Money Dashboard has made £4.6 million in the biggest FinTech fundraise on Crowdcube this year. The Edinburgh-based personal finance firm reached its initial target of £1.5 million in just 45 minutes, topping out at £3.6 million with the support of 3,300 crowdfunders.
Revolut has strengthened its senior executive team by appointing a new treasurer, deputy chief financial officer and director of financial crime risk. The new treasurer is Wolfgang Bardorf, who joins from being global head of liquidity models and methodologies at Deutsche Bank. He is also a former executive director in corporate treasury at Goldman Sachs.
Esme Loans, NatWest’s standalone digital lending platform for small businesses, has now lent over £70 million to UK businesses. The lender has seen a sustained period of rapid growth in lending to small businesses, with the most recent milestone representing over £20 million of lending in the space of four months, an increase of 40 per cent in the total loan book.
Financial market network solutions provider IPC and cloud communications company Cloud9 Technologies have partnered for a new open voice trading and collaboration solution. The integrated cloud-based service unites Cloud9’s C9 Trader voice communications and analytics platform, IPC’s Unigy trading communications platform and the Connexus Cloud financial ecosystem.
The EU’s antitrust regulators are weighing up a competition probe into Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency, according to reports. The European Commission’s competition watchdog has sent out a questionnaire to a number of those involved in the Libra project, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the potential probe.
US InsurTech Root is set to complete a $350 million funding round at a valuation of $3.7 billion, led by new investors Coatue Management and DST Global. This latest investment comes about a year after it raised $100 million and secured unicorn status.
Open Banking platform Tink has published an open letter calling on the UK’s financial regulators to show greater flexibility around the September deadline for the implementation of Application Programming Interface (API) standards under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). In the letter, Tink’s vice president of product Tomas Prochazka warned of the need for banks to be given extra time to implement API measures to avoid a ‘cliff-edge’ scenario which could leave millions of customers’ access to online or web-based financial services in jeopardy.
The FStech Awards 2020 are now open for entries, ahead of the ceremony next 19 March. Now in their 20th year, the biggest night of the year for the FinTech industry returns with several new categories that reflect this dynamic sector.
Large General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) fines against British Airways and Marriott have had a ripple effect on board level involvement and spending plans in relation to cyber security within UK financial firms. Data security firm Clearswift surveyed senior business decision-makers within enterprise financial organisations in the UK, finding that the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) recent judgements - a £183 million proposed fine for BA and £99 million proposed fine for Marriott - were key turning points in addressing their own cyber security.
Visa has announced a suite of security capabilities to help prevent and disrupt payment fraud. These should help protect the integrity of the payments ecosystem by detecting and disrupting fraud threats targeting financial institutions and merchants. They are available to Visa clients at no additional cost or sign-up.
Thousands of UK banking customers were unable to pay credit card bills and access account information yesterday after an IT outage hit US payments company TSYS. Customers of Royal Bank of Scotland, Tesco and Nationwide Building Society were unable to view credit card information in their mobile apps and digital banking accounts after the glitch with third party provider TSYS, which apologised for the outage in a statement to the FT on Tuesday evening, citing a “hardware-related issue”.
Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI) has convened a special cross-sector working group tasked with driving the development of FinTech and informing policy under the Irish government’s financial services strategy. Chaired by BPFI, the Fintech Foresight Group brings together representatives from domestic and international banks, global technology companies, indigenous FinTech firms, third-level institutions, public sector representatives and international experts.
A vast majority of chief of financial officers (83 per cent) are already working with a FinTech company or developing their own financial software, as digital transformation continues to disrupt business models. A survey of 100 UK-based CFOs by credit platform Onguard found that nearly two thirds (65 per cent) believe digital transformation will result in fewer jobs.
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe (SMBC) has partnered with RegTech firm Exiger to use its artificial intelligence (AI) powered Know Your Customer (KYC) technology. Following an evaluation period, SMBC selected the DDIQ solution to deploy throughout its client onboarding and monitoring processes. The product understands and analyses content with cognitive reasoning to accelerate and enhance risk assessments of clients, investments, transactions, third parties and counterparties.
Better.com has closed a Series C fundraise at $160 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $254 million to date. Activant Capital, Ping An Global Voyager Fund, Ally Financial, Citi, AGNC, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan and American Express Ventures joined existing shareholders Goldman Sachs, Pine Brook and Kleiner Perkins in the round.
Oracle has released new tools which it claims will help drive the shift towards quicker and easier digital mortgage lending. Its solution is aimed at helping banks and building societies transform residential, buy-to-let and small business mortgage origination by using open architecture design and process automation.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published further clarifications to its guidance on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) under second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) legislation after a fifth set of issues had been raised by participants of its working group. The latest clarifications, which are aimed at explaining the mechanisms of the rules, respond to issues raised on the measurement of response times of the dedicated interface, the machine-readability of the EBA register, reliance on eIDAS certificates and various issues related to the contingency measures, including the identification of third party providers through ‘guest books' and the fact that the data that can be accessed as well as documentation.
A majority (87 per cent) of finance leaders believe that automation will lead to greater efficiency for their business in the next three years, according to new research. A survey of 250 senior finance decision-makers by data and analytics firms Dun & Bradstreet, in association with the the Chartered Insitute of Credit Management (CICM), found that despite expectations that automation is set to drive workplace transformation, nearly two thirds (62 per cent) of financial and credit organisations are automating less than a quarter of their processes.
The City of London Corporation has installed four new contactless card points to help the area’s homeless and rough sleeper population get donations from those that don’t carry cash. Londoners will be able to donate £3 a time to homelessness charity Beam, by tapping their debit and credit cards on the contactless devices.
The London’s Stock Exchange (LSE) has “transitioned to regular trading” after a systems failure led to the longest outage in eight years. Trading opened at 9:40am this morning, 100 minutes late, following a technical issue.
Curve is to launch its first crowdfunding campaign next month. The app-based banking platform, which consolidates multiple payment cards into one smart card, is to open a seven figure crowdfunding campaign to investors in September. The round will be run on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
Global investment in FinTech ventures fell sharply in the first half of 2019, as fundraising and deal activity in China that had soared a year earlier ground to a halt, partially offsetting strong gains in the US, UK and several other European countries. This is according to Accenture analysis of data from CB Insights, including global financing activity from venture capital and private equity firms, corporations and corporate venture capital divisions, hedge funds, accelerators and government-backed funds.
New research has revealed that 70 per cent of financial services firms have experienced a cyber security incident in the past year. Vanson Bourne interviewed 100 senior decision-makers from UK financial organisations on behalf of data security company Clearswift, finding that almost half of the incidents reported over the past 12 months originated from employees failing to follow security protocol or data protection policies.
Monzo is rolling out short-term loans to its 2.5 million customers as the challenger bank seeks to take on incumbents with a range of digital banking services.The loans service - which is being launched after a nine-month trial with 4,000 customers - will not be targeting the typical ‘payday loans’ market, with lower interest rates than those charged by companies such as Wonga, which sometimes reached around 1,000 per cent APR.
Previsico, an InsurTech business spun out from Loughborough University which specialises in modelling flooding in real-time, has completed a successful seed funding round. It is now targeting insurers, reinsurers, brokers and big data firms that are interested in improving their flood response capabilities.
Enterprise blockchain firm R3 is set to further its European expansion with the opening of a new office in Dublin next year. It will serve as another of R3’s tech hubs and will be primarily staffed by engineering specialists who will work closely with the existing engineering team in London.
Thomson Reuters has launched a global RegTech competition designed to provide early stage startups in the legal, tax and regulatory space the opportunity to partner with one of the business information services provider.
Entrants will need to demonstrate how their solutions help lawyers, tax and compliance professionals and or governments solve regulatory and compliance challenges through the smart application of new technologies. They will be judged on criteria that include: market opportunity, value proposition of their solution, technical expertise, partnership opportunities and quality of presentation.
Challenger bank Tandem is asking the public to participate in creating the UK’s first crowd-designed mortgage service.The digital bank plans to launch the mortgage lending service in 2020 and is inviting customers and potential customers’ to help design its features, with a focus on accessibility for aspiring home owners.
Bloomberg has acquired RegTek.Solutions in order to deliver a fully-integrated service that supports compliance with regulatory reporting requirements across multiple jurisdictions. RegTek.Solutions’s products will be integrated with Bloomberg’s Regulatory Reporting Hub (RHUB), as well as its enterprise data management and trading systems.
The board of Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) has awarded £10 million grants from its Capability and Innovation Fund Pool C to Atom Bank, iwoca, Modulr Finance and The Currency Cloud Group. This fund is designed to facilitate the expansion of business offerings to include lending or payments services to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the United Kingdom, or international payments services to SMEs in the United Kingdom.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed a plan to grant the payments and e-commerce industry 18 months of extra time to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).It was reported last week that the financial regulator had drawn up plans to give the UK a minimum 18 month extension to the 14 September deadline for firms to comply with SCA rules required by European Union’s Payment Services Directive (PDS2).
Financial services firms are facing an “onslaught” of cybersecurity threats, with 348 breaches targeted at Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and financial records data reported in 2018. According to a survey of 211 organisations carried out by IT services firm Wipro, the banking, financial services and insurance sector is consistently one of the most targeted industries, with 68 per cent of organisations saying email phishing is a top risk.
British cryptocurrency exchange CoinCorner has started paying its employees in Bitcoin. Staff at the company were given the option to receive part or all of their salary in cryptocurrency earlier this year, according to a statement. Each member of staff had the choice to receive the GBP equivalent of Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin or XRP - cryptocurrencies currently supported by CoinCorner - to include in their monthly pay packet.
Village Capital has announced the launch of Finance Forward — a global coalition created with MetLife Foundation, PayPal and local partners to support more than 100 early-stage entrepreneurs building tech-enabled solutions around financial health in the United States, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and India. Finance Forward will provide capacity-building support for entrepreneurs in the program, as well as $850,000 in capital through grants and direct investments. Based on the past results of Village Capital accelerator programs, the coalition is aiming to drive at least $10 million in follow-on funding to program participants over the next five years.
NatWest is to launch the first trial of voice banking through the Google Home smart speaker device and Google Assistant on smartphone. The three-month pilot will enable 500 participating customers to trial banking services through Google’s voice technology, and will be the first trial of voice banking through smart devices to be carried out by a major UK bank.
The Central Bank of Ireland has confirmed it will put a “limited migration period” in place for regulated firms to comply with the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules. The deadline is currently 14 September under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), but in line with a European Banking Authority (EBA) opinion published in June, the Irish financial regulator has taken up the suggestion of giving merchants and payment providers “limited additional time” to ensure no disruption to payment systems.
FinMkt has closed a $5 million Series B equity round led by FINTOP Capital, with participation from existing investors including ManchesterStory Group and West Loop Ventures. The New York-based firm provides technology solutions for the online lending industry.
Commission-free stock trading app Robinhood has been authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) as a broker in the UK. The US FinTech has yet to give a date for its formal launch, but is currently hiring for several roles in London across compliance, operations, user research and marketing.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is set to delay enforcement of the Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) payment security rules by than 18 months, on the recommendation of UK Finance. This is according to reports in the Financial Times, which reported that as part of its consideration of an extension to the 14 September deadline for implementing the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2), the regulator asked the trade association to design an alternative timetable for the UK.
Commerzbank is testing a blockchain-based machine-to-machine payment system with Daimler Trucks. The pilot involved the exchange and settlement of payments between an electronic charging point and a Daimler Truck system without any human intervention.
Lloyds Banking Group is partnering with InsurTech firm Trov to release a portfolio of end-to-end, white-labelled insurance products. The Powered by Trov platform comprises four core modules: policy sales; including quoting, binding, billing and adjustments; claims, including consumer and business interfaces; business intelligence, including conversion, engagement and risk analytics; and customer relationship management.
UK financial services organisations are rapidly embracing new cloud-enabled technologies to transform the ways they operate and serve customers, although skills shortages, security barriers and worries about compliance are standing in the way of digital transformation. This is according to research from the Cloud Industry Forum (CIF) and Aryaka, which surveyed 250 IT and business decision-makers at UK-based financial services organisations with 50 or more employees and IT procurement budgets averaging £8 million per year.
Multicurrency accounts FinTech Ipagoo has fallen into administration, becoming the first non-bank with access to the CHAPS clearing house to do so. The collapse followed the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) ordering it to stop all regulated activity on 24 July, after it was discovered that Ipagoo had problems segregating customer money.
The Federal Reserve has announced plans to develop a new round-the-clock real-time payment and settlement service, called the FedNow Service, to support faster payments in the United States. A statement from the central bank explained that the rapid evolution of technology presents a pivotal opportunity for it and the payment industry to modernise the nation's payment system and establish a safe and efficient foundation for the future.
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has launched Sandbox Express to provide firms with a faster option to test innovative financial products and services in the market. Eligible applicants can begin market testing in the pre-defined environment within 21 days of applying to MAS, instead of taking a longer time to customise their sandboxes under the existing FinTech Regulatory Sandbox.
Mastercard has entered into an agreement to acquire the majority of the corporate services businesses of European PayTech firm Nets for €2.85 billion.
The acquisition comprises the clearing and instant payment services, as well as e-billing solutions of Nets’ corporate services division. The addition of Nets’ technology and teams should strengthen Mastercard’s existing account-to-account capabilities.
Monzo has disclosed a security oversight that saw customer PINs stored incorrectly within its internal systems. Discovered on Friday, the bug was spotted by one of Monzo’s security engineers, and meant that some login details were simultaneously stored in encrypted log files accessible by certain staff.
Avantia, the technology-enabled insurer behind HomeProtect, has updated its retail pricing model, employing Bayesian optimisation as an alternative to traditional A/B testing. The new approach uses machine learning to more quickly identify the optimal price for its products, achieving this with fewer rounds of iteration and with less reliance on human involvement and the biases that entails.
Experian has reported that its Open Data Platform underpinned more than 20 million of the UK’s Application Programming Interface (API) requests made in April. This represents 40 per cent of the 49.1 million made in the UK overall, according to figures from the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), with the number of API requests made in the UK more than doubling since February.
Starling Bank chief executive and founder Anne Boden has published a letter today stating, among other things, that the digital challenger is aiming to reach a break-even point at the end of next year. She wrote that since November 2018, financial performance has outperformed expectations, with growth of 110 per cent in customer numbers and of 200 per cent in the deposit base – resulting in a 150 per cent increase in annualised revenue run rate over the same period, which is expected to double by this December.
OakNorth has announced the appointment of Jackson Hull as its chief technology officer (CTO) and chief operating officer (COO). A statement from the credit platform explained that with over 15 year’s c-suite experience in London and San Francisco, he is an expert in building high-volume e-commerce applications, global software-as-a-service platforms, mobile and Internet of Things platforms.
A survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute in the US has revealed that half of global financial services organisations have suffered theft of sensitive customer data or system failure and downtime because of insecure software or technology. Synopsys commissioned the study, which found that many organisations are struggling to manage cyber security risk in their supply chain and are failing to assess their software for security vulnerabilities before release.
Enterprise blockchain software firm R3 has reaffirmed its commitment to London, doubling the size of its London Wall hub to accommodate a rapidly-growing engineering team. The extra space will also support an “aggressive hiring plan” to increase the company’s global headcount from its current level of 215 to nearly 300 by the end of the year. Of this, over half of the new hires will be in the London office, with more than 40 new recruits being made in the capital.
Lloyd’s of London has announced 11 new teams of InsurTech disruptors to join the global (re)insurance market’s innovation accelerator. More than 130 applications were received from across the world for the third cohort of the Lloyd’s Lab. The successful teams were selected as part of a competitive process involving 24 shortlisted applicants which presented their ideas to experts across the market during pitch day.
The Treasury Select Committee is calling for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to be given greater formal regulatory powers. A report set out the committee’s views that the scope of the financial watchdog’s regulatory perimeter is currently “insufficient”.
Nationwide Building Society has announced plans to open a new digital innovation centre in London, aimed at attracting the talent it needs for the future whilst building on the existing skills of its workforce. This follows an announcement in September 2018 that it would spend an additional £1.3 billion on technology over the next five years – totalling £4.1 billion over the period.
Cyber criminals launched 3.5 billion attempted attacks on the financial services sector over a six month period. Data from US cloud and digital services provider Akamai found that half of all unique organisations impacted by observed phishing domains were from the financial services sector.
HM Treasury is launching a £2 million challenge prize in partnership with Nesta Challenges to encourage UK FinTechs to come up with affordable credit solutions.The Affordable Credit Challenge is offering to fund FinTech companies willing to partner with community lenders to design innovative services to help people access credit and avoid the need to turn to payday or guarantor loans providers.
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has agreed definitive terms to acquire Refinitiv in an all share transaction worth approximately $27 billion. The transaction will result in the Refinitiv shareholders ultimately holding an approximate 37 per cent economic interest in LSEG and less than 30 per cent of the total voting rights of LSEG.
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have only one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards. Now in their seventh year, the ceremony will take place at the Marriott Grosvenor Square in London on 13 November, hosted by award-winning comedian and panel show regular Holly Walsh.
