Motif Investing to Close its Doors

https://finovate.com/motif-investing-to-close-its-doors/

After ten years in the investment space, online brokerage platform Motif will be shutting down operations on May 20.

The company notified users via email on April 17 in a message saying, “At this time, we’ve made the decision to cease operations and transfer your account to Folio Investments.”

Motif was founded in 2010 by Tariq Hilaly and former Microsoft executive Hardeep Walia, who debuted the company’s build-your-own motif concept at FinovateSpring 2013. Since its launch, the company amassed $127 million in funding from investors including Y Combinator, TechStars, and 500 Startups. In March, Motif reported $604 million in assets under management between individual accounts and institutional clients. The company also reported around $264 million in assets held in the ETFs it launched in conjunction with Goldman Sachs.

Last month, Motif deepened its ties with Goldman Sachs, ringing the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange in celebration of launching five new ETFs in partnership with the bank.

As mentioned in Motif’s statement to its users, the company is transferring users’ accounts to Folio Investing. “We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to work with you, and we are confident that your investment needs will be well-served by Folio,” the email said. Folio was founded in 2010 and offers 2,000 commission-free, window trades per month, most of the ETFs listed on the U.S. national securities exchange, 1,100 no-load mutual funds, and almost 125 pre-made portfolios.

While some Motif users have publicly complained about the company’s choice in the new provider, some fintech firms, including M1 Finance, have taken the opportunity to bring Motif’s users over to their platforms.

As ThinkAdvisor noted in a piece published last week, Motif’s news is a signal of what’s to come for smaller players in fintech. In fact, many analysts have noted that the recent pandemic and economic crisis will drive consolidation in the industry.

https://finovate.com/motif-investing-to-close-its-doors/

What Leading Challenger Banks Have Learned on Their Journey to Build a Digital-Only Bank

https://finovate.com/what-leading-challenger-banks-have-learned-on-their-journey-to-build-a-digital-only-bank/

Finovate’s Charlotte Burgess spoke to Michal Kissos Hertzog, CEO, digital bank Pepper and insha’s Founder and Managing Director, Yakup Sezer, about the challenges of setting up a digital-only bank, and how to get the customer experience right with zero face-to-face interaction.

What key lessons have your challenger banks learnt as you looked to be digital only?

Michal Kissos Hertzog: One key lesson businesses have learned is that you can’t just paste a “digital core” over an incumbent bank. They have to be truly digital or there will be limitations and barriers.

The benefits of having a business model that is digital to its core is that banks can adapt quickly to constantly evolving customer demand, technology and innovation. Incumbents with legacy systems need to adjust quickly or partner with tech and fintech companies, or innovation will always be slower.

Yakub Sezer: The learning curve is very steep. When building a bank from scratch, especially in countries with strong regulatory bodies such as Germany, there’s a myriad of things to consider on the way, and many hurdles to overcome.

Courage is a necessity: If you have too many reservations about what you do as an entrepreneur, you’re inclined to fail. Learning to fail fast and get back on track even faster is crucial, and so is a strong partnership network. With Albaraka Türk, we’re lucky to have a strong investor with roots in our market segment behind us, but building a fintech-spirited bank out of a corporate culture is a completely different challenge.

Why do you think we have seen such a boom of “digital-only banks,” and do you think these challengers have the ability to take on those more entrenched players?

Sezer: Consumers are used to a level of convenience from their personal lives that it’s only natural they want to handle their finances in an equally convenient way.

Challenger banks have much faster innovation cycles and often enable a company culture that encourages a team to try out things, and fail where necessary, and learn from that, and then go on and improve, facilitated through digital organizational patterns, something legacy banks have been lacking for the longest time . However, I don’t necessarily see challenger banks and legacy banks as mutually exclusive. We’ve seen many great partnerships developing over the last years and both sides can benefit from each other in various areas.

Hertzog: The profit and loss model no longer works. Unlike the incumbents, digital-only banks have the advantage of being able to utilize data to operate on customers first, profit second basis. Customer needs and demands are changing and they expect so much more from the companies they engage with on a daily basis.

For example, Pepper’s research found that two thirds (67%) of Brits don’t feel well-equipped to make the best financial decisions for themselves, yet nearly half (47%) believe it’s a bank’s duty to help them make better financial decisions. This shows that banks need to do more in providing the necessary tools to help consumers make the best financial decisions.

This is something that many challengers have already achieved and are excelling at, so for the incumbents, it really is a question of adapt or die.

How do you ensure a great customer experience when you are a digital bank?

