments and co-founder of Octopus Group.
The chair of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has warned that FinTech cannot be complacent in the face of algorithms taking over. Speaking at an event in London yesterday, Charles Randell explained that algorithms are now everywhere in digital services, noting that some have suggested in the future democracy will be replaced by an algocracy, where algorithms decide everything on our behalf.
Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin offer a viable evolutionary ‘next step’ for money and have the potential to become a mainstream form of payment within the next decade, according to research from Imperial College London and eToro.
In the paper, William Knottenbelt from Imperial College London and Zeynep Gurguc from Imperial College Business School argue cryptocurrencies already fulfil one of the three fundamental roles of traditional fiat money: acting as a store of value.
Investment banks are set to increase their use of public cloud by over 50 per cent within the next five years, as greater awareness of hosting banking specific applications with cloud vendors’ drives industry-wide confidence. A global study of over 32 tier one and two investment banks by IT consultancy GFT found that three quarters are more attracted by cloud computing’s ability to introduce agility into their businesses than its ability to simply deliver cost reductions (50 per cent).
Money management chatbot Plum will now support challenger banks Monzo and Starling Bank via Open Banking and a partnership with TrueLayer. Users can now avoid sharing their login details by logging in with their actual banking provider and then authorising another party - TrueLayer - to access their data. This allows Plum to request access to account data held by Monzo or Starling, simply and securely via an API, without ever learning the user’s login information.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and data science has matured in the financial services industry over the past couple of years, according to a panel at London FinTech Week. AI strategist Yannis Kalfoglou described an environment in which banks, FinTechs, asset managers and technology firms are now comfortable with the technology, developing new products designed specifically for ease of use and enhancing the experience for the end user.
Accenture has announced that it will build a platform to develop and implement blockchain and distributed-ledger use cases on behalf of the Institutes RiskBlock Alliance, a consortium for the risk management and insurance industry. The platform will enable the RiskBlock Alliance to implement and test multiple use cases by the end of 2018.
The giants of the tech sector will make platform model plays into financial services within the next five years, according to experts at London FinTech Week. That specific prediction was made by Mia Iwama Hastings, head of business development at Priviti Group, but was backed by Elie Shuggi, global head of startup delivery at Aviva, who added: “The ball game’s about to change quite quickly and dramatically.”
The Tax Incentivised Savings Association (TISA) is set to launch a workshop this week around an Open Asset Management initiative to follow in the footsteps of Open Banking in the UK. TISA’s director general David Dalton-Brown revealed the plans in a speech a London FinTech Week yesterday afternoon, explaining that the project came in response to complaints from members that solutions were required in the same vein as the TISA Exchange (TEX) electronic transfer service.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in force for less than two months, and already some well-known brands have fallen foul due to data breaches. Luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason admitted the loss of some 23,000 customer records - which included emails, telephone numbers and delivery addresses of customers who filled out a survey - due to the use of a third-party survey provider.
The EQT VIII fund and EQT Ventures fund have agreed to acquire Saxo Payments Banking Circle from Saxo Bank. Founded in 2013, Banking Circle is an online cross-border payments infrastructure provider, which now processes around €60 billion run-rate annual payment volumes for several high-profile customers.
Investment app Moneybox has raised £14 million in a Series B funding round led by Eight Roads, the proprietary investment arm of Fidelity International. Existing investors, including Oxford Capital Partners and Samos Investments, also participated, bringing the total amount raised by the company to £21.3 million.
Two fifths (40 per cent) of Brits willing to share their bank transaction data with a new lender would do so if it provided them with product recommendations which save them money. Six months into Open Banking, an online survey of 2,002 adults by Equifax looked into the perceived benefits. They included the ability to easily compare products from different financial institutions (36 per cent), being offered tailored incentives for switching to a new provider (34 per cent), and a streamlined process when applying for mortgages (28 per cent) and loans (25 per cent).
Only 60 per cent of employees in financial services firms have suitable processes and technology in place to capture, record and consequently retrieve real-time business communications, meaning 40 per cent are risking non-compliance with Article 16 of MiFID II. The second Markets in Financial Instruments Directive comes at a time when many firms have been concentrating on compliance with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which requires significant change to operations, staffing and technology.
European Union regulations coming into place next September will lead to a significant increase in the use of biometric technology to authenticate who is paying, according to Mastercard. In terms of card payments, currently just 1-2 per cent of online transactions require cardholder authentication to complete a transaction - mostly likely using a password - but this is set to rise to 25 per cent from next autumn.
The Bank of England, Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) have given financial services firms in the UK a three-month deadline to demonstrate operational resilience in the event of a cyber attack or IT breakdown. The joint discussion paper on an approach to improve the operational resilience of firms and financial market infrastructures (FMIs) stated that boards and senior management can achieve better standards through increased focus on setting, monitoring and testing specific impact tolerances for key business services.
Retail technology firm JDA Software has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Blue Yonder – a market specialist in artificial intelligence (AI) retail solutions. The acquisition builds on JDA’s strategy of developing cognitive and connected solutions to power digital transformations for companies seeking to improve their supply chain technology.
Revolut has signed up one million customers in the UK and is now bringing in between 6,000 and 9,000 new users every day. The London-based digital challenger bank also revealed plans for expansion outside of Europe, with launch expected in the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand within the next few months.
Lloyds Banking Group has appointed Dan Makoski to the newly-created role of chief design officer, as the bank moves to a more digital-based offering. Makoski has a wealth of experience in the design world, joining from Walmart where he served as vice president of design. Prior to that, Makoski also worked at Google, Microsoft, led design research globally at Motorola and was the first vice president of design at Capital One.
ThetaRay, a specialist in artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics, has secured funding of more than $30 million, taking total investment in the firm to over $60 million. Investors in the funding round included Jerusalem Venture Partners, GE, Bank Hapoalim, OurCrowd, SVB Investments and others. ThetaRay will use the new injection of funds to expand its presence in Europe, Asia and the US, significantly increase its workforce and scale operations to meet growing demand.
