Nationwide has seen soaring use of video calls during lockdown, with 2.5 million calls made in June as it continues to roll out a digital transformation strategy. The building society became an early adopter of Microsoft Teams’ collaboration software in 2019, as part of efforts to transform the workplace and create more flexibility for staff.
Cross-industry financial services body Investing and Savings Alliance (TISA) has commenced the industry-wide rollout of TISAtech, a digital marketplace that brings together financial institutions and FinTechs for greater collaboration and innovation. TISAtech will enable financial institutions to more quickly and easily identify and connect with potential partners via a searchable database of more than 3,600 categorised FinTechs.
Railsbank has launched operations in the US, appointing Dov Marmor as chief operating officer for North America. It will offer the complete platform, including Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) and Credit Cards-as-a-Service (CCaaS) to FinTechs across the pond.
Nicolas Weng Kan, the former chief executive of Google Compare and Confused.com, has today been appointed as the chief executive of Yolt. In this role, he will be responsible for managing both the smart money app and Open Banking arm Yolt Technology Services (YTS).
In light of the impact of COVID-19 on firms’ business models, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued finalised guidance to strengthen payment firms’ prudential risk management and arrangements for safeguarding customers’ funds. This follows the consultation paper published on 22 May, which closed on 12 June.
UK workers are being targeted by a new SMS phishing scam designed to trick victims into handing over details of their HSBC bank account. The scheme, uncovered by litigation specialists Griffin Law, begins with a text message purporting to be from HSBC, telling the target that ‘a new payment has been made’ through the HSBC app on their phone.
The chancellor’s Summer Statement has been called a “missed opportunity” to support the UK’s tech sector through the Coronavirus recession. Rishi Sunak signalled the country’s move to phase two of the economic recovery, with a specific focus on protecting employment and boosting job creation, while phase three will concentrate on rebuilding the economy more comprehensively and is likely to come during the full autumn budget statement.
TransferGo has announced the appointment of Edgardo Savoy as its new chief technology officer. Based in London, he will be responsible for leading TransferGo’s team of more than 60 engineers and driving the company’s technology roadmap, with a focus on customer experience.
American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa are beginning technical preparations to roll out the Click to Pay online checkout to countries including the UK. Click to Pay, based on the EMV Secure Remote industry standard, aims to make the online checkout simple and secure for consumers across websites, mobile apps and connected devices by replacing the entry of personal account numbers and information at checkout.
A total of 60 per cent of financial services organisations believe that public cloud platforms will be strategically important for them in the next two to five years, as the pace of digital transformation accelerates in the industry. A survey of 488 financial services firms by application services company F5 found that the number of firms strategically considering public cloud platforms was up sharply from 49 per cent in 2019, as 84 per cent of firms continue to execute their digital transformation plans.
Wagestream has completed a £20 million Series B funding round. Early-stage venture capital specialist Northzone led the round, with participation from QED Investors, Latitude Ventures and Balderton Capital. This latest investment - which takes the total raised to £65 million - will be used to consolidate the company’s market share in the UK and fund its international expansion.
Newcastle Building Society has launched a new mobile savings app. Users can check balance and transaction information, while secure cloud and biometric technology ensures cyber safety. The app is available for both Android and Apple devices.
BNP Paribas Securities Services has automated processing of key asset servicing documentation with Natural Language Generation (NLG), machine learning and intelligent document processing technologies. The securities division of the French banking giant has called the automation drive a “major milestone” in the bank’s digital transformation programme.
Almost three-quarters of smaller UK FinTech companies have a cash runway of half-a-year, while 77 per cent are worried about their next funding round, according to new research from Innovate Finance. The survey of 126 FinTech startups - of whom 61 per cent had fewer than 25 employees - found that the vast majority of respondents haven't received funding since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown. Of those that have, the majority came from angel investment.
Deutsche Bank and Google Cloud have agreed to form a strategic partnership, delivering not only cloud services to the bank, but also enabling co-innovation to create new technology-based financial products. Both parties have signed a letter of intent and plan to sign a multi-year contract within the next few months.
A new digital bank, Monument, has announced it is in the latter stages of its application for a banking licence. It plans to launch the bank of choice for mass affluent clients in the UK who have a net worth of between £250,000 and £5 million.
Lloyds Banking Group chief executive António Horta-Osório will step down next June after a 10-year tenure. The UK's largest banking group also unveiled Robin Budenberg as its new chairman, replacing Lord Blackwell from next year.
Starling Bank has launched a new digital banking toolkit and a US dollar account to allow business banking customers to spend directly in pounds and dollars with a single debit card.
Tech Nation's Insurtech Board and Insurtech UK have joined forces to make a statement urging that all insurance leaders remain committed to supporting innovation and InsurTech. The notice explained that the impacts of COVID-19 on the insurance industry are "immediately pressing" and come with unclear longer-term repercussions.
The Co-operative Bank is launching a free fraud awareness webinar to help small businesses protect themselves from fraud. The information session will feature members of its fraud and cyber security team, as well as experts from Greater Manchester Police and the Federation of Small Business.
TransferWise has secured retail investment permissions for customers in the UK. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has granted multiple permissions to carry out regulated investment activities, including the ability to arrange and bring about deals in investments.
The Investing and Saving Alliance (TISA) has appointed Atos to build a digital utility for the asset management industry, called the TISA Universal Reporting Network (TURN). TURN is being created to ease regulatory reporting requirements for MiFID II regulations. It will be available across Europe based on blockchain technology and is due to launch in the last quarter of this year.
BNY Mellon has announced a strategic collaboration with risk and payments solution provider Early Warning Services, to help deliver real-time account validation services to clients. A statement explained this could offer the flexibility to tailor a solution to meet clients’ individual needs, whether through BNY Mellon directly, or through one of its private label bank relationships.
Analysis from consultancy firm Kearney has predicted a rise in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) over the next few years as banks seek to reduce costs in the short-term, re-focus the core business for the long-term, and transform operating models. Now in its 11th year, Kearney’s European Retail Banking Radar tracks 92 retail banks in 22 European markets - comprised of 50 banks in Western Europe and 42 banks in Eastern Europe.
A group of 16 major European banks from Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain have paved the way for the future launch of the European Payments Initiative (EPI). The ambition of EPI is to create a unified pan-European payment solution, leveraging instant payments and credit transfers, offering a card for consumers and merchants, as well as a digital wallet.
Santander Group has appointed three leading technologists to lead its €20 billion digital transformation and technology strategy. The Spanish banking giant has made the senior hires as it builds out its digital capabilities and the Santander Global Platform. The move comes weeks after the bank announced plans to hire 3,000 staff in IT roles worldwide in the coming year.
Mastercard has announced partnerships with three FinTech firms to extend its secure Open Banking system. The card issuing and payments giant said the agreements struck with business payments provider Modulr, digital banking platform Aion and e-money firm DiPocket, to use Microsoft Open Banking Protect, will help the organisations safeguard customer accounts from compromised or unauthorised third-party providers (TPPs).
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), the independent body established to implement the £775 million RBS State Aid Alternative Remedies Package, has announced the resignation of Godfrey Cromwell as executive chair. Cromwell will leave at the end of September, to be replaced in August with current BCR non-executive director Richard Anderson as non-executive chair.
A third of financial organisations discovered sensitive or regulated customer data outside of designated secure locations in the past 12 months, according to new research finding that financial services firms are prone to a range of insufficient cyber security controls that make them vulnerable to escalating cyber threats. Netwrix surveyed 102 financial organisations, revealing that 40 per cent of respondents admitted that in the last year, while their IT teams granted direct access to sensitive data based solely on a user’s request.
INSTANDA has signed its first European partnership following a $19.5 million Series A funding round in March. The customer and policy management platform for insurers is partnering with Softelligence, a technology and consulting company which has offices in Romania and London.
Wellbeing benefits startup pirkx is launching its services in Australia, following successful seed funding rounds and launch in the UK market. It is making the move with support from the Department for International Trade and Austrade through the FinTech Bridge programme.
New research has found that older age groups have doubled their holdings of Bitcoin every month since February, signalling growing adoption of cryptocurrency during the COVID-19 lockdown. Data compiled by in-house analysts at Mode Banking, a Bitcoin banking app, found that Boomers (those aged between 56 and 76 years old) and Generation X (41-55 years old) have turned to the digital asset classes for returns as interest rates remained at historic lows during the partial shutdown of the UK economy to battle the spread of Coronavirus.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has given an update on the implementation of its new fraud-prevention tool, Confirmation of Payee (CoP), which gives people the additional protection of checking the name of who they want to pay against the account number they are paying. This has been adopted by members of the UK’s six largest banking groups - Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, NatWest, Nationwide and Santander - marking a milestone in reducing Authorised Push Payment (APP) scams.
Biometrics firm iProov is to provide Dutch challenger bank Knab with facial authentication technology. The partnership with Knab is the first major deployment of iProov’s Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) and customer onboarding by a bank in Europe, is set to be rolled out to provide biometric banking experiences to its nearly 500,000 customers.
Shaparency has launched its board and shareholder management platform, helping businesses digitise governance and shareholder relations. The London-based startup, established in response to the business conditions resulting from COVID-19, aims to use its platform to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of board and shareholder operations.
A new UK survey of 2,000 consumers and 500 banks has revealed that many customers feel let down by their banks’ lack of online services and support since lockdown, with 58 per cent unable to access the help or online banking facilities they need from home. The most common complaint since lockdown by a third of customers was not being able to get through online when needed, with 30 per cent criticising their bank for failing to respond to their query in real time.
The Bank of England has been selected to host a centre of the Bank of International Settlements' Innovation Hub. This UK centre will support the global central banking and finance community through the development of digital public goods - addressing issues of critical importance for the global financial system.
An estimated 2.6 million UK consumers have bought cryptoassets at some point, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The number marks a 1.1 million increase since the FCA completed a face-to-face survey on the same topic last year. Of the 1.9 million that still hold their cryptoassets - such as Bitcoin, Ripple or Ether - half have more than £260.
Enterprise connectivity platform Yapily has partnered with digital wealth manager Moneyfarm to provide its UK and Italian customers with a frictionless deposit process between their investment portfolios and bank accounts. By integrating Yapily’s Open Banking Application Programming Interfaces (API), Moneyfarm customers will be able to securely deposit into or withdraw funds directly from their investment portfolios.
The chancellor is expanding the £500 million Future Fund for UK startups hit by the Coronavirus to ensure firms which shifted their headquarters abroad can still access the scheme. It will now benefit companies that are seen as British in all but name, having moved their parent company to seek investment in the US or take advantage of accelerator programmes like Y Combinator.
As the shockwaves of the Wirecard accounting scandal continue to reverberate, dozens of FinTechs which rely on its card issuing and payment services have been forced to suspend customer accounts, leading to uncertainty for millions of individuals and small businesses across the UK. FStech contacted a number of the more than 70 companies who have reportedly been affected to assess the impact of Wirecard’s collapse on UK FinTech.
Bud has launched an Open Banking payment Application Programming Interface (API) designed to provide an alternative to card payments and bank transfers. The new product allows users to initiate payments directly from their bank account to the recipients - providing a faster and cheaper alternative to existing payment channels without the necessity to share card details with third parties.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued guidance to the industry on managing climate change-related financial risks.The Climate Financial Risk Forum (CFRF) has published the first specific industry-by-industry advice to help firms address climate-related risk, providing practical recommendations to firms of all sizes and across industry sectors on disclosure of climate-related financial risks, effective risk management, scenario analysis and opportunities for innovation in the interest of consumers.
Allica Bank has partnered with Microsoft Azure to help it better serve its small and medium-sized business customers in the UK. Sean Sitton, head of technology at Allica Bank, said that Microsoft Azure gives the scalability and flexibility to meet our business objectives as the bank grows.
IHS Markit has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud infrastructure provider and is moving the majority of its data processing infrastructure, corporate platforms and end user applications out of its data centres to AWS to accelerate innovation and improve resiliency. Under the new agreement, the company will migrate hundreds of additional applications over the next three years.
Scotland’s FinTech cluster was given a boost today with the announcement of £22.5 million in innovation funding for the Global Open Finance Centre of Excellence (GOFCoE) to be established in Edinburgh and the central region. UK Research and Innovation, the government research funding agency, confirmed the area as one of seven proposals being funded by the Strength in Places Fund aimed at supporting innovation and economic growth.
Since the Coronavirus lockdown came into place in March, nearly half (47 per cent) of UK consumers now expect to be able to do all their banking via an app. This is according to a survey of 2,000 UK consumers by IT services firm NTT DATA UK, which found that results varied by age, with 35 to 44 year-olds being the most likely, while respondents aged 55 and over were the least likely to demand app-only banking in the future.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has issued a public censure to Redcentric for committing market abuse between 9 November 2015 and 7 November 2016. The IT service provider issued unaudited interim results and audited final year results which materially misstated its net debt position and overstated its true asset position in circumstances where it knew, or ought to have known that the information was false and misleading.
Nearly three quarters (72 per cent) of accountants believe their clients do not understand how Open Banking works or its potential benefits. Research conducted by cloud accounting software FreeAgent found that 70 per cent of UK accountants believe that artificial intelligence (AI) will free up time for them to work with their clients, and the same amount are optimistic that AI will provide new opportunities rather than leading to job losses.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has ceased the regulate activities of Wirecard, meaning customer money can no longer be accessed. Yesterday, Wirecard filed for insolvency, following revelations around a €1.9 billion black hole in its accounts last week.
Revolut has added American Express to its Open Banking feature. The tie-up means that Revolut users can connect their AmEx accounts to their app, allowing them to see all of their balances and transactions alongside other accounts in one place.
Refinitiv has launched a new tech solution for the wealth management industry, claiming to empower firms with faster time to market for digital properties, while providing investors with a seamless digital experience - including account information, workflow tools, analytics and insights related to their holdings. Refinitiv Digital Investor gives a unified digital experience to help engage investors through a more personalised service, whilst also lowering the total cost of ownership.
Mastercard has entered into an agreement to acquire Finicity for $825 million, with existing shareholders given the potential to earn up to an additional $160 million if performance targets are met. The addition of Finicity’s data analytics technology and teams is aimed at strengthening Mastercard's Open Banking platform.
NatWest has launched a new online payment service, Payit by NatWest, which allows customers to make instant online payments to participating retailers, without the use of a debit or credit card. Payit uses the Open Banking infrastructure to let customers of UK banks pay for products and services offered by retailers who use the service, which is targeted at mid to large corporate companies.
Nationwide is launching video financial advice ‘on the go’. The building society’s new service will be available via personal and handheld devices - including laptop, PC or tablet - enabling customers to speak to an adviser for protection and investment advice in the same way that they would attend a branch-based appointment.
The Brazilian Central Bank has suspended WhatsApp payments, citing competition concerns, just over a week after the messaging app's payment service launched in the country. In statement, the central bank said the decision had been taken to allow it to evaluate potential risks to the country’s payment infrastructure and to establish whether WhatsApp complies with domestic regulation, according to Bloomberg News.
Aviva has selected Fenergo to replace its Know Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and customer due diligence systems and services. The Irish RegTech firm will work initially with Aviva Investors and later with Aviva UK Insurance, to rapidly onboard all legal entities associated with investors and clients across all jurisdictions.
Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lender Zopa is set to branch out into digital banking after it secured a full UK banking licence. The company, which launched its P2P business in 2005, will launch a fixed term saving account, followed by an innovative credit card later in the year.