Hertzog: Unlike traditional banks who have implemented technology solutions to improve how they currently work, digital banks tend to do things differently. They work hard to identify customer pain points and then implement tech solutions to solve them.

Another way is by leveraging data. Digital banks might not have the long history of data that the incumbents do, but they are far better at utilizing it to adapt to consumer demand and offer personalized services. This typically creates a much better experience for the customer. For example, we know that debt is a huge problem for many people, so at Pepper, we use data to provide our customers with the necessary guidance before this happens; such as suggesting cheaper loan alternatives to an overdraft.

Sezer: For us, it’s been very important to find a strong niche. As a digital bank, we’re obviously attracting people that are looking for a very high level of convenience in banking; but we also have strong moral principles when it comes to what we do with our customers’ money. We’re also convinced that legacy banks have been doing certain things right: personal customer service is definitely a plus.

We’re combining the best of both worlds: a mobile-first banking experience, that offers consumers the possibility to get in touch with their beliefs and moral convictions through a personal banking partner.

Finally then, how do you see fintech as a whole evolving over the next decade?

Sezer: B2B solutions, especially will continue to gain traction across the board, and co-operation between digital and legacy banks will play an increasingly important role throughout Europe. But B2C is going to evolve as well; handling your financial situation will not be only banking anymore. With the ability to monitor personal spending habits and saving goals on your phone, customers will always be aware of their financial situation.

Hertzog: In the next decade, we can expect to see a lot more partnerships and collaborations – not just between banks and fintechs, but also fintech to fintech partnerships. Many successful businesses realize the importance of collaboration, so they can focus on what they do best and use other companies for the rest.

The other trend we can expect from fintech is increased personalization through the use of AI. At Pepper, we envisage a world where a consumer enters their favorite coffee shop, and we drop money into their account to pay for their coffee as a reward. This level of personalization and customer obsession will dramatically reform the banking industry in particular, as consumers opt for products that truly understand them and their needs.

https://finovate.com/what-leading-challenger-banks-have-learned-on-their-journey-to-build-a-digital-only-bank/

Micro Investment Platform Stash Secures $112 Million

https://finovate.com/micro-investment-platform-stash-secures-112-million/

In a round featuring participation from LendingTree and T. Rowe Price, personal finance and investing app Stash has locked in $112 million in Series F funding. The round, which also involved existing investors Union Square Ventures, Breyer Capital, Goodwater Capital, and Greenspring Associates, gives the company $300+ million in total capital and boosts the firm’s valuation to more than $800 million.

“We are very fortunate to bring together world class investors to help accelerate Stash’s goal of bringing digital banking, investing plus financial education and advice to the millions of middle class Americans working hard every day to make ends meet,” company CEO Brandon Krieg said.

Stash’s $112 million fundraising arrives just over a year after the company’s last financing – a $65 million Series E led by an unnamed, private investor. That investment also accompanied the launch of Stash’s Stock-Back rewards program that gives users fractional shares of stock when they use their Stash debit card for qualified purchases at publicly-held companies like Amazon and Chipotle.

Stash offers a mobile-first, micro-investment and PFM solution that enables investors to build a portfolio starting with as little as $5. Users can invest in both stocks and funds without having to pay add-on trading fees, as well as make fractional share investments with smaller dollar amounts. In addition to being an investment platform, Stash also provides online banking services including an early paycheck feature for those who set up direct deposit, a Stash debit card, and no overdraft, monthly maintenance, or minimum balance fees. Billpay, mobile check deposit, and PFM functionality are also part of the platform.

Stash provides users with three tiered plans with monthly costs of $1, $3, and $9. The company’s premium offering, Stash+, provides two additional investing accounts for youth, and a metal card with double Stock-Back rewards, as well as the platform’s standard features.

The funding announcement also comes on the heels of a major milestone reached by the company earlier this year. In February, Stash reported that it topped $1 billion in assets under management on its platform. What’s all the more remarkable about this accomplishment is that the average per customer deposit at Stash is just $28.

“(Middle class Americans have) attempted to make financial progress within a system that simply does not serve their best interests or meet their needs,” Krieg said. “It’s time for them to reconsider the current financial services industry as the ‘status quo’ and take control of their financial life with the customer-obsessed solutions we provide at Stash.”