Incumbent banks with bad loans and legacy systems risk being left behind by less encumbered challengers, according to the European Banking Authority (EBA). The European banking watchdog assessed FinTech risks and opportunities in the sector, stating that problems are “particularly challenging for some large complex incumbents” which have “a very formal and slow governance structure, further restricted by legacy ICT systems or legacy non-performing assets”.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced the 29 firms that were successful in their applications to begin testing in the fourth cohort of the sandbox. Some 69 firms applied this year to take part in the sandbox, an increase on the number that applied last year. Successful applicants covered a range of sectors, locations and firm sizes.
Monzo has reported both annual losses and admitted a data breach, in a challenging few days for the digital-only challenger bank. After pointing out that it spotted the Ticketmaster data breach last week – spotting a spike in account fraud back in April – Monzo itself fell victim to a hack which saw the personal details of around 20,000 customers stolen from third party survey firm Typeform.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has added biometric security to its CashPro mobile banking platform, as well as an embedded token to enable secure access and payment approvals. The platform has more than 475,000 active users among the bank’s commercial, large corporate and business banking clients. The mobile app’s popularity is growing, with more than 28,000 payment approvals made via CashPro Mobile in the first quarter of 2018 – a jump of 188 per cent from the same period in 2017.
we.trade, a blockchain-based trade platform established by a consortium of European banks, has completed the first real-time customer transactions on the platform. Over the last five days, 10 companies have executed trades through four banking institutions. These trades signify the first commercially viable open account trades harnessing blockchain technology.
The progress made by Open Banking and the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) could be undone by the lack of similar global standards, experts have warned. Emerging Payments Association (EPA) director general Tony Craddock called Open Banking a “seismic shift” in a message to members, explaining that it gives consumers instant, free and global access to financial data and control over their financial lives.
Oracle will be collaborating with B-Hive Europe for a FinTech innovation programme in Brussels, to accelerate enterprise readiness for participating financial institutions. Brussels was chosen as Oracle’s European FinTech hub because of its central location and the presence of leading institutions of the European Union. Johan Van Overtveldlt, Belgium’s minister of finance, said he expects the relationship to create real momentum in the acceleration of financial innovation
The Open Banking sector could be worth £2.8bn by the end of this year and £7.2bn by 2022, according to a report from PwC. The professional services firm combined with the Open Data Institute to survey over 1,000 retail and small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking customers across the UK, along with interviews among banks, FinTechs, technology firms, regulators and industry bodies.
The New Payment System Operator (NPSO) has taken over running and managing the cheque paper and cheque image clearing systems at the same time that the Cheque and Credit Clearing Company has become a subsidiary of the NPSO. All payments will continue to be processed as usual through the paper clearing system for cheques and the recently launched Image Clearing System, which speeds up the process by enabling digital images of cheques to be exchanged between banks and building societies for clearing and settlement.
Nordea has entered into an agreement to acquire Gjensidige Forsikring – a leading online bank in Norway – for a total of €578 million. Gjensidige Bank offers private individuals a suite of digital banking services, mortgages, car financing, unsecured loans and investments online through a network of partners. The agreement also includes a long-term distribution cooperation between the two banks in Norway.
New regulations, new technologies and evolving commercial demands could be reducing demand for investment bank research and speeding investor uptake of artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. This is according to new research from Greenwich Associates, which found that around 70 per cent of portfolio managers, CIOs, analysts, and other investment professionals expect MIFID II regulations and other factors to result in the further “unbundling” of investment research from trading—not only in Europe, where the rules took effect earlier this year, but around the world.
In the 11 Russian host cities of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, approximately one in five (17 per cent) purchases with Visa has used contactless technology. This is according to new data from Visa, which found that in the stadiums themselves, the share of contactless payments was 54 per cent, inclusive of purchases made by fans from Russia and abroad. On average, Visa cardholders have spent $56.65 per transaction, with fans from the US spending the most – followed by China and Mexico in second and third respectively.
For the first time in Italy, it is now possible to pay for tickets at the point of sale (PoS) terminals in Milan’s subway stations – following cities like London, Moscow, Chicago, Singapore and Vancouver. Made possible by technology from SIA, the upgrade marks a significant step in Milan’s digital transformation programme for public transport. SIA’s platform connects every PoS terminal on which contactless cards can be used to open the turnstiles of the 113 stations on the Milan subway network, as well as payment circuits and ATM’s fare calculation system.
A collection of 39 banks, institutions and financial firms have completed a trial of more than 300 transactions on a Know Your Customer (KYC) application built on R3’s Corda blockchain platform. The transactions were conducted in 19 countries across eight timezones. Banks were able to request access to customer KYC test data, whilst customers could approve requests and revoke access. Customers were also able to update their test data which was then automatically updated for all banks with permission to access it.
The Prudential Regulation Authority’s deputy governor has written to chief executives of banks, insurance companies and investment firms to warn them about their obligations regarding exposure to crypto-assets. Sam Woods’ ‘Dear CEO’ letter acknowledged that firms may have taken limited exposure to crypto-assets to date, and recognised that the underlying distributed ledger or cryptographic technologies have significant potential benefits to the efficiency and resilience of the financial system over time.
A debate among industry experts revealed the mixed messages at the heart of Open Banking risk slow adoption and consumer confusion. As David Parker, founder and chief executive at Polymath Consulting, pointed out: “When you’ve been told for many years not to give your bank details out, now you’re going to have lots of unheard of FinTechs asking for them.”
Ticketmaster has admitted that 40,000 customers’ personal information and credit card details have been compromised in a data breach on Saturday. The company said in a statement that its systems had been hit by “malicious software” through a third-party supplier to the site. Ticketmaster said that the affected accounts – five per cent of the firm’s customer base – have been contacted and advised to change their password.