TSB has seen a surge in demand from customers using its mobile app and online banking following the outbreak of COVID-19. Since lockdown started on 23 March, the bank's own data shows that the average number of customers registering for the mobile app has nearly trebled - from just over 1,270 to almost 3,480 every day - reaching over 4,000 on some days. Enrolments for internet banking have risen by 137 per cent over the same period.
Samsung has announced a new partnership between Samsung Pay, Curve and Mastercard to launch the Samsung Pay Card. Due for launch in the UK later this year, the digital payment solution will offer Samsung customers greater flexibility and control when managing their finances by offering a single view of spend, along with a simple and secure way to pay.
Nine out of 10 IT leaders in financial services believe their firm will need to invest in digital projects over the next two years, just to survive in a rapidly changing market. This is according to a survey conducted by low code specialist Mendix among 350 IT leaders in the UK financial services industry, which found that these changes require juggling between customer-focused initiatives, improving productivity and operational efficiency (76 per cent); harnessing data (90 per cent); and solving compliance challenges (71 per cent).
Accountants must upgrade their skills in financial forecasting and accounting specific software if they are to be of value in the future, according to a new study. A survey of 1,000 accounting and finance professionals in the UK by accounting automation software specialist Caseware, found that while the majority 56 per cent of accountants said they are currently carrying out tasks manually that could be automated, only 43 per cent believe this will continue beyond 2020.
The UK has set out how it intends to approach a range of regulatory reforms which are being implemented at the international and European level. Specifically, there were announcements today on how the government intends to legislate for updated prudential rules to reflect international Basel standards and a new regime for investment firms, publishing a consultation on the transposition of the Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive II (BRRDII), alongside a review to improve the prudential rules for insurers.
The former chief executive of Wirecard has been arrested in Germany on suspicion of falsifying company revenue, after auditors uncovered a €1.9 billion black hole in the company accounts. Markus Braun, who stood down as chief executive of the German payments processor on Friday, turned himself in on Monday evening and will attend a hearing today (Tuesday), according to Reuters, which added that Munich prosecutors confirmed that a judge will decide whether he will remain in custody.
Financial services firms have had to radically change the way how they work due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The series of global lockdowns have forced most global organisations to disperse staff into remote working and embrace new forms of digital communication and data sharing, both internally and with customers.
The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation into the $27 billion acquisition of Refinitiv by the London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG). It will investigate concerns that the deal could result in reduced competition in trading and clearing of various financial instruments and in financial data products.
Visa has now issued more than one billion tokens worldwide through Visa Token Service (VTS), marking a milestone in its proprietary offering to help accelerate e-commerce innovation and make payments more secure. VTS replaces a cardholder’s 16-digit account number with a secure token that protects the underlying card number from fraudsters.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has reminded businesses which carry out cryptoasset activity in the UK that they have to be registered to comply with new regulations. To ensure that applications are processed on time, it requires firms to submit completed applications for registration by 30 June.
The Treasury has announced the appointment of Nikhil Rathi as the new permanent chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). He is currently the chief executive of London Stock Exchange, having been the director of the Financial Services Group at the Treasury from September 2009 to April 2014.
The pensions dashboard is entering the next stage of the process to build the technology which will enable individuals to view all their pensions in one place online. The Pensions Dashboard Programme (PDP), set up by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), has responsibility for designing and implementing the ecosystem which will make pensions dashboards work.
Once the worst of the Coronavirus pandemic is over and the lockdown lifts, 45 per cent of people with savings accounts will be more likely to manage them online using digital services such as apps than they were before the crisis. This is according to a survey commissioned by Investec and carried out by Consumer Intelligence during May among 1,034 UK adults.
HSBC has launched a new investor reporting portal which will allow European debt issuers and investors to access data on their securities and portfolio holdings in real-time and over mobile devices. The HSBC Investor Reporting portal is being introduced for securitisations and will allow clients of the bank’s Issuer Services business to view information directly themselves and share it with regulators and the other parties involved in transactions.
Checkout.com has closed a $150 million Series B funding round, tripling the value of its international payments business to $5.5 billion. The funding was led by Coatue, along with participation from existing investors Insight Partners, DST Global, Blossom Capital and Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC.
Andrew Tyrie has resigned from the chairman of Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), hinting at his dissatisfaction with the limits of the regulator to combat market dominance of digital giants such as Facebook and Google. Lord Tyrie, a former Conservative MP and chairman of the Treasury Select Committee from 2010 to 2017, said that he was standing down from the UK’s competition watchdog three years before his term was due to finish in order to make the case “more forcefully” for a crackdown on market abuse by multi-national companies in favour of consumer rights.
Wirecard chief executive Markus Braun has resigned, as the company warned that €1.9 billion is missing from its accounts. The German payments giant saw its shares fall by over 60 per cent yesterday when it was told by EY that there were indications a trustee to accounts held at two Asian banks had attempted “to deceive the auditor” and may have provided “spurious cash balances”.
Leading technology, finance and non-profit companies have joined forces to announce the launch of PayID, a universal payment identification solution to simplify the process of sending and receiving money globally – across any payment network and any currency. GoPay, Ripple, Blockchain.com, BitPay, Brave, Flutterwave, Mercy Corps and others have collaborated on the development of PayID through the Open Payments Coalition, a multinational alliance of industry leaders.
More than half (58 per cent) of financial decision makers view financial loss due to payment fraud as an inevitable part of running their business, according to new research. An annual Ipsos MORI survey of 800 of financial decision makers from across the UK, for payments provider Bottomline Technologies, found that firms are being hard hit by rising levels of payments fraud, with 81 per cent unable to recover more than half of their losses caused by fraud - a figure which rises to 88 per cent for small businesses alone.
New research has revealed that half of mobile banking applications are vulnerable to fraud and theft of funds, with the server side accounting for more than half of all detected vulnerabilities. Experts at Positive Technologies tested the market, finding that client sides were especially vulnerable to unauthorised access to user data, as 43 per cent of applications store important data on the phone in cleartext.
The Community Access to Cash Pilot (CACP) initiative has announced eight locations across the UK that will be participating in trials to help address challenges of improving cash access and acceptance. Following applications from across the UK, the successful communities will be working with the banking industry to identify sustainable solutions to keeping cash viable for individuals and businesses.
A future model for how the UK’s world-leading Open Banking functions can progress once the current implementation phase ends early next year has been set out today in a new report by UK Finance and Accenture. The banking industry has invested an estimated £1.5 billion in infrastructure since the launch of Open Banking in 2016 by nine of the largest banks, known as the CMA9, and Payments UK, which is now part of UK Finance.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has fined Commerzbank London £37.8 million over failures to put Anti-Money Laundering (AML) systems and controls in place. The regulator said the penalty levied on the German bank’s London branch related to failures to take action on AML and controls between October 2012 and September 2017.
Wealth and financial advisory firm deVere is launching app-based onboarding and verification amid growing demand for FinTech solutions in the industry. Ident Me is an app which provides an alternative to traditional customer onboarding, along with a notary service function.
Mastercard is launching a global payments tokenisation service for Amazon customers.The payments giant is rolling out the service, which makes a secure digital record of stored card credentials to Amazon customers in 12 countries, including the UK, US, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Turkey, Mexico and United Arab Emirates.
Village Capital has announced the 11 early-stage FinTech startups selected to take part in Finance Forward Europe. This investment-readiness program is a part of a multi-year global coalition led by founding partners MetLife Foundation and PayPal to support entrepreneurs on four continents which are building tech-enabled solutions to challenges around financial health.
PagoFX, the international money transfer FinTech backed by Santander, has been extended to sole traders and is introducing a new web service. The move is aimed at opening up the service to the UK’s 3.5 million sole traders, with eight new currencies added from the Middle East and Central and Eastern Europe, including Israel, Turkey, Romania and Croatia. It has also extended its no-fee programme for two months.
FinTech Wales has started working on a 10-year roadmap for the sector, after securing £250,000 in seed funding from Cardiff Capital Region. FinTech Wales is seeking the help of more than 150 companies from across the nation who play a role in the Welsh FinTech environment to help plot the roadmap. It will define the next decade of technology and skills development needs to secure, grow, and innovate.
Revolut has launched Open Banking connections for its more than one million users in Ireland. The new feature allows retail customers to connect their AIB, Permanent TSB, Ulster Bank and Bank of Ireland accounts to Revolut, making it possible to see all their balances and transactions in one single app.
A group of more than 20 of Europe’s leading FinTechs have launched the European FinTech Association (EFA), a not-for-profit, Brussels-based organisation aimed at enabling a common market for financial services. The founding member organisations - which range from payments to lending, banking, robo-advice, identity verification, investment and financial software-as-a-service - will engage proactively with European stakeholders to help inform the digital financial services agenda.
Monzo has closed a £60 million funding round at a £1.25 billion valuation — a 40 per cent valuation drop from its previous fundraise. The digital challenger bank confirmed the speculated fall in valuation, amid redundancies and growth challenges during the Coronavirus crisis.
The Payment Systems Regulator (PSR) has published revised powers and procedures guidance (PPG), as well as a revised version of its interchange fee regulation (IFR) guidance. The original PPG was published in 2015 when the PSR was first operational.
More than three quarters of UK customers would be happy for their bank to capture biometric data to protect their financial accounts, according to new research. A global survey of over 5,000 banking customers in 10 countries by analytics software provider FICO found that attitudes to digital account security including biometrics are changing, with more than one in five Brits having between two to five passwords they re-use across all of their accounts.
With the cryptoasset and blockchain markets growing rapidly, new research has revealed that 88 per cent of senior insurance executives see this market as attractive for insurers over the next five years. Cryptoasset insurance company Evertas commissioned Pureprofile to interview 50 senior insurance executives - 25 based in the UK and 25 in the Americas - during April, finding that 90 per cent expect the level of investment from insurers in their cryptoasset underwriting teams and propositions to increase between now and 2025 - with 26 per cent anticipating a ‘dramatic rise’.
WhatsApp has finally rolled-out in-app digital payments, starting with users in Brazil. People will now be able to send money securely or make a purchase from a local business without leaving their chat.
NFU Mutual will be including personal cyber cover as standard for new bespoke home insurance customers. The move is aimed at strengthening the company's position in the high net worth market, with NFU Mutual Bespoke offering a tailored approach to home insurance designed for those properties that have high-value contents such as fine art, jewellery and collections.
Mastercard has partnered with Lanistar ahead of the launch of its new banking alternative product this winter. The payments giant will enable the FinTech to issue its debit card product to customers in the UK, under Transact Payments. Lanistar will make use of Open Banking to streamline customers’ money safely and securely.
Metro Bank has confirmed that it is in talks to acquire peer-to-peer (P2P) lender RateSetter. Responding to speculation over the weekend, the challenger bank stated that it has entered in to a period of exclusivity with RateSetter parent company Retail Money Market, "but discussions regarding the potential acquisition are at an early stage".
Mark Hipperson, the co-founder of Starling Bank, has launched cryptocurrency platform Ziglu following a seed funding round of £5.25 million. The app lets customers to quickly and competitively exchange fiat currency for cryptocurrencies - including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash - and monitor their balances in read time.
Starling Bank has added three new integrations to its Marketplace - workplace messaging platform Slack, energy switching service Bionic and health insurance provider Equipsme. The Marketplace offers 26 complementary services that the challenger bank's 177,000 small business customers can link to their banking app.
NatWest is developing behavioural biometrics technology which it claims could replace banking passwords. Next year, an additional form of authentication will be required for some transactions when Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) comes into force, however the bank's new technology - which has been customised in partnership with Visa for the purpose of increased transaction security - could replace passwords and helps to make payments more secure.
More than half of financial services professionals (56 per cent) admit to neglecting safe data practices when working from home, according to new data. A global survey of over 300 professionals in accountancy, banking and finance conducted by regulatory technology firm Tessian found that 61 per cent said they felt they could ‘get away with’ more risky behaviour around data protections when working remotely, highlighting the increased risk of a breach during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Biometric authentication technology provider iProov has partnered with RegTech specialists NorthRow. The move is aimed at expanding iProov's partner network and extending its services into the property, professional services and FinTech sectors.
Curve Credit is to launch a waiting list for customers wishing to use Curve’s card consolidation platform to split transactions into instalments. Curve Credit, the credit subsidiary of Curve, a FinTech platform which consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, is opening the waiting list for the new product before a planned launch later this year.
Codat has raised $10 million in venture funding from Index Ventures, the backer of Adyen, Plaid and Robinhood. The firm’s partner Jan Hammer and venture partner Stephane Kurgan join the board. The London-based Application Programming Interface (API) provider will use the investment to expand into the US and grow to 100 staff by the end of the year. Codat has over 50 clients globally, including iZettle, Experian and two of the top four UK banks.
New neobank Muniy has partnered with RegTech firm HooYu to power Know Your Customer compliance as it launches in the UK. HooYu was selected to deliver ID document validation, facial biometric checks and sanctions screening.
Banco Santander will hire 3,000 IT professionals worldwide this year to support its commercial, technological and digital transformation. As part of the bank’s strategy to leverage its global scale and grow its customer base and revenues, Santander confirmed at its Investor Day in 2019 plans to invest over €20 billion in its digital transformation and technology from 2019 to 2022.
More than 60 per cent of UK finance teams are unable to access real-time data to help them do their work, according to new research. A survey of more than 100 finance executives across the UK, carried out by business expenses firm Soldo in partnership with Financial Director, found that a third of teams were spending more than one week per month manually tracking their spending data.
The Libra Association has appointed Sterling Daines, a managing director and global head of financial crime compliance at Credit Suisse, as its new chief compliance officer. The Geneva-based independent body of payments, technology and financial firms tasked with independent oversight of Facebook’s Libra digital currency project, hired Daines following months of debate amongst governments, policy makers and central banks over the potential impact of a global digital currency.
APEXX Global has closed an $8 million Series A funding round to drive the next stage of the company’s growth, taking the total investment raised from investors across Europe to $12 million. The funds were raised from new and existing investors in the UK and Scandinavia. Forward Partners, MMC and Alliance Ventures all increased their investments after participating in the earlier seed round.
Wirecard is collaborating with Stocard to launch a new mobile payment feature in the Stocard app. UK-based Stocard users can now pay with their app via a virtual Wirecard-issued Mastercard card, an option that will be rolled out across Europe later this year. Wirecard is also providing the acquiring service behind the wallet, allowing users to load funds by adding their bank cards to the app.
UK consumers have gone an average of 44 days without using cash, according to Nationwide research, which shows the Coronavirus lockdown is accelerating the shift to contactless payments. A Censuswide survey of more than 2,000 Nationwide members between 23 March and 31 May found that 78.5 million contactless payments were made, up 44 per cent during the period to a total value of nearly £957 million, including a fifth that said they have not used coins or notes at all for two months.
FinTech startup pirkx has announced the addition of a former chief executive and a Google executive to its top team, following a £1 million seed funding raise. The company, which provides a package of benefits and savings solutions for gig economy and small business workers, has hired former Google UK and Ireland managing director Dan Cobley as chairman.
Lemonade has filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange, with the aim of raising at least $100 million. The US InsurTech launched in 2015, building a fully-licensed home insurance product, but through an app.
Wahed, a digital Islamic investment platform, has closed a $25 million investment round led by Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Ventures, the venture capital investment arm of Saudi Aramco. The round included participation from existing investors BECO and CueBall Capital, as well as Dubai Cultiv8 and Rasameel. The funds will be used to fuel the company’s global expansion, namely in developing a subsidiary in Saudi Arabia.