With more than four million members – 86% of whom are first-time investors – STASH demonstrated its technology at FinovateFall in 2017. The company is headquartered in New York City.

https://finovate.com/micro-investment-platform-stash-secures-112-million/

THE INCLUSION FOUNDATION LAUNCHES TO TACKLE FINANCIAL EXCLUSION

https://thefintechtimes.com/the-inclusion-foundation-launches-to-tackle-financial-exclusion/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-inclusion-foundation-launches-to-tackle-financial-exclusion

The Inclusion FoundationTM (TIF), the Community Interest Company
(CIC) uniting the fintech industry to give the UK’s 13m
under-served adults better access to financial services, announces
its launch today.[1] This comes at a time when the society’s most
vulnerable are in the greatest need of vital financial services as
they cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, [2]
#FinancialInclusionMatters awareness movement will
accelerate fintech industry
collaboration in the
peak of the COVID-19 crisis

TIF’s proprietary research highlights that 1.23m[3] of the
UK’s most vulnerable do not have access to a bank account and
such disadvantaged segments of society find it very challenging to
pay and get paid. The problem is being further exasperated by the
social isolation measures put in place to curb the spread of
COVID-19, which is having an unintended consequence for the
socially vulnerable who also have less access to cash than ever
before.

The Inclusion Foundation provides three core services, including
SignpostNowTM, a comparison website enabling underserved customers
to compare financial products that suit their individual needs, and
The Inclusion SignpostTM, an accreditation recognising financial
services products that serve the needs of previously underserved
segments. Additionally, the Foundation provides education and a
learning programme for payment account providers and the
government, The Inclusion Academy. The Academy’s think tank arm
is dedicated to keeping the pressure on all key stakeholders while
publishing news, research and discussion papers.

A payments account is a key utility; with this access the user
can benefit from social mobility enabling them to pay for their
rent, purchase goods and services and build a credit rating.
Consequently, TIF is dedicated to joining the dots between the
fintech industry and the mainstream financial services sector,
government bodies and charities to bring awareness of the
accredited solutions available and enable more people into the
banking system and out of the ‘poverty trap’.

Neil Harris, Chair of The Inclusion Foundation
commented; “One in four people experience financial exclusion at
least once in their lifetime, which shows that as a society we’re
all at risk at some point in our lives of being excluded at our
most vulnerable hour. As one of the world’s most progressive,
diverse and inclusive nations, we have let the most vulnerable fall
through the cracks for far too long, and leading the world in
financial innovation and fintech, the UK has every opportunity to
ensure that there is financial service provision for every need.
That’s why we created The Inclusion Foundation – formed to
connect the dots, to unite the industry and to make financial
exclusion a thing of the past.â€

Mastercard,  The Emerging Payments
Association
, PPS, GPS,
SkyParlour and Manifesto Growth
back TIF and have been welcomed by the Foundation as the Inclusion
Pioneers. As some of the leading companies in the payments and
fintech arenas, the pioneers are at the forefront of innovation and
developments.

Anne Pieckielon, the CEO of The
Inclusion Foundation
stated; ‘Lack of a bank account
typically costs each individual affected somewhere in the region of
£485 per year.[4] It is unforgivable that as an industry we are
allowing this to happen. This is why we are tackling exclusion head
on, with the support of our pioneers, enabling payment facilities
for all.†Anne continued; “We’re always seeking new pioneers
to help foster a more financially inclusive society, so please get
in touch with us if you or your organisation is interested in
becoming a TIF industry pioneer.â€

To show support for The Inclusion Foundation’s work and spread
the word, the awareness movement
#FinancialInclusionMatters has been created and
the foundation is looking for  organisations and individuals to get
behind and engage with the campaign so that it becomes a powerful
force for change.

About The Inclusion Foundation

The Inclusion Foundation (TIF) is a dedicated not-for-profit
Community Interest Company (CIC) aiming to improve the lives of
millions. The mission is to encourage the industry to play its part
in giving every person in the UK access to financial services and
lift those least fortunate in society out of the poverty trap. TIF
does this by providing better access to information on financial
services that’s more inclusive and signposts people to the right
products. As well as lobbying key stakeholders in government,
commerce and consumer groups, and offering the banking world a wide
range of vital services so they have the tools to get on board with
financial inclusion.