UK challenger bank Tide has signed a partnership with PayPoint to enable customers to deposit cash directly into their Tide accounts at any of PayPoint’s 29,000 UK retail locations. Launched in January 2017, Tide is a digital banking service made for small businesses. The bank has more than 30,000 business customers, who now have more control of where and when they can add funds to their account; beyond BACS or Faster Payments.
The age old debate about using cash or new electronic methods was ignited again at a panel session about payments infrastructure – with one participant stating consumers are being pushed down routes where they have no choice. The Westminster Business Forum event on the future of payments in the UK was opened by New Payment System Operator (NPSO) chair Melanie Johnson, who laid out the work her organisation was doing to bring the country’s disparate payment systems under one umbrella.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published an update on its Strategic Review of Retail Banking Business Models, expressing concerns about captive customers and the fees they pay. The review includes looking at how personal current accounts are paid for, the possible impact of technological and regulatory developments such as Open Banking and changes to payment services due to the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
Alipay has worked with GCash to launch a cross-border remittance service through their e-wallet platforms, powered by Alipay’s blockchain technology. This is reportedly the first blockchain-based cross-border digital wallet remittance service in the world, offering a secure and low-cost way to transfer money directly between individuals in Hong Kong and the Philippines.
Nationwide is launching a £50 million FinTech fund to invest and partner with early stage startups exploring innovative products and services that could provide real benefits for it members. The building society will also have a senior member of staff with relevant experience to provide support, guidance and expertise to the startups.
While cryptocurrencies should not supplant traditional currencies due to scalability limitations, Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) could create a more stable financial system, according to the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee. A paper authored by various members of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy concluded that the prospect of CBDCs could act as an alternative to the current fractional reserve banking system.
Santander UK has partnered with Infosys Finacle to implement a new interbank cash management system for its corporate customers. The bank will introduce an interbank cash management portal to provide corporate customers with secure cash management services accessible through any device of their choice. Finacle’s liquidity management solution will enable multi-bank reporting and cash management capabilities
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is consulting on new measures to help tackle the rise of authorised push payment (APP) fraud. This is where a fraudster tricks an individual consumer or micro business to instruct their payment services provider (PSP) - such as their bank - to send money from their account to an account controlled by that fraudster.
The Open Banking initiative will improve underwriting assessments, but could also result in higher consumer leverage, according to Moody's Investors Service. “We think Open Banking will improve consumer risk assessments because widespread access to bank account details among all lenders will enable a clearer picture of affordability,” said Greg O'Reilly, vice president and senior analyst at the credit rating agency.
A government-funded centre dedicated to cyber innovation - the London Office for Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement (LORCA) - is being opened in London today. The centre has also released research which found that more than half of large businesses have suffered a cyber attack in the last 12 months, with 24 per cent of respondents believing that their security solutions are not fit for their needs.
BBVA has deployed a new facial recognition payment system, where a camera booth next to the cash registers recognises the customers and automatically bills their accounts. Currently being trialled by BBVA employees at its Madrid headquarters, the system was developed by startup Veridas – a joint venture between BBVA and Das-Nano. It forms part of BBVA’s strategy to lead the development of frictionless payments.
Starling Bank has launched the UK’s first joint account with a fully mobile-only application process. Using Google Nearby technology, existing Starling customers can securely apply for a joint account in just five minutes by sitting next to each other with their phones, via a combination of Bluetooth and WiFi.
SWIFT is to universally adopt the global payments innovation (gpi) service, in a move which will see all 10,000 banks on the network use gpi for cross border payments. The decision has been taken against the backdrop of unexpectedly fast adoption rate of gpi to date, according to a statement. It has already been taken up by 49 of the world’s top 50 banks, with SWIFT predicting that by the end of 2020 every bank on the network will be able to offer same day end-to-end delivery with full tracking and transparency, throughout the payment chain.
PayPal look set to continue their spending spree with the $120 million acquisition of fraud prevention and risk management platform Simility. PayPal hopes that the purchase will enhance its ability to deliver fraud prevention and risk management solutions to merchants around the world. Merchants will gain access to fraud tools that can be customised to suit the needs of their business.
The Bank of Ireland yesterday experienced technical problems with the processing of debit card transactions, leaving thousands of customers unable to withdraw money or pay for goods. According to the bank, one in seven customers were affected by the problem, which it stated has now been resolved.
Trade finance platform TradeIX has closed a Series A investment round of $16 million, led by ING Ventures with participation from Kistefos, BNP Paribas and Tech Mahindra. TradeIX has established partnerships with various leading banks, corporates and enterprise resource planning (ERP) providers. The company also works with enterprise software firm R3 to lead the Marco Polo initiative involving international trade banks aimed at further developing the use of distributed ledger into trade transactions.
Digital payment problems are behind a trend of UK small-to-midsize businesses (SMBs) planning to switch their banking provider soon, according to a new study. The FIS PACE survey of 253 SMBs - across industries, from startups to established business - found that while 70 per cent of SMBs are satisfied with their banks, of the 30 per cent that are unhappy, most plan to change bank in the next year.
The chair of the cryptocurrency trade body, CryptoUK, has warned politicians that the UK risks missing out from the global cryptocurrency economy if it fails to bring the sector within the remit of financial services regulation. Iqbal V. Gandham - who is also UK managing director of eToro - gave evidence yesterday to the Treasury Select Committee, calling on government to take a straightforward, light-touch approach to regulation, by bringing cryptocurrency exchanges within the remit of the Financial Services and Markets Act.
IBM’s artificial intelligence (AI) powered Watson Financial Services has announced changes to its portfolio of services to help companies tackle risk and regulatory compliance challenges. These include ‘significant’ enhancements to IBM’s OpenPages 8.0 with Watson, which leverages the AI technology to let users more easily interpret complex issues and match them automatically to controls and obligations, as well as analyse losses, emerging risks and failed controls.
Wealth management FinTech SigFig has secured $50 million in Series E funding, led by General Atlantic with participation from UBS, Bain Capital Ventures, DCM Ventures, Eaton Vance and New York Life. Founded in 2011, SigFig provides more accessible investment advice for investors of all wealth levels. The company uses data science technology for its end-to-end digital wealth management platform, which is behind automated investment services for banks including Wells Fargo, UBS and Citizens Bank.