Goldman Sachs is closing Marcus to new customers in the UK after deposits reached close to regulatory limits during the Coronavirus lockdown. The digital challenger savings bank has attracted about £21 billion from more than 500,000 savers since its launch in 2018.
A group of 87 UK startups and small businesses - in sectors spanning FinTech, hospitality and retail - have written to the Treasury demanding an alternative to the Future Fund, which it says risks excluding early-stage firms as they will be unable to secure matched funding from angel investors. As previously raised when the fund was launched last month, investors providing matched funding under the Future Fund cannot claim Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) relief on their investment.
More than three quarters (77 per cent) of banking executives believing that unlocking value from artificial intelligence (AI) will be the differentiator between winning and losing during and after the Coronavirus crisis. A global survey of 305 banking executives by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) on behalf of Temenos, found that two thirds said new technologies such as AI and cloud will have the most profound impact on the global banking sector over the next five years.
Trade Ledger has announced several new leadership appointments, as well as the formation of advisory board. Having increased its customer base by a third this year already, the business lending-as-a-service platform expects to significantly increase its headcount this year as it drives further growth in Europe and Asia.
The Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the body set up by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to deliver Open Banking in the UK, has launched an app store to help individuals and companies find the right Open Banking-enabled financial products. Some of the categories within the app store include budgeting, accountancy and tax, payments, borrowing, debt advice and financial safeguarding. It currently contains more than 45 listings, with new products added every week.
Europol has launched the European Financial and Economic Crime Centre (EFECC) to enhance the operational support provided to the EU member states and EU bodies around financial crime and promote the systematic use of financial investigations. The EFECC will be staffed with 65 international experts and analysts.
Wealthify's co-founder and chief executive Richard Theo, along with chairman Richard Avery-Wright, are leaving the business. A statement from the Cardiff-based FinTech explained that Andrew Russell has been appointed as its new chief executive, as it becomes 100 per cent owned by Aviva.
Wealth Wizards has launched an automated ‘algorithmic’ abridged advice service for defined benefit (DB) pension transfers, following abridged advice from the regulator that it will be a permitted service for triaging clients seeking advice. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today set out a package of measures designed to address weaknesses across the DB transfer market, including steps to reduce conflicts of interest by banning contingent charging, as well as help for advisers which want to provide good quality advice to their customers.
Revolut has made more than 50 redundancies in its customer care teams in Portugal and Poland. Wired reported that employees were told to either quit or be fired by the digital challenger bank.
NICE Actimize has entered a definitive agreement to acquire Guardian Analytics, a cloud-based financial crime risk management solution provider. A statement explained that the combination of NICE Actimize and Guardian Analytics’ fraud and anti-money laundering capabilities will help firms of all sizes to protect their assets and customers.
Stenn has secured participation from Barclays, Coface, and Crayhill Capital Management in the latest funding round for its core trade financing programme Stenn Assets Funding, which is now worth $500 million. The new investors join existing financing providers Natixis - also the arranger of the programme - NN Investment Partners and M&G.
Wealth management, insurance and banking technology provider Finantix has appointed Christine Ciriani as its chief executive. She will assume the role and responsibilities alongside that of her existing position as chief commercial officer, to which she was appointed in October 2019.
New research has revealed that while 68 per cent of UK businesses found the Coronavirus lockdown transition to remote working easy, 32 per cent found it difficult or very difficult. The pandemic has caused a fundamental shift for businesses: travel restrictions and mandated social distancing have meant - in a short space of time - huge swathes of the UK economy have restructured to completely different ways of working.
Card and contactless payments continued to increase in 2019, with card payments accounting for over half (51 per cent) of all payments for the first time, according to UK Finance. The latest UK Payment Markets revealed that debit cards were the most used payment method in the UK, with 17 billion payments, of which seven billion were contactless.
Banco Santander has signed an agreement to employ ThetaRay’s Anti-Money Laundering (AML) solution for correspondent banking. The system will analyse SWIFT traffic, risk indicators and Know Your Customer (KYC) data to detect anomalies indicating money laundering schemes in correspondent banking transactions.
Revolut has unveiled a redesign of its money management app. The release of the 7.0 app will enable the digital challenger bank's 12 million customers to access all their finances from a single, more streamlined application.
Banks and insurance firms are planning to increase their artificial intelligence-related investment into technology by 2025, according to research from The Economist Intelligence Unit. The report, commissioned by AI-analytics and search firm ThoughtSpot, surveyed 200 business executives and c-suite leaders at investment banks, retail banks and insurance companies in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.
UK Finance has announced the appointments of Anne Boden, chief executive at Starling Bank; Ruth Leas, chief executive at Investec Bank; Beatriz Martin Jimenez, UK chief executive at UBS; Steve Hughes, chief executive at Coventry Building Society; and Anne Marie Verstraeten, UK country head at BNP Paribas, to its board.
IBM has entered into an agreement with Aegon in the Netherlands for the servicing and administration of its individual life policies - a move designed to digitally enhance the service for around 800,000 customers. IBM Services will manage Aegon’s run-off life insurance until the last life insurance policy in the portfolio expires in 2066.
Mobile wallet payments are set to double due to the COVID-19 outbreak, hitting a total value of $1.47 trillion this year. According to Statista data gathered by BuyShare, mobile wallet transactions are growing by 38.7 per cent year-on-year, with the convenience, security and hygiene of cashless transactions rising for both in-store and online payments.
TrueLayer has been appointed to the government’s Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) payment acceptance framework for payments initiation. The agreement means the company’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) can provide public sector organisations with its Payment Initiation Service (PIS).
Mastercard has launched Fintech Express in Europe, a programme designed to facilitate emerging FinTechs' launch and expansion. A statement explained that it is designed for FinTechs looking to add payment solutions to their suite of products, tech-savvy startups looking at serving a new segment, as well as established players with ambitions to innovate through partnerships.
HSBC has launched the artificial intelligence-powered US Equity Index (AiPEX) family, developed by EquBot and and IBM Watson to turn big data into investment insight. The indexes use AI to ingest and learn from the vast amounts of publicly available and continuously generated data points.
Rapyd has launched a new 'full-stack' payment solution in the UK, allowing businesses to access every major local payment method through one connection. In partnership with partners including Visa, Mastercard, Payzone and ClearBank, the solution facilitates payments locally and across borders through one Application Programming Interface (API), reconciliation process and contract.
The COVID-19 pandemic will rapidly accelerate the digital transformation of financial services, according to EY. A survey of over 200 senior managers from across 162 financial services firms found that 87 per cent believed that working from home due to the pandemic will result in firms’ tech transformation developing far faster than they had ever previously predicted.
If it is not possible to complete all the actions online to open a new bank account, only 45 per cent of people will carry out the necessary offline actions as soon as possible - while 24 per cent would try another provider and eight per cent would give up opening the account altogether. This is according to new research from FICO, which surveyed 4,500 globally at the start of this year, finding that 17 per cent would eventually complete the application with the extra steps required – but the question is whether that would actually ever happen.
London has taken over over as the world’s leading FinTech hub, recording 500 per cent growth in the past three years, according to new data. A report from recruitment firm Robert Walters, with market analysis from Vacancy Soft, found that the UK has seen explosive growth in the past three years, compared to 170 per cent in the US and 133 per cent for Europe. In the first quarter of this year, London FinTechs generated almost as much investment ($114 million) as they did for the entirety of 2017 ($148 million).
Four in 10 UK businesses are planning to change their banking provider due to poor digital support during the COVID-19 outbreak, according to new research. The Censuswide survey of 200 leaders at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) on behalf of Encompass Corporation, also found that 42 per cent of businesses had waited over two weeks for a business loan application from their current banking provider to support them through the Coronavirus outbreak; with 41 per cent looking to switch as a result.
Following the recent merger of Microgen and Touchstone, the company has announced its new name for the combined business; TrustQuay. The corporate services market technology provider now serves more than 450 clients and 15,000 users in over 30 jurisdictions, with nine offices worldwide and an established physical presence in Australia, Guernsey, Jersey, Luxembourg, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Challenger bank bunq has launched a public beta testing programme giving users control over the design of its mobile app. The new look simplifies the experience with only one button on each page and four main tabs, as well as options to create local charities and invite other members to support them.
Coinbase has announced that users in the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands will now be able to earn five per cent 'interest' on their cryptocurrency holdings. Following a successful rollout in the US - where customers have earned over $2 million in Tezos staking rewards - the scheme will now let European customers actively participate in its Tezos network.
Starling Bank has raised £40 million from existing investors.The challenger bank has raised £363 million since it was founded with the aim of launching app-based current account services in 2014.
Card issuing platform Marqeta has raised an additional $150 million in new capital from an unnamed institutional investor, valuing the company at $4.3 billion. This latest investment follows its $260 million equity financing in May 2019, which was led by Coatue and included participation from Vitruvian Partners. Marqeta is also backed by Visa, Goldman Sachs, 83North, Granite Ventures and ICONIQ Capital.
Samsung has unveiled Samsung Money by SoFi, a mobile cash management account and accompanying Mastercard debit card. The partnership with payments FinTech SoFi integrates with Samsung Pay, has no account fees and rewards users for saving - earning higher interest relative to the US national average of transactional accounts.
New data from Revolut has revealed how the trading of cryptocurrency on its app has moved in line with consumer confidence related to the economic effects of the Coronavirus. The proprietary data was gathered from the three million Revolut customers in the UK who have used its cryptocurrency trading service, which allows users to buy and sell Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ripple (XRP), Ethereum (ETH) and Litecoin (LTC).
Meniga has closed an €8.5 million funding round led by Groupe BPCE, the second-largest banking group in France. The money will be used to increase the FinTech's research and development activities into its Open Banking products, as well as for strengthening its sales and service teams to meet growing demand.
A new report from the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) has highlighted the increased cyber security pressure on market infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the key cyber challenges identified by the global industry group for exchanges and central counterparty clearing house (CCPs) were mass remote-working arrangements, remote collaboration tools - such as video and audio-conferencing applications - and third-party risk.
TSB Bank has joined forces with Adobe, as part of its 2022 strategic plan, to support personal and business banking customers by making customer service forms available online. The roll-out of Adobe Sign means TSB has been able to accelerate its vision of enabling more customers to be serviced through the bank’s digital channels, negating the need for in-branch visits and reducing customer calls to contact centres during the COVID-19 pandemic.
New data from Mastercard has revealed that 66 per cent of all transactions across the UK are now contactless, with 45 per cent admitting their use of cash has decreased throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and 22 per cent stating they no longer use cash at all. The research also showed that 83 per cent agreed that contactless payments are a cleaner way to pay, with 43 per cent using contactless more often since the pandemic began, while nine per cent have started to use contactless for the first time.
New research has revealed that the median Open Banking investment budget for European financial institutions is typically between €50 million and €100 million, with spend exceeding €100 million for nearly half (45 per cent). Open Banking platform Tink teamed up with market research firm YouGov to survey 290 financial executives from 12 European countries between 28 January and 3 March, finding that 63 per cent think budgets have grown since last year, with annual spending rising by between 20 and 29 per cent - while only 10 per cent of institutions have slowed their investments in Open Banking.
Facebook has rebranded its Calibra digital wallet - which will be used to store Libra digital currency - to Novi. The social media giant said that the name for financial subsidiary Novi Financial had been inspired by the Latin words 'novus' for 'new' and 'via' for 'way'.
Blockchain Technology Partners (BTP) has appointed Paul Forrest as its inaugural non-executive chairman, who also participated in the startup's latest angel funding round, led by Aberdeen Asset Management co-founder and Revolut chairman Martin Gilbert. Forrest has over 25 years experience as a strategy consultant, advising businesses including Ford Motor Company, Wal-Mart, Virgin Galactic and AkzoNobel.
Visa has facilitated the first request to pay message sent and received using Pay.UK’s standards, ahead of the anticipated commercial launch of request to pay later this year. Request to pay is a new, flexible way to settle transactions between businesses, organisations and individuals. The messaging service is designed to complement existing payment infrastructure and will sit alongside other UK billing and payment methods when launched, to provide consumers and businesses additional choice and flexibility.
JPMorgan Asset Management has partnered with global funds network Calastone to introduce new levels of automation to money market funds via its Morgan Money trading platform. It will initially use Calastone to enhance the entire settlements process, becoming the first in the market to offer automated settlements to its users.
Analysis from Kearney has predicted that a quarter of bank branches will close across Europe in the next three years as new customer habits around digital banking - forced by the pandemic - become permanent. This is a sharp increase in the ongoing trend of bank branch closures across Europe, which saw 35 per cent branch closures in the last 10 years.
New technology roles in banks have increased by 46 per cent in the last three years – making traditional banks the most prominent recruiter for tech professionals. To date, a third of overall job vacancies within banks are now tech related - up from less than a quarter (23 per cent) just three years ago - according to a new report from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis firm Vacancy Soft.
Open Banking provider Yolt has announced that its technology services arm has extended its API connections across Europe with 80 per cent of Italian, French and Spanish banks now integrated. Yolt Technology Services offers secure Application Programming Interfaces for financial institutions and tech businesses, reaching an average of 18 million API calls each week.
Equifax is partnering with HooYu for digital customer onboarding and Know Your Customer (KYC) technology. The data insights and credit rating agency said the strategic partnership would enable it to expand its range of identity and fraud tools.
New research has revealed that 86 per cent of global banks are looking to use open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in the next 12 months. Finasta surveyed 774 financial institutions and banks across the UK, US, Singapore, France, Germany, Hong Kong and UAE, finding that 30 per cent believe Open Banking is already making a tangible impact in delivering improved overall customer experience.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has launched a consultation on additional guidance for payments firms to strengthen the way in which they look after customers’ money. The regulator explained that the sector is developing rapidly, with an increasing number of firms are entering the market.
By Miles, a pay-by-mile car insurance provider, has raised £15 million in Series B funding, led by CommerzVentures. The London-based startup, which aims to provide flexible cover to low mileage drivers - classified as those who drive less than 7,000 miles a year - using a plug-in device called a miles tracker.
Enterprise interest in emerging technologies such as Edge services and artificial intelligence (AI) is accelerating as they look at ways to further optimise operational effectiveness and speed up decision making. This is according to a survey of more than 150 companies undertaken by Omdia on behalf of London Tech Week, which found that while those technologies are hot topics, blockchain has slipped off the c-suite radar, with only 35 per cent of respondents considering it critical (22 per cent) or very important (13 per cent) to their digital initiatives.
UK small and medium-sized enterprises are moving to accept contactless payments at an increasingly rapid rate as a result of the Coronavirus crisis, according to NatWest. In the two months since the start of UK lockdown, 70 per cent of businesses registering for the bank’s Tyl by NatWest payment service are new to card payments, suggesting that the trend away from businesses accepting cash and coin payments has accelerated as a result of the crisis.
InsurTech platform INSTANDA has appointed Steven Haasz, a former AXA chief operating officer, as partnerships and accounts director to lead the business’ European expansion.
The platform, which offers customer and policy management services to the insurance industry, hired Haasz following a recent $19.5 million Series A funding round.
PwC has selected Credit Kudos, a challenger credit bureau, to help it build its new digital banking ecosystem. The professional services giant has selected Credit Kudos as a key FinTech partner as it builds a sandbox platform for testing its digital banking ecosystem, which aims to demonstrate the ease of shifting a legacy bank model to a partnership banking model.