For more information, visit: https://theinclusionfoundation.org

#FinancialInclusionMatters

[1] TIF analysis of data from: FCA - Financial lives of consumers across the UK; Close Brothers - Closing the SME funding gap; Ipsos MORI - Disabled people and financial wellbeing; Lloyds Bank - Consumer Digital Index; HMT and DWPFinancial Inclusion Report[2] TIF Research using data from Pockit - Banking on the Poverty Premium and Social Market Foundation - A Switch in Time[3] Policy Exchange, FinTech For All (2020)[4] Pockit - The Banking Poverty Premium

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THE INCLUSION FOUNDATION LAUNCHES TO TACKLE FINANCIAL EXCLUSION

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Fintech Times
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Fintech News Issue #266

https://www.fintechweekly.com/fintech-news/fintech-news-issue-266

FinTech Weekly is © 2020 and published by the
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https://www.fintechweekly.com/fintech-news/fintech-news-issue-266

Galileo partners with Mexican fintech Klar, nabs Mastercard certfification

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/galileo-partners-with-mexican-fintech-klar-nabs-mastercard-certfification/

Galileo partners with Mexican fintech Klar, nabs Mastercard certfification

Klar CEO Stefan Moller and CFO Daniel Autrique.

Galileo Financial Technologies Inc. is entering an alliance with Mexican challenger bank Klar and has also become the first API software integrator to achieve Mastercard certification as part of the card company’s fintech accelerator program in that country. 

“Not only is Mexico one of the most influential and innovative fintech markets in Latin America, it is also one of the fintech hubs with the highest growth potential worldwide,” Tory Jackson, in-country manager for Galileo in Mexico, said in a press release. “Our Mastercard certification and partnership with Klar reinforce our commitment and efforts to bring innovative payment solutions for customers in Mexico.”

Klar raised $57 million in debt and equity last fall to emerge as one of Mexico’s top challenger banks to emerge in a market with millions of underbanked consumers. 

Galileo, acquired by SoFi earlier this month, has powered some of the world’s hottest fintech companies. The Salt Lake City-based company recently opened its first Mexico City office, which is located near the Mastercard office there. 

“Mexico has solidified its position as Latin America’s fintech leader with the government’s recent enactment of pioneering legislation promoting technological innovation,” Pablo Cuaron, of director for new payment flows at Mastercard Mexico, said in the release. “Mastercard’s partnership with Galileo, which offers powerful and customizable payments infrastructure, will allow fintechs in Mexico to go to market faster by leveraging Mastercard’s Fintech Express program, while meeting the rising customer demands for digital fintech services.”

The certification means Galileo is certified for Mastercard’s Mexico Domestic Switch for signature, PIN and ATM transactions, as well as processing settlements and chargebacks . The certification will make it easier for Galileo to help fintechs become able to process payments out of the box. 

Cover image: Klar
 


Topics: Trends / Statistics, Card Brands, Transaction Processing, Region: Americas, Mobile Banking, Mobile Apps Companies: Galileo Processing, MasterCard


Sponsored Links:


Latest Content

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/galileo-partners-with-mexican-fintech-klar-nabs-mastercard-certfification/

Curve and Mastercard extend their partnership

https://thefintechtimes.com/curve-and-mastercard-extend-their-partnership/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=curve-and-mastercard-extend-their-partnership

 European fintech Curve becomes a principal member of Mastercard 

Curve, the banking platform that consolidates multiple cards and accounts into one smart card and even smarter app, hastoday announced a new expanded partnership with Mastercard that sees Curve become a principal member of scheme.

Curve and Mastercard have been working closely together since Curve launched, introducing the world’s first debit card that combines multiple cards into one in 2016.

Becoming a principal member means that Curve is able to work more directly with Mastercard, take control of its own card issuing, and take advantage of a wider range of products and services to enhance their proposition. The announcement also signifies the next important milestone in Curve’s journey to simplify and unify the world of money for people across the globe.

“Mastercard was our launch partner from day one, even before the company had a
name and without an innovative partner like Mastercard, Curve would not have achieved the heights it has,” said Shachar Bialick, Founder and CEO, Curve. “Curve is revolutionising the way people manage their finances, and as the company continues to innovate and grow, Mastercard has been there with us every step of the way; focusing on the customer and developing new products that help people live their life to the fullest.  Becoming a principal member of Mastercard is a huge milestone for Curve and we are delighted to have entered this next phase of our relationship as we build on our success and continue to invent and deliver fantastic products for our customers,” He added.

Scott Abrahams, Senior Vice President, Business Development and Fintech at Mastercard said: “Having partnered with Curve over the last four years, we are delighted that our relationship continues to grow and meet our collective ambitions. Curve’s success is welcome proof of our commitment to tailoring support for fintechs and continually disrupting ourselves to the meet the changing needs of our partners. We look forward to working with Curve to bring their innovative solution to many more customers as part of this agreement.”