Lloyds Banking Group will reduce its staff numbers by a further 450, following an announcement earlier this year that it would be axing 930 jobs alongside hundreds of branch closures. “Today’s announcement involves making difficult decisions, and we are committed to working through these changes in a careful and sensitive way,” a Lloyds spokeswoman said.
Mobile point of sale (mPoS) devices connecting wirelessly or via mobile devices will account for 24 per cent of all point of sale transactions by 2023, according to new research. The study from Juniper found that mPoS devices, such as those from iZettle and Square, will account for 87 billion transactions by 2023, representing a threefold increase over an estimated 28 billion transactions in 2018.
PayPal has agreed to acquire global payout platform Hyperwallet for $400 million in cash. The deal enhances PayPal’s payout capabilities, improving its ability to provide an integrated suite of payment solutions to e-commerce platforms and marketplaces around the world, according to a statement.
In rural areas, a higher proportion of people have difficulty getting to a bank and tend not to be able to use online banking, although they are more likely to be satisfied with their overall financial circumstances. This is according to a survey of nearly 13,000 adults by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which conversely found that people living in urban areas are less likely to be satisfied with their overall financial position, are more likely to use high-cost loans and on average have higher levels of unsecured debt.
A rare malfunction of hardware in one of Visa’s data centre was the cause of the outage that left millions of people across Europe unable to make card payments on 1 June. In an 11-page letter to Nicky Morgan, chair of the Treasury Committee, Visa detailed the reasons for the system failure, its effect on the UK and Visa’s response and plans for avoiding such problems in the future.
Canadian interbank network Interac has announced the opening of the Interac Lab – an innovation centre and accelerator, aimed at supporting research and development projects. The focus of the lab will be on tackling product and industry challenges, which will in turn accelerate the development of the next generation of products and features for Canadians. The lab will have three key priorities:
Global Processing Services (GPS), the payments processor and technology firm behind the UK’s digital banks, challengers, FinTechs and financial institutions, has received £44 million in funding from Dunedin. GPS is the market leader in issuer processing, enabling next generation payment technology with 100+ clients including Starling Bank, Revolut, Pockit, Volt Bank, Loot, Stocard, Glint, Osper and Curve.
Deutsche Bank has teamed up with Allianz and European startup Auto1 to launch a new FinTech firm called Auto1 Fintech, which will offer financing and insurance products to automobile dealerships buying and selling used vehicles via Auto1. Auto1 employs around 2,800 people and generates a turnover of 1.5 billion euros per year. Around 3,000 vehicles change hands every day via the online platform – amounting to just under 1 million vehicles since it began operating in 2012.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has weighed in on the cryptocurrency trend, stating they are an “environmental disaster” and have the potential to “bring the internet to a halt”. The ‘central bank of central banks’ explained in its Annual Economic Report that distributed ledger technologies (DLT) are not currently able to scale up sufficiently, so are not suitable as a replacement monetary system.
Nordea Bank recruited the help of The Robotics Centre of Excellence (RCoE) to handle the large number of requests resulting from the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The bank used Robotics Process Automation (RPA) to handle the customer data requests and to implement the complex GDPR project in a matter of weeks, instead of months.
Clydesdale Yorkshire Bank Group (CYBG) has agreed to buy Virgin Money for £1.7 billion, with the group’s retail customers set to move to Virgin Money over the next three years. The deal will create the UK’s sixth-largest bank, with around six million customers. CYBG has agreed with Virgin Group to license the Virgin Money brand for £12 million a year, later rising to £15 million.
The popularity of contactless payments, online shopping and smartphones has led to debit cards overtaking cash as the most frequently used payment method in the UK, according to trade association UK Finance. Its latest report showed new technology, payment innovation and changing consumer habits contributed to 13.2 billion card payments at the end of 2017, overtaking cash payments (13.1 billion) for the first time.
There is a strong appetite among younger consumers for banking services from technology firms such as Amazon, Facebook, Google or Apple, as they could offer greater convenience and more personalised services. This is according to a new report from MuleSoft, which surveyed more than 8,000 consumers across the UK, US, Germany, Netherlands, Australia and Singapore. It found that one in three global consumers would consider using the likes of Amazon for banking services; a figure which rises to 52 per cent for those aged 18-34.
Spanish banking group BBVA is aiming to have mobile customers make up 50 per cent of its customer base by 2019. The global number of digital sales now conducted through BBVA’s digital channels has topped 37.5 per cent for the first time this week, and during the first four months this year, it almost doubled the number of products and services sold through online channels.
Wirecard is launching a supply chain payment platform based on blockchain technology, targeted at producers and processors of raw materials. The prototype focuses on linking merchants with producers, capturing all business processes in smart contracts – digital contracts based on blockchain – while minimising the risk of fraud. By completing transactions this why, all steps along the commercial chain are mapped transparently in a decentralised database.
InsurTech startup Ethos has launched with $11.5 million in financing led by Sequoia Capital, along with the somewhat unlikely celebrity backing of Robert Downey Jnr’s Downey Ventures, Kevin Durant’s Durant Company and Will Smith’s Smith Family Circle. Other participating investors include Stanford University, Roc Nation subsidiary Arrive, and a credit facility from Silicon Valley Bank.
Bank branches are closing at a rate of 60 a month, according to research from consumer organisation Which?. Branch closures were tracked across the UK since 2015, with 2,868 having closed since then, or are scheduled to close by the end of 2018. This trend has been accelerating since 2016 and so far this year 670 branches have closed or been scheduled for closure.
Barclays has signed a licence agreement with simulation firm Simudyne to explore ways to manage risk in a simulated virtual environment. The simulations that the bank has been building replicate real-life complex networks, such as financial markets, by examining how the interactions of large individual agents may drive broader behaviour. By analysing the results of the simulation, Barclays hopes to achieve smarter business decisions in the future.