New research has revealed that 29 per cent of finance managers at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are likely to switch their main bank account in the next five years. Finastra commissioned YouGov to survey more than 450 UK SMEs, finding that while the majority of respondents (86 per cent) were either fairly happy, or very happy with their bank, almost a third could be open to a new offering from a challenger bank.
The UK’s FinTech sector defied a slowdown in global investment in the first half of the year, drawing $3.06 billion of new funding, according to KPMG. The professional services firm’s analysis of investment activity in the first six months of 2019 found that the UK landed six of the top ten deals in Europe, along with 68 per cent of Europe’s total venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) investment.
Revolut launching a stock trading service, which will allow customers to make commission-free trades within the app. The service will initially be available to its Metal card customers, who will be able to make 100 free trades of a basket of 300 US listed stocks on the New York Exchange and NASDAQ.
FNA has closed a $5.5 million Series A funding round led by IQ Capital, with participation from GETTYLAB. The funds will be used to further develop the firm’s solutions to help financial regulators and institutions operationalise advanced data analytics, identify fault lines and prepare better for cyber threats.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has confirmed that the company's new credit card will launch next month, as the iPhone maker looks to become the latest tech titan to enter financial services. Apple first announced plans for a Mastercard credit card, issued in partnership with Goldman Sachs, in March.
Swiss Re has partnered with Expert System to use its Cogito natural language understanding technology to empower its digital and analytics strategy throughout the entire value chain. With Expert System's artificial intelligence-driven approach, which focuses on deep knowledge understanding and data accuracy, Swiss Re has been achieving greater efficiency by automating tasks such as assessing risk reports or evaluating claims evaluation.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its final guidance on the cryptoasset activities it regulates, in response to the consultation published earlier this year. The guidance aims help firms understand whether their cryptoasset activities fall under FCA regulation, giving them a better understanding of whether they need to be authorised and what they need to do to ensure they are compliant.
Capital One has confirmed that it was the victim of a hack which involving the data of around 100 million US individuals and six million in Canada.The US financial services giant announced that the hack, which was discovered on 19 July, involved “unauthorised access by an outside individual who obtained certain types of personal information” relating to people who had applied for its credit card products and to Capital One credit card customers.
Microsoft and Publicis Sapient have partnered to support the launch of the world’s first end-to-end digital trade bank, Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank (AGTB). Publicis Sapient will function as a digital partner, using Microsoft’s cloud-based security and data solutions to provide implementation strategy, technology and client experience from the outset. AGTB is designed to be a digital-only trade finance bank to encourage greater trade by companies, particularly in the Middle East, the UK and Asia. It uses blockchain technology to offer clients full control over simple, streamlined and transparent processes, while analysing data to mitigate risk.
Responding to US lawmakers’ scrutiny of Facebook’s digital currency plans, Ripple executives Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen have written an open letter urging the authorities not to paint all cryptocurrencies with the same regulatory brush. Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have demanded an immediate moratorium on the implementation of Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency and digital wallet, citing the social media giant's recent privacy issues as a threat to the world economy.
Revolut has confirmed that David Maclean, a finance director at Metro Bank, is set to be appointed chief financial officer, as the FinTech challenger continues to bolster its team with City veterans. Revolut confirmed that Maclean would be appointed later this year, subject to regulatory approval.
The demand for Application Programme Interface (API) technology is gaining momentum as firms look to digital services to improve efficiency and establish new business models. A joint report from secure financial messaging provider SWIFT and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that interest in APIs - which determine rules and standards for integration between software applications and data sharing - have seen a marked rise in interest from financial services firms over the course of the past year, particularly in the post-trade area.
Legal & General has announced a partnership with Raisin UK, providing the asset manager’s customers with access to cash savings accounts through the FinTech’s marketplace. The partnership is an attempt to diversify Legal & General’s product offering and answer growing calls from consumers looking for greater choice and more control when it comes to planning for their financial future.
Flaws have been discovered that allow hackers to bypass the payment limits on Visa contactless cards. Positive Technologies tested the attack with five major UK banks, successfully bypassing the UK contactless verification limit of £30 on all tested Visa cards, irrespective of the card terminal.
FinTech financing hit $10.9 billion during the second quarter of 2019 – the second best quarterly performance ever recorded by FT Partners. The San Francisco-based tech investment firm’s latest report recorded mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity during the first six months of this year already topping the entirety of 2018, at $148.3 billion, compared to $127.8 billion.
Starling Bank has partnered with mobile point of sale company SumUp to provide small merchants with access to faster settlements. SumUp’s terminals can be used with an accompanying app, or without an app via the company’s standalone 3G Reader, which comes with an integrated free data card.
SoftBank Group is set to launch its second Vision Fund, with participation from major tech players including Apple, Foxconn and Microsoft. The Vision Fund 2 will focus on artificial intelligence (AI) based technology, with about $108 billion in capital committed, according to the published memoranda of understandings. SoftBank’s own investment in the fund will be $38 billion and it is still in discussions with other potential participants, so the total size of the new fund is expected to increase.
Several European associations representing banks and third party providers (TPPs) have released a joint statement agreeing on joint efforts regarding the transition to EU new payment rules. Responding to recent updates from EU authorities regarding the 14 September deadline for the revised payments services directive (PSD2), the European Credit Sector Associations (ECSAs) and TPP associations have pledged to improve their interactions regarding the implementation of the new standards.
Paysend has raised £8.5 million in Series B funding to support the global roll-out of its international money transfer technology. The startup said the round was led by a £3.95 million investment from GVA capital, alongside 933 investors on the Seedrs crowdfunding platform, who raised a collective £4.6 million.
InsurTech investment worldwide continued at high levels during the second quarter of 2019, marking the fourth consecutive quarter during which total new funding commitments exceeded $1.2 billion. This is according to the latest Quarterly InsurTech Briefing from advisory, broking and solutions company Willis Towers Watson, which found 69 deals with a total value of $1.41 billion that were announced in the second quarter.
TSB has announced a return to growth in the first half of 2019 as the bank recovers from last year’s IT-related woes.It reported statutory pre-tax profit had climbed to £21.1 million in the first six months of this year, versus a loss of £107.4 million in the same period in 2018.
Hippo Insurance has secured $100 million in a Series D funding round led by global technology investment firm Bond. The round brings the InsurTech startup’s total funding to $209 million, with other participation in this round from Comcast Ventures, Felicis Ventures, Fifth Wall, Hillhouse Capital, Horizons Ventures, ICONIQ Capital, Lennar Corporation, Michael Ovitz, Pipeline Capital, Propel Venture Partners, RPM Ventures, Standard Industries and Zeev Ventures.
People favour face-to-face and over-the-phone contact, despite the increasing amount of digital communication channels available to them, according to new research. The study of 2,166 UK adults conducted by YouGov in April, on behalf of Getty Images, revealed that in-branch contact is preferred by those aged 45-54 (39 per cent) and over 55 (43 per cent) however, the youngest of the generations surveyed still value direct human contact. For those aged between 18 and 34, telephone and then branch contact followed closely behind smartphone app communication.
Mastercard has announced a partnership with SumUp aimed at extending payment acceptance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 27 European countries. The five-year deal will enable micro and SME companies to accept electronic payments via SumUp’s card readers, by card and digital enabled devices such as smartphones, smartwatches or wristbands.
UK FinTech startup Hokodo has been awarded €2 million by Horizon 2020, the funding programme for research and innovation run by the European Commission. Grants are awarded to “market-creating innovations” that demonstrate high growth prospects, and are highly competitive - only around 7.5 per cent of the startups which enter are successful.
Business bank account switching has more than doubled in a year, according to the latest figures from the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). The data collected shows that 246,974 switches were completed in the second quarter of 2019, with 17,687 business account switches using the CASS service – up from 8,000 in the same period last year.
UK FinTech firm Centtrip has established a new company in Amsterdam, Centtrip Europe, to grow its presence in mainland Europe. The treasury management firm has also partnered with the Netherlands Foreign Investment Agency (NFIA) and amsterdam inbusiness as part of a commitment to invest in the country’s FinTech scene. To complement its technology services, Centtrip is also applying to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) for authorisation as an Electronic Money Institution.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its latest paper on Access to Cash, with research suggesting that despite a strong shift to alternate payment methods, over 80 per cent of Brits paid for something using cash in the previous week. The regulator commissioned BritainThinks to ask consumers and small businesses from across the UK how they use and accept cash. A telephone survey was used to ensure a demographically representative sample from 1,590 UK consumers, while an online survey targeted 542 UK small businesses.
More than half (52 per cent) of UK consumers are looking for new tools and apps, such as those enabled by Open Banking, to help them feel more in control of their finances.This is according to consumer research published by Nesta Challenges to mark the launch of its Open Up Challenge 2020, which is offering part of a £1.5 million prize to encourage FinTech innovators to create solutions which help people make more of their money.
Revolut and Starling Bank have both announced new business banking initiatives today, hoping to appeal to the UK’s smaller traders. Starling has opened up its business account to hundreds of thousands more UK small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by inviting companies with more than one person of significant control (PSCs) to sign up, while Revolut for Business launched two business account plans with zero monthly subscription fees, designed to support startups from freelancers to corporates.
Banco Santander has announced plans to consolidate all its digital services into a single global platform.The Spanish-headquartered bank revealed the plan as it published results for the first six months of 2019, with attributable profit standing at €3.2 billion, dragged down by €814 million of planned restructuring costs, including €26 million in the UK and a further €80 million for UK PPI provision.
Nationwide Building Society has partnered with Mastercard as it prepares to launch a new business banking service targeting Britain’s 5.6 million small businesses. Whilst Nationwide continues to gear up for the introduction of its business accounts, Mastercard debit cards will be made available to business customers following the launch early next year.
Credit reporting agency Equifax has agreed to pay up to $700 million to settle with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over a 2017 data breach which left the details of up to 150 million people exposed. The deal reached with the US regulator, which will involve at least $575 million, will register as the largest ever payout to the FTC to settle a data breach case, following the $148 million paid by Uber last year.
Robinhood has announced a $323 million Series E financing, valuing the company at a $7.6 billion. The fee-free stock trading app released a brief statement, explaining that the round was led by DST Global, with participation from investors including Ribbit Capital, NEA, Sequoia and Thrive Capital.
Morgan Stanley is launching a digital vault to enable document sharing between wealth management clients and their financial advisors. The digital vault, powered by cloud technology provider Box, provides an encrypted repository for clients to store and share their most important documents, such as wills, deeds, estate plans, financial statements and tax filings with their financial advisors.
Visa has acquired German point of sale (PoS) firm Payworks in a deal that will enable Visa to offer cloud-based in-store and online payments processing. Visa said it would integrate Payworks’ PoS payment gateway software with its CyberSource digital payment management platform to create a fully integrated payment acceptance solution for merchants and acquirers.
Token.io has partnered with UK property marketplaces, StuRents and Mashroom, to give renters, landlords and agents access to Open Banking services, including bank direct payments and data aggregation. StuRents operates a national student property platform that combines a student-centric property search with online contract signing, payment facilitation, property management and research capabilities. It will integrate Token’s technology to expand the payment options available to tenants and property managers who transact within StuRents’ ecosystem.
Digital challenger Atom Bank has raised £50 million as it prepares to re-platform operations into the cloud. The round was led by BBVA, Toscafund, Woodford Patient Capital Trust and funds advised by Perscitus, taking the bank’s total funding since it launched in April 2016 to £450 million.
Kiwi FinTech firm FNZ has acquired JHC Systems, a UK-based provider of platform software to the wealth management industry. The acquisition should result in the combined group becoming one of the top broking platforms in the UK, when respective existing customers are combined. The financial details were not disclosed.
New research from TSB has revealed that more than half (57 per cent) of over 55s say they never use mobile banking, despite being smartphone users. This is in contrast to 82 per cent of 18 to 34 year-olds who say they use mobile banking. The findings come as the bank rolls out new functionality which allows customers to open a current account using a ‘selfie’ phone photo, without the need to visit a branch.
Banking software firm Temenos has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) platform Logical Glue for £12 million, as the industry responds to demand for “explainable” AI banking products. Temenos said Logical Glue’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform would bolster its AI offering, giving banking clients enhanced transparency and explainability when it comes to automated decisions.
Payments FinTech SumUp has raised €330 million to grow its network of merchants across 31 markets worldwide. The funding round was led by Goldman Sachs Private Capital, Bain Capital Credit, HPS Investment Partners and TPG Sixth Street Partners.
Following from the success of RegTech Live in February, FStech is pleased to announce the inaugural CyberSecurity Live conference. As the amount of personal data processed by financial services firms increases exponentially, so does the potential for criminals to intercept it. Not a week goes by without a new threat identified or breach admitted to, so this one-day event will bring together experts from across institutions, regulators and government - along with the leading tech firms - to debate the biggest issues in cyber security.
German digital bank N26 has seen its valuation climb to $3.5 billion after extending a Series D funding round to $470 million.The Berlin-based mobile bank, which launched in the UK in October, has added a further $170 million into its coffers as it prepares to launch its services in the US over the summer. The extension is a bolt on to a $300 million raise in January.
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) has announced the results of the second Incentivised Switching Scheme application process, with only Habib Bank Zurich applying and meeting the eligibility criteria. Its offer will go live in mid-August 2019, while existing eligible applicant Nationwide Building Society has met all eligibility criteria, but is yet to launch a business current account offering. It has plans to do so in early 2020.
Facebook is prepared to postpone the launch of its Libra digital currency until global financial regulators are satisfied that it meets security, data privacy and consumer protection standards. In an appearance before the United States Senate Banking Committee, David Marcus, a former PayPal executive who is leading Facebook’s Libra unit, told lawmakers that the company had heard concerns raised by governments and policymakers “loud and clear”.
Finix, a payments infrastructure platform built by the former PayPal, First Data and Worldpay executives, has landed $17.5 million funding from investors including Visa and Bain Capital Ventures. The US-based company, co-founded by Richie Serna and Sean Donovan, launched its payments processing solution in 2015.
The Open Banking Implementation Authority (OBIE) has published a report on the progress of the data sharing reforms, paving the way for expanding them into other areas of finance. Research for the report, commissioned from Fingleton and the ODI, was carried out with stakeholder interviews among third party providers (TPPs), representatives of banks, the OBIE, Competition and Markets Authority and Financial Conduct Authority staff and consumer representatives.
The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in financial services is still only at a “nascent” phase, with a number of firms yet to ask themselves fundamental questions around ethical use, according to the Financial Conduct Authority’s executive director of strategy and competition. Announcing the launch of the FCA’s partnership with the Alan Turing Institute at a conference this morning, Christopher Woolard said the project would focus on the practical challenges of transparency and explainability of AI in the financial sector.
A survey of over 500 financial services IT professionals across six countries in North America and Europe has revealed that they have little confidence in users keeping data safe. The research, carried out by Blackberry, found that 94 per cent of those surveyed are not fully confident in the ability of their employees, consultants and partners to adequately safeguard data.
Revolut is using Open Banking technology from TrueLayer to integrate with financial services apps, including money management tool Emma. Under the partnership, Revolut will use Truelayer’s financial Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to allow customers to automatically integrate their financial data with Emma and track spending in real time.
FinTech startup Curve has secured $55 million (£43.9 million) in a Series B funding round that valued the company at $250 million.The Open Banking platform, which consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card controlled by an app, launched out of its Beta phase in February 2018 and has since acquired more than 500,000 customers.
PayPal has launched Xoom, its international money transfer service, in the UK and 31 other European markets. Users can send up to £8,800 in a single transaction to more than 130 markets internationally. Existing PayPal customers can use their account to access Xoom’s services, and use their bank accounts to transfer funds, in addition to the debit and credit card options available through Xoom.
The UK FinTech sector is on course for a record year, with investment in the first half of 2019 reaching $2.9 billion across 123 deals, up 45 per cent on 2018. Driven by a strong start in the first two months of the year, total capital invested in FinTech startups from January to June reached nearly 85 per cent of the total raised in the whole of 2018, according to new figures from Innovate Finance.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has found regulatory gaps in the licensing regime for crypto-asset related activities, as well as in the governance processes associated with cyber security and cloud outsourcing. Two surveys conducted by ESMA earlier this year gathered evidence from national competent authorities (NCAs) across the EU on the treatment of FinTech firms within their jurisdictions.
WorldPay and ClearBank founder Nick Ogden has joined the board of lending platform Funding Options as non-executive chairman.Ogden is regarded as a pioneer in the UK’s FinTech and payments space, having founded WorldPay in 1997, followed by ClearBank, which became the UK’s first new clearing bank in 250 years.
Starling Bank co-founder Julian Sawyer has left the FinTech challenger. He had been instrumental in building the mobile-only bank since 2015, as part of the team running operations and building the banking services business. Sawyer stepped down last week, following the departure of product director Ben Chisell a week earlier.