In Europe alone, Mastercard is the partner of choice for more than 60 digital banks and fintechs, which has doubled in the last two years, and is testament to its strategy of working with fintech partners from their inception. Mastercard Start Path is an award-winning program that enables later-stage tech start-ups to rapidly scale through unparalleled access to Mastercard’s technology, solutions expertise and global partnerships.

Curve is the smart and simple way for people to manage their finance and enjoy a better and more modern banking experience across their accounts. By enabling people to interconnect their banks to one card and app, Curve provides its customers with greater financial convenience, control and peace of mind.

The company has recently announced that is the one of the first companies in Europe to provision numberless cards to its crowdfund investors. Earlier this month, Curve also announced the appointment of Hannah Nixon, the former. CEO of the Payment Systems regulator.

https://thefintechtimes.com/curve-and-mastercard-extend-their-partnership/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=curve-and-mastercard-extend-their-partnership

Behind the Idea: SmartPension

https://thefintechtimes.com/behind-the-idea-smartpension/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=behind-the-idea-smartpension

Welcome to our new weekly Behind the Idea slot, where each Thursday a FinTech company will explain the thinking behind their innovation. 

The auto-enrolment pension provider Smart Pension, today announced a new partnership with London-based FinTech DueDil, enabling Smart to deliver its market-leading platform as a service model. The company is known for playing its part in transforming the pension sector through cloud-based technology. It has allowed Smart to quickly adapt to suit the government’s response to COVID-19 including employer support for ongoing contributions.

Darren Philp is the Director of Policy and Communications at Smart Pension and Sam Barton is the Chief Technology Officer. The pair have found themselves adapting recently to business life with weekly virtual town halls, staff yoga and mindfulness sessions, alongside virtual drop-in sessions for people who might be living alone, need mentorship, or are self-isolating.

What has been the Smart Pension response to financial technology innovations?

As a relatively new player, we have been at the forefront of using technology to power our workplace pension proposition. This is a sector that has traditionally been stuck in the past and has shied away from technological innovation, so using technology to help make providing and administering pensions easier for employers and individuals has been the name of the game.

As we’re using modern technology and designed our platform from the ground up, we are not reliant on synching up different business models to suit regional hubs, instead, we offer a common solution across all of the UK.

CEO of Smart Pension, Darren Philp

How has this changed over the past few years?

As a company, we were founded in 2014 and our approach has continually been to use technology to solve everyday administration problems. This means that we are constantly improving our technology but also our ways of working. Another way of answering this is to reference our engineering, product UX and project team who collectively work together to introduce change to the Smart platform and as a result, we deploy new features between 25 and 30 times to production a day. This may seem trivial in the world of contemporary fintech businesses, but technological innovation in pensions has been sparse and building from a clean sheet of paper means we can automate many standard tasks to remove burdens from employers in running their pension scheme.

How have you created a culture of change inside the company?

As a relatively new company (albeit one that is expanding at a pace) we are a tight-knit community and our agile ways of working mean that we are in a great position to solve problems and quickly react to market change in an agile way. We place a lot of emphasis on staff development and collaboration and there is always something fun going on at Smart.

What FinTech ideas have been implemented?

When Smart was founded we started from a position of best practice and using technology to solve problems – just like any fintech business would do. This was necessary as the Government-led initiative behind automatic enrolment would create a high volume of demand on and any solution we built. So we started from scratch and built an API lead, cloud-based solution that was designed to accommodate an unknown volume of new customers each day (sometimes 250 business each day). We were not aware of how distributive this approach would ultimately be to the industry as it is simply a practical approach to the problem. Today, all our customers interact with a real-time platform that automatically reconciles and invests their money. This offers a great customer experience whilst at the same time reducing the operational burden and manual processes that are typically associated with this industry.

What benefits have you seen from FinTech adoption?

Every employer in the UK legally needs to provide a pension to their staff, so the main benefits have been making it quick and easy for tens of thousands of small companies to become compliant with the law, but crucially to easily manage their pension. Remember, a majority of our customers are not experts at pensions, but legally have to become fluent. By offering a simple, self-serve platform we can remove the compliance headache and let business owners quickly get the job done and back to running their business. We continue to add enhancements to our platform to make it even easier and do loads of testing to identify and fix any pinch points. Longer-term, we want to use technology to help people take ownership of their pensions and achieve a decent retirement for themselves.

Sam Barton is the CTO of Smart Pension

Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?