Yulife has partnered with AIG Life to create a new insurance proposition for the UK market. The InsurTech startup will launch later this year, providing life insurance and wellbeing tools to businesses and consumers, delivered instantly via mobile technology. All policies will be underwritten by AIG Life, the UK life insurance arm of US insurer AIG.
Businesses including Ocado, Amazon, Rolls Royce and McKinsey are backing an industry and government collaboration to develop the next generation of artificial intelligence (AI) experts in the UK. This follows the government’s £1 billion AI sector deal, which brings together more than 50 businesses and organisations to work on promoting the sector.
Almost a third of Australians are willing to share their personal data under the new Open Banking regime, but only if privacy and security concerns are addressed. An online survey conducted on behalf of Unisys among a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults across various Asia Pacific countries, also found that Australian consumers are less willing than those in other Asia Pacific countries to embrace new bank services based on emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
The financial services industry is spending around $1.7 billion a year on blockchain, as banks and other firms move beyond the proof-of-concept stage and begin rolling out commercial products. This is according to a new study from Greenwich Associates, which surveyed 200 market participants on blockchain budgets, team sizes, use case exploration, key challenges and other issues.
The Norwegian parliament, Storting, has requested that a regulatory sandbox for the FinTech industry be set up by the end of 2019. A majority agreed that the sandbox should be established in cooperation with the financial industry and, if appropriate, also include other relevant supervisory bodies such as the Data Inspectorate, the Competition Authority and the Consumer Ombudsman.
ING and AXA have announced a long-term, multi-country partnership to provide insurance products and related services through a central digital platform. Under the partnership, ING will bring its digital banking experience and AXA its expertise in modular insurance products and services, offering property and casualty, health and protection insurance solutions to ING customers in six of its challenger markets: Germany, Australia, Italy, France, Czech Republic and Austria.
More than a quarter (29 per cent) of UK small and medium businesses now give their customers the option to pay using an app in store – fuelled by the popularity of mobile payments apps such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. The research conducted by Verve Partners Research and commissioned by Verifone also found that almost a fifth (17 per cent) of micro businesses are also tapping into the trend and accepting payment apps.
John Flint, group chief executive of HSBC, has revealed plans to invest $15-17 billion in technology as part of the bank’s growth strategy. In a trading update, Flint explained that the bank is ready to get back into “growth mode” following a period of restructuring. “The existing strategy is working and provides a strong platform for future profitable growth,” he said.
Canada-based Luge Capital, a new venture capital fund specifically focused on early-stage FinTech companies and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions for financial services, has launched after securing $75 million investment. Initially, $50 million of the raised capital was announced in October 2017 by the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Desjardins Group, two of the fund's major investors.
The number of connected Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and devices is set to exceed 50 billion by 2022, up from an estimated 21 billion in 2018. This is according to a new study from Juniper Research, which found that the 140 per cent growth will be driven by edge computing services (the processing of data away from the cloud and closer to the source), increasing both deployment scalability and security.
Enterprise Ireland has launched a €750,000 ‘Competitive Start Fund’ for Fintech startup companies that have the capacity to succeed in global markets. The fund is designed to enable recipient companies working in areas including FinTech, PropTech, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and cloud.
UniCredit has signed a strategic partnership with digital banking provider Meniga, while at the same time has taken a stake in the company with a €3.1 million investment. UniCredit will integrate Meniga’s software globally, starting with Italy and Serbia, to make its customers’ digital banking experience more personalised with a focus on data-driven content. Customers will now be able to see a consolidated view of all their cards and account transactions, along with functionality such as advanced search, financial planning, alerts and targeted advice.
FinTech startup MarketInvoice has appointed Rija Javed as chief technology officer (CTO) as the company is set to heavily invest in its technology. Joining from Silicon Valley-based startup Wealthfront, Javed becomes one of the first female CTOs at a UK FinTech firm. She will be responsible for the engineering, data, science, and product and design teams. Javed began her career in Canada with roles at IBM and Research in Motion, before moving to Silicon Valley in 2012.
NatWest is trialling new mobile technology to provide customers an alternative way to pay which doesn’t require the use of a debit or credit card, becoming the first UK High Street bank to do so. The service removes the need to input long card numbers by providing customers with the option to press a button at the end of the purchase process which will take them through to their mobile app. Then the customer will login with Touch ID, or their standard password, before the process completes automatically – cutting the times involved from minutes to just seconds.
London has been dubbed the artificial intelligence (AI) capital of Europe, with double the number of AI firms as closest rivals Paris and Berlin combined. The announcement comes as part of research commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, which maps the capital’s AI ecosystem, highlighting the strengths and complexities of the industry and its growing importance to the UK economy.
Over a third of UK consumers believe that the UK will be a cashless society within the next 10 years, according to new research from Equifax. Furthermore, some 53 per cent of 16-34 year olds believe the UK will be reliant on digital and card payments by 2028, compared to just 22 per cent of those aged 55 and above. Despite this, the survey also found that cash still has its place in society.
Goldman Sachs and Immersive Labs today announced the commencement of a new programme for improving the cyber skills of the bank’s employees around the world. Goldman Sachs will initially use Immersive Labs’ browser-based platform to provide cyber security teams with scenarios and gamified lab environments which encourage best practice by addressing attacker psychology, digital countermeasures and breach response.
Ant Financial has agreed Series C equity financing totalling approximately $14 billion – believed to be the largest single fundraising round in history. It includes an RMB tranche raised by Ant Financial from domestic investors and a USD tranche raised by Ant International from international investors – which should increase the value of the Chinese group above $100 billion.
The Dutch central bank, DNB, has concluded that for the time being blockchain technology cannot meet the high demands of a financial market infrastructure.
This was the finding from its project Dukaton experiments over the last three years. “The biggest shortcomings are inadequate capacity, inefficiency due to high energy consumption and lack of complete certainty about having paid a payment,” read a statement.