Almost three quarters (73 per cent) of UK businesses expect COVID-19 to bring about a new wave of workplace and industry automation, with financial services firms leading the way. A study of 500 UK business leaders, commissioned by Internet of Things (IoT) provider Pod Group, found that many respondents expect automation technology to replace a considerable proportion of their labour force over the next 10 years, with the financial services sector the most advanced in levels of automation.
Banking Competition Remedies (BCR), the independent body established to implement the £775 million Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) State Aid Alternative Remedies Package (ARP), has confirmed the grant sizes for the Capability and Innovation Fund (CIF) Pool E as well as the process and timeline for applications. Under Pool E, BCR will be offering £100 million of grant funds to eligible bodies over two application periods. BCR held a consultation this month to gather views of the size of grants, with 238 organisations contacted directly and over 100 responding.
Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield is moving from being chief executive to the newly created role of president. US chief executive TS Anil will become the chief executive across both the UK and US.
Revolut Business has announced a new integration with small business cloud-based accounting software Clear Books. Revolut Business customers in the UK can now view transaction records, track whether invoices are paid or outstanding, record bills and expenses, and automatically create financial reports.
Financial services organisations are leading the way when it comes to empowering frontline employees with data, according to a survey from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and AI analytics firm ThoughtSpot. A study of 484 businesses executives across Europe, North America and Asia Pacific found that organisations are more likely to be successful when frontline workers are both equipped with the right technology to analyse data and empowered with the right training.
Freetrade has raised more than £7 million from more than 8,000 people in a Crowdcube fundraise - the largest equity crowdfunding campaign to be completed in the UK this year. The funds will be used to accelerate the stock trading app's growth, which has increased in the past year to 150,000 customers. In 2019 the startup raised $15 million, including a Series A with venture capital firm Draper Esprit.
Money Dashboard has appointed ex-PayPal EMEA chief executive Renier Lemmens as its new chairman. Lemmens is currently a venture partner focusing on FinTech with DN Capital, and has previously served as board member of Revolut, as well as being chief operating officer of Barclays International Retail and Commercial Banking.
New research from the Loan Market Association (LMA) has revealed that two thirds of loan market participants see FinTech as an opportunity rather than a threat. Although, over three quarters of those members surveyed admitted that they did not know as much as they needed to about FinTech in the context of their businesses, suggesting a knowledge gap still needing to be filled.
Pay.UK has joined forces with key players in the UK’s retail payments industry to establish a task force to help the government co-ordinate payments amid the COVID-19 crisis. The body responsible for operating interbank payments services has collaborated with technology partner Vocalink, trade body UK Finance and a cross section of UK banks to act as a knowledge resource for central government.
Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has appointed Patrick Flynn as chief operating officer for the UK and EMEA. The company, which offers commercial and international banking services, said that Flynn will be based in London and will be responsible for managing the bank’s operations, client service, technology and vendor management.
PayPal is rolling out payment by QR codes in the UK and across 27 markets globally. The payments system, which uses a consumer’s smartphone to scan the QR code before directing them to their PayPal account, is intended as a contact-free way for businesses to receive payment safely during the COVID-19 outbreak.
The total number of consumers sharing their data via Open Banking will double from 18 million 2019 to 40 million in 2021, according to Juniper Research. The market analysis found that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic is increasing the need for consumers to aggregate accounts and gain insight into their financial health; boosting momentum in Open Banking adoption.
Softbank Group's Vision Fund lost $17.7 billion last fiscal year, after writing down the value of investments like WeWork and Uber. “The situation is exceedingly difficult,” stated founder Masayoshi Son in an earnings briefing yesterday. “Our unicorns have fallen into this sudden Coronavirus ravine... but some of them will use this crisis to grow wings.”
The government’s Future Fund will open for applications from 20 May, but not all the UK’s tech startups are happy with the terms of the investment. Announced by the chancellor on 20 April, the fund is aimed at supporting innovative UK companies that fall outside existing Coronavirus financial support schemes.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has unveiled plans to explore the benefits of digitalisation in the public and private markets - specifically whether new technologies can strengthen post-trade processes and reduce risks and costs. The market infrastructure body has outlined its proposals in two case studies that advance its efforts to evaluate new ways to enhance post-trade processes through the potential use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), asset digitalisation and other emerging technologies.
Digital wealth platform Smarterly has made £7 million in a Series A round led by family office Major Oak, alongside existing angel and crowdfunding investors. Some of the investment was used to complete the recent acquisition of Salvus, with the rest used to further develop the product proposition and drive market growth.
Santander Asset Management has implemented a new BlackRock operating system for European investment managers. The deployment of Aladdin has been completed to schedule and is due to be rolled out in 10 Latin American markets where Santander Asset Management has operations. It has already been rolled out in Spain, Brazil, Portugal and Argentina.
As COVID-19 has destabilised private capital markets, the first quarter of 2020 was one of the worst in the last few years for venture capital-backed FinTech, according to CB Insights’ latest sector report. The economic shocks stemming from the outbreak of the Coronavirus have decreased investor appetite, with activity dropping to $6.1 billion across 404 deals – the worst first quarter since 2016 for FinTech deals and the worst first quarter for funding since 2017.
Manchester-based small business bank B-North has chosen Leeds-based RegTech firm TruNarrative to provide customer onboarding and compliance capabilities. TruNarrative’s platform will be added to B-North’s selected technology stack providers, which already includes core banking from Mambu and loan originations workflow from nCino.
Cyber underwriting InsurTech startup Envelop Risk has raised $6 million in a Series A funding round led by Alpha Intelligence Capital. The London-based firm delivers underwriting and risk solutions focused on the global cyber reinsurance market.
The Coronavirus crisis will serve as a catalyst for transformation initiatives, driving adoption of operating models that are more automated, increasingly data driven and supported by technologies such as cloud, machine learning and distributed ledger. This is according to a new report from consultancy Capco exploring the future of capital markets, which pointed out that despite some benefits from short-term market volatility and trading volume spikes, specific risk management and operational risk challenges will become evident and there will also be challenges to economic returns across the industry.
ABHH Group is investing over $21 million and acquiring a majority stake in ANNA at an implied valuation of $110 million. The mobile business current account and financial admin assistant will continue to operate as a standalone brand, maintaining operational independence, its headquarters in London and customer service team in Cardiff.
New research has revealed that 80 per cent of consumers think payments technology is now key to their purchasing decisions. A OnePoll survey of 2,000 UK consumers for FinTech startup Modularbank found that just 22 per cent of respondents did not require anything more in the payments process from online merchants when it came to choosing which retailers, telecoms and utilities companies to use.
Investing app Freetrade has raised £4.5 million from more than 5,000 people in just four hours. Working with Crowdcube, the FinTech startup exceeded £1 million in less than five minutes and raised £3 million from existing shareholders before opening the campaign to customers.
A third of UK FinTechs have lost vital funding due to equity management problems, according to new research from techUK and blockchain tech firm Qadre. The report was based on interviews with 59 UK FinTech founders, finding that 67 per cent believe equity management is a distraction and that time spent on managing capitalisation tables is better spent on more important tasks.
Nearly half (48 per cent) of the UK’s financial services organisations are currently deploying Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to assist with core functions, according to new research.
A survey of 400 senior directors at organisations in the UK, France and Germany by digital intelligence company ABBYY found that a third of all companies had already rolled out RPA solutions, while a further 30 per cent were planning to implement the technology in the next year.
Which? has announced that it will defend the UK’s collective action regime in a key Supreme Court hearing taking place today. The landmark Merricks vs Mastercard collective action is set to reach a crucial moment this week, as the Supreme Court hears Mastercard’s appeal against a ruling that may allow the £14 billion collective action against the card issuer to proceed to the next stage of litigation.
Featurespace has raised £30 million in a funding round led by Merian Chrysalis Investment Company, alongside existing investors. The funding will be used to support the RegTech firm's continued growth.
Modulr has secured £18.9m in growth capital to further develop its platform and expand into new products and markets. The funding round was led by growth capital firm Highland Europe, with participation from existing investors including Frog Capital and Blenheim Chalcot.
Sustainable investment app Clim8 has raised £1.35 million as part of a pre-launch crowdfunding campaign. Last month, the company announced it had raised £502,920 from 288 investors in its pre-launch fundraise on the CrowdCube platform.
Aviva is launching an online cyber security portal for customers experiencing fraud attempts, as cyber criminals increasingly seek to exploit the COVID-19 crisis. The insurance giant said its online service would offer customers guidance about preventative steps and action they can take to protect themselves at a time when financial services providers are seeing a “dramatic” rise in attempted scams.
Open Finance platform Moneyhub has further bolstered its senior team in response to increasing appetite among enterprises for Open Finance solutions. Despite the current uncertainty in the market due to the Coronavirus lockdown, Moneyhub has seen demand for its white label financial management platform and data Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) rise.
Payments startup Primer has raised £3.2 million in a seed round led by Balderton Capital, with participation from TransferWise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus. The UK-based FinTech was only founded in January and not yet launched, but had already raised £600,000 in pre-seed investment from Seedcamp, Speedinvest and Kima.
Nationwide has launched a virtual assistant to help customers with COVID-19 mortgage holiday queries. The building society has trained the software, called Arti, to support its frontline customer services staff in generating automated and interactive responses to some of the most questions about mortgage holidays.
Capco has appointed Alla Gancz, a former digital transformation lead at Infosys, as head of digital for the UK.The financial technology and management consultancy said Gancz would be instrumental in expanding the company’s practice in digital transformation programmes and enterprise-wide strategic engagements in the financial services sector.
Lombard Odier Investment Managers has launched a new FinTech strategy, investing in companies leading technological and digital transformation of the financial services sector. The portfolio aims to capture themes such as digitalisation, consumer brands and healthy living, from established companies with a global reputation to future disruptors.
Fiserv has appointed Frank Bisignano as its new chief executive, succeeding Jeffery Yabuki, who is stepping down after 15 years at the company. Bisignano joined Fiserv as president and chief operating officer, following the payment firm's $22 billion takeover of First Data last year.
TheCityUK and PA Consulting have released a report calling for a consolidation of the regulation that affects UK FinTech firms in order to ease the burden during the Coronavirus crisis. The research found that while firms welcomed the UK’s progressive approach to sector regulation, FinTech leaders said that regulatory hurdles remain a barrier and difficult to understand.
The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession will mean that in order to survive, banks across Europe need to digitise systems and processes, as well as reducing costs by over £30 billion. Now in its 11th year, Kearney’s European Retail Banking Radar tracks 92 retail banks in 22 European markets, this year finding that the sector is bracing itself for a prolonged and intense downturn.
The Libra Association has appointed HSBC chief legal officer Stuart Levey as its first chief executive. Prior to joining HSBC, he served as the first under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence during the Bush and Obama administrations, helping to set US and international policy to combat illicit finance.
Countingup has raised £4 million in a bridge round of financing led by ING Ventures, with co-investment from Triple Point, CVentures and BiG Start Ventures. In the two years since the London-based startup launched, it now has more than 20,000 customers and has processed almost £1 billion in transactions.
Banked has secured £2.35 million in seed funding to launch its new payment platform. The investment was led by Force Over Mass, with with participation from previous investors Backed and Acrew Capital, bringing total fundraising to £5.35 million.
The European Central Bank (ECB) has warned that the global use of stablecoins as an alternative to traditional currency poses several serious challenges and risks. A paper by ECB advisers and economists Mitsutoshi Adachi, Matteo Cominetta, Christoph Kaufmann and Anton van der Kraaij explained that stablecoins could help to address unmet consumer demand for payment services that are fast, cheap and easy to use and can operate across borders.
N26 has announced an extension of its Series D funding round to $570 million, with more than $100 million coming from all the company’s major investors. To date, the Berlin-based digital bank has raised close to $800 million, keeping its valuation at $3.5 billion.
Proxymity, the digital investor communications platform developed within Citi’s Institutional Clients Group, has raised $20.5 million in a strategic round of investment and will form its own entity via an industry-led consortium. The consortium brings together custodians and issuer agents, ensuring instant access to the world’s investors and companies. BNY Mellon, Citi, Clearstream, Computershare, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P.Morgan and State Street comprise the Proxymity consortium.
Robinhood has raised $280 million in a Series F funding round, valuing the trading app at $8.3 billion valuation. The round was led by existing investor Sequoia Capital, with participation from existing and new investors, including NEA, Ribbit Capital, 9Yards Capital and Unusual Ventures.
The government’s Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS) launched today, allowing small businesses in the UK to apply for loans of up to £50,000 - but doubt has been cast on banks' ability to cope with demand. The initiative consists of six-year loans of between £2,000 and £50,000 which are fee, interest and repayment-free for a year.
Research has revealed that 54 per cent of UK consumers have used new forms of payments since the COVID-19 outbreak began, while 84 per cent globally are now thinking differently about how they make payments. This is according to a survey conducted by Paysafe among 8,000 consumers across the world.
Revolut has launched a bank in Lithuania, as part of plans to operationalise its European banking license. The digital challenger bank intends to passport its Lithuanian banking license to other central and eastern European countries later in the year, with Lithuania acting as a hub for the region.
Flagstone, developer of the UK’s largest cash deposit marketplace, has raised £12 million in venture capital, in a round led by OMERS Ventures and supported by existing investors including Kindred Capital and Moneysupermarket Group. The London-based FinTech was founded in 2013 and has grown its UK cash deposit platform to one that transmitted more than £5 billion in deposits since 2015.
RBS is to close its standalone digital banking app Bó as part of a cost-saving drive.
The digital retail banking venture, which launched in November last year, was seen as RBS’ attempt to take on the growth of challenger banks Monzo, Revolut and Starling.
The UK’s tech sector suffered its its worst performance since the global financial crisis during the opening quarter of 2020, according to KPMG’s tech monitor survey. The quarterly analysis of business activity in the technology sector found the steepest decline in business activity since 2009, as the COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp drop in non-essential spending and escalating uncertainty about the economic outlook.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz has raised $515 million for its second fund focused on crypto networks and businesses. This tops the $450 million target Andreessen Horowitz set for it and follows a similar $300 million fund created in 2018.
In the final quarter of 2019, Monzo became the participant that had the largest net switching gain for the first time. The latest quarterly update from the Current Account Switching Service (CASS) revealed that Monzo was followed by Nationwide, Lloyds, Starling Bank and NatWest.
Temenos has announced a joint effort with Microsoft giving access to its Financial Crime Mitigation (FCM) software, in an attempt to help banks fight the surge in financial crime during the Coronavirus crisis. The artificial intelligence-powered solution is based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and can be deployed within weeks. The two companies are opening up access to banks for a 14-day trial, available until 30 June.
TransFICC, a provider of low-latency connectivity and workflow services for fixed income and derivatives markets, has closed its Series A investment round worth £5.75 million. The funding was led by AlbionVC, alongside new strategic investments from ING Ventures and HSBC, and existing shareholders Citi, Illuminate Financial, Commerzbank Group's Main Incubator, and The FinLab.
The Saudi G20 Presidency and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) Innovation Hub have launched the G20 TechSprint Initiative to highlight the potential for new technologies to resolve regulatory compliance (RegTech) and supervision (SupTech) challenges. A range of operational problems have been published, with firms invited to develop innovative technological solutions to them. The problem statements identify challenges in regulatory reporting, analytics, monitoring and supervision - developed from submissions received from Financial Stability Board (FSB) member jurisdictions.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has confirmed that due to the exceptional circumstances of the COVID-19 crisis, it is "giving the industry an additional six months to implement Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for e-commerce". The new timeline of 14 September 2021 replaces the 14 March 2021 date. The regulator stressed that firms are required to take all necessary steps to comply with the revised detailed phased implementation plan and critical path to avoid the risk of enforcement action.