As both customer needs and government-led initiatives increase the demand for the industry to evolve it will be a big challenge for many incumbents. Auto-enrolment has seen 10 million more people suddenly have a pension raising the question, how do they access their pot like they can with their mobile banking app? Similarly, the DWP wants to introduce a pension dashboard, a single view of all your pensions from each provider. This requires standardisation of systems and data, the kind of initiative only seen in Open Banking. Both of these challenges have contributed to the term ‘Digital Transformation’, a cultural and technological change for an organisation. Starting from a digital-first position means we can by-pass the transformation phase and approach the challenge with an existing API and set of accessible data meaning we are ready to address the next challenge on the horizon.

Can these challenges be aided by FinTech?

Most definitely. In many ways that is why we as a FinTech exist, to challenge the norm. We want to bring pensions, saving, and technology together to make it easy for people to save for the longer term and manage their finances. Much has been made of the pensions industries equivalent to the open banking, the pensions dashboard. But the big hill to climb here is the outdated way in which pensions are administered on outdated platforms and in many cases with a paper-based approach to data. The use of contemporary technology to address these challenges is vital to an efficient, cost-effective response that is in line with what customers expect in a digital, online experience today.

Final thoughts…

Pensions is an industry that has lagged behind others when it comes to innovation and the effective use of technology. However, that is changing as people rightly demand more for their pension providers and want to take control of their money. Just as we have seen with Open Banking, the pensions industry is starting a period of massive change and it will be those that embrace the potential of technology that will power the pensions of the future.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/behind-the-idea-smartpension/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=behind-the-idea-smartpension

Revolut partner with Adzooma to bring exclusive services to their customers

https://thefintechtimes.com/revolut-partner-with-adzooma-to-bring-exclusive-services-to-their-customers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=revolut-partner-with-adzooma-to-bring-exclusive-services-to-their-customers

Leading financial technology company, Revolut, the fastest-growing FinTech in Europe, today announced their partnership with international online advertising platform, Adzooma, to bring exclusive benefits to their customer base.   

The news closely follows the announcement of the company’s $500 million raise in funding last month, making it one of most valuable financial-technology firms in the UK.

Revolut and Adzooma share a similar ethos when it comes to driving business forward; incorporating speedy and efficient processes, greater accessibility, a frictionless user experience and ultimately ensuring that businesses have more control over their finances.

The partnership will enable Revolut’s customer base to benefit from Adzooma’s services, enabling them to generate a more effective online strategy for their business and enhanced rewards.

Vaidas Adomauskas, Head of Revolut Business said: “In the same way that Revolut Business has transformed business finance, Adzooma is helping SMEs make the most of their online marketing activity. We’re so excited about our new partnership with Adzooma, as we work together to help businesses succeed.”

Adzooma’s software is a proprietary solution that provides one-click optimisations, custom automation and white-label reporting in one simple interface, eliminating the need for additional resource time and leaving businesses to do what they do best. It simplifies the collaborative process and provides businesses, as well as marketing and digital professionals, with real-time data on their marketing activity.

Until Adzooma was introduced in 2015, businesses had to manage Google, Facebook and Microsoft ads separately, as well as analyse and report their effectiveness internally, a method that has proven increasingly challenging to business efficiency. Now, Adzooma integrates with all these promotional platforms to provide businesses with a far more effective solution, both in terms of cost and efficiency.

Robert Wass, Director and co-founder of Adzooma added: “We are really proud to be partnering with Revolut and are excited about the positive results we can provide their customers over the coming months. As experts in their field, Revolut has completely transformed the financial landscape having resolved two key pain points; customer control and relations, and their association with financial institutions. Similarly, our customers are at the heart of all we do, and we are always seeking to push the boundaries, innovate and deliver more for our customers. This partnership signifies the scale of our services and showcases just how manageable it can be for businesses to advertise online with our solution. Working alongside Revolut highlights the true accessibility of the Adzooma platform and our determination towards helping all businesses succeed online. We’re looking forward to working with Revolut and their customers to build a successful future.”

Adzooma’s association with Revolut reflects the huge popularity and adoption Adzooma’s software has gained across the UK, and internationally in recent years.

https://thefintechtimes.com/revolut-partner-with-adzooma-to-bring-exclusive-services-to-their-customers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=revolut-partner-with-adzooma-to-bring-exclusive-services-to-their-customers

Rapyd, is due to announce a major expansion of Rapyd Disburse, an industry-leading mass-payout platform.

https://thefintechtimes.com/rapyd-is-due-to-announce-on-monday-a-major-expansion-of-rapyd-disburse-an-industry-leading-mass-payout-platform/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rapyd-is-due-to-announce-on-monday-a-major-expansion-of-rapyd-disburse-an-industry-leading-mass-payout-platform

Rapyd, a London-based Fintech as a Service company, is due to announce on Monday major expansion of Rapyd Disburse, an industry-leading mass-payout platform.