The number of data breaches reported by whistleblowers to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has jumped 175 per cent in since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was introduced. A Freedom of Information request from law firm RPC revealed that the number of breaches highlighted by individuals concerned over consumer data privacy rose to 379 reports in 2018-2019, from 138 in 2017-18.
The volume of domestic money transfers via mobiles will exceed 203 billion in 2024, up from 130 billion in 2019, driven by peer-to-peer (P2P) payments, and will account for 80 per cent of all domestic transfers in 2024. This is according to Juniper Research, which pointed out that in developed markets, digital wallets have made P2P payments far simpler, with services including PayPal, Venmo and Cash App enabling low cost, fast and secure payments for a rapidly growing number of users.
Digital challenger bank Revolut is reportedly close to naming former Standard Life Aberdeen co-chief executive Martin Gilbert as its first chairman.The Financial Times reported that Gilbert, regarded as one of the most experienced figures in The City, is being brought on board to win over investors ahead of a new fundraising round.
Nearly half (44.6 per cent) of compliance professionals say that using emerging technologies such as AI and advanced analytics could help fight money laundering and financial crime, according to a study. A survey of 200 anti-money laundering professionals in the UK by LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a data and analytics company, also found that Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) – the way in which businesses detect financial crime- could be improved through the use of technology.
President Trump has hit out at Facebook’s plan to launch the Libra digital currency and has said that the social media giant must apply to become a licensed bank if it wishes to operate in the US. In a stream of Tweets last night Trump revealed that he is “not a fan of Bitcoin and other Cryptocurrencies”, which he said were volatile, not real money and “based on thin air.”
HSBC has launched an AI-driven global client wealth management portal driven by technology from software company Finantix . HSBC’s private banking division has used Finantix software and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to build a digital wealth management portal allowing wealth managers to augment their client knowledge and streamline regulatory tasks.
Revolut has announced plans to open a technical hub in Berlin as the challenger bank eyes further European expansion. The company said the hub will create up to 80 across engineering, data science and product management.The centre, which will be officially opened in October, will be focused on localising Revolut’s product and services for the German and European market as the company looks to grow its 150,000 strong customer base in Germany.
The EPSM, a European trade association of payments services providers for merchants, has called for an 18 month delay to the introduction of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) rules to prevent significant disruption to online and digital businesses. The EPSM has joined its voice to a growing number of industry and regulatory institutions warning that businesses will not be ready for the EU-wide 14 September deadline to implement SCA rules, which is being introduced under the revised payment service directive (PSD2).
The UK’s most innovative payments companies have just one week left to enter for the 2019 Payments Awards.Now in their seventh year, companies are able to submit entries for this year’s awards with an expanded selection of categories to choose from.
German digital bank N26 has today launched a phased roll out of its app-based banking services in the US. The challenger bank, which launched in the UK last year, is to begin offering the beta of its checking account and Visa debit card services to 100,00 users already signed up to the US waiting list before a full public roll out later this summer.
Young people are predicting a revival of High Street banks in the coming years despite the arrival of the cashless economy, according to a new study. A YouGov survey of 2,036 young people for software and technology firm ThoughtWorks found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) predicted that banks will be primarily responsible for looking after personal data after the arrival of the cashless economy, while 23 per cent thought they will support financial education.
Lloyds Banking Group is partnering with digital ID firm Callsign as it builds its range of digital identification and authentication solutions. Callsign’s technology works by using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) systems to process multiple real-time data points to conduct multi-factor authentication and transaction approvals.
Facebook’s plans to launch a digital currency have come under pressure from the US federal reserve chairman, who warned that the plan “cannot go forward” unless regulatory concerns over data privacy financial stability have been dealt with. Speaking to the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee Jerome Powell echoed concerns raised by lawmakers from the US and around the world over the potential for Facebook’s Libra currency to disrupt the global financial system if not properly regulated.
Financial services firms are at higher risk of hacking attempts and cybersecurity breaches than other industries, according to a new report. An analysis of security data from 225 financial services customers compiled by mobile security firm Wandera over a six month period found that financial services organisations are experiencing a higher volume of phishing attacks than their peers outside the vertical, with 57 per cent of firms in the study hit by this kind of attack compared to 42 per cent across industries.
Mastercard has completed the acquisition of cross border payments firm Transfast, as the company looks to further extend its payments network. Mastercard originally declared the intention to buy Transfast on March 8.
Lloyds Bank has announced a partnership with Blue Motor Finance for commercial banking payment Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) for use in the motor finance market.The two companies, which did not disclose any finances involved in the partnership, said they would collaborate to develop instant payments through Lloyds Bank’s Commcercial Banking API Lab, specifically focussed on an innovative Faster Payments and direct debit API.
London-based fintech Soldo has secured $61 million in funding that it will use to expand its operations to Ireland in advance of Brexit. Soldo, founded in 2014, has developed a software platform that enables businesses to manage company-wide payments and expenses from a central account.
The challenges of digital transformation are taking their toll on Chief Information Officers (CIOs) and straining their relations with other executives according to a survey which revealed that just 23 per cent of UK CIOs are aligned with their chief financial officer (CFO) on tech strategy. A global survey of 555 C-level decision makers by digital transformation software Apptio and Financial Times Focus found that nearly half (47 per cent) of respondents agreed that instead of integrating their organisations, digital transformation has deepened the divide between IT and finance.
European FinTech leaders expect Artificial intelligence (AI) and Open Banking to set the standard for wide-ranging innovation in the financial services industry, according to research from Barclays. A Barclays survey of more than 600 leaders in FinTech, financial services and payments conducted at the Money 20/20 conference last month also found that 69 per cent believe collaboration between banking incumbents and more agile FinTechs is expected to be a key driver of change in the banking sector in the coming years.
More than half (59 per cent) of payments leaders admit they are losing money due to issues with their payments gateways, according to new research. A global study of more than 500 online payment professionals by electronic payments provider emerchantpay also found that a lack of data and insight, analytical skills and resources for payments services had resulted in close to two thirds (65 per cent) reporting that they need to improve payments performance "as a matter of urgency."
Starling is partnering with rent recognition platform CreditLadder to enable customers to use financial data from monthly rental payments to build their credit score. CreditLadder, an FCA-approved platform, enables renters to prove a successful history of timely rent payments in order to bolster their credit history.
Two thirds (66 per cent) of UK consumers are more concerned about the security than the speed of making payments online, according new research. A YouGov study of 2,021 of adults for credit scoring firm Equifax said that security was the top priority across all ages groups, and was a particular concern for over 55s (75 per cent) compared to just over half of 18-24 and 25-34 year olds (52 per cent and 53 per cent respectively).
HSBC has launched a series of virtual accounts which will enable its wholesale clients to consolidate bank accounts and centralise transactions.The Next Generation Virtual Accounts are aimed at helping wholesale customers to carry out reconciliation in multiple currencies in more than 20 countries and will simulate the benefits of traditional virtual accounts by enabling treasurers to centralise payments and receivables across multiple and single entity structures.
Three FinTechs have each won a share of a of £27,000 investment pot, following a pitch evening hosted by EValue and 4xxi. Following a competitive round of online applications, five startups were chosen to pitch to the panel.
A planned tax on digital businesses should be canned because it risks making Britain look unfavourable to innovative technology firms, the Confederation for British Industry (CBI) has warned. The industry body is calling for Philip Hammond’s digital services tax, which would impose a two per cent levy on revenues from April 2020, to be scrapped in favour of an international effort led by the OECD to tax digital and tech giants such as Google and Facebook.
Utah has become the second US state to launch a regulatory ‘sandbox’, providing FinTechs the opportunity to apply for a special exemption when setting up their businesses. A statement explained that the program allows participants to temporarily test innovative financial products or services on a limited basis without otherwise being licensed or authorised to act under Utah State law. The state’s Department of Commerce is responsible for applications and provides administrative oversight of the program.
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management has chosen Finantix for a new artificial intelligence-powered Know Your Customer (KYC) solution to improve the client onboarding process. The bank’s wealth management business wanted to automate certain parts, in order to enable greater human focus on qualitative analysis and exception handling, strengthening the client due diligence function.
New research has suggested that 30 per cent of the British public prefer typing in a password to login to online accounts, as opposed to new biometric methods. This number has halved since a similar poll was taken in 2016, but alternative login methods have not yet become widely accepted.
With the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) Regulatory Technical Standards (RTS) deadline approaching on 14 September, new analysis has revealed that European banks have so far failed to provide the proper technology environment for third party providers (TPPs) to access payments data as required by the new law. Swedish Open Banking platform Tink attempted to integrate 84 Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) representing 2,500 banks across 12 markets in Europe, which cover 90 per cent of the population in each market surveyed.
NatWest is to launch a video banking channel to let business customers hold a pre-arranged video call with advisers using a mobile device, tablet or PC.The new service will allow small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) call multiple participants in different locations, with an option for their existing NatWest relationship manager to join for continuity, in addition to the members of the newly-formed video banking team.
Banks are preparing for their industry’s digital evolution by building their own standalone operations, with more than a third (36 per cent) looking at a greenfield digital bank, according to a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). A global survey of 405 banking executives conducted by the EIU for Temenos also found that respondents see Open Banking as a true opportunity, with 41 per cent seeing their business models evolving towards becoming a digital ecosystem.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is proposing rules to address harm to retail consumers from the sale of derivatives and exchange traded notes (ETNs) referencing certain types of crypto assets. The FCA stated that it considers these products “ill-suited” to retail consumers who cannot reliably assess the value and risks of derivatives or ETNs that reference certain crypto assets.
More than half of banking and financial services customers around the world use FinTech products and services, according to a poll. A global survey of 883 consumers from the UK, Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America and Australasia, by financial advisory company deVere Group found that 55 per cent were using FinTech services online or via mobile on a regular basis to access and manage their money.
OakNorth has penned a five year deal to provide its AI-driven credit analysis platform to Dutch bank NIBC Bank.The enterprise-wide agreement is the first publicly announced technology deal between OakNorth and a bank, and is evidence of the company’s plans to monetize its proprietary software and data analytics platform.
Almost two thirds (65 per cent) of chief financial officers (CFOs) expect digital transformation to significantly reduce the number of jobs in the financial services industry. A survey of 1,000 CFOs by Onguard found that 38 per cent fear that the growing trends of automation and digitisation will mean their own jobs will no longer exist in its current form, with 23 per cent saying they will disappear altogether. This is a substantial increase from last year, when only six per cent of respondents reported job loss fears.
Financial services employees are inadvertently putting company and customer data at risk through their communication channels, with a third using new collaboration tools and platforms to share strategic plans regarding their company.This is according to a survey among 1,569 respondents - 780 in the UK and 789 in the US - commissioned by Symphony Communication Services, which also found 40 per cent shared information regarding a customer and 30 per cent shared financial information regarding their own employer.
Mobile banking is set to overtake the popularity of branch services by 2021, according to new analysis. A report by data firm CACI found that the rising use of smartphones for a range of services, including digital banking apps, would lead to further challenges to the traditional High Street banking model.
Blockchain-based payment networks are set to drive a seven per cent increase in business-to-business (B2B) cross-border transactions over the next four years, from 13.5 billion in 2019 to 14.8 billion processed by 2023. This is according to market analysis from Juniper Research, which suggested international payments will become faster, cheaper and less complex. The digitalisation of cross-border payment networks, aligned with the use of cloud-based tools, Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and blockchain, will enable the replacement of bilateral networks with multilateral models.
The number of cyber security incidents reported by the UK’s financial services firms rose to 819 last year, up from just 69 in 2017, according to new data obtained from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A freedom of information request submitted by accountancy firm RSM found a huge rise incidents reported to the regulator, with retail banking firms accounting for 486 incidents – nearly 60 per cent of all reported.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is launching an innovation hub to encourage collaboration between central banks on meeting the regulatory and systemic challenges posed by the growth in financial technology. The Basel-based institution, which promotes joint working between the world’s central banks, said the hub - which will be based initially in Basel, Hong Kong and Singapore - will identify and develop insights into critical trends in technology affecting central banking.
Revolut has today released an in-app charity donation feature, allowing customers to round up their card payments and donate the difference to three international charities. The digital-only challenger bank explained that the whole amount goes to each charity, with no fees and no minimum donation amount. The feature can be turned on and off at any time, and customers can also set up a recurring payment or making one-off donations.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has responded to the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) opinion on Strong Customer Authentication (SCA), agreeing that some firms will be given extra time to implement the rules. Last Friday, the EBA noted key industry questions about which authentication factors comply with the requirements for SCA – a key part of the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2).
Allianz Partners, with its business line Allianz Automotive, has signed a partnership agreement with Wrisk. The objective is to jointly offer new automotive insurance products on Wrisk’s mobile platform, which will be delivered in partnership with car manufacturers’ at the point of sale.
Monzo’s latest annual report revealed that losses rose to £47.2 million, up 54 per cent on the previous year, as the chief executive admitted there was “still plenty of work to do” to achieve profitability. The financial accounts for the UK’s second most valuable FinTech showed that the loss after tax was up from £30.4 million in 2018.
Visa has introduced a suite of payment instalment solution Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). Through a pilot program, participating issuers and merchants will be able to offer customers an instalment payment experience at checkout using a Visa card they already have in their wallet.
ABN AMRO is collaborating with a Dutch university to explore the potential for quantum computing technology to improve cyber security in banking. The Dutch banking giant said the joint research with QuTech, which is based in Delft University, would investigate the Quantum Key Distribution via glass fibre and through the air, to ensure secure data traffic and make the safety of online banking “future-proof”.
The Treasury and Financial Conduct Authority held a joint summit with leading insurers and financial services firms this week, with the aim of generating ideas to increase the uptake of contents insurance, particularly amongst low-income renters. The Access to Contents Insurance Innovation Workshop gathered senior staff from Aviva, Direct Line Group, Urban Jungle, AON, Brolly and the Association of British Insurers, among other insurers, brokers and InsurTech firms.
BBVA has launched a new program designed to foster success among the FinTech ecosystem it engages with. Called the BBVA Open Innovation Acceleration Program, the project is aimed at giving businesses a targeted helping hand on the road to success. Over the course of nine-months, those selected will receive guidance and support from senior leaders at the bank on a range of topics.
Cyber attacks have been ranked as a top business issue in the next 12 months, but UK firms are facing paralysis in the face of increasingly advanced methods of cyber crime, according to a new study. A global survey of 2,256 decision-makers from multiple industry sectors by digital security firm NTT, found that more than half (54 per cent) of UK respondents said that cyber attack was one of the top three issues that could affect their business in the coming year, ranking it as second only to the risk of ‘economic or financial crisis’ (56 per cent).
PayPal has launched its first UK business debit MasterCard, offering business customers instant, worldwide access to their PayPal funds for online and High Street business purchases and unlimited cash back on spending. The new card has no monthly fees and offers uncapped 0.5 per cent cash back on every pound spent. There are no foreign exchange fees and a flat ATM withdrawal charge of £1 worldwide.
The Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) only approved four applications for banking licences in the last year, down from 14 in the previous year, while the number of applications (11) has remained virtually unchanged from last year (10). According to regulatory consultancy fscom, the fall in approvals suggests that the PRA is taking longer to approve new applicants for banking licences than in the past, with many of the recent wave of applicants for banking licences coming from digital-only challengers and FinTechs.
Research and investment in new technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI), robotics and machine learning, are climbing to the top of business leaders’ list of priorities, with a third (34 per cent) of firms expecting their business to change “radically” in the next two years. An HSBC survey of more than 2,500 companies in 14 countries found that more than half of businesses (55 per cent) are planning more investment in research and development of new technologies as they seek to become more customer focussed.
UK challenger banks may be more vulnerable than more established banks to late-cycle and Brexit-related risks, according to Fitch Ratings. Analysis from the ratings agency pointed out that several digital challengers have grown faster than the market, and faster than GDP, during relatively benign credit conditions in recent years, with performance not yet tested in a downturn.
A new report has suggested that Open Banking could realise £18 billion value for people and small businesses in the UK over the course of a year, but also highlighted complex challenges ahead to realise this value. The Independent Consumer and Small Business Representatives for the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) wrote to the implementation trustee of OBIE, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Treasury and the Department for Business, Enterprise, Industry and Skills (BEIS) and UK Finance to set out the need for action to ensure Open Banking delivers on its promise to make consumers better off.
Metro Bank has signed a three-year deal with Artesian Solutions to help with technology-driven compliance and Know Your Customer (KYC) management. Following a successful pilot process, the challenger bank will be adopting the Artesian Risk and Compliance Hub (ARCH), automating of risk and KYC to the frontline of the commercial banking function, improving the acquisition and onboarding of new customers.
Conventional wisdom has it that large companies always have the resources and know-how to compete, but in an age of disruption, many big businesses are struggling to digitally transform and could face an uncertain future. This is according to a new report from the CBI and Oracle, which suggested that more technology adoption, coupled with better management practices, could add £100 billion to the UK economy and cut income inequality by five per cent.
Monzo has raised £113 million, valuing the digital challenger bank at $2 billion.The funding round, led by US tech investor Y Combinator, comes six months on from its previous capital raise and drives it ahead of rival digital banking app Revolut (valued at $1.7 billion), and second only to to B2B lending challenger Oaknorth, as the UK’s most valuable FinTech.