Coinbase is on track to operate a regulated broker-dealer, pending approval by federal authorities. If approved, the US-based digital currency exchange will soon be capable of offering blockchain-based securities, under the oversight of the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).
Spanish bank BBVA has announced a partnership with IPsoft for the joint development of an artificial intelligence-powered customer support platform, using IPsoft’s virtual assistant Amelia. Through use of machine learning and natural language processing, the system is capable of automating tasks and communicating with customers using natural language. The AI bot can detect and adapt to the caller’s emotions, making decisions in real-time. It is also able to suggest improvements to the processes for which it has been trained.
Mastercard will soon be rolling out its Send platform, which allows financial institutions, FinTechs, digital customers and other businesses to send real-time payments to UK bank accounts and receive payments by the same means. The network is the first example of Mastercard’s integration of Vocalink and its real-time payment capabilities.
A group of 14 Italian banks has started an operational trial of blockchain for interbank reconciliations. After an initial test phase, the trial will be extended to a larger number of banks, according to the Italian Banking Association’s ABI Lab. The aim is to achieve transparency and visibility of information, greater speed of execution and the possibility of carrying out checks and exchanges directly on the application.
Paysafe has announced a partnership with Google which means its prepaid business paysafecard is now accepted as a payment method in the Google Play app store. The card enables consumers who prefer or need to use cash to pay online by using the 16-digit PIN to complete the transaction.
Revolut has hit two million customers in Europe and is actively working on a commission-free trading platform. The digital-only bank will soon allow customers to instantly invest in UK and US listed companies, as well as other instruments such as Exchange Traded Funds and options – aiming to tackle high fees, confusing trading interfaces and tedious onboarding processes.
The Bank of England has today launched a six-week consultation on the adoption of a common global ‘language’ or messaging standard, known as ISO 20022, for payments in the UK. In conjunction with the New Payments System Operator (NPSO) and the Payment System Regulator (PSR), the study suggests that this standard will be adopted across CHAPS, Faster Payments and Bacs, the UK’s three main interbank payments systems, which together process over eight billion payments per year, with a total value of over £90 trillion.
Many traditional banks are unable to invest in innovative new technologies, as they can only concentrate on plugging holes in their balance sheets, according to an analyst at Citi. Speaking at the Money 20/20 Europe conference, Ronit Ghose shared insights from his work on assessing today’s banking industry for Citi’s Bank of the Future research.
Artificial intelligence (AI) firm Clinc has partnered with Turkish bank İşbank to launch call centres powered by the technology. Announced at the Money 20/20 Europe conference, the Spotlight self-service AI platform will be rolled out to İşbank’s 5.5 million mobile users. Later this year, the bank also plans to integrate Clinc’s AI into its call center, enabling representatives to provide quicker and more accurate responses to customer inquiries made over the phone.
A panel of sector experts agreed unanimously at Money 20/20 Europe that cryptocurrencies need to be regulated if they are to ever gain mainstream acceptance and investment growth. A session trying to answer the question of how the emerging asset class should be viewed – currency, commodity, utility or security – found consensus that a definition was a good place to start for global authorities.
Tesco Bank has fixed an online glitch that was preventing customers from accessing their online banking services via desktop or mobile. The outage affected customer accounts for approximately four hours from 10:30am on Tuesday. A statement from the bank read: “We apologise to customers who are currently unable to access Online and Mobile Banking.
The Treasury Committee’s chair has written to Visa’s European chief executive to find out what went wrong on Friday 1 June, how Visa will ensure that a similar failure doesn’t happen again, and whether customers or merchants will be entitled to compensation. Nicky Morgan commented that given a third of all spending in the UK is processed by Visa, “it’s deeply worrying that such a vital part of the country’s payment infrastructure can fail so catastrophically”.
A new report from Visa has named Starling Bank the best banking app in the UK, followed by fellow mobile-only challengers Monzo and Revolut in second and third respectively. Launched at the Money 20/20 Europe conference, the inaugural mobile banking app review carried out by Optima Consultancy collected and analysed more than 15,000 data points from 51 apps and 40 different brands over a two-and-a-half-year period.
FinTech Circle, a UK-based community of entrepreneurs, investors and financial services professionals, has announced a strategic partnership with China’s Global FinTech Lab. Announced at the Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam, the partnership will see FinTech Circle and the Global FinTech Lab host the first FinTech Bridge Conference in London in late 2018 to help strengthen the ties between mainland China, Hong Kong and the UK. The conference will bring together finance and government leaders from both countries, including top FinTech VCs, banks, insurance companies and asset managers.
Two of Europe's largest payments businesses, Nets and Concardis, are set to form a company with £1.1 billion of annual net revenue. Announced at the Money 20/20 Europe conference, the transaction is a structured as a share exchange, which will see Concardis' private equity shareholders contribute their shares in return for Nets shares. Private equity giants Advent and Bain, who own Germany-based Concardis, will swap their holdings in Concardis for Nets shares.
Ripple has pledged $50 million to a blockchain research initiative at 17 universities around the world, including University College London, the University of Pennsylvania and Korea University. The money will support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.
Mobile-only challenger Starling Bank is making its business account available to the UK’s 3.4 million sole traders, two months after launching the business account service. According to the bank, this will be the first time that sole traders – who make up more than 60 per cent of UK businesses – will be able to manage their business account entirely from their mobile, while being able to manage their personal finances from the same app.
Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple, used a keynote speech at Money 20/20 Europe to address artificial intelligence (AI), bitcoin, banking and regulation. “Bitcoin might be a bubble, but it’s on the right track,” he stated, noting that after so many years acting as a de-centralised, un-regulated system, the blockchain technology that underlies the digital currency is still working.
Visa has announced two new programmes designed to support European FinTech firms, including the launch of a $100 million investment fund. The focus of the investment programme will be on supporting startup firms that are innovating in the Open Banking space and those using emerging technologies to create secure commerce experiences.