The company has made significant investments in the Rapyd Global Payments Network in Europe and the Americas, and now offers more payout methods in Asia than any other payout platform.  A simplified user interface for clients to onboard is now available, so clients can begin to more quickly disburse funds locally or cross-border.

The global economy is re-focusing to a new playing field and a changed set of market realities. Digital businesses such as marketplaces, content delivery networks, gaming, and online education applications support a growing number of entrepreneurs with new income streams. Marketplaces and gig-economy platforms that can support cross-border payouts for remote workers, and B2B suppliers stand to benefit considerably as the world adapts to new market conditions. Rapyd Disburse solves these global disbursement challenges by simplifying the complexity of local and cross-border payouts so new markets can be reached faster.

https://thefintechtimes.com/rapyd-is-due-to-announce-on-monday-a-major-expansion-of-rapyd-disburse-an-industry-leading-mass-payout-platform/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=rapyd-is-due-to-announce-on-monday-a-major-expansion-of-rapyd-disburse-an-industry-leading-mass-payout-platform

UK Fintech Week Webinar Review: Regional Fintech in England

https://thefintechtimes.com/uk-fintech-week-webinar-review-regional-fintech-in-england/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uk-fintech-week-webinar-review-regional-fintech-in-england

This was a 90-minute webinar that focused on a Regional FinTech Ecosystem Analysis that was hosted by Whitecap Consulting during UK Fintech Week.

Regional updates were given by the Whitecap Team:

Julian Wells – Director and FinTech Lead (Chair)

James Thwaites – Associate Director, North East

Stuart Harrison – Associate Director, South West

Eleanor Simmons – Consultant, Manchester

David Mellor – Associate Director, Midlands

And guests included:

Chris Sier – HM Treasury FinTech Envoy & Chairman, FinTech North

Peter Cunnane – National & International Policy Lead, Innovate Finance

An interesting webinar, it included novel research produced by Whitecap over the past 12-months that analysed the success of FinTech regions outside of London. It is thought that FinTech related workers in the capital number around 44,000, yet figures outside of London remain unclear. Therefore, Whitecap has focussed its analytics on five emerging regions: the North East, the Leeds City Region that encompasses Yorkshire and the Humber, Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, and Bristol & Bath.

One of the first items webinar took us through was the issue of quantifying the definitions of FinTech’s outside of the capital hotspot. In order to do this Whitecap outlined the three categories that they have used in their assessments: FinTech startups and scaleups, established financial/FinTech businesses, and Tech firms who, possibly alongside multiple sectors, service the industry.

Using these categories, Whitecap was able to measure the number of FinTech firms, something which hasn’t really been tackled since the original UK FinTech census in 2017 that quoted the UK as having “1,600 FinTech firms”. While the census has since been updated, this figure has not – so Whitecap set about to conduct their own measurements. Established as a regional strategy consultancy headquartered in Leeds, they have used their offices in Manchester, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Bristol, and Newcastle to put together insightful reports on the regional FinTech scene.

The North East

The North East is the home to Sage, the UK’s largest listed technology company, alongside others such as Atom Bank, Newcastle Strategic Solutions, Virgin Money, and Tesco Bank, who have recently created 430 new tech jobs in the area.

This latest report, the first of its kind, identifies 58 firms in the North East that are active in the FinTech sector and has a higher percentage of startups than in any other region. It estimates that around 3,000 people currently work in FinTech related roles with 53,000 employed overall in the financial services and technology sectors across the region.

Bristol and Bath

Bath & Bristol looks to be the most active region surveyed so far, with a high population of fairly young FinTech startups, averaging at around three-years-old. It also has more participants than any other region outside London in the FCA’s regulatory sandbox, which allows businesses to test innovations in the general market. Alongside new technology there is also an established financial sector with over 3,400 people working in FinTech related roles in the region, and 61,000 employed overall in Financial Services and Technology sectors.

The Leeds City Region

This is the second report on Leeds that Whitecap has produced, the region remains the only UK city outside London where each of the three major credit reference agencies has a main office, and there are over 40 established financial organisations based here alongside three of the top five building societies.

Since 2018, Leeds has doubled its amount of FinTech startups and scaleups thanks to an injection of co-working hubs and spaces in the area with Nexus, Barclays Eagle Labs and Santander Work Café (all in the city of Leeds), and Phase One (based in York) amongst the new additions in the region. They estimate that around 6,300 people work in FinTech related roles.