Digital lending platform Blend has raised $130 million in Series E funding, led by Temasek and General Atlantic. Existing investors 8VC, Founders Fund, Greylock Partners, and Lightspeed Venture Partners also participated in the round, which brings the company's total funding to $310 million.
One in five business in the UK are losing customers and revenue due to ‘dirty data’, according to new research. A Censuswide survey of 510 UK and US decision-markers for information database firm Dun and Bradstreet found that, a year on from the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), almost 20 per cent of businesses have lost a customer due to using incomplete or inaccurate information about them, with a further 15 per cent saying they failed to sign a new contract with a customer for the same reason.
Five more banks and financial services firms have joined the Trade Finance Distribution Initiative (TFDI), an international effort to use technology and standardisation for the wider distribution of trade finance assets. TFDI announced that Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), ABN Amro, London Forfaiting Company, Crown Agents Bank and Natixis have joined the likes of Crédit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING, Lloyds Bank, Rabobank, Standard Bank and Standard Chartered Bank as members.
Governments and regulators should act to ensure the entry of BigTech firms into financial services will not not pose risks to financial stability, competition and data protection, according to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The Basel-based entity, which promotes co-operation between central banks, used its latest annual report to issue a call for a swift regulatory response from governments to ensure a “level playing field between BigTechs and banks”.
London-based RegTech firm ClauseMatch has partnered with Ingenia, a Singapore-based financial consultant to provide compliance-as-a-service for small and medium-sized financial institutions in Singapore. This development follows Singapore and the UK signing three agreements in London on 13 June that will boost collaboration in financial services, including making a new agreement to enhance co-operation in data connectivity between the two financial centres.
The adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is expanding, with more than a third (38 per cent) of businesses implementing some form of the technology within the past year. A social media survey of 500 professionals carried out by MHR Analytics found that machine learning or AI featured in respondents’ analytics approach in the last 12 months.
The disruptive forces of technology and demographic change will forge a ‘new economy’ as consumers shift their lives to digitally-enabled services, according to a new report commissioned by the Bank of England. Investment banker and Bank of England adviser Huw Van Steenis set out the challenges facing the UK’s central bank in keeping up with the speed of regulatory and technological change in the financial services industry, aiming to “look beyond the immediate challenges posed by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU to identify longer-term trends shaping the economy and finance”.
Philip Hammond has announced a Treasury-led review of the UK’s evolving payments landscape.The chancellor used what is likely to be his last Mansion House speech last night to announce an industry-wide examination of the impact of technology and changing regulation on the UK’s financial services sector, as the country prepares to leave the EU.
The Bank of England’s governor has backed various FinTech initiatives, including opening its balance sheet to new payment providers like Facebook’s cryptocurrency. Earlier this week, a cooperative of technology companies, led by Facebook, proposed a new payments infrastructure based on an international stablecoin – Libra. Backed by reserve assets in a basket of currencies including sterling, it could be exchanged between users on messaging platforms and with participating retailers.
Starling Bank has partnered with Direct Line to offer customers access to insurance within the app. The tie up, which is the latest in Starling’s growing stable of third party marketplace deals, will use Open Banking Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable customers to make a digital application for Churchill Home Insurance.
Facebook’s plans to launch its own ‘Libra’ cryptocurrency have sparked a wave of criticism from lawmakers and businesses over its data privacy and regulatory impact, including calls for the project to be halted. Hours after Facebook confirmed on Tuesday that it was working on a long-rumoured project to launch a cryptocurrency and digital wallet as part of a push into financial services, representative Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the US House Financial Services Committee, called on the social media giant to testify in congress and put the development on ice to allow authorities to review the plans.
Almost £800 billion that traditional banks have invested globally over the past three years to transform their IT operations has not yet delivered the anticipated revenue growth, according to Accenture. A new report analysed more than 160 of the world’s largest retail and commercial banks found that half are achieving higher profitability and returns on equity, driven by greater operating leverage. But they’re not achieving differential revenue growth — instead competing for high market share in a slow-growth revenue pool.
NatWest has launched a range of new ways for customers to open a digital banking account, including facial biometrics or ‘selfie’ verification.The lender is rolling out identity verification software from HooYu, following a successful pilot with more than 60,000 customers.
Nearly one in three UK adults have considered changing banks in the last 12 months after IT glitches and poor digital experience left them frustrated. A poll of 1,000 UK banking customers by Dell’s Boomi platform found that 21 per cent had considered moving to a rival bank because of a feeling that they could get a better digital customer experience elsewhere, while the in-branch experience was a key driver for 19 per cent of those asked.
Digital transformation projects are failing in more than a quarter of cases (26 per cent), according to new research. Digital services firm Econocom commissioned Censuswide to survey 150 IT and financial decision-makers in retail, legal and financial services companies in the UK, finding that the overwhelming majority (62 per cent) of firms are in the process of implementing a digital transformation project.
A state-backed cyber attack could secretly corrupt the records of financial services providers over a period of months, according a senior Bank of England policymaker, which could pose a risk that many would probably struggle to guard against on their own. Anil Kashyap warned against the falsification of transaction records during a select committee hearing responsible for reappointing him to the Financial Policy Committee, adding that banks have mainly focused on stopping service outages.
Complex legacy IT systems and inefficient processes are slowing the efforts of insurers to digitally transform and achieve a single customer view. This is according to research conducted by market intelligence provider Research in Insurance, commissioned by data platform provider MarkLogic Corporation, gathered from in-depth interviews with over 200 senior professionals.
More than half (54 per cent) of UK businesses are unaware of the potential benefits of Open Banking, according to a new survey, which also revealed that just 17 per cent consider themselves to be completely prepared for the move to the new model. An Ipsos Mori survey of 400 financial decision-makers in UK businesses, for payments processor Bottomline Technologies, found that many are struggling to keep up with the pace of new regulations, with concerns raised around Open Banking (54 per cent), New Payments Architecture (51 per cent) and the ISO20022 regulation (52 per cent).
Cyber security is now recognised as a key business driver by the c-suite, rather than a cost factor, according to new research. Radware commissioned Merrill Research to survey 263 executives from across the globe, with four in five of them helping to lead companies with revenue of $1 billion. Respondents this year were split across 30 per cent in financial services, 21 per cent in retail and hospitality, 21 per cent in telecoms, seven per cent in manufacturing and distribution, seven per cent in computer products or services, six per cent in business services and consulting.
The number of jobs in the UK’s FinTech sector rose by 61 per cent last year, according to a new study. A survey from recruitment firm Robert Walters found that demand for FinTech specific skills such as data analytics, software development, computer science and Artificial intelligence (AI) has driven salaries up by as much as 25 per cent.
NatWest has appointed Marieke Flament as chief executive of Mettle, the bank's new digital proposition for small businesses. She will be leading the next phase of Mettle’s roll out as it becomes available in the Apple app store from August.
Facebook expects its cryptocurrency ecosystem called Calibra, including a digital currency and wallet, to go live in 2020. The social media giant has confirmed that it has developed a digital wallet to store, save and send Libra, a new global currency built on blockchain technology.
London-based InsurTech firm Zego has raised $42 million to fuel its expansion across Europe and double its workforce. The Series B round was led by pan-European investment firm Target Global, with other backers including TransferWise founder Taavet Hinrikus.
Cifas, the UK's largest cross-sector fraud sharing database, has revealed that its members have reported a six per cent overall annual increase in fraud cases. The figures are based on 323,660 cases of fraudulent conduct recorded in 2018, from over 470 UK organisations across sectors, with identity fraud reaching record highs and plastic cards taking the brunt of the blame.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has announced that 24 payment service providers from 11 countries have confirmed their intention to support the delivery of a pan-European Request to Pay (R2P) infrastructure solution. The announcement followed an extensive user consultation on an R2P blueprint created by a dedicated EBA Clearing task force from November 2018 to March 2019. As the blueprint had been well-received by its user community, the industry provider of pan-European payment infrastructure solutions issued a call for action in April to rally the necessary support for the development of the proposed solution.
A lack of trust and understanding in cryptocurrencies is holding consumers back from using digital currency, with just 10 per cent saying they have a grasp on how it works. A survey of 13,434 consumers in 22 countries by cybersecurity firm Kaspersky found that despite the fact that 29 per cent of survey respondents had ‘some knowledge’ of cryptocurrency, the vast majority (81 per cent) had never purchased one.
Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Bank of Scotland customers can now see their savings and credit card accounts in real-time, alongside current accounts in their banking app. Via Open Banking technology, as other banks and payment service providers join the service, app users will not only be able to see their accounts in different providers’ mobile apps, but also add savings accounts and credit cards held with other providers.
Starling Bank is partnering with Bottomline Technologies to support payments for business customers. The UK challenger bank said the tie up would enable business to process payments 24/7 and in real time for domestic and international payments and access the US FinTech’s automated workflows for payment processing, bill reviews and compliance functions such as fraud detection, behavioural analytics and regulatory solutions.
Jointly-developed artificial intelligence (AI) systems hold great potential for tackling common security issues, according to a new Euro Banking Association (EBA) report. The EBA’s Open Banking Working Group focused on collaboratively created systems, which could unlock solutions for common issues such as fraud prevention and cyber security. For example, AI could detect security threats across institutions and jurisdictional boundaries, thus improving the overall efficiency and resilience of the financial system at large, the report explained.
Wealth managers believe that delivering highly personalised services is essential to achieve a competitive differentiation, but a third are being held back from doing so by old technology. A new report from Forbes Insights and Temenos, found that 64 per cent of wealth managers are segmenting clients and creating detailed and distinct profiles in line with the expectations of high-net worth individuals (HNWIs), but 32 per cent are still lagging behind.
One in five financial services jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence (AI) or automation within the next five years, according to the latest KPMG and Harvey Nash report.The survey of 3,600 IT leaders found that 43 per cent of banks expect a fifth or more of their workforce to be replaced by AI or automation by 2024.
The board of Banking Competition Remedies has announced the results of the Capability and Innovation Fund Pool D grant process, with Codat, Fluidly, Form3, Funding Options and Swoop Finance getting £5 million each. Pool D is designed to facilitate the commercialisation of financial technology that is relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
FinTech challengers N26 and Monzo are gearing up to launch their services in the US in the coming months, as European challenger banks accelerate their global expansion strategies. Berlin-based digital bank N26, which first launched in Germany in 2015, announced that it had now reached the milestone of 3.5 million customers across 24 markets, and confirmed that it would be ready to launch its app-based banking services in the US “in the coming weeks.”
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the Bank of England (BoE) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) announced that they will be working together to strengthen cyber security in their financial sectors. MAS and the UK financial authorities will commence work towards a Memorandum of Understanding to signify this enhanced collaboration.
Augmentum Fintech has announced a total of £8.5 million of follow-on investments to startups in its growing portolio. The publicly listed venture capital outfit has topped up its existing funding in business banking firm Tide (£5 million), mobile-only current account provider Monese (£2.5 million) and predictive business intelligence platform DueDil (£1 million).
Venture capital firm InsurTech Gateway is targeting up to £30 million of investment for a new fund aimed at supporting tech startups in the insurance and reinsurance space. The Gateway Fund has kicked off by investing £2.25 million in By Miles - UK-based provider of pay-per-mile car insurance - Floodflash - a provider of tech-enabled flood insurance for small business - Guardhog - a plug-in insurance provider for the gig-economy - and Insurdata - a technology provider for peril-specific exposure and risk data.
More than seven million people in the UK were left unable to use their debit or credit cards due to an IT or technical crash in the last year, according to research from Which? A survey of more than 2,091 consumers conducted by the consumer watchdog found one in seven respondents were unable to use their card due to a serious outage in the last year, with half (49 per cent) saying they were unable to pay for goods and services at the point of sale as a result.
Tech Nation has, for the fifth-year running, revealed a continued rise in demand for applications for the Tech Nation Visa, up 45 per cent for 2018-19 with a total of 650 applications. The countries with the highest amount of visa applications continue to be India and the USA, from software engineers and business developers in artificial intelligence and machine learning, FinTech and enterprise/cloud sectors. Nigeria, Russia, Canada, Australia, China and South Africa also top the list for number of applications.
The greatest barrier to UK financial institutions developing digital products, services and operations is regulatory compliance risk. This is according to a report from FIS which surveyed more than 2,000 C-level and senior executives across buy-side, sell-side, insurance firms and retail banks.
Legal & General has launched ‘estua-re’, the first pension risk transfer execution platform driven by blockchain technology. Part of the insurance and investment group’s global Pension Risk Transfer (PRT) strategy, it is a single ecosystem capable of driving every stage of the reinsurance value chain, including pricing, claims handling, financial reporting and collateral; utilising data dynamically stored on the blockchain.
Datactics has raised £1.2 million in a funding round led by Kernel Capital and Par Equity. The Belfast-based RegTech startup provides data quality and matching software to the financial services industry and government departments to help measure, clean and match data.
New research has found consumer openness to alternative payment options - including wearables and smartphones - although acceptance of cashless payments comes with a high degree of concern surrounding the ability to secure these devices. A study commissioned by Transaction Network Services (TNS) surveyed more than 3,000 consumers in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, finding 44 per cent of respondents are willing to make a payment using a wearable device like a ring or a bracelet.
Visa is rolling out a blockchain-based cross-border payments network for business to business (B2B) customers. The B2B Connect network will use distributed ledger technology (DLT) to help financial institutions process high-value corporate payments faster and more securely. The network aims to remove friction by facilitating transactions from the bank of origin directly to the beneficiary bank.
The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) deputy managing director has warned that while FinTech can support productivity and growth by strengthening financial development, inclusion and efficiency, it “may pose risks to consumers and investors and, more broadly, to financial stability and integrity”. Speaking at a conference in Vilnius, Lithuania, earlier this week, Tao Zhang said that FinTech is expected to promote competition in the financial sector, particularly in payments clearing and settlement.
Complex legacy infrastructure is one of the biggest barriers to the adoption of innovative point of sale (PoS) technologies which could be worth over £157 million to UK businesses in the next year, according to a new report. A survey of 700 IT decision-makers in banking and financial services in the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the Nordics by lending platform Divido, found that 54 per cent of UK lenders are battling against legacy infrastructure when it comes to delivering new payments technology.
Amazon and Synchrony have announced the launch of the Amazon Credit Builder card, for customers who are looking to build or rebuild their credit responsibly. This secured private label card has no annual fee, offers eligible Prime members five per cent back on Amazon purchases, and offers all cardholders equal pay instalments and special financing options on eligible purchases.
FinTech unicorn Revolut has launched Apple Pay for customers in the UK and 15 other countries.The contactless mobile payment method, which enables customers to pay in-app, online and on Apple devices, will now be available to Revolut customers in the UK, France, Poland, Germany, Czech Republic, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, Austria, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland.
Traditional retail banks are lagging behind in terms of blockchain adoption, potentially losing out on customers and competitive advantage. This is according to a report from McKinsey, which noted that this contrasts with efforts seen elsewhere.
Six European mobile wallets have collaborated with Alipay to promote QR code-based digital payment interoperability for travellers both in Europe and from China. Bluecode, ePassi, momo pocket, Pagaqui, Pivo, Vipps and Alipay are working towards adopting a unified QR code, which will enable users to make payments with their home apps to local merchants in 10 European countries where those apps are accepted.
UK firms adopting artificial intelligence (AI) tools could deliver a 22 per cent boost to the UK economy by 2030, according to a new report from McKinsey and data analysis from Quantumblack. The analysis, based on simulations from McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), also suggested that firms could benefit from a 120 per cent increase in total economic value, implying additional growth in cash generation of about six per cent a year for the next 12 years.
Wrisk completed its latest equity crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs, raising a total of £978,682. The funding round was launched earlier this spring, originally seeking £750,000. The UK-based InsurTech startup raised £1 million through its second Seedrs initiative less than a year ago.
International digital remittances will reach $525 billion by 2024, up from an estimated $332 billion in 2019, with mobile and blockchain solutions becoming increasingly popular. Juniper Research analysis predicted that the mobile channel will account for 41 per cent of international digital money transfers by volume in 2024, up from a third in 2019.
FinTech giant Oaknorth is bracing for a new economic downturn which may see it shouldering the first default since it launched its small business loans service in 2015, according to founder and chief executive Rishi Khosla. Speaking at the Money 20/20 conference in Amsterdam, Khosla said Oaknorth - which became Europe’s highest valued FinTech after raising $440 million in February - was proud of its record of zero credit defaults on its loan book, but acknowledged that an economic slowdown was inevitable, which could lead to defaults and potential losses.
Getsafe has raised €17 million in a Series A funding round led by Earlybird, with participation from CommerzVentures and other existing investors. The German InsurTech startup will use the money to prepare its European expansion and more than double its team from the current 50 employees, with a focus on customer care, software development and data science.
JPMorgan Chase is to close its mobile-only bank for Millennials, Finn, just a year after it was launched across the US. The Wall Street Journal reported that Finn customers were told their funds were being transferred to other Chase accounts.