Snoop has closed its latest funding round, raising £3.2 million ahead of a planned Series A later this year. Lloyd Dorfman led this round, with existing investors Havisham Group and Salesforce Ventures also participating.
Cash withdrawals have fallen by 60 per cent during lockdown, as customers switch to digital banking services, according to data from LINK, the UK’s largest cash machine network.The research, carried out online with YouGov, revealed that reluctance to handle banknotes and coins due to infection risk will lead to a 44 per cent rise in contactless payments and online transactions in the next six months.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has issued a "rallying cry" to the payments industry - from issuers to regulators, retailers and third-party providers - to help unlock the significant opportunity that Open Banking offers. The association's new report argued that following the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, there has never been a more important time for economies to have strong digital economies with data and payments available via secure Application Programming Interfaces (APIs).
FIS has announced that FIS Ventures, its new corporate venture investment division, has launched an effort to invest $150 million in promising FinTech startups over the next three years. It will invest globally in early to growth-stage companies with a focus on emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, digital enablement and automation, data and analytics, security and privacy, distributed ledger technology and financial inclusion.
Northern Trust has named Alison Pain as its chief technology officer (CTO) for the Europe, Middle East, Africa (EMEA) region. From her London base, Pain will focus on providing leadership and guidance to the planning, organisation, direction and control of the enterprise technology business unit across the EMEA region.
Deutsche Bank has renewed its contract with cloud banking provider Avaloq in Europe and Asia until the end of 2028. The contract covers Deutsche Bank’s wealth management businesses in the UK, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Wirecard has claimed that a forensic audit of its earnings by KPMG found no evidence of balance sheet manipulation or wrongdoings. The German payments group commissioned an independent investigation of its accounts following allegations made by a series of articles in the Financial Times, accusing it of inflating the sales and profits of businesses in Dubai and Ireland, as well as suspicious accounting practices in its Singapore office and the probity of recent acquisitions.
NatWest Group has today announced that Jen Tippin is to join the bank in the new role of chief transformation officer and will chair the bank’s transformation and cost committee. Tippin joins from Lloyds Banking Group, where she has occupied a number of senior executive roles including, most recently, group director for people and productivity since 2017.
The Investment Association (IA) has launched a cyber threat intelligence platform to help investment managers protect their firms. The Threat Intelligence Alert Network (TITAN), will provide a real-time dashboard bringing together alerts from law enforcement, government agencies and other relevant authorities, on cyber hazards and risks within the investment management community.
Between 14 March and 14 April, around 12 per cent of the adult population in the UK - some six million people - downloaded their bank’s app for the first time. This is according to a survey of 1,000 UK adults, commissioned by FinTech firm Nucoro, which led to an estimate that between those dates, around 200,000 people downloaded their bank’s app for the first time every day. Some 21 per cent of those aged 35 to 44 did this, as did just over five per cent of people aged 55 or more.
Nasdaq has launched an upgraded version of its Risk Modelling service for the reinsurance industry. The cloud-based solution enables insurers, reinsurers and brokers to access a broad range of best-of breed risk models from a number of providers through a single service.
A consortium of 167 of the UK’s FinTechs and lenders has been formed, with the aim of speeding up the allocation of government loans to help small businesses stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. The consortium is being led by WorldPay founder Nick Ogden, along with ClearBank and Funding Options. Other participating FinTechs include Just Cash Flow, Credit4, Invocap, Merchant Money and Fleximize. All UK lenders are being welcomed to join.
New research from 11:FS has argued that the Coronavirus-caused recession will force financial services to become digital by design, requiring long-term recovery and reinvention across the industry. The consultancy firm’s director of research Benjamin Ensor and research lead Sarah Kocianski suggested that faced with falling revenues and a shortage of capital, weaker firms - particularly banks - will be forced into mergers.
BABB has announced that after launching in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, it can be accessed in 169 countries. The UK-based blockchain banking platform has also opened an in-app referral programme for Android users and incorporated a cash-out fiat gateway in 36 regions.
Chip has seen 4,240 people invest more than £2.5 million via Crowdcube to fuel the firm's progress. The private funding round exceeded its £1 million target within hours, making it the largest equity crowdfund to be completed in the UK since the lockdown started.
Monzo has applied for a full banking licence in the US. The company launched an initial roll-out in the US last August, working with 1,000 customers to gather feedback on a bespoke product for the American market, where it claims to have a 20,000-strong waiting list.
Digital wealth manager Nutmeg has integrated its Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with Yolt, Emma and Money Dashboard. The data sharing agreements will give Nutmeg’s 80,000 customers a more holistic view of their finances, with the integration enabling customers of any of the three apps to see their Nutmeg ISA, Lifetime ISA, pension, general investment account and Junior ISA balances alongside other financial products they hold.
Central banks should issue a digital version of cash to prevent the trust in the monetary system disappearing, according to research and campaign group Positive Money. The report suggested that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) could give policymakers more effective tools to support the economy and maintain financial stability, particularly during times of crisis such as the Coronavirus pandemic.
More than a third of British customers distrust digital communications they receive from banks to such an extent that they ignore any actions the messages suggest they take. A survey of 2,300 banking customers conducted by YouGov on behalf of FinTech security provider Entersekt found that there is rising mistrust of banking-related digital communications such as emails, text messages, and banking portal notifications, due to increases in fraud and scams.
The Fixed Income, Currencies and Commodities (FICC) Markets Standards Board (FMSB) has published a review of emerging challenges in algorithmic trading and machine learning, warning of risks to market stability from unsupervised models. The report, written by FICC data and technology advisor Rupak Ghose, noted that the application of model risk management to algorithmic trading is an area that has received less attention.
After holding an accelerator in Europe for inclusive FinTechs serving refugees, Village Capital has produced a report stating that Europe's financial system excludes refugees lacking formal identification or language skills, who may hold the key to the FinTech future. The non-profit, which has supported entrepreneurs in 28 countries, conducted interviews with investors, non-governmental organisations, financial institutions, academics, mobile operators and refugees.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has signed an £11.5 million contract with enterprise cloud provider Workday to provide a platform for its HR, finance and procurement functions. The five-year deal will see the financial regulator use the company’s enterprise resource planning system by the end of March next year, aligning with its current data centre contract ending.
Insurance software firm EIS Group has launched a collaboration with PwC to build a digital insurance ecosystem. The move is aimed at supporting incumbent insurers which have struggled to make the move from analogue to digital, as they are held back by legacy estates that are slow to change, difficult to integrate and complex to draw insights from.
Leeds Building Society has partnered with automation specialist Blue Prism to build the numbers of ‘digital workers’ supporting customers through the COVID-19 crisis. It is using Blue Prism’s COVID-19 Response Program to help deal with an unprecedented jump in mortgage deferral requests.
GoCardless has launched a payment intelligence product aimed at helping businesses tackle problems caused by failed payments. The Success+ product uses machine learning to analyse trends from GoCardless’ recurring payments data and identify the ideal time to retry a failed payment.
The UK's finance industry is teaming up with the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the mobile industry to tackle the rise in text message scams amid the COVID-19 outbreak. The joint initiative, part of an ongoing effort to identify and block fraudulent SMS texts, known as ‘smishing’ or ‘spoofing’, will focus on preventing criminals from exploiting the crisis and safeguard messages from legitimate business organisations.
New data from Tink has revealed that financial institutions in the UK are embracing Open Banking more readily than their European counterparts. The survey, based on 290 senior decision-makers at financial institutions in 12 European countries, found that three quarters (74 per cent) of UK financial institutions said they were positive about Open Banking, compared to a European average of 61 per cent.
Digital identity provider ForgeRock has completed a $93.5 million Series E funding round led by Riverwood Capital. Existing investors, including Accel, Meritech Capital, Foundation Capital and KKR Growth, also participated. Riverwood Capital co-founder and managing partner Jeff Parks will join the board of directors.
More than three quarters (76 per cent) of insurance executives think the industry is poorly equipped to insure risks related to blockchain and crypto assets. According to a PollRight survey of 51 senior insurance professionals, commissioned by Evertas, just 12 per cent believed their industry was prepared for providing insurance to customers for this kind of asset, with the majority claiming current progress towards this goal was poor.
The latest five firms chosen to take part in the Investment Association’s FinTech accelerator programme have today been unveiled by the trade body, as it announced the programme and FinTech hub will be rebranded 'Engine’. The six-month accelerator programme - formerly known as Velocity - aims to connect innovators with investment managers looking to transform the investment process.
Capgemini and Efma have published the World FinTech Report 2020, revealing that despite a widening gulf between traditional banks on one side and BigTechs and challenger banks on the other, incumbents have an opportunity to thrive by embracing Open APIs and becoming more inventive. The report suggested that the gap between what customers expect and what traditional banks currently deliver has never been wider, and by offering data-fuelled, hyper-personalised experiences in real-time, BigTechs and challenger banks have demonstrated their ability to win customers over.
Fenergo and IBM have signed an original equipment manufacturing (OEM) agreement that will allow the companies to collaborate on solutions that can help clients address a multitude of financial risks. The agreement enables them to create solutions that combine Fenergo’s client lifecycle management (CLM) offering with IBM’s RegTech portfolio of Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Client (KYC) solutions; all built with Watson.
FinTech-as-a-service firm Rapyd will acquire Iceland-based payment card service provider Korta. Rapyd helps merchants, gig-economy platforms and technology providers create and launch commerce applications powered from its cloud-based platform. The acquisition of Korta provides online acquiring and point of sale (PoS) capabilities as the company grows its worldwide footprint.
A specialist police unit funded by the UK banking industry has executed several warrants in a crackdown on criminals sending scam text messages and emails seeking to exploit the Coronavirus outbreak. The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) is made up of officers from the City of London Police and Metropolitan Police and is responsible for targeting the criminal gangs responsible for fraud and related financial crimes.
Digital challenger banks will struggle to scale profitably in the Coronavirus-caused recession, although those able to weather the storm will innovate and thrive. This is according to a new report from Forrester, which explained that mobile-only players will have to fight harder for deposits and new account signups; will struggle to attract more venture capital funding; may have to reduce operations and see a deterioration of business performance; and will have limited exit strategies as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
Banking platform Curve has hired a former chief executive of the Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) to advise on its regulatory activities and relationships. The FinTech, which offers consolidation of multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, has appointed Hannah Nixon as it looks to expand its operations in Europe and the US.
After a successful beta with over 5,000 customers, Snoop has brought forward its launch and is now available to the public in the App Store and Google Play. The London and Norwich-based FinTech uses Open Banking Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to connect to a customer’s bank accounts and credit cards, then through a mix of artificial and human intelligence data-driven it delivers personalised insights to help consumers make the most of their money.
The tech companies supporting Libra, Facebook’s digital currency project, have applied for a payment system license in Switzerland. The Libra Association has formally started the process of applying for a payments license from the Swiss Financial Markets Supervisory Authority (FINMA), in a move hailed as an “important milestone” for the project.
BioCatch has completed a $145 million Series C funding round, led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, the growth investing business of Bain Capital. Also joining the round were new investors, including Industry Ventures, as well as existing shareholders American Express Ventures, CreditEase, Maverick Ventures and OurCrown, among others.
Stripe has announced an extension of its Series G round, raising an additional $600 million from investors, including Andreessen Horowitz, General Catalyst, GV and Sequoia. The US payments FinTech plans to invest further in growing its platform, including: continuing to hire around the world; deepening its stack of software functionality to simplify online business; accelerating its geographic expansion (with upcoming launches in Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Malta, and Romania); and pursuing strategic initiatives or acquisitions.
Data science startup Previse has made $11 million in funding round led by Reefknot Investments and Mastercard, with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Hambro Perks and Augmentum Fintech. The money will support continued growth, as the business rolls out its instant payment technology, InstantPay, to more large corporate buyers all over the world.
Banco Santander today announced the UK launch of its low-cost international money transfer service, PagoFX. This new service, available via a mobile app, allows UK residents with a debit card issued by any UK bank or financial entity to quickly send money abroad with low costs, bank-level security and customer support via in-app chat, web and e-mail.
Lloyds Banking Group is to partner with charities and digital skills providers to support elderly and vulnerable customers through the Coronavirus crisis. The tie-up with We Are Digital will provide a specialist phone line to help up to 20,000 customers access the internet at a time where gaining digital skills will help people stay connected to their finances.
Village Capital has announced that the deadline for applications for Finance Forward Europe 2020 - an investment-readiness program for early-stage FinTechs from the European Union and neighbouring countries - has been extended to accommodate startups working on COVID-19 solutions. The focus for the program is on startups that are building tech solutions for the nearly 40 million Europeans locked out of basic financial services, as well as tools for small businesses.
VibePay, a social payments app aimed at Generation Z consumers, is to launch its Open Banking services to business for payments and subscriptions. The app, which launched in Beta in October 2019, uses Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to enable payments via online checkouts and subscriptions, with the latter being popular amongst Gen Z and traditionally expensive to process.
Onfido has raised a $100 million in funding from new and existing investors, including TPG Growth. This brings the total investment in the identity verification and authentication company to $200 million and accelerates its mission to deliver a new identity standard that helps people easily and securely access digital services.
Following the closing of its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube - which raised £893,620 - Honcho has raised an additional £1.2 million through a new funding round with existing investors Finance Durham and the North East Development Capital Fund. The UK-based InsurTech startup has already raised £1.8 million from a combination of crowd investors on Crowdcube, angel investors and investment manager Maven Capital Partners, between 2018 and 2019.
Credit Kudos, which uses Open Banking to make credit checks more accessible, has raised £5 million in a Series A funding round. The London-based startup analyses bank account data to let lenders make faster, more informed credit decisions, reduce defaults, and improve affordability assessment.
The banking and finance sector has lent more than £1.1 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), according to new figures from UK Finance. The industry body confirmed that a total of 6,020 loans designed to tide SMEs through Coronavirus disruption have been approved by British lenders since the Treasury announced the scheme on 17 March.
The Clim8 sustainable investment app has surpassed its $400,000 fundraising goal on Crowdcube, raising £502,920 from 288 investors with 29 days left. The startup stated that it is now extending the round, raising additional funds for launch, team and marketing. With a waiting list of more than 5,000 people, the business is now building its pp for a planned launch in the second quarter of this year.
Ethoca has expanded its collaboration with Microsoft in order to bring the latter's customers access to digital purchase receipts through their banks’ mobile applications, via Ethoca’s Digital Receipts service. A statement suggested that it's not uncommon for digital goods providers to experience false claim rates of 80 per cent or higher from consumers who often fail to recognise their own purchases, or those of family members who have access to payment credentials.
European transaction services firm Worldline has signed a partnership agreement with British digital banking business Meniga. The collaboration is aimed at increasing digital customer engagement through the creation of personalised banking features. The pair plan to provide customers with next-generation financial tools by combining personal finance management with conversational banking and data analytics.
A new report from LexisNexis Risk Solutions has revealed that the projected total cost of financial crime compliance across major markets amounts to $180.9 billion. The survey took in 898 decision-makers who oversee financial crime compliance and compliance operations at financial services firms across the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Latin America (LATAM) (including Mexico) and the US and Canada.
Monzo is closing its customer support office in Las Vegas, with the loss of 165 employees. The outpost provided overnight support for UK customers, but has proven expensive for the digital challenger bank, which took the decision to move to UK overnight support - apparently before the Coronavirus began.