Dutch bank ING has announced that it is expanding its mobile money management platform Yolt to France and Italy. Yolt was launched in the UK in June 2017 and currently has over 300,000 registered users. The app is designed to help users actively manage their personal finances with an overview of their accounts with the majority of UK banks.
The financial industry must consolidate omnichannel payments, card payments and direct-from-bank Open Banking payments into new ‘Open Payments’ platforms to meet the demands of connected customers and retailers. This is according to research from payments processor RS2, which examined the trends and technologies that are driving innovation in the commerce space. It found that:
The hardware malfunction that left millions of people across Europe unable to make card payments on Friday evening has now been resolved, according to Visa. What the global payments company described as a systems failure forced people to revert to cash, with many ATMs running out of money and shopping having to be left at checkouts.
NatWest has confirmed the acquisition of FreeAgent, the Edinburgh-based cloud accounting software company. Following an offer in March, FreeAgent will continue to operate as an independent brand and maintain its current Edinburgh location. The move comes in advance of the ‘Making Tax Digital’ initiative from HMRC, due to apply to all VAT registered businesses for their VAT obligations from April 2019.
San Francisco-based mobile bank Chime has secured $70 million in Series C funding, led by Menlo Ventures, with participation from existing investors Forerunner Ventures, Aspect Ventures, Cathay Innovation, Northwestern Mutual, Crosslink Capital, and Omidyar Network. The latest injection of funds brings the total investment in the firm to over $100 million and values the company at around $500 million.
Indian point of sale (PoS) payments firm Pine Labs has secured $125 million in funding from US payments firm PayPal and Temasek, a Singaporean investment company. Pine Labs hopes that the partnership with Temasek will enable use of the firm’s network across multiple Asian geographies to scale efficiently, while partnering with PayPal will help to drive the technological capabilities of its product offering.
Digital challenger bank Revolut has unveiled Connect – a new app store for business customers to connect the tools and apps they use on a daily basis. The Connect store will enable customers to link their accounting software, budget software and other apps for tax, payroll, expense management and more, to streamline operations and process payments instantly.
UK banks will have to develop alerts for customers at risk of slipping into debt, as well as a range of financial management tools to make it easier to keep on top of finances. The proposals may be seen as an opportunity for the various FinTech firms which have developed personal finance apps, as well as those developing similar tools under the recent Open Banking changes.
Blockchain consortium R3 has secured a strategic investment of $5 million from financial market infrastructure group CLS. The two companies will work together to explore how R3’s blockchain platform Corda can be deployed to improve efficiencies for its members, including 70 financial institutions and more than 24,000 third party clients.
A new report into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in finance has warned that regulators need to reign in the technology or face serious market instability caused by unaccountable algorithms. Risk management consultancy Parker Fitzgerald stated that AI’s power to improve productivity in financial services is undeniable, while predictive analytics and machine learning have opened new possibilities in the detection of fraudulent activity and financial crime.
Officials at the Bank of England said they have made a “material step forward” in addressing one of the major risks preventing central banks issuing their own digital currencies. Recent analysis from Michael Kumhof, a senior research advisor in the BoE’s research hub, and Claire Noone, who works in the bank note operations division, was followed by an official blog post which was at pains to state that the central bank is not currently planning to create its own digital currency.
Deutsche Börse has announced that it will cut 350 jobs - including 50 managers - as part of a restructuring and technology investment plan. The German stock exchange group laid out its Roadmap 2020 strategy, which will focus on organic growth, targeted acquisitions and investments in new technologies.
Car manufacturer Hyundai is working with Xevo to allow customers to find and pay for coffee, petrol and parking using their car’s information screen. Xevo’s Market platform provides data-driven user experiences for the automotive industry. Services could expand to restaurant reservations, order-ahead takeaway food, curbside pick-up and electronic vehicle charging.
Goldman Sachs and PSP Investments have led a $250 million funding round for supply chain payments and marketplaces firm Tradeshift. Tradeshift enables supply chain payments for over 1.5 million businesses around the world, including Air France-KLM, DHL, Fujitsu, HSBC, Siemens, Societe Generale, Unilever and Volvo. The company offers alternatives for trade financing, spend and receivables management, lending and payments and private marketplaces.
Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac have joined forces to launch a person-to-person mobile payments app. Beem It is designed to make paying, requesting and splitting the bill easier and quicker, as research showed 68 per cent of Australians have lent money to a friend and never got it back.
Digital challenger bank Tandem is working with cloud technology provider Form3 to bring further improvements to the user experience for its customers. Form3 provides Payments-as-a-Service processing for banks and regulated financial services businesses. The managed technology services is designed to keep pace with the rapidly changing payments landscape and enable greater competition.
Digital wealth management firm Moneyfarm has announced an investment round of £40 million, led by Allianz Asset Management. The funding round is the largest round completed by a European digital wealth manager to date, and will fuel growth for the company, including the launch of more personalised and innovative solutions and the expansion of the investment strategy.
The Mayor of London has partnered with iZettle to launch a contactless payments initiative for buskers in London. The Swedish FinTech firm’s new Repeat Payments feature allows street musicians across the capital to set a fixed amount on their iZettle Reader and accept continuous contactless contributions, whilst performing, as passers-by can tap to show their support.
Digital challenger banks in the UK are outperforming their incumbent counterparts when it comes to overall satisfaction, according to new research from FIS. The study, which quizzed over 1,000 UK banking customers, found that 76 per cent of digital-first bank customers say they are ‘very satisfied’ with their banking relationships, compared to 69 per cent of those who bank with one of the top 50 global banks.
A student from Brunel University London has developed a new payment device that enables buskers and street performers to accept contactless and mobile payments. Called Tiptap, the new technology is designed to allow those who rely on cash, such as London’s street performing community, to keep pace and continue to accept crucial tips as the public continues to move towards cashless payments. “For the third year in a row cash has represented less than half of the total volume of payments made in the UK,”
US self-learning data platform Reltio has announced the closure of a $45 million Series D funding round, led by current investors New Enterprise Associates (NEA). The firm will use the new funds to accelerate innovation, fuel international expansion and ramp support for global enterprise customers. The funding round takes the total amount invested in Reltio to $117 million.