UK consumers are taking a ‘pick n mix’ approach to how they make payments, with mobile banking, mobile payments and contactless all becoming increasingly popular, according to research by UK Finance. Its latest survey found that almost half (48 per cent) of UK adults used mobile banking in 2018, up from 41 per cent the previous year. The number of bank payments made using online or mobile banking in 2018 grew to two billion, up from 1.6 billion in 2017, as consumers and businesses increasingly choose to bank using their phones, tablets or computers.
Facebook does not view itself as a payments company and is looking to partner with banks and other players in the market as it considers the role of payments and Open Banking solutions across its family of apps, according to the social media firm’s head of payments. Speaking at the Money2020 conference in Amsterdam, Paulette Rowe, Facebook’s head of payments and financial services partnerships, and previously head of Barclaycard, said growing use of Facebook as a platform for commerce, particularly in Asia, was accelerating discussions over Facebook’s own role as payments facilitator.
Visa has announced a strategic agreement with Western Union, which will implement the Visa Direct real-time push payments platform. Once Western Union’s implementation of Visa Direct is live, it will be able to offer customers an expedited remittance service onto cards with more transparency for both senders and receivers.
Money management app Yolt has partnered with pan-European savings marketplace Raisin. Beginning in the UK, followed by Italy and France, Yolt will provide its users access to a range of saving deposit rates from Raisin’s partner banks, directly through the app. Raisin partners include N26, Commerzbank, Vanguard and ClearScore, plus the more than 75 partner banks offering deposits across Raisin’s seven platforms, while Yolt collaborates with MoneySuperMarket, Anorak, Wealthify, Pensionbee and others.
Mastercard’s mobile payments service ‘Pay by Bank app’ has entered into a strategic partnership with marketing and loyalty commerce platform Yoyo. Under the partnership, Yoyo and the Pay by Bank app (PbBa) will deliver a combined payments and customer loyalty offering to retail and bank customers.
Tech Nation is calling for applicants for its 2019 Fintech Growth Programme, delivered as part of HM Treasury's Fintech Sector Strategy. Supported by Al Lukies and David Duffy of the Fintech Alliance, and running from September 2019 to March 2020, the leadership development programme is specifically designed to connect and create opportunities for the founders of the UK’s most promising FinTech scaleups.
Global incumbents should embrace partnerships with tech titans, as well as smaller FinTechs, in order to keep up with the emerging challenge posed big tech firms according to Santander’s chief digital officer. Speaking at the Money 2020 conference in Amsterdam, Lindsey Argalas, chief digital and innovation officer at Banco Santander, underlined her focus on ensuring the financial services giant has the technology and talent to adapt to the rapidly changing financial services landscape.
FinTechs are not prepared to accept shortcomings in the fight against financial crime, new figures from LexisNexis Risk Solutions have revealed. Almost half (48 per cent) of UK based FinTech companies don’t think the existing UK regulatory framework is effective in combatting financial crime in the UK, with 12 per cent going so far as to say that it is not at all effective.
Incumbent banking giants are combatting the rising threat of challenger banks by striking unfair partnerships that have left FinTech challengers ‘sucked dry’, according to Starling Bank chief executive and founder Anne Boden. Speaking on a panel discussion at the Money20/20 conference in Amsterdam, Boden launched an attack on the approach big banks have taken in order to replicate the technology, platforms and working culture of nimble challengers, and accused CEOs of “playing startup safari” before “using” the smaller organisation for information.
Following consultation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is introducing rules in the peer-to-peer (P2P) sector, “designed to prevent harm to investors, without stifling innovation”. The regulator has refined its proposals, giving additional guidance to make it clear that platforms will not be prevented from including information about specific investments in their marketing materials.
Visa and Currencycloud have announced a partnership to drive innovation in cross-border and travel payments. Visa’s clients, banking, and FinTech partners will now have the option to use Currencycloud’s cloud-based payments platform to offer customers services like multi-currency wallets and real-time notifications on foreign exchange transactions.
Even though Open Banking has yet to reach maturity, the financial services industry is entering a new phase of innovation that will require deeper collaboration and specialisation. The European Financial Management Association (EFMA) and Capgemini’s latest World FinTech Report called this Open X, and stated that it will transform industry norms and assumptions, with a move away from the product focus to an emphasis on customer experience; the evolution of data as the critical asset; a shift from prioritising ownership to facilitating shared access; and an emphasis on partnering to innovate instead of buying or building new solutions.
Artificial intelligence-driven decision making could lead financial services firms into “vicious cycles” of automation, according to a panel of experts. Speaking during a discussion on the implications of AI technologies, such as machine learning and biometrics, at the Money20/20 conference in Amsterdam, Dror Oren, chief product officer and co-founder at conversational AI platform Kasisto, highlighted the need for continued human oversight of algorithms.
The banking services of the future will be mobile first and ‘data obsessed’, two digital trends already taking hold across the financial services industry, according to the chief executive of ING. In a keynote speech to the Money2020 conference in Amsterdam, Ralph Hamers, who has led the Dutch banking giant since 2013, underlined his conviction that the “bank of the future is digital and it’s mobile first” and urged incumbents to look to new technologies to keep up with rapidly changing customer needs and expectations.
Over half of consumers in the UK (53 per cent) are worried that the shift to biometrics to authenticate online payments will dramatically increase the amount of identity fraud, according to new research conducted by Paysafe. The research was completed among 6,197 consumers from the US, UK, Canada, Germany, Austria and Bulgaria, across ages groups and professions, finding that 79 per cent still favour passwords for making payments online, due to concerns about the security of new biometric options.
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), the independent body established to implement the £775 million Royal Bank of Scotland State Aid Alternative Remedies Package, has opened the second application window for the Incentivised Switching Scheme (ISS). The purpose of the ISS is to provide £275 million worth of funding to small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) customers of the business previously described as Williams & Glyn, to switch their business current accounts and loans to ‘challenger’ institutions. A further maximum sum of £75 million has been set aside within RBS to cover certain customers’ switching costs.
FinTech services have hit the mainstream according to the latest EY FinTech Adoption Index. The study, based on 27,000 online interviews across 27 markets, revealed that China and India are in pole position in terms of FinTech usage, with 87 per cent of the population now using such services, closely followed by Russia and South Africa, both with 82 per cent.
Almost 40 per cent of all financial services applications in Europe are abandoned, despite massive investment in digital transformation by institutions, according to new research. Although this figure is an improvement on 2018’s high of 52 per cent, it means that abandonment rates have returned to nearly the same level as 2016 (40 per cent).
A consortium of companies have launched b.yond, a financial innovation platform that will let banks and consumer-facing businesses rapidly deploy a range of FinTech payment services. The consortium includes Global Processing Services, Pannovate, Cornercard, Modulr, AllPay, Meawallet and W2 Global.
Six out of seven people use digital banking solutions at least once a month and 38 per cent do so on a weekly or even daily basis, according to new research. Mastercard commissioned TNS Kantar to take 11,014 samples were taken from 11 different markets, finding that 63 per cent use mobile banking apps from traditional banks and 20 per cent from digital-only banks.
Dashlane has closed a $110 million Series D funding round led by Sequoia Capital. The credential and digital identity management solution will welcome Sequoia’s Jim Goetz to its board of directors, and also sealed investment from Rho Ventures, FirstMark Capital and Bessemer Venture Partners in the round.
Allied Irish Bank (AIB), Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank are piloting a blockchain platform to track and manage employee education and qualifications. Developed in collaboration with the Institute of Banking (IoB) and Deloitte, it will support the verification, tracking, direct access to, and management of, regulatory and professional designations, education qualifications and lifelong learning credentials.
IRESS has acquired QuantHouse for up to €38.9 million a debt and cash free basis, with a material portion subject to earnout performance criteria through to the end of 2021. QuantHouse operates internationally, with a focus on Europe, North America and Asia, providing more than 145 data feeds from exchanges and other data providers to clients.
More than half of UK employees (53 per cent) do not have a minimum level of digital skills, like using digital collaboration tools or managing digital records and files, despite the growing need for a digitally savvy workforce and a 15 per cent surge in the number of employees who need to be online to do their job.
Workers who have such digital skills are paid £12,500 more on average per year than those without, according to the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index. The study of more than one million UK adults found that many people don’t have basic digital understanding of online tasks including – using search engines finding information online (21 per cent), managing money online (27 per cent) and keeping safe online (34 per cent).
Money management app Money Dashboard and cryptocurrency wallet CoinBase have teamed up to allow users to see their cryptocurrency wallets alongside their other accounts. Users can now track the value of their crypto holdings in real-time alongside all the other current, credit and saving accounts they hold with any bank via Money Dashboard’s app.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have fined Raphaels Bank £1.89 million for failing to manage its outsourcing arrangements properly between April 2014 and December 2016.
Raphaels received separate fines of £775,000 from the FCA and £1.1 million from the PRA in respect of these breaches.
The UK’s challenger banks are struggling to break the big five bank’s stranglehold on the savings market, despite offering much higher levels of interest than their larger rivals. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander hold £827 billion of the £1.3 trillion in UK household deposits, equivalent to a market share of 63 per cent, despite paying significantly lower rates of interest on average.
The United States and United Kingdom have established the Financial Innovation Partnership to further collaboration between US Department of the Treasury and HM Treasury. It will deepen bilateral engagement on emerging trends in financial services innovation, encouraging collaboration in the private sector, sharing information and expertise about regulatory practices, and promoting industry growth.
A quarter of UK consumers believe the High Street bank will be ‘dead’ within the next five years, according to new research. A survey of more than 2,000 UK consumers by banking and payments solution Contis also found that attitudes to the future of the traditional banking model are even more pessimistic amongst younger generations, with 40 per cent of Millennials (those aged 25-44) believing that the High Street lender is already dead, or will be within the next half-decade.
As financial institutions approach the September 14 deadline to comply with Open Banking legislation, two fifths of financial institutions (39 per cent) still see regulation as the biggest threat to their business model. A survey of 269 senior decision makers in European financial institutions by Open Banking platform Tink found that a majority (56 per cent) fear consumer loyalty towards banks will diminished as the legislation opens up financial data sharing with third parties.
US FinTech network platform Plaid has launched in the UK with two customers, including money-management app Emma. As part of its commitment to the country, Plaid is planning to hire over 25 people locally by 2020 and has opened a UK office.
Nearly half (45 per cent) of office workers would be willing to sell their firm’s corporate information, according to a new survey which highlights the growing risk of insider threat to UK businesses. A study by Malvern-based cyber security startup Deep Secure found that a quarter of employees would accept £1,000 as the price for giving away company information to outsiders, whilst five per cent would offer it for free.
Almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of organisations have been victims of financial crime over the past 12 months, with a lax approach to due diligence checks when onboarding cited as creating an environment in which criminal activity can thrive. This wake-up call has led to 59 per cent of companies adopting new technologies to plug compliance gaps, according to Refinitiv, which in March surveyed 3,138 managers with compliance-related responsibilities at large organisations from across 24 geographies.
This year looks set to be on course for a record number of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) fines, with $7.7 billion already handed out in January to April 2019, compared to $1.16 billion worth of fines in the same period last year. The combined value of penalties given out so far in 2019 is over 70 per cent of the total handed out in the whole of 2014 ($10.89 billion) – the year which currently holds the record for highest total value of fines.
Cyber crime and hacking offences are going unpunished in the UK, according to a new report, which claims less than one per cent of reported attacks reach prosecution.City law firm RPC stated there were 65 prosecutions for computer hacking in the UK in the year ending 2018, up 38 per cent from the 47 incidents recorded in 2017.
InsurTech company Pikl has landed £2.5 million in its latest funding round, led by Direct Line and esure founder Peter Wood. The Norwich-based startup, founded in 2016 by former Co-op and Gallagher head of pricing Louise Birritteri, offers insurance products for the sharing economy with a focus on the Airbnb market.
Over half (52 per cent) of businesses are struggling to manage their IT infrastructure as a result of creaking legacy systems, poorly co-ordinated strategy and inadequate monitoring tools, according to a new report. A study of 141 IT professions for digital transformation platform Opsview found that many companies have unfit IT strategies in place to adequately support their digital transformation projects – even though many agree it’s a top priority.
London-based RegTech firm ClauseMatch has closed its first venture debt funding round with Silicon Valley Bank. The $2.5 million loan package will be allocated to support the company's continued growth in Europe and Asia, having recently started operations in Singapore.
HSBC has launched two new data innovation labs in London and Toronto, as part of its plans to expand its investment in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) across its global markets.The research lab in London is expected to employ 100 staff specialised in AI, along with technologists, co-op students and interns, while the Toronto lab will employ 50 members of staff.
Three quarters of organisations could be struggling with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance, a year on from its introduction. Crown Records Management commissioned Sapio Research to interview 103 senior managers, IT and data professionals in companies with over 250 employees in March, finding that only 23 per cent consider their compliance capabilities around GDPR to be very good.
Facebook is reportedly planning to launch its own cryptocurrency and digital payments in 2020. It was first reported in December last year that the social media giant was working on plans for a digital payments system in around a dozen countries for the first quarter of 2020.
TSB has announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer (COO) and customer banking director as the challenger bank seeks to reset its direction in the wake of a series of major IT failures. The board shakeup comes after Debbie Crosbie took up the reins as chief executive following the departure of Paul Pester, who stood down in September last year after a botched IT migration in April that repeatedly left thousands of customers without access to online banking services.
Revolut has launched a joint savings facility to enable users to club together with family and friends through in-app pots.The challenger bank’s Group Vaults function marks an evolution of its Vaults feature, which has been used to create one million savings pots with more than £75 million in value, since the product launched in April last year.
Robots and automated technologies are unlikely to replace human interaction in the digital banking relationships of the future, according to Wells Fargo’s ATM and branch IT chief. Speaking at the RBR self-service banking Europe conference in London, Michael Graham explained that despite the rapid spread of digital and automated banking services across their core market, customers would continue to expect human interaction.
Small businesses are losing out because UK banks are failing to prioritise fixing Open Banking outages, with 62 per cent of banks recording a fall in Open Banking availability to customers over the last quarter. Peer-to-peer business lender Growth Street reviewed publicly-available data which the Open Banking Implementation Entity published on its API downtime monitoring tool.
Marqeta has completed a $260 million Series E fundraise, led by Coatue Management, valuing the business at nearly $2 billion. The card issuing platform will use the money to accelerate its expansion plans, both domestically and in key global markets.
Canadian payments firm Nuvei is set to buy British payments technology provider SafeCharge for £699 million in an all-cash deal. Under the terms of the deal, SafeCharge shareholders will receive $5.55 in cash per share and a 25 per cent premium on the business value at last close.
Transferwise has raised a further $292 million, valuing the company a $3.5 billion and making it one of Europe’s most valuable FinTechs.The digital crossborder payments provider announced the secondary funding round led by growth capital investors Lead Edge Capital, Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners, in addition to support from funds managed by BlackRock, as well as existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford, which expanded their holdings.
New research from Which? has showed that £674 a minute is lost to bank transfer scams, with the consumer champion calling for all banks to reassure customers they will be better protected against fraudsters by signing up to the new voluntary industry code, which comes into effect next week. The Payments Systems Regulator recently announced it is consulting further on Confirmation of Payee, delaying its introduction until March 2020, nine months later than its original deadline of July 2019, which Which? argued would result in an additional £109 million being lost to scams.
Nationwide Building Society has reported a 15 per cent fall in profits for the year, after the company committed to a spending drive on digital banking services and faced fierce competition in the home lending market.The building society reported pre-tax profits of £833 million for the financial year to 4 April, down from £977 million last year.
Digital money transfer firm Azimo is partnering with NatWest Markets to expand its service across Europe.The deal will see Natwest Markets provide Azimo with significantly enhanced access to global foreign exchange markets.
HSBC has signed an agreement with Globality to adopt its artificial intelligence platform for sourcing and procurement of services. The global bank will be now able to scope projects in hours rather than days, and match unique requirements to relevant suppliers around the world.
Lloyds Banking Group has unveiled plans to create a new tech hub in Edinburgh to help transform the digital experience for Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Bank, Halifax and Scottish Widows customers. As part of a £3 billion investment programme, the hub will boost Scotland’s tech sector with 500 new software engineering roles in the capital.
Banks from France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Russia and Spain have joined with SWIFT to test real-time gpi cross-border payments through the Eurosystem’s Target Instant Payment Settlement (TIPS) system. SWIFT and the European Central Banks (ECB) are launching the initiative with European banks to extend the reach of instant cross-border payments in the European market.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and Action Fraud have warned the public to be wary of investment scams carried out via bogus online trading platforms. This comes as crypto assets and forex investment scams reports more than tripled last year to over 1,800. Fraudsters promise high returns from investments in crypto and forex, with victims losing over £27 million in total in 2018/19.
More than half of businesses do not have the right in-house skills to execute their artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, despite 93 per cent being “fully invested” in AI, according to new research from SnapLogic. A survey of 300 IT decision-makers from large companies in the UK and US found that the AI skills shortage was most acute in the UK, with 73 per cent lacking the talent they needed to execute their plans, compared to 41 per cent in the US.