Lloyds of London has chosen the 12 early-stage InsurTech firms to take part in its Lloyds Lab innovation accelerator programme. Selected competitors include KASKO, Skyline, Parametrix, Kovrr and BOXX Insurance.
The European mobile wallets market will be worth $114 billion by 2023, as the Coronavirus outbreak accelerates the shift to electronic payments. Data gathered by credit technology company Finanso showed that mobile wallets are set to hit a $48.1 billion transaction value this year, growing by 37.3 per cent year-on-year.
Hero labs has launched a home insurance company that rewards customers for owning smart home devices. The InsurTech, called Hiro, will offer discounts on policies to those who have invested in technology that can use sensors and predictive analytics to reduce the risk of damage to their homes and devices.
More than a third (36 per cent) of UK businesses are planning to deploy multi-cloud environments as part of their technology investment strategy. A survey of 2,485 IT decision-makers - from 23 countries in the Americas, EMEA and Asia-Pacific - carried out by Equinix, found that the adoption of multi-cloud approaches for data storage stood at 14 per cent in the UK, compared to 20 per cent worldwide.
Mobile point of sale (MPoS) software startup phos has closed a fundraising round worth €1.3 million, led by New Vision 3 and other angel investors. The investment sees the total amount raised increase to €2.5 million, and will be used to grow the FinTech's development team to introduce new features like PIN on Phone, its Software Development Kit (SDK) and an integrated loyalty system.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has today confirmed a package of targeted temporary financial relief to those facing payment difficulties during the Coronavirus pandemic. Following a short consultation, it will be going ahead with the proposals outlined last week, giving firms the flexibility under its rule to help people with payments relief some of the most commonly used consumer credit products.
Starling Bank is to introduce a ‘connected card’, allowing customers to connect a second card to their existing account to give to a trusted person to pay for groceries and other essential items on their behalf. It is hoped that this connected debit card will help those who are self-isolating due to the current COVID-19 outbreak to rely on the support of family, friends and neighbours for their essential supplies where they are unable to visit the shops themselves.
UK-based payments app MuchBetter and Swiss smart glass provider Winwatch have teamed up to launch a unique steel watch with smart payment functionality. It is the first watch to use STISS (Swiss Technology Inside Smart Sapphire) payments glass, a super-strong sapphire glass infused with payment technology.
As Wuhan - the city at the epicentre of China’s Coronavirus outbreak - prepares to emerge from lockdown, Alipay has launched a series of digital initiatives aimed at helping small businesses get back on their feet. The digital lifestyle platform run by Ant Financial Services, the financial division of e-commerce giant Alibaba, has set up a special section on the landing page of the Alipay app, to allow the platform’s 900 million users easily locate merchants and their respective products and services in Wuhan.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has announced that fund management companies can now use electronic signatures to approve documents amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The regulator set out the measures after a number of fund management firms had made applications for approvals, but were struggling to obtain physically signed signatures on the documents due to social distancing and lockdown measures.
SoFi has acquired Galileo Financial Technologies in a $1.2 billion cash and stock deal. Salt Lake City-based Galileo provides the Application Programming Interface (API) infrastructure for the likes of Robinhood, Monzo, Revolut and Transferwise. It processed over $53 billion of annualised payments volume in March.
Cash transit company RMS Group is to expand into digital payment services as part of a major rebranding strategy. RMS Group, which provides cash collections, deliveries and ATM services - including Metro Bank and Travelex since launching in Ireland in 2005 - is to change its name to Pivotal as it becomes the first cash in transit company to offer merchant services, process card and BACs payments.
TSB has launched a new Smart Agent function on its website to give customers immediate access to the measures introduced during the Coronavirus pandemic, including how to apply for a repayment holiday on mortgages, personal loans and business loans. Customers now have the ability to ask questions and get their answers ‘live’ from TSB’s employees - the first time it has provided this functionality.
The Emerging Payments Association (EPA) has announced the outcomes of its first COVID-19 consultation. The paper emphasises the seismic change that COVID-19 will have on how we use payments to live, work and shop – and the effect this will have on the shape and size of the payments industry.
The Financial Conduct Authority has laid out its business priorities for the year ahead, admitting that one effect of the Coronavirus crisis will be the acceleration of digitisation within financial services. “We have seen greater digitisation of the firms we regulate, and we can expect the social changes driven by Coronavirus to accelerate the development of digital markets,” read the Business Plan for 2020/21.
Curve, the banking platform that consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and app, has become one of the first companies in Europe to provide numberless cards. Investors from its crowdfunding round will be the first to benefit from the technology when they receive their card in the coming weeks.
Visa’s charitable foundation has committed $210 million to programmes aimed at supporting small and micro-businesses from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. The Visa Foundation said the first $10 million was to be designated for immediate emergency relief to support charitable organisations responding to the Coronavirus pandemic - such as public health and food relief - in each of the five geographic regions in which Visa operates: North America; Latin America and the Caribbean; Europe; Asia Pacific; and Central Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Starling Bank has a launched a mobile cheque depositing feature on its banking app. The digital cheque tool will allow business and individual customers to scan a cheque with their smartphone across iOS and Android devices. The app uses device cameras to capture an image of the cheque and 'read' the details to pay the money into an account.
Enterprise connectivity platform Yapily has raised $13 million in a Series A funding round. The investment was led by Lakestar, alongside existing investors HV Holtzbrinck Ventures and LocalGlobe, with angel investors including TransferWise chairman and co-founder Taavet Hinrikus, UniCredit’s former deputy chief executive Roberto Nicastro, and former Deutsche Postbank chief executive Frank Strauss.
Mettle, NatWest’s free standalone digital business account, has announced that FreeAgent, the cloud-based accountancy software for small businesses, is available free of charge for its customers. New and existing customers of Mettle can now sign up to FreeAgent directly through the app free of charge in a matter of seconds, with transactions also being shared between the two apps immediately, using Application Programming Interface (API) technology.
Tully has launched a COVID-19 relief network to help people financially impacted by the pandemic get access to payment relief. The Nottingham-based FinTech is providing a free to consumer digital outsourcing service that registers consumer applications, validates eligibility for payment relief and shares that information with relevant partners in the network.
Nationwide has become the second recipient of Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) fund money to return part of its grant due to not being able to proceed with the business banking plans originally submitted. Recently Metro Bank, due to changes in its strategy, proposed a revised business case to BCR under which it would continue to deliver part of the original business case while returning £50 million of the funding. This was approved by BCR and this funding is now available for redeployment.
The rest of this year will be challenging for FinTechs to navigate, but prosperous times remain ahead post crisis for certain ‘disruptive winners’, according to a new report from Finch Capital. The thematic venture capital investor has since 2014 backed FinTechs like Digital Insurance Group, Goodlord, Grab, Hiber and Trussle.
Digital identity platform Signicat has acquired Connectis, a Dutch identity specialist, to create a new European player in the market for online authentication. Announcing the deal, Rotterdam-headquartered Signicat said the combined company would offer digital identity solutions to a wide range of organisations in the Netherlands, particularly in the public sector, health care, insurance and financial services.
A clear majority (90 per cent) of banking customers think that the technology offering impacts their choice of banking provider. A survey of 2,000 consumers commissioned by Estonian FinTech challenger Modularbank, found that customers cared more about technology than other key factors including interest rates, which 88 per cent of consumers said would be important in their decision making.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has said it is prepared to relax rules on financial services firms accepting customer phone photo 'selfies' to check their identity, as one of several measures to ease the burden during Coronavirus lockdown. In a public letter to the industry, the regulator's interim chief executive Christopher Woolard said that it has received hundreds of requests from firms and trade associations for adaptions to its rules, adding that some were “opportunistic” and the FCA will reflect on future guidance.
Prepaid Financial Services (PFS) has closed its acquisition by EML payments. The deal, which was finalised by financial regulators in the UK and Ireland this morning, creates one of the largest prepaid FinTech enabling companies globally.
InsurTech Loadsure has landed £1.1 million in its latest funding round.The freight insurance company aims to simplify and digitise the spot freight cargo insurance processes through its automated end-to-end process for brokers, shippers and carriers.
Starling has begun offering arranged overdraft interest holidays to personal account holders who are struggling financially as a result of the Coronavirus. Customers can apply for a three-month interest holiday starting from 1 April, with all interest charges on arranged overdrafts waived. The interest will not be added on at the end of the holiday period and interest payments will only resume the day after the holiday ends.
Refinitiv has appointed Charles Smith as head of digital solutions for wealth management. In this role he will lead Refinitiv’s global digital wealth management solutions and will be responsible for its strategic direction.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has raised concerns that the loss of competition brought about by the merger of FNZ and GBST could result in UK investors losing out as a result of higher prices, fewer options and less innovation. FNZ purchased rival investment platform provider GBST in November 2019 for around £150 million, ending a three-way battle which also included Bravura and SS&C and saw a 94.9 per cent premium to the closing price of the company’s shares in April, when Bravura made an initial approach.
The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has set out its plans to keep the UK’s payments systems delivering for all users during the COVID-19 pandemic. The independent body, which acts as the economic regulator for the £75 trillion UK payments systems industry, today published its annual plan and budget, setting out its key aims and activities in 2020-21, alongside the expected costs of these measures.
FinTech platform Youtility has made three senior hires following the completion of a £4.5 million funding round. The London-based company saw investment from ICAP founder Michael Spencer, Barclays Ventures and Ascension Ventures’ Fair By Design Fund.
More than one million banking customers switched their accounts in 2019, according to data released by the Current Account Switch Service (CASS). Its latest report found that more than 6.3 million switches have been approved since the service launched in 2013, as customers exercise their right to access new services and benefits with the rise of digital banking.
Dzing has launched its new mobile payment app, to give international students, remote freelancers, overseas workers and travellers, access to financial services from their smart devices. Now available on Android and iOS, the app will offer its users a simple process for transferring funds across borders in the UK and Europe, providing multi-currency accounts, as well as card and partner card options.
UK Finance is warning consumers to be on the lookout for 'smishing' text message scams from criminals exploiting the Coronavirus outbreak. Smishing is when criminals use text messages impersonating other organisations to trick people into giving away their personal and financial information or money.
Phoebus Software has launched a new digital self-service portal that allows a bank's customers to self-serve on their accounts. Developed within the lending software provider's Innovation Hub, the Phoebus Mortgage Self-Service Portal has been designed in conjunction with client feedback to provide a range of functionality including the ability to make payments, view transactions and statements, change direct debit details and order redemption figures.
NatWest is waiving monthly hire fees for Point of Sale (PoS) terminals from its payments product Tyl until the end of 2020, to support small business customers during the Coronavirus crisis. The bank also provides next day settlement to users of Tyl, helping with cash flow during this difficult period for small businesses.
Barely half (51 per cent) of banks are able to keep up with the speed of their business due to legacy software, according to new figures. A survey conducted by Boomi, a Dell Technologies business, amongst 825 enterprise architects based in the EMEA region, also found that 65 per cent of banking IT budgets are being set aside for modernisation and innovation.
A taskforce of UK FinTechs and industry experts has come together to deploy loans of over £500,000 to support the UK’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with their need for funding through the Coronavirus crisis. FinTechs including digital lending platform Trade Ledger, digital SME credit scoring platform Wiserfunding, trade credit insurance provider Nimbla, and client onaboarding platform NorthRow, have formed a business lending taskforce and are inviting lenders to engage in the fully-virtual lending operation.
The chancellor’s latest measures to sure up a financial sector hit by the Coronavirus outbreak have been welcomed by the tech sector. Rishi Sunak announced a further package of measures for the self-employed, now mirroring the scheme for the employed workforce.
Starling Bank has rolled out a delay function to its in-app gambling block, to help those customers that need support managing spending on betting and gaming services. This will mean those wanting to turn the block off will have to wait 48 hours before they can reactivate spending on these services.
Almost half of UK businesses (46 per cent) have fallen victim to cyber security attacks or breaches in the last year, according to the UK government’s annual cyber security survey.
Now in its fifth edition, the survey of thousands of UK businesses and charities, published by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, showed that nearly a third of businesses (32 per cent) were experiencing breaches or attacks a least once a week, up from 22 per cent in 2017.
Financial communications surveillance tech firm VoxSmart has completed a strategic funding round, with £5.5 million investment from NatWest. This funding will help the company reach new markets and accelerate the innovation of new products. As the first vendor globally to offer a WhatsApp and WeChat compliance solution to financial markets, VoxSmart has built a client base of more than 100 financial services institutions.
London-based FinTech Lanistar is officially launching today after raising £2 million in seed funding. The Hammersmith-based company, offering a banking alternative, is launching with the stated aim of becoming the next £1 billion FinTech unicorn.
For the first time, one of the UK’s insurers is employing artificial intelligence (AI) to create end-to-end assessments and estimates of vehicle damage. Ageas is using an AI solution, developed by Tractable, to support some of the complex tasks that a human assessor would normally carry out when evaluating vehicle damage. For example, the AI identifies which parts of the vehicle have been affected and to what extent, generating a full estimate, including recommended repair, paint and blend operations, as well as costs and labour hours.
TransferGo has hired former Revolut compliance manager Francesco Fucoli as its new chief compliance officer, as it looks to grow into remittance services. Based in London, Fucoli will be responsible for leading the delivery of innovative customer experience on Know Your Customer (KYC), as well as Anti-Money Laundering (AML) and Counter-Terrorism Financing (CFT) prevention processes.
A survey of 602 UK, French, and Polish small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has revealed they are sticking with traditional financial services providers despite new demands from digital-first businesses. Over half now do some form of international business and a further 13 per cent expect to start doing so soon. In 2008, 60 percent of all transactions were paid in cash, but today 34 per cent of SME customers are paying by bank transfer, 23 per cent by cash, 23 per cent by credit/debit card and 19 per cent by other means.
After gaining more than 10 million customers in the UK and Europe, Revolut has officially launched its app and debit card in the United States. The digital-only bank employs more than 2,000 people globally, with offices already established in New York and San Francisco.
FinTech start-up UnderPinned has raised £500,000 in crowdfunding amid difficult investment conditions due to the Coronavirus outbreak. The platform provides freelancers with career management services, including automated invoices and payments, contract and portfolio management.
Members of London’s FinTech community have joined forces to build a proof of concept (PoC) to help the UK’s five million self-employed through the COVID-19 crisis. The Covid Credit prototype allows the self-employed to generate a self-declaration of loss of income due to Coronavirus, verified by Open Banking data.
The contactless limit for in-store card transactions will increase from £30 to £45, introduced as a measure in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, to reduce the need for physical contact with PIN-Entry Devices (PEDs) at points of sale. The new contactless limit will be operational at some stores across the UK from 1 April, but may take some time before it can be applied everywhere. For example, it may take longer to rollout at retailers who are currently operating at peak capacity.
Finastra is back online after shutting servers and offices late last week due to a suspected ransomware attack. On Friday, customers were warned of a "potential security breach" causing disruption to certain services, particularly in North America.
The FinTech industry has gone from record highs a month ago, to Coronavirus-hit lows in recent days, with market values set for turbulent times ahead. A new report from Rosenblatt Securities explained that on 19 February, the FinTech index comprising 26 public firms was up 49 per cent, compared to the Nasdaq and S&P 500, which were up 28 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Since then, the FinTech index has under-performed both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq by seven per cent.