Dutch bank ING has opened a developer portal to accelerate innovation by collaborating more closely with external developers. This first version of the portal gives developers access to selected, simulated ING application programming interfaces (APIs) they can use to jointly create new and innovative customer experiences. The bank hopes that by doing this, it will be able to create better end experiences for customers.
US retail giant Walmart has been granted a patent with the US Patent and Trademark Office for a blockchain system that is able to track items that stores sell to a particular customer. The proposed platform would enable a customer to register the item after it is bought for the first time, providing them with the ability to choose a price for its resale – with the system acting as a digital marketplace.
French bank Crédit Mutuel has announced a partnership with IBM to ‘fundamentally change how its customer relationships are developed and maintained’. The bank will deploy IBM Cloud, Watson and advanced cybersecurity technologies across all of its business lines – consumer credit, personal protection, health, payment instruments and risk and compliance. Crédit Mutuel will combine multiple technologies from IBM – IBM Cloud, Security, and Watson – to reconceive partner relationships and operations.
Some 15 months after the launch of the service, 25 per cent of all SWIFT cross-border payment traffic is now being sent over the global payments innovation (gpi). SWIFT gpi increases the speed, transparency and tracking capabilities of cross-border payments, and is on course to be the standard for all SWIFT international payments by the end of 2020. More than 165 banks, representing 80 per cent of SWIFT’s cross-border payments traffic, and including 49 of the world's top 50 banks, have signed up to the service.
Revolut customers can now buy, hold and sell XRP and Bitcoin Cash from within their mobile app, joining other cryptocurrencies Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum. The digital challenger bank last year launched a feature that enabled customers to trade cryptocurrencies from within their app. Users can instantly exchange 25 fiat currencies directly into cryptocurrency, which can be held or sold.
More than three quarters of financial services CIOs believe that the pace of digital innovation is putting customer experience at risk. A new study from software intelligence firm Dynatrace found that on average, financial services organisations release new software updates twice per working hour, as they try to keep up with competitive pressures and soaring customer expectation.
Starbucks is set to remain the most popular proximity mobile payments app in the US, ahead of Apple Pay and other competitors, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast. This year, 23.4 million people ages 14 and over will use the Starbucks app to make a point of sale purchase at least once every six months. That puts it slightly ahead of the 22.0 million people who will use Apple Pay. Google Pay (11.1 million users) and Samsung Pay (9.9 million) will round out the top four payment apps. The report predicts that the ranking will remain unchanged through 2022.
Retail banks are losing 52 per cent of potential customers at the on-boarding stage, an increase of 35 per cent in the last two years. The figures come from a survey commissioned by digital identity provider Signicat and carried out by Sapio Research among 4,000 consumers across the UK, Germany, The Netherlands and Sweden. It follows up on similar research carried out two years ago. Banks must comply with Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) requirements when on-boarding new customers.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has called on the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) to amend the terms of the CMA’s framework so that emerging payments organisations can realise the potential of Open Banking. In an open letter, the EPA shared concerns about the barriers that could inhibit FinTechs from engaging with Open Banking.
Adobe has announced that it will be acquiring Magento Commerce for $1.68 billion, subject to customary purchase price adjustments. Magento’s platform brings together digital commerce, order management and predictive intelligence, enabling shopping experiences across a range of industries. The platform is built on scalable technology supported by a community of more than 300,000 developers.
Online investment community TradingView has raised $37 million in Series B funding, led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from Jump Capital and DRW Venture Capital. Founded in 2011, TradingView combines web-based charting, analytics and a trading platform with social features for users to communicate with peers. The company will use the injection of funds to expand its software product suite and to support its rapid international growth.
Marc O’Brien, former chief executive of Visa UK and key advisor to Revolut, has been appointed as chief executive of mobile cryptocurrency startup Crypterium. O’Brien has more than 25 years’ experience in the financial services, FinTech and RegTech space. He was a long-term advisor to Mastercard before joining Visa, where he held various positions including six years as chief executive of Visa UK and Ireland.
Japan’s Mitsubishi UFJ has collaborated with Akamai Technologies to develop a new blockchain payment network, with the capacity to process more than a million transactions per second. MUFG has combined its payments business expertise with blockchain technology implemented on Akamai’s cloud delivery platform, launching the new payment network service from fiscal year 2019, compatible with Internet of Things and other new technologies.
London-based information and analytics firm IHS Markit has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Ipreo, a financial services solutions provider, for $1.855 billion. The acquisition is expected to close in the second half of 2018, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory filings and approvals, including with the UK Financial Conduct Authority and under the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
The speed and scale of digital transformation within the financial services industry is contributing to the emergence of new non-financial risks, according to a new report from UK Finance and Parker Fitzgerald. The report outlined how adopting new technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning, cloud computing and blockchain, will allow the financial services sector to develop new services and platforms to significantly reduce operational costs.
Mastercard has announced the formation of Accelerate, a new initiative to support FinTech companies with their growth strategies. The programme is designed to support the firms through tailored support arrangements including access to insight, tools, technology and investment to support innovation. Operating alongside Mastercard’s Start Path programme, Accelerate aims to deepen engagement with the payment FinTech community.
PayPal has agreed to buy iZettle for around $2.2 billion, in a move to take its digital payments into brick-and-mortar retailers. The acquisition is set to be the largest in PayPal's history, and is seen as a move to rival fellow US payments firm Square, which has built up a business catering to coffee shops, street vendors and other small businesses which PayPal has historically overlooked.
The government has appointed FinTech envoys for Wales and Northern Ireland, in an effort to ensure that the UK maintains its leading position post-Brexit. Wales’ envoy will be Richard Theo, chief executive and co-founder of Wealthify, while his counterpart in Northern Ireland will be Georgina O’Leary, director of innovation, research and development at Allstate Northern Ireland.