Wagestream has secured £15 million in its latest funding round from Balderton Capital and Northzone, taking total fundraising to £40 million.The social impact FinTech aims to fight payday poverty by allowing employers to offer workers the option to draw down their salary early and access earned income in real time for a flat fee of £1.75. It is now used by more than 80 businesses across the UK and Ireland, with more than 125,000 workers having access via the Wagestream app.
The fast pace of digital transformation is outstripping the cyber security capabilities of UK businesses, according to a new report from KPMG. A survey of more than 1,800 chief information security officers (CISOs) and 2,000 consumers - including 100 CISOs and more than 100 consumers in the UK - found that, despite the evident risk to customer relationships of a breach of financial data, more than half (55 per cent) of UK CISOs prioritise financial loss and reputational risk in the event of a breach above the impact of such an incident on customer relationships.
Monzo has hit the milestone of two million customers today, with more than £10.7 billion spent through its banking app since the launch of its debit card service in 2015. More than £2.9 million is sent between users with Monzo accounts on a daily basis, the company claimed, as it forges ahead with efforts to catch up with nearest digital banking rival Revolut, which counts more than four million users across the UK, Europe and Australia.
Modulr has completed an investment round raising £14 million from new investor Frog Capital and existing investors including Blenheim Chalcot. This scale-up capital takes the total amount raised to £24.5 million and will enable the company to accelerate its growth plans.
Atom Bank has partnered with TruNarrative for Anti-Money Laundering transaction monitoring and financial crime customer screening. The Durham-based mobile-only challenger bank stated that its overarching criteria for selecting a real-time AML transaction monitoring and a financial crime customer screening solution was for a platform which would support future products and safeguard against emerging risks in the market.
Metro Bank has completed a £375 million share placing round after strong interest from investors enabled it to exceed an initial target of £350 million placed hours earlier.The challenger bank has seen its share price under pressure in recent months after a blunder with the classification of commercial loans was uncovered in January, leaving it without the capital it needed to continue with its plans for expansion.
Investec shuttered its Click & Invest robo-advisory service, recording a £12.8 million operating loss on the business after attracting fewer investors than expected. During its annual results presentation, the Anglo-South African investment bank reported a second successive year of losses, having already reported a £13.5 million fall in profits in the year ending March 2018. Around £6 million worth of capitalised software was written-off in the current year, bringing total losses to about £32 million.
OpenFin has raised $17 million in a Series C funding round led by Wells Fargo, with participation from Barclays and existing investors, including Bain Capital Ventures, J.P.Morgan and Pivot Investment Partners. The round brings the FinTech’s total amount of venture funding to $40 million. Proceeds will be used to make the operating system ubiquitous on financial desktops and to fund further product innovation.
Almost half (45 per cent) of financial services firms across Europe are struggling to combat the rising cyber security threat, with hackers particularly exploiting internal loopholes through Business Process Compromise (BPC). A survey of more than 1,000 IT decision-makers in Europe by cyber security firm Trend Micro found that 61 per cent of decision makers felt the overall volume of threats have increased over the last year, with two fifths (43 per cent) saying that BPC attacks are a major threat.
New research has revealed that 70 per cent of privacy professionals think their systems will not support new privacy regulations. DataGrail surveyed more than 300 US privacy management decision-makers - including IT, operations, security, legal, and risk and compliance professionals - finding that only half of companies achieved self-reported compliance before last May’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) deadline – while most took seven months or longer to achieve readiness.
A year on from its launch in the UK, fewer than two thirds of UK consumers have never heard of Open Banking, according to new research. A Censuswide survey of 2,000 UK consumers for digital banking software firm Crealogix also found that while one in five consumers had heard of Open Banking, they could not confidently explain what it is.
Research has identified loopholes at Companies House that enables individuals to register as a director, run businesses and enable fraud and money laundering, even after they have been struck-off from holding company directorships. Research into Companies House data conducted by HooYu showed that of the 6,700 currently disqualified directors, there are over 800 that still appear to have an active directorship. The analysis also uncovered over 500 so-called ‘chameleon’ directors who have been disqualified as a director, then subsequently made changes to their name or date of birth in order to register a ‘clean’ directorship.
Insurance specialist RegTech firm REG has secured £2.4 million in its latest funding round. The funding includes a £1.8 million growth capital facility from Shawbrook Bank, supported by further investment from current shareholder Disruptive Capital Investment, and founder Michael Phair.
Data-driven FinTech Certua has acquired InsurTech startup the Surely Group. The deal follows the launch of Certua’s Enterprise Insurance platform last year, which lets distributors to ‘plug in’ via Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Nearly three quarters (67 per cent) of organisations that have suffered data breaches lack support from executive leadership for cloud security initiatives, according to a new study. A global survey of 749 organisations by governance software vendor Netwrix highlighted that data security and cloud storage was one of the top security concerns for respondents from the UK, with nearly half (49 per cent) of organisations saying they store personally identifiable information (PII) in the cloud, while 43 per cent remain cautious, saying they would never store payment or financial data there.
Nearly a third (30 per cent) of Brits say their bank is over-ambitious introducing additional services on different devices, saying they do not need or want more ways to interact. At the same time, over two-thirds (69 per cent) expect their bank to be delivering the latest technology to them and a third (34 per cent) say that since they started using devices to manage their money, their financial goals are clearer.
Finastra has added BNP Paribas, Natixis and Societe Generale to its blockchain-based platform for the syndicated loans market.The Fusion LenderComm platform, which has been developed in collaboration with R3’s Corda technology aims to streamline the process of syndicated lending using distributed ledger technology (DLT) to reduce the cost and burden of agent-to-lender administration.
Digital disruption has heightened the need for technological experience amongst leaders of the UK’s biggest businesses, yet broader boardroom diversity is failing to progress, according to new research. Specialist recruitment firm Robert Half conducted its annual research on chief executives (CEOs) of the FTSE100 Index by analysing publicly available sources of information including company websites, financial and company announcements and press releases to track trends, including their career backgrounds, age, gender, nationality and length of tenure.
Last year, the UK attracted five per cent of global high-tech scaleup investment, placing it fourth in the world – ahead of Germany, France and Sweden. This is according to the latest annual report from Tech Nation, which analysed data from partners including Companies House, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) GitHub, Pitchbook and Streetbees.
The board of Banking Competition Remedies has split the £80 million Capability and Innovation Fund Pool B grants between three large banks. Nationwide Building Society took the lion’s share of £50 million, with Investec Bank and The Co-operative Bank getting £15 million each.
Nearly one in five of tech employees who have seen their company take decisions that could have a negative impact on society have quit their job on ethical grounds, a new study has found. A survey of more than 1,000 technology professionals by think tank Doteveryone found that a rising number of employees across a range of sectors are concerned by ethical impact, with more than a quarter (28 per cent) saying they had seen decisions made that could make technologies harmful for people or society.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has warned that organisations need to obtain explicit consent when using consumers’ biometric data. In an official blog, the regulator’s deputy commissioner for policy Steve Wood responded to its investigation of HM Revenue and Customs’ Voice ID service, which led to the government having to delete the data of about five million customers, for whom consent was judged to be out of date.
The Softbank Vision fund has made an $800 million investment in Greensill Capital, a UK FinTech which supplies capital to help global companies with supply chain finance. The investment will see Greensill Capital join the likes of Uber, WeWork and Slack, as the latest company to benefit from Softbank’s megafund, now ranked as the world’s largest technology investment fund.
Nationwide has announced an investment in Artificial Intelligence (AI) voice analysis firm Scaled Insights as part of its £50 million startup venture fund. Scaled Insights uses behavioural AI to analyse the people’s speech to profile them on using demographic and social markers, before communicating in “the language that is most accessible for them”.
The Treasury Committee has published a unanimously-agreed report on consumers’ access to financial services, warning that new technologies risk leaving people behind. The group of MPs stated that a duty of care is an obligation to exercise reasonable care and skill when providing a product or service, noting that if the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) can’t enforce such behaviour, the committee would support a legal duty of care, creating a legal obligation for firms to act in their customers’ best interests.
InsurTech investors worldwide executed the highest number of transactions and the highest volume of Series B and Series C funding rounds during the first three months of 2019, according to Willis Towers Watson. The advisory, broking and solution company’s analysis found 85 deals with a total value of $1.42 billion in the first quarter, marking the third-straight quarter to deliver more than $1 billion in funding.
The uptake of Open Banking and digital money management is being held back by a lack of consumer trust and confusion over data sharing, with 83 per cent of UK smartphone owners saying they have not yet downloaded a finance app. A study by Deloitte, which drew on a YouGov survey of 1,900 UK smartphone owners, found that just over half (51 per cent) would trust financial advice from a human over a similar service provided by artificial intelligence (AI) on a money management app.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its follow-up consultation for Confirmation of Payee (CoP) – a tool to protect people from Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams and prevent payments being accidentally sent to the wrong account. At the end of 2018, the PSR opened its initial consultation seeking views on a proposal to give a general direction for all payment service providers to implement CoP. There was overall support for the proposal with feedback on its design and proposed deadlines.
Flagstone has raised £11 million in growth capital from investors including Kindred Capital, Moneysupermarket Group, VentureFounders and a number of private individual investors. The London-based FinTech, founded in 2013, has developed the UK’s largest cash deposit platform, which provides clients with access to over 550 deposit accounts from 30 banks through a single application, transmitting more than £3 billion in deposits since 2015.
The chair of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has called for a fundamental rethink of the principles and purpose of competition law and policy in order to keep pace with the digitisation of business. Speaking to the Social Market Foundation yesterday, Andrew Tyrie pointed out that since the passage of the Competition Act in 1998, product market concentration has risen – a problem only set to accelerate with the rise of the digital economy.
Less than a third (31 per cent) of bankers believe partners in their ecosystem are doing enough to maintain cyber security defences when it comes to customer data in the era of Open Banking, according to a report from Accenture.The study, based on expert interviews and a survey of more than 800 banking industry professionals, focussed on the potential implications of Open Banking on security in the next three years.
Almost a year after the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, RiskIQ has discovered that 1 in 10 personally identifiable information (PII) capturing websites belonging to the large UK financial services firms are running without adequate security measures. While this is down from the 27 per cent of sites identified a year ago, it is still in breach of the regulations.
Ant Financial, the finance arm of Chinese retail e-commerce giant Alibaba, has secured a virtual banking licence in Hong Kong.The Hong Kong Government and Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted the firm permission to operate virtual and digital banking services - which do not require a physical presence - from today.
Tink and NatWest have announced a new partnership giving the British bank access to the Swedish Open Banking platform’s personal finance management and data enrichment products. These will be integrated into NatWest’s core mobile banking app, allowing personalised customer insights based on transaction history. The features built with Tink’s technology are planned to go live in the fourth quarter of this year.
TPG has closed its TPG Tech Adjacencies (TTAD) fund, focused on the technology industry, reaching $1.6 billion in capital commitments. TTAD aims to provide flexible capital for tech startup founders and early investors looking for liquidity, as well as primary structured equity solutions for companies looking for additional, creative capital for growth.
Cryptocurrency platform Binance has confirmed that hackers have stolen 7,000 Bitcoin with a value of more than $41 million. In a statement posted early this morning, the Hong Kong based firm - which runs one of the world’s largest cryptocurrency exchanges - said cybercriminals had used phishing, viruses and other attacks to carry out the hack and obtain a “large number” of user API keys, 2FA codes and other information.
Facebook has announced that London is to become the focus of its drive to roll-out payments across its WhatsApp messaging service. WhatsApp is looking to recruit 100 new staff members in the capital as parent company Facebook continues with its push to monetise the social media messaging platform, which is used by 1.5 billion people globally.
Radical Ventures has launched a $350 million fund focused primarily on artificial intelligence (AI), backed by limited partners including the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, TD Bank Group and Wittington Investments. "AI is perhaps the most disruptive technology since electricity,” said Jordan Jacobs, managing partner at Radical Ventures. “It will transform the world, impacting everyone, and we are just at the beginning of its application.”
Technological changes colliding with other macro-economic and behavioural shifts could bring a £106 billion boost to the UK’s financial services sector by 2030, according to analysis from PwC. Of this estimated new business during the next 10 years, PwC estimated more than half will be driven by advances in insurance (£49.5 billion) and small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) lending (£4.1 billion) as firms operating in this area mobilise to meet changing consumer habits.
Political uncertainty has had a direct effect London-based tech firms’ ability to access capital, according to new research which has revealed a sharp fall in venture capital investment. Trade body Tech London Advocates found that 87 per cent of tech firms felt the Brexit process had tarnished London’s reputation as a business centre, while 39 per cent said it had become more difficult to access capital in the capital since the referendum.
The Co-operative Bank has announced more than 100 new jobs for IT and digital specialists in the North West of England, as it moves forward with plans to develop online and digital propositions. Roles are open to applicants with all levels of experience, from graduates to seasoned professionals, with applications encouraged from a wide variety of backgrounds. An ‘open doors’ event will be held on 8 May in the centre of Manchester, where the bank’s head office is based.
The government has announced a new Joint Authorities Cash Strategy (JACS) Group to “safeguard the future of cash and ensure its availability for years to come”, according to chancellor Philip Hammond. It also stated a commitment to act on the Access to Cash Review, which makes clear that “significant, expeditious action” is needed from government, regulators and industry to ensure that cash access and acceptance is maintained in the UK.
The UK’s tech businesses are confident of their growth prospects for the year ahead, despite the government’s “awful” handling of Brexit. Studio Graphene’s first quarter Tech Tracker Survey, which spoke to C-suite staff at more than 100 UK-based technology startups, revealed that businesses are either ‘very confident’ (39 per cent) or ‘confident’ (40 per cent) that they will increase their turnover over the coming 12 months.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has launched Royal Bank Invest, a new online investment service that will allow investment from as little as £50. Customers will be able to link their investments to a financial goal and track performance online, with funds either self-selected or using automated advice. Investment will be either through one lump-sum, a monthly contribution or an ISA transfer.
Checkout.com has taken funding from outside investors for the first time in its history, raising $230 million, in what is Europe’s largest FinTech Series A round ever. The round was led by Insight Partners and DST Global, with participation from Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC, Blossom Capital, Endeavor Catalyst and other strategic investors. The company will use the money to continue its growth in Europe, the US and the Middle East, with further expansion into Asia and Latin America.
Developments in financial technology such as Open Banking and digital finance apps could open the industry up to greater financial inclusion and consumer choice if widely adopted, according to a discussion paper published by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The consultation paper issued by the banking regulator is aimed at exploring the changing financial needs and options available to consumers from different age groups.
Digital ID firm Jumio has struck a new multi-year agreement to provide regulatory technology to Monzo. Jumio has provided the challenger bank with artificial intelligence (AI) driven software provider to help meet strict Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance mandates since 2017.
IBM and Thomson Reuters have announced a joint collaboration to help banks address ever-growing regulatory requirements through the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and real-time regulatory insights. IBM and Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence will now offer access to a RegTech solution delivered from the IBM Cloud that features real-time data from thousands of content sources. Backed by domain knowledge of Promontory Financial Group, the collaboration will enable risk and compliance professionals to keep pace with regulatory changes, manage risk and reduce the overall cost of compliance.
The chancellor has warned that “there is no room for complacency” to the UK’s FinTech sector, despite recent successes. Addressing the Innovate Finance Global Summit yesterday, Philip Hammond pointed out that international competition is growing – from Shanghai to San Francisco, Mumbai, Tel Aviv, Berlin and Paris.
Business-to-business (B2B) transactions processed by pureplay digital operators will reach $14 trillion by 2023, up from $6.7 trillion in 2018, as new entrants offer cheaper and faster services than established players in the space. This is according to market analysis from Juniper Research, which suggested that bank purchase departments can struggle to quantify return on investment from the implementation of digital technologies to replace, or augment, existing mechanisms. As a result, incumbents in the space are heavily reliant on manual processes and traditional suppliers.
While FinTech could help increase competition in financial services, some of the new solutions might also lead to the migration of activity outside the perimeter of prudential regulation. This was the view of Dave Ramsden, deputy governor for markets and banking at the Bank of England (BoE), speaking at yesterday’s Innovate Finance Global Summit in London.
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), the independent body established to implement the £775 million Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) State Aid Alternative Remedies Package, has announced the fourth and final application window for Pool C of the Capability and Innovation Fund. The Capability and Innovation Fund is designed to support the development of wider capabilities and competition in the small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) banking markets.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has given provisional approval to Paypal’s $2.2 billion takeover of Swedish mobile payments company iZettle. In November an investigation by the UK competition watchdog had raised concerns that the proposed merger could drive up prices for customers and lead to a more limited range of services.
Banco Santander has partnered with Microsoft Azure to drive its hybrid cloud strategy, as part of a €20 billion digital transformation plan. The Spanish-headquartered bank said the software giant’s cloud and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities will improve customer service and operational efficiency as a part of a multi-year agreement.