The Financial Conduct Authority has written to companies it is aware were intending to publish preliminary financial statements in the next few days, requesting a delay to their planned publications. The regulator called for listed companies to observe a moratorium on the publication of preliminary financial statements for at least two weeks.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has issued a clarification around MiFID II requirements on the recording of telephone conversations during the COVID-19 outbreak. The regulator said it recognises that, considering the exceptional circumstances, some scenarios may emerge where the recording of relevant conversations may not be practicable due to widespread recommendations for home working.
The Bank of England (BoE) and Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) have announced several measures to ease the burden of the Coronavirus outbreak on the financial system. The steps include the cancellation of this year’s stress test for the eight major UK banks and building societies, in order to help lenders focus on meeting the needs of UK households and businesses via the continuing provision of credit.
The majority of financial services workers are not concerned that automation and artificial intelligence (AI) will take their jobs in the technological revolution. A study of 1,000 accounting and finance workers by CaseWare UK, an accounting software firm, found that just 11 per cent feared their role would be replaced in future.
In a first ‘virtual’ ceremony last night, due to the Coronavirus ban on mass gatherings, the FStech Awards 2020 winners were announced online. Lloyds Banking Group got two trophies, for Best Banking IT Team and Best Use of Mobile, while JPMorgan and JPMorgan Asset Management also scooped a double, for Best Use of IT in Wholesale & Investment Banking and Best Trading System.
Business banking app ANNA Money is using TrueLayer’s payment initiation system to let firms receive immediate payments for invoices via QR codes. The integration of TrueLayer’s Open Banking Payments Application Programming Interface (API) will enable ANNA’s customers to receive money instantly using QR codes via its app, as part of an expansion of ANNA’s business current account and digital admin assistant.
Artificial intelligence (AI) automation platform Rainbird has announced a research partnership with the University of East Anglia (UEA) aimed at supporting vulnerable individuals by facilitating fairer credit decisions. The proposed tool is being designed to better identify individuals who may need to be classified as vulnerable - those suffering from mental health issues, severely indebted or otherwise lacking the capacity to make fully-informed financial decisions - during the credit application process, ultimately streamlining credit providers’ ability to offer hep and guidance sooner.
ClearBank has formed a strategic relationship with Temenos to provide a faster route to market for real-time payments services in the cloud. Temenos and ClearBank’s joint customers will get end-to-end service and rapid access to Bacs Payment Schemes, CHAPS and Faster Payments.
The banking and finance industry stopped over £1.8 billion in fraud in 2019, according to the latest figures from UK Finance, as the industry faces calls for a cross-sector approach to tackle fraud. As banking customers were urged to be wary of fraudsters capitalising on Coronavirus concerns, the latest data from the industry body found that vigilance in the sector is rising, with losses related to unauthorised fraud falling to £825 million, down two per cent on 2018.
HooYu, a customer onboarding Know Your Customer (KYC) firm, is partnering with Baanx, a mobile cryptocurrency and fiat specialist, to build a digital compliance journey. London-based Baanx selected HooYu’s KYC platform to provide identity verification for the onboarding of new customers and streamline the application process, while improving customer experience.
Revolut has launched a Revolut Junior account aimed at helping younger customers learn financial literacy. The money management app, available for children aged seven to 17, will include an account that can be managed by a parent or legal guardian from their own Revolut account.
Monzo is moving into business banking with the launch of free and premium business accounts. The move is the latest stage in Monzo’s strategy to turn a profit within the next three years.
Which? is calling for fraud protections to be made mandatory, as more than £1 billion is estimated to have been lost to bank transfer scams in just three years. With measures set to come in that should significantly reduce the amount of money lost to this type of fraud, Which? also raised concerns that some banks are not committed to introducing the protections on time, or even at all.
More than eight million people in the UK could suffer in a cashless society due to dwindling supply during the Coronavirus outbreak, according to new research. Analysis compiled by Blueclaw for A2Z Casinos found that it will become essential to curb the use of physical money in order to limit the number of infections, as pathogens and viruses can live on most surfaces for around 48 hours, and paper money can reportedly transport a live flu virus for up to 17 days.
Clearstream, Credit Suisse Asset Management, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and Natixis Investment Managers have joined to back FundsDLT, a blockchain-based technology platform for the fund industry. The Series A investment will help the startup commercially develop a novel decentralised technology platform to facilitate the distribution of funds based on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
Investment in the UK’s FinTech sector has more than doubled to £4 billion since 2018, according to new research. According to Tech Nation’s annual report for 2019, the FinTech sector has also seen an employment boom, and is second only behind the US for global investment in the industry.
SWIFT is set to delay the ISO 20022 migration date for cross border payments from November 2021 to the end of 2022, reflecting challenges banks face in preparing existing infrastructure for the transition. The common global data ‘language’ is expected to see widespread payments industry adoption, so following feedback from the SWIFT community, the deadline it has been extended by a year. The ultimate deadline of November 2025 for decommissioning the legacy SWIFT MT standard remains in place.
Finablr has temporarily suspended its share listing amid “material uncertainty” about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern. The global platform for payments and foreign exchange confirmed in a statement that the Financial Conduct Authority agreed to the suspension, following an update on 12 March that “a number of factors that were placing significant constraints on the company's access to the daily liquidity”.
Payments platform Banked is teaming up with freelance career service UnderPinned to launch a new automated payment service supporting businesses to eliminate the time they spend paying contractors. The commission-free service is aiming to reduce the average time that it takes to pay a freelancer from 3.5 minutes to 30 seconds, marking an 86 per cent increase in efficiency of payments.
ING has invested €4.5 million in Eigen, a Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology company.The Dutch banking giant said the funding - made through the bank’s venture capital arm ING Ventures - is part of Eigen’s $42 million Series B investment round announced in November 2019 joining other investors including Goldman Sachs, Temasek, Lakestar and Dawn Capital.
Saffron Building Society is the first financial institution to go live with Burrow’s automated pre-application qualification solution for new mortgage customers. A statement claimed that this was the UK’s first on-boarding as a service technology that allows a mortgage lender to score, rank and convert website visitors.
Funding Circle is set to cut 125 staff as it scales back its European operations. The UK peer-to-peer (P2P) lender reported a £34.3 million writedown related to its Dutch and German divisions, with the subsequent lay-offs affecting its Berlin and Amsterdam offices. Instead, the firm will assemble a team of 25 employees to run its European operations from its London headquarters.
Despite the growing news flow about the risk of fraud, there has been little change since 2018 in the capability of accounts payable processes to combat it. This is according to research commissioned by automated accounts payable provider Invu showing that 70 per cent of UK finance decision-makers have concerns about whether their company can prevent or detect fraud using current accounts payable processes.
Mastercard has unveiled a pilot project with phos, introducing an innovative mobile solution that lets merchants accept contactless payments on Android mobile devices without the need for any additional hardware. The solution will enable millions of often cash-only micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to accept cashless payments and grow their businesses.
Key players in the financial services industry are set on a clear pathway towards collaboration, whether they like it or not, according to a report from Barclays Corporate Banking. The bank conducted a survey of nearly 2,000 industry leaders from across financial services, at Money 20/20 events in Europe, Asia and the US.
Standard Chartered has launched a banking-as-a-service solution enabling digital platforms and e-commerce firms to offer loans, credit cards, savings accounts and other banking services under their own brand name. The banking giant said it had already signed a “major e-commerce player in Indonesia” as its first partner for the project named Nexus, but declined to name the company. It expects to be able to co-create and launch products powered by Nexus in 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.
Three partnerships between community lenders and FinTechs have secured a cash prize of £200,000 each for developing innovative solutions that make credit more accessible and affordable. The prize is part of a £2 million Affordable Credit Challenge run by Nesta Challenges in partnership with HM Treasury.
The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN), an Open Banking standards association, has announced 29 new members; including Wipro, Deloitte consulting and US Bank. The BIAN, founded in 2008, is an independent organisation aimed at promoting common standards for Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and technical architecture in the banking industry.
The government has committed to an independent review of UK FinTech, with promises of investment and support for the sector. One of many post Budget statements explained that the review will be led by Network International chairman and Bank of England non-executive director Ron Kalifa.
Salary Finance has acquired Goldman Sachs-funded workplace lender Neyber. The deal creates the UK’s largest employee financial wellbeing platform, according to Salary Finance.
ClearBank has partnered with incuto to allow its credit union and community bank members to make and receive payments in real time. Using ClearBank technology as part of incuto’s online platform and app, credit unions will also have instant and accurate information about their finances.
Application Programming Interface (API) provider TrueLayer has integrated with online brokerage app Stake to enable Open Banking payments. As a result of the collaboration, Stake customers will be able to use TrueLayer’s Payments Initiation tool to transfer money and make investments within its brokerage app.
Revolut is considering applying for a UK banking licence, enabling it to offer FSCS-protected deposits and lending services. The digital challenger bank was granted a European banking licence by the Bank of Lithuania in 2018, but in the UK has operated as an authorised e-money institution.
Lloyds Banking Group has announced a five-year partnership with Google Cloud as part of its £3 billion digital transformation plans. The strategic collaboration will see Lloyds deploy a number of Google Cloud services to help streamline, modernise and improve services for its 26 million customers.
Artificial intelligence-based risk solution firm MindBridge has opened a new office in London. Since releasing its flagship AI Auditor service in March 2017, the Canadian company has grown its client base into 15 countries around the world and tripled the size of its workforce.
Financial services technology provider Finantix has announced a binding agreement for the acquisition of data science company InCube Group. According to a statement, the deal will strengthen Finantix’s platform by augmenting it with InCube’s artificial intelligence, robotics and cognitive technologies, and expand its presence in the Swiss and wealth management and insurance markets.
A specialist police unit funded by the banking and finance industry prevented £31.2 million of fraud and disrupted 23 organised criminal groups in 2019. The Dedicated Card and Payment Crime Unit (DCPCU) targets the organised criminal gangs responsible for fraud and is made up of officers from the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police Service, as well as banking industry fraud investigators and support staff from UK Finance.
INSTANDA has raised $19.5 million in Series A funding as it builds on the growth of its no-code customer and policy management platform. The investment was led by Assembly Capital Partners, with the money helping to support the InsurTech firm’s expansion into the United States, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Neotas, a UK-based provider of online due diligence for banks and financial services firms, has been selected by Dutch banking giant ING to join its FinTech accelerator in Brussels. The onboarding platform was chosen from among 350 companies worldwide to join ING Labs Brussels, which aims to fast track new fintech solutions for ING and its customers.
Banking challenger OakNorth has reported a 95 per cent rise in annual profits to £65.9 million. The business banking unicorn reached a $2.8 billion valuation after a funding injection of $100 million in February last year, making it one of the UK’s most valuable FinTech businesses.
Challenger bank Tandem has raised £60 million in its latest funding round and is planning to use the investment to acquire a ‘green lending’ business. The funding round was led by the Qatar Investment Authority, according to Reuters news, with the ‘green lending’ business focused on helping consumers to buy solar panels.
Global risk and reinsurance specialist Guy Carpenter has chosen Charles Taylor InsureTech as a partner for its digital transformation programme.The engagement involves the creation of a global, cloud-based document management solution (DMS) to supply Guy Carpenter with a single, global document repository.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has begun a review into the use of data and advanced analytics in wholesale financial markets, both now and in the future. The regulator has issued a Call for Input (CFI) to better understand how data and advanced analytics are being accessed and used, the value offered to market participants and whether they are competitively sold and priced.
Tesco Bank has appointed Gary Balmer as its new chief information officer (CIO).
Based in its Edinburgh headquarters, and reporting to chief operations officer David Bowerman, he will be responsible for leading the bank’s 440-strong information technology function.
The European Systemic Risk Board (ESRB) has warned that as global financial services becomes ever more digitally interconnected, the potential for a cyber attack causing major systemic risk is becoming something which regulators and central banks must prepare for. In a new paper, the organisation stated that the system has come to rely critically on robust information and communications technology infrastructures and the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data and systems.
Equifax is partnering with rent reporting platform CreditLadder in a deal that will use rent payment data to calculate credit assessments. The collaboration is aimed at helping CreditLadder’s customers access credit at fairer rates and level the playing field between people with a mortgage, whose payments have historically been included in the credit files, and those who rent their home.
The UK has dropped one place, to fourth, in KPMG’s annual ranking of most promising countries in the world for disruptive technology breakthroughs that have a global impact. Now in its eighth year, the survey consisted of 810 technology leaders - 54 per cent of them c-level executives - across 12 countries. It placed the UK tied with Japan in fourth, behind the US and both China and India, which tied for second place.
Metro Bank has lost its interim chief risk officer (CRO) just two weeks after he joined the business, in the latest setback for the challenger bank. Graham McGirr, a 20-year veteran of banks including Northern Rock, Barclays and the Co-operative, had been due to formally take up the role of interim CRO on 1 March.
Commission-free stock trading firm Robinhood has blamed outages this week on “unprecedented loads” experienced on the app. Responding to user ire at being offline during Monday and Wednesday, co-chief executives Baiju Bhatt and Vladimir Tenev wrote that the situation was “not acceptable” and the team has been evaluating and addressing the issue.
Revolut has appointed former Goldman Sachs International co-chief executive Michael Sherwood, and experienced retail banker and former chief risk officer Ian Wilson, as non-executive directors.
Barclays has announced 250 job cuts as it relocates staff to new ‘campus’ sites and closes a major processing centre in Leeds. A spokesperson for the bank explained that around 340 roles were in scope for moves to collaborative working areas in Glasgow, Manchester and Northampton – resulting in net job losses of 50. The other 200 job losses will come from the Millshaw Court office in Leeds, where the landlord’s decision to sell the site for residential development meant around 800 staff are being moved – with 270 relocating to Manchester and Sunderland, a further 100 within Leeds and the remaining circa 130 are not in scope.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that use of coins and banknotes could be spreading coronavirus. In a statement to the BBC, a spokesperson for WHO said: “We know that money changes hands frequently and can pick up all sorts of bacteria and viruses – we would advise people to wash their hands after handling banknotes, and avoid touching their face.”
Starling Bank has launched a third UK office in Cardiff, as the app-based bank continues its growth plans.The opening in the Welsh capital will create 400 jobs and contribute to Wales’ £8.5 billion tech sector.
Since 2013, blockchain startups in the United Kingdom have raised a collective $503 million between themselves in equity raises, according to analysis by Outlier Ventures, which also found that 450 blockchain companies now call London home. Of the total capital allocation, $95 million has been invested in seed stages alone, with one in three blockchain companies in the UK managing to raise funding. However, only 13 per cent of all firms that raise funding go on to raise a Series A and just three per cent make it to Series B.
Ant Financial, owner and operator of Alipay, has taken a minority stake in payments provider Klarna. This investment supports further development of their strategic cooperation, bringing more of Klarna’s solutions to consumers and merchants within the broader Alibaba ecosystem.
Freedom Services Group has acquired Homelyfe for an undisclosed sum. Under the terms of the deal, Homelyfe will be sold to Freedom, but will continue to be run on the Aventus Insurance operating system, which allows it to create policies and automatically quote and bind in under a minute from a minimal question set.
Nationwide has delayed the launch of its business banking services as it continues to develop its mobile app and Open Banking account switching service. The building society is using £50 million granted by the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Competition and Innovation Fund, matched by £50 million of its own funding, to overhaul its business banking offer and help inject more competition into the market.
Trussle has appointed Ian Larkin as its new chief executive. He previously held senior roles at Lloyds, Virgin Money, McKinsey and Accenture, most recently serving as chief executive of Target Group. During his five years at Target, the business delivered significant growth using technology to improve productivity, risk management and customer experience.