Mastercard and Visa have agreed to cut payments fees for tourists using their cards in the EU, the European Commission’s competition watchdog has announced.The payments giants will reduce multilateral interchange fees (MIFs) imposed on consumer cards issued outside of the EU by around 40 per cent as a result of a ruling by the European Commission’s antitrust body.
Nationwide Building Society has invested in Ordo, a payment request service launching later this year, which connects billers to payers using apps and secure messaging. The investment is part of the building society’s £50 million Venturing Fund, designed to create partnerships in which it and startups share knowledge and expertise.
More than half (61 per cent) of financial services firms believe that automation is driving greater success in the sector, while close to three quarters (71 per cent) see the pace of technological change as a key enabler. IT and digital services firm Ricoh Europe surveyed 2,550 business leaders across 24 countries in Europe, Middle East and Africa on the role technology plays in driving efficiencies and employee empowerment.
Tech firms’ optimism dropped to a 10-year low in the first quarter of 2019, due to fears over a skills shortage and a subdued economy, according to a report from KPMG. Its quarterly monitor of business activity in the UK’s tech sector recorded the lowest levels of confidence in a decade for the three months to March, despite business activity growth recovering to its fastest pace since the second quarter of 2018.
International trade secretary Liam Fox has announced two new FinTech bridge programs with Australia and Hong Kong.The initiatives, which have been established in partnership with HM Treasury (HMT) and build upon existing frameworks, have selected 20 high-achieving UK startups and established FinTechs to reduce barriers faced as they undertake their international expansion.
Richard Theo, the government’s FinTech Envoy for Wales, has launched FinTech Wales, a not-for-profit independent membership organisation set up to champion the FinTech industry in Wales. Launched today at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London, the association brings together entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, as well as technology suppliers, innovators, universities and public sector bodies.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced the eight FinTechs under consideration to test cross-border innovations as part of a joint global regulatory sandbox. In a speech to the Innovate Finance Global summit this morning, the FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition Christopher Woolard, said it would be joining forces with fellow banking regulators to launch the first tests overseen by the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN).
The governor of the Bank of England (BoE) has promised that it and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) will evolve to meet the demands of new forms of financial technology. Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit in London this morning, Mark Carney stated: “The UK’s FinTech companies are creating this new finance, but you cannot do it all on your own; your efforts will be even more effective if you have the right conditions in which to innovate and the level playing fields on which to compete."
FinTech Scotland and FinTech North are joining forces with Innovate Finance to form a national network aimed at connecting startups and FinTech innovators around the UK. The collaboration will focus on connecting the UK’s FinTech hubs outside of London to promote skills, investment and diversity initiatives and boost foreign direct investment (FDI) in the industry.
Real-time capital markets data analytics startup Mosaic Smart Data has completed a $9 million investment round to support its product development and global expansion. The round was co-led by CommerzVentures and Octopus Ventures, and also includes existing investor and client J.P.Morgan.
UK digital wealth manager Nutmeg is expanding into Asia by signing a partnership with Taiwanese bank Taipei Fubon. The deal will open up Nutmeg’s portfolio management and investment apps to Tapei Fubon’s five million customers, making it’s the first European digital wealth manager to access the Asian market.
Santander is launching the UK’s first telephone banking service to be verified with a combination of voice biometric security and phone ID. The telephone banking service, which is being rolled out in waves to Santander customers, will authenticate customers using a unique biometric marker.
The Open Banking data sharing transformation is set to evolve into more wide-ranging changes to the financial services industry, including Open Finance and Open Data, according to a panel of experts. Speaking at an event discussing the future of FinTech partnerships in Open Banking, Romi Savova, chief executive of pension consolidation platform PensionBee, predicted that the next 12 months will see incumbents and challengers alike focus on streamlining the processing of transactions using open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
Almost half of C-suite financial services executives (45 per cent) admit they do not know where to start when developing their digital transformation strategy. This is according to a survey of over 1,000 such executives and over 1,000 business analysts by Celonis, which found that many organisations have wasted significant resources on initiatives that have been poorly planned.
The head of GCHQ has called for closer co-operation between the financial services sector and the UK’s intelligence services to combat the threat of cyber attacks on consumers. Speaking at the CyberUK cyber security conference in Glasgow yesterday, Jeremy Fleming said GCHQ would seek to work more closely with banks, internet service providers (ISPs) and online platforms in order to “bake” cyber defences into business systems and increasingly “take the burden of cyber security away from the individual”.
Digital bank N26 is to open a new technology hub in Vienna to accelerate development of high performance security systems and new product offerings.The German challenger bank, which launched in the UK in November last year, said it would recruit more than 300 software engineers, product managers and IT specialists in Vienna to work on developing state-of-the-art security systems that can detect fraudulent transactions faster through the use of artificial intelligence.
Standard Chartered Bank is partnering with cloud technology platform Avaya to drive the development of its digital banking services.The international banking giant will use Avaya’s OneCloud private solution for its unified communications and contact centre services in order to offer a more joined-up service for customers that are increasingly moving to online and mobile banking.
SWIFT has appointed Javier Pérez-Tasso as its new chief executive. A member of the executive team for the past seven years, he currently serves as chief executive for the Americas and UK. He will take up his appointment on 1 July, in place of Gottfried Leibbrandt, who announced his intention to step down from the post at the end of June in December 2018.
Japanese megafund SoftBank has signed an agreement with Wirecard for an investment of €900 million in the German payments processor via a convertible bond mechanism. They have also signed a memorandum of understanding on a strategic partnership for digital payment solutions, with SoftBank seeking to support Wirecard’s geographic expansion into Japan and South Korea, as well as providing collaboration opportunities within SoftBank’s global portfolio in digital payments, data-analytics, artificial intelligence and other digital financial services.
US card issuing platform Marqeta is expanding into Europe with the launch of a digital banking service for FinTechs. Announcing the launch of its open Application Programming Interface (API) in Europe, Marqeta revealed that France’s Morning Bank, Spanish point of sale (PoS) service Aplazame and Swiss FinTech YAPEAL were the first three companies to sign up to its platform.
Digital admin assistant ANNA Money has partnered with Application Programming Interface (API) provider TrueLayer to provide the former with Open Banking-based services, including account aggregation and financial data which will make VAT calculations via its app much faster. There are also potential plans to integrate TrueLayer’s Payments API into ANNA’s platform, letting customer make and receive payments more securely.
European governments need to take urgent co-ordinated action with the private sector and wider society to deal with the most pressing challenges of the 21st century - including preparing citizens for massive technological developments, digital disruption and climate change - according to a group of leading European businesses. A new report from the European Round Table of Industrialists, a group of 55 major European businesses whose members include Heineken, L’Oréal, Nestlé and Rolls Royce, highlighted the need to strengthen the peace and prosperity offered by European unity in the last seven decades and called for joint action in the face of wide-ranging digital and environmental disruption.
Two thirds of Europeans have faith that cryptocurrencies will still exist in 10 years’ time, however the majority are still uncertain to how they will be used. The research, commissioned by Bitcoin exchange bitFlyer, polled 10,000 respondents across the UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland and Spain.
Visa has launched a new platform with beta Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and development tools to help issuers and issuer processors build and test new digital payment products. The platform will be available to the payment giant’s clients and partners via Visa Next, a new location for accessing new solutions in its product pipeline.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is “not in the business of picking winners”, its chief executive has said in a speech setting out the regulator’s outlook for innovation, competition and approach to Brexit. Making the address at Bloomberg’s London headquarters this afternoon, Andrew Bailey outlined how the emergence of behavioural economics and insights from psychology have changed the regulatory debate on competition, and how authorities must balance the need to set rules for the public good with the demands of innovation and new technologies.
T-Mobile has launched a new mobile-only current account for its US customers. The no-fee account offers a four per cent annual percentage yield on balances up to $3,000 and one per cent on every dollar over that amount, when at least $200 is deposited each month. Pitching itself against traditional bank overdraft and account fees, the telecoms giant is also offering overdraft protection when customers sign up for T-Mobile MONEY, giving up to 30 days and $50 of leeway to get back into the black.
More than three in every five companies (61 per cent) suffered a cyber security incident in the last year, with average losses rising from $229,000 in 2018 to $369,000 in 2019, according to the latest cyber readiness report from Hiscox. The insurance firm surveyed more than 5,400 private and public organisations in the US, UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the Netherlands, finding a 45 per cent increase in reported cyber incidents since last year.
Nationwide Building Society has selected seven FinTechs to take part in its Open Banking for Good challenge, developing apps and services to help financially vulnerable people. The companies have been chosen from more than 50 applicants and are divided among three categories: Income and expenditure: Openwrks and Ducit.ai; Income smoothing: Trezeo and Flow; Money management: Toucan, Squad and Tully.
The vast majority of organisations are struggling to secure value from their Intelligent Automation (IA) activities, with more than a third (38 per cent) of companies confirming investments of more than £7.7 million. A survey of nearly 600 business leaders across 13 countries - including 42 vice president, director and C-Suite executives in the UK - conducted by KPMG International and HFS Research, found that only around a fifth (22 per cent) of companies have scaled up or industrialised IA technology.
US federal government blockchain spending will grow from $10.7 million in 2017 to $123.5 million in 2022 – an overall compound annual growth rate of 63.1 per cent. This is according to analysis from market intelligence firm IDC, which also predicted state and local government blockchain spending to grow from $4.4 million in 2017 to $48.2 million in 2022.
Imandra has completed a $5 million seed investment round, led by AlbionVC, IQ Capital and LiveOak Venture Partners. The capital will be used towards further growth in financial services and applications of its artificial intelligence (AI) technology for autonomous vehicles, robotics and machine learning. It will also support Imandra’s expansion in both the US and the UK, with significant hiring of AI, engineering and product talent in Austin, London and Edinburgh.
US payments infrastructure company Stripe has acquired a Dublin-based software company Touchtech Payments in preparation for Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) regulations in Europe. Touchtech provides advanced SCA-ready authentication technology for FinTechs and challenger banks like N26, Transferwise and others.
InsurTech startup Cytora, which uses artificial intelligence (AI) to power its commercial insurance underwriting platform, has raised £25 million in a Series B funding round. The investment was led by EQT Ventures, with participation from existing investors Cambridge Innovation Capital and Parkwalk, along with unnamed angel investors.
More than half of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) say a data breach or cyber security incident would put their business at risk of closure. A Censuswide survey of 501 IT decisions-makers, commissioned by IT security firm Webroot, also found that more than three quarters of SMBs (78 per cent) believe that their business could be jeopardised by a lack of cyber security knowledge on the part of their employees.
A group of FinTech firms have set up the European Third-Party Provider Association (ETPPA), a new entity that strengthens Third Party Providers’ (TPP) interests around the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The ETPPA formalises the existing Future of European Fintech (FoEF) coalition into an official non-profit TPP trade association.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has published its Business Plan for 2019/20, outlining key priorities for the coming year, including a focus on enhancing the use of technology and data. The UK’s regulator also set out its research agenda for the next 12 months, which included artificial intelligence (AI), quantum computing, distributed ledger technology (DLT) and regulatory technology (RegTech).
Nearly three quarters (71 per cent) of all banking interactions are now digital, with a majority of customers carrying these out on a smartphone, tablet or wearable device, according to FIS. The FinTech provider, which recently purchased Worldpay in a $43 billion merger deal, commissioned a survey of 1,000 banking customers regarding their expectations of digital banking and payments.
Now in their 7th year, the 2019 Payments Awards are open for entries, with an expanded selection of categories to choose from. Celebrating the companies which have demonstrated excellence and innovation in the payments space, this year the awards will be welcoming entries in four new categories: Anti-Fraud Solution of the Year; Security Innovation of the Year; Best Cross-Border Payments Solution; and Blockchain or Cryptocurrency Initiative of the Year.
Facebook has confirmed that it is closing down its peer-to-peer (P2P) payments service on Messenger. The social media giant informed users that the payments service, which launched in the UK in November 2017, two years after it was first rolled out in the US, was being discontinued.
Eight in 10 chief information officers (CIOs) are worried about the need for advanced tech skills, as the workforce struggles to keep up with the pace of technological development, according to Barclaycard. A YouGov survey of 100 CIOs in large UK companies for Barclaycard found that 78 per cent were worried about the need to continually upskill staff in an uncertain market, while a similar percentage (76 per cent) voiced concerns about sourcing the right talent when the competition for employees with the right knowledge, skills and experience is increasingly fierce.
Home finance platform Youtility has been selected as one of four providers to participate in the Citizens Advice product testing programme. The project will see the clients of four Citizens Advice Bureaus - Bassetlaw, Hammersmith and Fulham, Cardiff, and Vale and East End - trial digital tools designed to help users budget, while testing the providers’ switching services for better home finance deals.
Finablr has confirmed its intention to proceed with an initial public offer (IPO) on the London Stock Exchange's main market for listed securities. The offer will be composed of new shares to be issued by the United Arab Emirates-based payments and foreign exchange company, as it aims to raise gross proceeds of $200 million. It intends to use the net proceeds from the issue of the new shares to finance further expansion plans and reduce net debt.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of companies now have a majority of employees accessing cloud services via their mobile devices, according to a new study. A survey of 404 chief information officers (CIOs), chief information security officers (CISOs) and heads of network architecture in the UK, Germany, France and the Benelux region, for network security firm Zscaler, found a growing number of firms are enabling access on mobile devices.
NatWest has announced the launch of a new biometric payment approval feature, which allows business and commercial banking customers to make payments of any size through their Bankline Mobile app using Face ID or Touch ID, without the need for a card reader. The new feature also allows businesses to authorise multiple users to setup payments, which business owners can then subsequently approve on the go through their app.
TSB has announced a fraud guarantee scheme to cover customers who fall victim to any type of transactional fraud.The fraud guarantee, the first such move from a UK bank, is aimed at ensuring that its 5.2 million customers are refunded if they are an innocent victim of fraud, including unauthorised transactions or instances where they are tricked into authorising payments to fraudsters.
Trussle has named veteran banker and FinTech executive Simon Williams as new its new chairman and product technology executive Supriya Uchil as a new advisor to help accelerate its growth. The online mortgage broker also announced three-fold year-on-year revenue growth plans to develop new products.
Lloyds and Halifax have launched Open Banking app functionalities to allow customers to see their account balances with other banks in one place.Customers using their mobile banking apps will be able to view accounts and transactions with RBS, HSBC, Barclays, Santander and Nationwide, without the need for multiple logins, as part of new financial data sharing functionality.
Cyber criminals are targeting financial services firms more than any other sector, with a new report finding that finance accounted for 30 per cent of all attacks in the last year. A global threat intelligence report from NTT Security, based on billions of data points from organisations in 18 industry sectors across its security network, revealed that finance has knocked business and professional services from the top spot in Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) cyber attack rankings for the 12 months between October 2017 and September 2018.
US InsurTech plaform Lemonade has secured $300 million in a Series D funding from SoftBank, taking the firm’s total funding to $480 million. Founded in 2015, the company uses artificial intelligence (AI) and behavioural economics to provide full-stack property and casualty insurance via a digitised policy process, based on predictive data to assist with underwriting and pricing.
Almost 40 per cent of businesses in the financial services industry are currently failing to implement data initiatives due to a lack of employee skills. Analytic database firm Exasol commissioned Vanson Bourne to survey 500 IT and business decision-makers in Germany and the UK, finding that 46 per cent are struggling with poor data quality and 32 complained about it being siloed within their organisation.
Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase has launched a Visa debit card allowing users to use cryptoassets such as Bitcoin to make real-world purchases.The card uses a customer’s cryptocurrency balance in Bitcoin, Ethereum, lite coin or other virtual currencies and converts it into pounds to pay in-store and online.
N26 has become the latest major FinTech challenger to encounter regulatory scrutiny, following reports that German regulator BaFiN has called for reforms at the the digital challenger bank.Inquiries into operations in the bank, which launched in the UK in November last year, have reportedly highlighted a number of issues.
Overall venture capital (VC) investment dropped from record heights of US$71 billion in the fourth quarter of 2018 to $53 billion in the first quarter of 2019, due to a decline in Chinese investment, among other factors. The latest KPMG market analysis revealed that while US and European investment remained relatively robust quarter over quarter, Chinese VC fell from $10.1 billion in the fourth quarter last year to $5.8 billion in the first quarter of this year, as ‘megadeals’ took a pause.
Nearly half (49 per cent) of financial services decision-makers would prefer to use outsourced technology solutions, rather than building teams to develop them in-house, according to new research. Asset Control commissioned OnePoll to survey 100 senior financial services staff in the US and Europe, finding that outsourcing has gained in popularity in recent years, with 48 per cent saying key benefits included being able to draw on a third party’s industry knowledge.
The business value of artificial intelligence (AI) in banking is projected to reach $300 billion by 2030, but around 500,000 UK bank workers’ jobs could be at risk by that time. IHS Markit analysis estimated AI in banking business last year at $41.1 billion, which includes the cost savings and efficiencies of introducing AI, compared to keeping existing infrastructures and processes.
MoneySuperMarket has launched a new remortgage platform, the first step towards delivering the first digitised ‘comparison-to-completion’ remortgage. The new proposition is a key part of the group’s ‘Reinvent’ strategy and is powered by Podium, the FinTech startup established in July 2018 as a joint venture between MoneySuperMarket and the founders of HD Decisions, Matt Denman and Mark Hawkins, who created the industry standard for cards and loan ‘smart search’ eligibility.
JPMorgan is launching real-time payments across its European banking network.The roll-out of the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) Instant service means the bank now offers real-time payment capabilities in US Dollar, Pound Sterling and Euros.
A new report from SWIFT has highlighted key improvement in banks’ cybersecurity measures, with the average value of attempted fraud transactions falling dramatically in the last 15 months.The latest study of cyber threats facing the global financial community showed that approximately 70 per cent of attempted thefts from bank accounts in the past 15 months were US dollar based.
New research has revealed that 86 per cent of consumers would consider leaving their bank or building society if they couldn’t manage their account easily online. Fiserv commissioned LM Research & Marketing Consultancy to survey 1,000 UK adults in January, finding that 82 per cent expect every digital experience to be equal to or better than what they receive from other technology providers.
Apiax has hired a former Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) expert on regulatory technology and is opening a new office in London. Alan Blanchard, who joined last month, will be put in charge of business development in the UK market. At LexisNexis he implemented a ‘digital first’ strategy within tax and compliance publishing, and was later responsible for digitising the FCA’s Handbook to facilitate RegTech.
Physical attacks on ATMs have risen for the fourth consecutive year, up 27 per cent when compared with 2017, from 3,584 to 4,549 incidents. The European Association for Secure Transactions (EAST) reported that losses due to ATM related physical attacks were €36 million, a 16 per cent increase from the €31 million reported during 2017.
New research has revealed that 42 per cent of financial management platform users have more than one bank account, as they take advantage of technological innovation and data sharing in financial services. Analysis of 3,000 Moneyhub users with multiple bank accounts found that while many more people are joining digital challenger banks, 65 per cent of those challenger bank customers also still have accounts with their previous High Street lender.
Standard Chartered is renewing its focus on Open Banking through partnerships with developers, corporations and FinTechs, as well as through Application Programming Interface (API) enabled financial data sharing. The bank said its aXess platform would offer developers access its source code for banking products and its API libraries. The aXess Labs, based in Bengaluru, India, will host in-house developers, accelerate ideation to service delivery, enable new business models, and share Open Banking best practices across the company.
The Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) has issued directions to five banks relating to delays in delivering certain aspects of the Open Banking programme, in particular with regard to mobile app functionality. Using its powers under the Retail Banking Market Investigation Order 2017, the CMA reprimanded Bank of Ireland, Danske, HSBC, Lloyds Banking Group and Santander for breaching deadlines for app-to-app redirection functionality, forcing users to rely on desktop-only data sharing.
Mortgage investment platform LendInvest has secured funding of up to £200 million from HSBC.The FinTech said the investment would enable the company to enter the regulated home loan market for the first time, marking the company’s next step towards its goal of becoming a whole-of-market mortgage provider.
European fraud experts have called on EU regulators to put on hold the implementation of the European Banking Authority (EBA) Guidelines on Fraud Reporting under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) until the revised European Central Bank’s (ECB) Regulation on Payments Statistics come into force. In a note issued today, 18 account-servicing payment service providers (AS-PSPs) from 10 European countries have recommended steps to minimise fragmentation risks and ensure both maximal legal certainty and longer-term viability for the implementation programmes that providers and national authorities are putting in place for fraud reporting.
The gradual shift of BigTech giants into financial services has the potential to be a “game changing development” for the industry, according to a new report from the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). The Basel-based institution, which sets out policy and banking services for the world’s central banks, conducted a study into the entry of big technology companies into financial services, which found that regions with “less stringent” banking regulation - including China and Latin America - are ahead of Europe and the United States when it comes to credit services.
This year, London will be home to just as many FinTech ‘unicorns’ as current global leader San Francisco. A new report from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis firm Vacancy Soft has shown that of the 29 FinTech unicorns worldwide - companies worth more than $1 billion - nine are in San Francisco, while seven are based in the UK.
Refinitiv research has revealed that while the overwhelming majority of financial sector executives have deployed machine learning, most also acknowledge that poor-quality data is impeding their ability to fully leverage the technology. The global survey among 450 c-suite leaders and heads of data science departments - including 161 from Europe - found that 43 per cent said data quality the biggest barrier to adoption, followed by a lack of data availability (38 per cent) and a lack of available data scientist staff (33 per cent).
Starling Bank is partnering with accounting software firm FreeAgent in the latest addition to its marketplace for third party apps. The tie up means Starling’s 40,000 business customers will be able to access FreeAgent’s accounting platform and link their account data via Starling’s Application Programming Interface (API) marketplace.
Monzo is set to overtake Revolut as the UK’s second-highest valued FinTech after reportedly securing £100 million in its latest funding round. According to the Sunday Times, the funding, led by a new US investor, will drive the valuation of the digital challenger bank to $2.5 billion, ahead of Revolut’s $1.7 billion, and second only to B2B lending challenger Oaknorth as the UK’s most valuable FinTech.
Financial simulation startup Simudyne has announced a $6 million Series A funding round, led by Barclays.Graphene Ventures, an early investor in Snap and Lyft, and Gauss Ventures, early investors in Revolut and Tandem, also contributed to the round, bringing total capital raised since Simudyne was founded in 2007 in to $10 million.
New research has revealed that 95 per cent of chief information and chief information security officers in the UK admit they make compromises in how they protect the business against cyber threats and other disruptions. Endpoint security specialist Tanium surveyed 500 people in those positions, finding that 35 per cent cited pressure to keep the lights on, while 31 per cent suggested they were restricted by legacy IT commitments.
RBS and Barclays have participated in a global trial of blockchain technology which claims to be able to cut the buy-sell period from three months to less than three weeks.The lenders joined 40 global financial and professional services firms, including Swiss Re, AXA and Clifford Chance, to test the application of distributed ledger technology (DLT) developed by Instant Property Network (IPN), a property transaction network.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is considering an investigation into Visa’s £247 million takeover of cross-border payments firm Earthport. The competition watchdog said a potential inquiry into the merger would result in a “substantial lessening of competition” in the market.
Big Tech companies such as Amazon and Google are more trusted by the public than traditional banks, according to a new survey, suggesting that new financial products such as the Apple Card could pose a challenge to incumbents.Following the announcement that Apple is launching a credit card service to the US market last month, a Harris 24 survey of 542 consumers revealed that 39 per cent had ‘a lot or a great deal of confidence’ in tech firms, compared with the 31 per cent who said they trusted credit card companies.
InsurTech-focused venture capital firm IA Capital Group has raised $150 million across three funds. The Inter-Atlantic Stonybrook Insurtech Ventures fund will focus on property and casualty InsurTech, the Inter-Atlantic G fund will focus on life, annuity and retirement InsurTech, and the Inter-Atlantic Ivy fund will focus on later-stage opportunities in InsurTech and FinTech.
Santander has announced that its European divisions, which includes Santander UK, will shoulder a reported €1.2 billion of cost cutting in the next four years, as the Spanish banking giant steps up plans to invest more than €20 billion in digitisation and technology. Santander UK could face further cuts as its parent company looks to “simplify, digitalise and automate” the group.
Ministers have called on businesses to take further action to protect themselves against cyber crime despite a government survey showing that the percentage of UK businesses experiencing cyber security breaches fell to just under a third (32 per cent) from 43 per cent last year.The results of the Department for Culture Media and Sport’s annual cyber crime survey revealed that moves from UK businesses and charities to upgrade their defences following the introduction of tough new laws have driven down the overall number of reported breaches in 2019.
More than half of retail banks are looking to collaborate with FinTechs to advance their own digital banking offerings, with 56 per cent expecting that incumbent/FinTech sandboxes will become mainstream by 2025. An Economist Intelligence Unit survey of 405 global banking executives on behalf of banking software firm Temenos revealed that retail banks now rank adoption of new technologies as a more pressing priority than regulation and changing customer demands.
More than half of all UK consumers have at least one bank account they no longer use, but have not yet closed, as many open new accounts with challenger banks because they offer enticing personalised features. The research, commissioned by Crealogix and undertaken by Censuswide among 2,000 people aged 18 to 65 who currently have a bank account, found that 57 per cent of respondents admitted to having at least one bank account they have not accessed in the last three months, while a quarter of Generation Z and Millennial-aged people have two or more accounts that are currently not in use.
Barclays, BBVA, Deutsche Boerse and SWIFT are among those from the financial services sector to join the newly-founded International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (IATBA). More than 100 organisations from a variety of industries have signed up to the organisation, which grew out of a series of meetings held by the European Commission.
Derivatives analytics firm OpenGamma has raised $10 million in a funding round led by FinTech and B2B software backer Dawn Capital.The funding round includes participation from existing investors Accel, CME Ventures and ex-SunGuard chief executive Cristóbal Conde.
The European Commission (EC) has launched a new cross-border initiative encouraging collaboration between national regulators and governments on to grow the FinTech economy. The European Forum for Innovation Facilitators (EFIF) is aimed at supporting regulators to share information and work together on plans for innovation hubs and regulatory sandboxes.
New research has revealed that 83 per cent of mobile financial applications store data insecurely, with 97 per cent failing to include binary protection which stops hackers from reverse-engineering the software. Application security provider Arxan commissioned advisory firm Aite Group to analyse the market, finding that 90 per cent of apps unintentionally leaked data to other apps, while 80 per cent used weak encryption and 70 per cent used weak random-number generation.
Israeli startup FinCom.Co has launched its anti-money laundering (AML) fingerprint technology in the UK, gaining market access through the London Stock Exchange’s Issuer Services Marketplace. Developed for highly regulated sectors, the AML platform utilises advanced mathematics with phonetic fingerprint recognition to aid customer verification and compliance in real time.
Financial services compliance departments should accelerate their uptake of new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and RegTech solutions to cut costs, according to Accenture. A survey of 151 compliance executives at financial services institutions found that over two-thirds (68 per cent) of their compliance departments are facing a cost reduction target, while 69 percent of these looking to make savings of between 10 and 20 per cent over the next three years.
Biometric payments company FingoPay has announced that Manchester will be the first city in the UK to trial finger vein payments.The FinTech, owned by Sthaler, has developed a Hitachi-backed payment systems which allows shoppers to pay with a scan of the vein signatures in their finger, removing the need for cards, apps or pin numbers. The advanced security offering also removes the need for transaction limits.
Blockchain-based mortgage platform Acre has secured £5 million in funding from insurance giant Aviva and financial advisor Sesame Bankhall Group (SBG).The FinTech, which uses blockchain to build a “record of transaction” of the elements of the mortgage application process, says it will use the investment to grow the platform.
In 2019, the majority of banks have made significant progress in digitalising their retail product line, with 65 per cent of digitally active large banks reaching the ‘digital promised land’, according to Temenos. This represents a significant shift from 2017, when the banking software company ranked the majority of banks as ‘legacy lovers’ or ‘under achievers’.
The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a series of clarifications to issues raised by its joint working group on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) under the second Payment Services Directive (PSD2). The issues raised in today’s update relate to the performance and support of APIs, which enable financial data sharing, as well as the provision of a list of Third Party Providers (TPPs) that are interested in testing, and the testing by TPPs that is not authorised.
Fourteen global financial institutions - including HSBC, Lloyds, Deutsche Bank and Standard Chartered - have joined together to launch an initiative which aims to use technology to open up trade finance as an asset class for the institutional investors.The Trade Finance Distribution Initiative (TFD) will initially focus on creating common data standards and definitions to enhance operational efficiency and improve risk management associated with establishing trade finance as an asset class.
TSB is to end IT outsourcing projects and bring control of its banking platform and technology back in house, after a series of IT meltdowns left millions of customers locked out of their online banking last year. In a statement, the bank said it was discontinuing arrangements with with Sabis, a tech subsidiary of parent company Banco Sabadell and other technology partners.
NatWest is trialling a new companion to the NatWest app called Mimo, designed to help customers enjoy financial peace of mind. Mimo will help customers budget, remind them of the financial tasks they need to do, and provide proactive and personal insights into their money, looking at their bills or day-to-day spending – as well as insurance, subscriptions and utilities.
Banking incumbents which are slow to upgrade their infrastructure could take a 30 per cent hit in revenue, as challengers gobble up more of the market for innovative digital banking services, according to Citibank. A new report from the US-based bank has demonstrated a growing need for established banking players to develop their own standalone digital-first brands in order to fend off the growing number of FinTech challengers, such as Monzo, Starling and Revolut.
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has opened the beta phase of its regulatory sandbox, designed to support organisations using personal data to develop innovative products and services. Participants will be able to work with the ICO’s specialist staff to help ensure they comply with data protection rules, providing some comfort from enforcement action and, where feasible, increased public reassurance that products and services are not in breach of data protection legislation.
Over one third of IT decision-makers (ITDMs) in the UK’s largest financial services firms believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will transform the industry in the next decade – but the same percentage admitted that their infrastructure is not prepared for the transformation. A Censuswide survey of 200 ITDMs for data centre firm Digital Realty also found that they thought the potential for AI to transform their business functions outweighs the disruptive potential of other technologies.
Challenger bank TSB would need a three-year turnaround and cost-cutting plan before it could be a candidate for sale or consolidation, according to the chairman of parent group Banco Sabadell. The High Street lender last year saw chief executive Paul Pester stand down after a series of IT outages left 1.9 million customers locked out of online banking, costing the company £330 million.
Klarna has launched its own Open Banking Platform, giving access to more than 4,300 European banks through a single Access to Account (XS2A) Application Programming Interface (API). The XS2A API has been developed at scale across markets for almost 15 years through the Klarna Group company Sofort. It has transferred over €10 billion in volumes and completed over 100 million transactions for 2018 alone.
The European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) published its report on best practice among authorities licensing InsurTechs across Europe. As part of the European Commission's Fintech Action Plan, the document presents a mapping of current authorising and licencing approaches to financial innovation, including an assessment of how the principle of proportionality is applied in practice. It also includes an analysis of the approach to InsurTech startups operating as peer-to-peer (P2P) insurers.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has granted its first tranche of virtual banking licences.The first Hong Kong-based institutions to have received licences to operate under the Banking Ordinance are Livi VB, SC Digital Solutions and ZhongAn Virtual Finance. The licences will enable them to operate in the form of a virtual bank from today.
FinTech challengers Starling, Monzo and Revolut have led the list of tech firms joining the government’s Future 50 startup programme. The mobile-only banks are among 24 new entrants for this year’s programme, which backs 50 of the UK’s fastest-growing late-stage tech startups in their efforts to scale-up by enabling contact with senior government decision-makers and a peer-to-peer network.
Adobe and Microsoft are teaming up to launch an integration with LinkedIn for their marketing solutions, as the software giants look to rival Salesforce.The collaboration is the latest joint initiative from Microsoft and Adobe as they combine sales and marketing offerings. It will let users of Adobe’s marketing software improve targeting of potential customers in LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft.
Nutmeg has announced plans to democratise its company ownership with a crowdfund later this year. Working in conjunction with Crowdcube, the digital wealth manager will give eligible customers the opportunity to invest alongside existing institutional shareholders such as Convoy, Taipei Fubon Bank, Goldman Sachs and Balderton Capital.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published its Annual Plan and Budget for 2019/20, announcing a more direct focus on consumers’ experience of payments, having spent its first few years on access to payment systems and the way infrastructure works. It explained that an agile approach and willingness to adapt will help the people and businesses that rely on payments.
Citigroup has announced it is developing a digital consumer payments service for financial institutions.The move will offer institutional merchants the ability to collect from a range of payment methods, including cards, e-wallets and new bank transfers such as Request to Pay and Open Banking.
Payments startup Wi5 has raised £8 million in a seed round to drive growth of its platform. The investment was led by West Hill Capital. The London-based FinTech, which counts telecoms provider Telefonica amongst its backers, said it would use the money to expand its mobile engagement platform, which allows customers to place orders and payments on-site without the need to download an app.
New research has revealed that 87 per cent of IT decision-makers believe that technologies powered by artificial intelligence (AI) should be subject to regulation. A study of 300 ITDMs from the UK and US commissioned by integration platform SnapLogic found a growing need for firms to focus on corporate responsibility and ethics it the development of AI solutions, with 94 per cent saying more attention needs to be paid to this area.
More than a third of financial services jobs in The City of London are at risk of automation, according to a study by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The analysis concluded that 1.5 million jobs in England were at high risk of having some of their tasks automated, with 710,000 jobs located in The City’s financial services hub being under threat.
International payments startup Airwallex has raised a $100 million investment, led by DST Global, tipping it into a $1 billion ‘unicorn’ valuation. The Australian-based cross-border payments specialist also counted Sequoia Capital China, Tencent, Hillhouse Capital, Gobi Partners, Horizons Ventures and Square Peg Capital as investors.