The total number of digital banking users will exceed 3.6 billion by 2024, up 54 per cent from 2.4 billion in 2020, according to Juniper Research. The market analysis stated that this growth will be driven by the rise of digital-only banks and the ongoing focus on digital transformation by established banks.
Financial markets data provider Refinitiv has acquired wealth management software-as-a-service firm Scivantage for an undisclosed sum. The deal represents the next step in Refinitiv’s plan to create digital wealth management solutions, with Scivantage’s digital client experience Wealthsqope and tax information reporting solution Maxit E2E.
CreditEnable has announced a $2 million pre-Series A funding round. The artificial intelligence-driven small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) credit business stated that the investment will allow it to develop and launch a second-generation product for both lenders and borrowers, accelerate its direct marketing outreach to SMEs, and increase traction with a growing client base of lenders.
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has weighed in on the various disruptive forces shaping the future of payments. The central bankers association’s latest quarterly report was dedicated to the issue, with economic adviser and head of research Hyun Song Shin commenting “The pace of change and potential for disruption have propelled payment systems to the top of policymakers' agenda – indeed, the G20 made improving cross-border payments one of its priorities in 2020.”
Thought Machine has raised $83 million to continue investment in its core engineering capability and drive expansion into the Asia Pacific region. All existing investors - Lloyds Banking Group, IQ Capital, Backed and Playfair Capital - participated in the round, with IQ Capital contributing £15 million from their new scale up fund.
Customers of RBS and Monzo will be able to check their credit scores for free thanks to new in-app updates. RBS launched the credit check feature earlier this week, while challenger bank Monzo is to launch its service at the end of March.
Artificial intelligence (AI) platform Sidetrade has announced the opening of a new Tech Hub in the UK, with a projected investment of £30 million and plans for 70 new tech jobs in the group. The new office in Birmingham will be home to some of the new roles focused on AI technology and product development, bringing Sidetrade’s total tech headcount to more than 150.
B-Social has raised £7.8 million in seed funding from a variety of high-net worth individuals, including Karlani Capital founder Rudy Karsan. The London-based FinTech has now raised a total of £13.25 million to fund its journey towards building, and licensing, its ‘social bank’ concept.
Nationwide has opened a new digital hub in Swindon, which will employ 700 people from the building society’s digital community. The site is focussed on delivery of new digital services and technological experiences to the building society’s 16 million members.
Collective Benefits has closed a £3.3 million funding round led by Stride.VC, alongside existing investors Delin Ventures and Insurtech Gateway. The InsurTech startup specialises in protection products and benefits for gig economy workers, such as family leave, sick pay, mental health support and critical injury pay.
Three of the UK’s leading financial services providers announced plans for a combined 2,000 job cuts yesterday, as the industry continues to adapt to falling branch use and consumer demand for digital services. Lloyds is set to cut 780 roles across its branch network, but is not currently planning to close any branches as part of the move.
Digital Risks has raised $10.4 million in a Series A funding round led by BHL Holdings, owner of Compare the Market. Nire Capital also participated in the round, alongside existing investors Concentric, Beazley and Seedcamp. The money will be used to further develop its technology and drive expansion over the next 12 to 18 months.
A strategic review at Metro Bank has caused it to submit a revised business case to Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) and return £50 million of the original £120 million grant. Metro has already deployed Capability and Innovation funds and the £70 million retained will continue to stimulate banking competition in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) market.
Payment solutions provider Checkout.com has bought French technology startup ProcessOut for an undisclosed sum. This represents the first acquisition for the London-based FinTech and follows last year’s $230 million Series A funding round, which valued it at nearly $2 billion.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has referred itself to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) over a data breach after it mistakenly published the names and other information of 1,600 people. The regulator published a statement on its website this afternoon explaining that it had inadvertently published the details on its website in November as part of its response to a Freedom of Information request about complaints lodged against the FCA by individuals or organisation.
Mastercard has announced that its president and chief executive Ajay Banga will transition to the role of executive chairman on 1 January 2021, with chief product officer Michael Miebach to become chief executive from that date, and president from 1 March 2020. As president of the company, Miebach will oversee the sales, marketing, products, services and technology organisations.
The latest survey of the digital banking market from Accenture found that 19.6 million customers worldwide have signed up for neobanks, with UK providers adding more than six million new customers in the second half of 2019. Accenture tracks market data from a representative sample of 30 UK banks every six months to assess the performance of digital challenger banks - those that offer financial products via digital channels – compared to incumbents and traditional challenger banks - which operate with a physical presence.
Half of finance workers in the UK have said that concerns over security would deter them from storing sensitive personal and commercial information in the cloud. A survey of 1,000 finance professionals in the UK for Invu, an automated accounts payable and document management software company, found that cloud security remains the top concern, with the most prominent fear related to data back-up and the recover of lost data (cited by 37 per cent of workers).
Revolut has raised $500 million (£387 million) in Series D funding, making it the UK’s most valuable FinTech with a valuation of $5.5 billion (£4.2 billion).The funding round, led by US fund Technology Crossover Ventures (TCV) - an early backer of Air B n B, Spotify and Netflix - propels the company beyond the valuation of rivals Monzo (£2 billion) and OakNorth (£2.2 billion), the latter of which was previously the highest valued.
JPMorgan has reportedly tapped up a former regulator to help it launch digital banking services into the UK market. According to reports in the Financial Times over the weekend, Clive Adamson, a former head of supervision at the Financial Conduct Authority, has been chosen to chair JPMorgan’s neobank venture, which is said to be launching under the Chase brand later this year.
Mastercard is planning to hire 1,500 staff in Dublin as it looks to establish its European Technology Hub in the Irish capital.The payments giant is planning to treble its Irish workforce for the new campus in Leopardstown over the course of the next three to five years.
Automation and data intelligence firm Glantus has acquired vendor credit recovery services company JPD Financial. The Dublin-based company said the acquisition will bring new levels of automation to credit recovery and financial processing for global businesses and shared services units.
Investment in the UK’s FinTech sector nearly doubled last year to $48.5 billion, as the boom in digital banking services continues. According to KPMG’s Pulse of FinTech report, investment in British FinTech companies was up 91 per cent from a year earlier, when companies drew in $25.4 billion.
Youtility has closed a £4.5 million funding round led by Barclays. The home finance tech platform, which launched in November 2018, uses Open Banking and behavioural science analytics to help consumers switch suppliers. Built primarily for banks, the Youtility Application Programming Interface (API) allows partners to ensure customers have complete control over their home finances.
SoftBank’s Vision Fund is reportedly set to invest $100 million in British artificial intelligence (AI) and compliance startup Behavox. The Japanese’s investment behemoth’s second Vision Fund could be ready to announce a deal next week, according to Sky News.
Last year saw FinTech funding reach a global inflection point, pulling in $34.5 billion across 1,913 deals – with annual investment falling 15 per cent year-over-year. However, CB Insights’ State of FinTech report pointed out that 2018 funding was inflated by Ant Financial’s record $14 billion deal, and removing this would make 2019 a record funding year.
Morgan Stanley has acquired E Trade in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $13 billion. The combination will significantly increase the scale and breadth of Morgan Stanley’s Wealth Management franchise, as E Trade has over 5.2 million client accounts with over $360 billion of retail client assets – adding to Morgan Stanley’s existing three million client relationships and $2.7 trillion of client assets.
The European Commission has unveiled its plans for a European data strategy and policies to ensure that development of artificial intelligence (AI) technology is human-centric. A key pillar of the plan outlined by EU commissioner Thierry Breton is the creation of a €2 billion European cloud platform alliance.
The Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa route is being expanded and renamed as the Global Talent visa, specifically to make provisions for science and research, while continuing to be open to promising applicants within digital technology. According to Tech Nation, the UK network for tech entrepreneurs which remains the endorsing body responsible for processing applications on behalf of the Home Office for the sector, the cap on the visa route has been removed.
Meniga has obtained permission from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to move beyond financial services into Open Data partnerships with the insurance, telecoms, retail and credit sectors. The London-based FinTech, which providers digital banking solutions, has registered with the regulator as an Account Information Service Provider in the UK.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Alan Turing Institute have proposed a high-level framework for thinking about artificial intelligence (AI) transparency in financial markets. As part of a year-long collaboration on the subject, the regulator and thinktank have presented an initial framework for thinking about transparency needs in relation to machine learning in financial markets.
Only 23 per cent of small businesses and the self-employed currently have their main account with a digital bank, although the remaining 77 per cent that use traditional banks would consider switching to a digital one. This is according to a survey from software search site Capterra, which surveyed over 600 people either employed in a small to medium sized enterprise (1 to 250 employees) or self-employed, finding that they mentioned trust (68 per cent) and recommendations (21 per cent) as the most important decision-making factors.
More IT and finance leaders are working together to develop flexible approaches to build new applications incrementally - in an Agile approach - to both defend against disruption and enable digital transformation. This is one of several predictions made in Deloitte’s latest Tech Trends report, which also suggested that those chief information and finance officers who are among the first to work in this way will enjoy the competitive advantages that come when finance funds innovation at Agile speed.
Monese has extended its partnership with PayPoint, allowing customers to top up their accounts in more than 28,000 retailers. The deal means that the digital challenger bank's two million users can continue to make cash deposits of up to £500 directly into their accounts at a time and place of their choosing.
Rapyd has announced a new agreement with Visa to help expand its worldwide business operations. Rapyd will collaborate with Visa to offer FinTech and payment services where both firms see opportunities to help businesses expand their core offerings with more expansive local and cross-border market solutions.
HSBC is to slash 35,000 jobs worldwide and shed $100 billion of assets, with the investment banking arm expected to be hardest hit by plans to make operations leaner and more focused on growth. The global banking giant reported profit before tax was down by a third to $13.35 billion in 2019, down from $19.89 billion compared with 2018, with a major restructuring project set to cost around $6 billion in addition to $1.2 billion of assets disposal costs in the next two years.
SumUp is partnering with Mastercard to launch its first business payments card in the UK. The card terminal and payments platform provider said the SumUp Card will facilitate the making and taking of payments as part of a payments ‘toolkit’ for small business owners in the UK.
ING Group has partnered with Tradeteq to distribute its commodity trade finance exposures to non-bank institutional investors. Tradeteq operates the trade finance industry’s first electronic trading platform, which allows banks to package their exposures into standardised, investable notes for non-bank institutional investors.
Concirrus has closed a $20 million Series B funding round led by AlbionVC. The London-based InsurTech startup will use the funding to expand its predictive analytics platform, Quest, for the automotive and marine insurance sectors.
A new independent initiative has launched to help communities retain free access to cash, as the UK shifts to an increasingly cashless society. Communities across the country are encouraged to apply to participate in the new Community Access to Cash Pilots, which will help to test solutions to local access to cash needs, with the goal of developing scalable solutions which can inform national policy.
Monzo is to hire 500 new members of staff worldwide, as part of a strategy to grow customers numbers to 5.5 million this year. In an interview with Reuters, Monzo founder and chief executive Tom Blomfield said the digital challenger would continue to expand its operations and has plans to charge some customers for services in a bid to turn a profit.
The quality of data will be a key priority for the credit industry as the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), 5G and blockchain become integral to the sector’s future. A Coleman Parkes survey of 155 credit management professionals working in the banking, finance and debt management sectors for Equifax examined the strategic priorities for credit management professionals in the next three years, with nearly three quarters (72 per cent) saying there is scope for future improvement of data analytics at their current companies.
Mastercard is developing its first cyber and security centre in Europe, aimed at driving collaboration between both public and private sectors, as well as regulatory bodies to further support enterprise resilience in the region. Located at Mastercard’s European Headquarters in Waterloo, Belgium, the European Cyber Resilience Centre is the first of its kind that the company has invested in outside of North America.
London-based digital asset custodian Copper has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round, with plans to grow globally by expanding its commercial team and launching new products. Target Global, LocalGlobe and MMC Ventures were part of the latest investment, which followed a previous seed round raising $1.3 million in 2018, to build its custody and prime brokerage solutions and onboard both institutional and high-net worth clients.
The time developers in financial services firms spend writing unit tests costs companies an average of £14,843 per year, per developer, according to a new survey from Diffblue. With an average of 43 developers employed at the companies included in the study, each organisation’s typical unit testing cost is more than £630,000 per year.
Societe Generale (SocGen) has invested nearly €1.1million in Czech online life insurance startup Mutumutu. Societe Generale Assurances, the insurance branch of the French banking giant has made the investment through CreativeDock insurance holding as the lender aims to extend its involvement in the InsurTech market.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) has announced plans to rebrand its parent group to NatWest later this year, as its new chief executive seeks the “start of a new era”. The major rebranding exercise, which will see the group comprising RBS, NatWest and Ulster Bank operate under the name NatWest Group, came along with a near doubling of annual profits to £3.1 billion, from £1.6 billion the year before.
Vertical payments company Flywire has acquired HealthTech platform Simplee to optimise the digital payments and patient engagement experience in healthcare, and scale its global payments services. Flywire also announced a $120 million Series E investment round, led by Goldman Sachs, providing additional capital to support its vision to digitise payments across education, healthcare and travel.
Paysafe has appointed Sujit Unni as its chief technology officer. He will be responsible for driving the technology strategy, design and architecture of the payments platform's end-to-end technology landscape, based in the London office and reporting to group chief information officer Roy Aston.
Banco Santander has appointed former Apple executive Trish Burgess as its new global head of peer-to-peer (P2P) payments. In this newly created role, she will be tasked with building P2P usage across Santander’s global footprint, in order to foster an international payment network.
The Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) has called for an industry consortium to develop a coordinated strategy for addressing security risks in the implementation of distributed ledger technology (DLT) in financial services. The market infrastructure group published a white paper, suggesting a review of existing security guidelines to fill gaps in the approach to DLT security.
ABN AMRO has joined an $80 million funding round for Fenergo, an Irish startup offering client lifecycle management (CLM) and digital transformation software. The round, which values Fenergo at $800 million, was the latest investment from ABN AMRO’s ventures fund, and was accompanied by funding from IT services company DXC Technology.
Organisations that adopt artificial intelligence (AI) in finance and operations are growing annual profits 80 per cent faster, according to the Enterprise Strategy Group and Oracle. The companies surveyed 700 finance and operations leaders across 13 countries and found that emerging technologies - AI, Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain and digital assistants - have passed the adoption tipping point and are now creating significant competitive advantage.
JHC Systems has appointed Ron Tomlinson as its chief technology officer. He has been head of solutions development at the WealthTech firm since January 2018, and will now be responsible for all delivery teams, as well as leading technology strategy to ensure a constantly evolving suite of services and platforms.
Standard Chartered is partnering with Australian FinTech firm Assembly Payments for a new e-commerce venture. The new company, which will be headquartered in Singapore, is aiming to develop “next generation payment solutions” for the $29 million e-commerce industry.
N26 has issued a statement explaining that it will be exiting the UK banking market after 15 April. The German digital challenger bank explained that following the UK’s departure from the EU at the end of January, it will no longer be able to operate in the UK under its existing European banking licence.
Up to half of all reported financial crime is either fraud or cyber crime, despite fraud being underreported and only one in eight cases being investigated. At last week’s Personal Investment Management and Financial Advice Association (PIMFA) Financial Crime Conference, City of London Police commissioner Ian Dyson emphasised this point, stating that three quarters of all fraud crimes reported are cyber-enabled – “it’s now a lot easier than robbing a bank and the rewards are far greater”.