Greater Manchester

The Greater Manchester ecosystem was found to have 49% of scaleups, the highest proportion identified in any of the regions so far. It also employed the most amount of people in FinTech roles outside of London at almost 8,000.

Factors here include the availability of higher education within the area that includes not just staff for the sector, but also funding for innovation. Greensill, a leading British FinTech company founded by Lex Greensill, an Alliance Manchester Business School MBA alumnus, recently provided £2.5m to support The University of Manchester’s understanding and sharing of FinTech expertise across business communities locally, nationally and globally.

The West Midlands

The most recent report, yet to be fully published, outlined the presence of established financial institutions within the region, including banks, building societies and mutual trusts but also the biggest office of accountancy firm, Deloitte outside of London.

An expanding group of startup and scaleups with scope for significant growth, Birmingham is the youngest city of Europe with under 25s making up 40% of the population thanks to its nine universities. Proximity to London means that the region is supporting the capital rather than competing and is due to be enhanced with HS2. Over 7,000 people are estimated to work in FinTech related roles locally.

After these recaps, Chair Julian Wells brought in guests Chris Sear and Peter Cunnane, who were keen to highlight the effects of COVID-19 and what would be waiting for the FinTech sector in the regions once working life continues. Whereas Peter was ‘glass half full’, acknowledging the support and opportunities on offer for the FinTech sector after our time working remotely, Chris was wary that they delay in getting the country back on track would put the UK on the backfoot globally.

However, they both agreed that there is a clear need for new data in the FinTech sector where possible, especially when vying for international investment and trade, both of which could be a real possibility in the long-term.

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/uk-fintech-week-webinar-review-regional-fintech-in-england/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=uk-fintech-week-webinar-review-regional-fintech-in-england

Aye, robot? Robo advice at a crossroads in the UK

https://www.linklaters.com/en/insights/blogs/fintechlinks/2020/april/aye-robot-robo-advice-at-a-crossroads-in-the-uk

Robo advice sprung up as a potential panacea to the “advice gap” – situations in which consumers are unable to get the advice and guidance they need – which was highlighted in 2016’s Financial Advice and Markets Review. Four years on, the UK FCA is reviewing the extent to which robo advice delivers on the success outcomes of FAMR, i.e. to make available affordable, high-quality advice and harness tech innovation in the interests of consumers.

Growing pains

Robo advice uses an automated platform (powered by algorithms) to guide consumers’ investment decisions. In the UK, the Financial Conduct Authority – which has been receptive to robo solutions as a scalable way to deliver accessible advice – remains cautiously optimistic about robo services, despite its previous criticisms of suitability failings and unclear charges.

HM Treasury and FCA released the Financial Advice and Markets Review in 2016. The FCA is now reviewing FAMR and is expected to publish its findings (which are likely to touch on the success, or otherwise, of robo advice) in the autumn. In the meantime, it is continuing to provide feedback to firms via its dedicated Advice Unit which was set up to support automated advice solutions.

Recent research by FCA economists has provided useful insight into the receptiveness of robo advice. This research, carried out with a representative sample of 1,800 people, suggests that there is “substantial resistance” to robo advice among consumers.

Reaching out to robo refusers

Among the findings, robo advice offered was rejected in 57% of decisions. Worryingly for proponents of robo advice, it seems that differences in the quality of the hypothetical advice make little difference to whether advice is accepted or rejected: 56% rejected high-quality advice that closely matched their investment aim / risk appetite, while only 58% rejected poor, mismatched advice.

There were also less surprising findings, e.g. that young people (and, particularly, women) are much more likely to accept robo advice. There was found to be general resistance to robots from a “hard-core of robo-refusers” (30% of respondents) who consistently rejected the advice they were offered.

Human after all?

The research suggests that “robo-refusers” tend to be older and less financially literate. This is a particular concern because such people are often at critical financial junctures and looking at options such as accessing pension benefits. At-retirement robo advisers make up a large number of firms signed up to the FCA’s Advice Unit.

These are high-stakes decisions and accessible advice is key. The silver lining in the research – that, of those who refused robo advice, 72% recommended seeing a human adviser as an alternative – is of little comfort if such advice is unaffordable to begin with.

To some extent, the research echoes what is happening in the market. Several robo advisers have closed their virtual doors in the last twelve months and some innovators are turning to “hybrid” models that draw on robot and human interventions to deliver advice and guidance. 

What next for robo advice?

There remains, however, plenty of enthusiasm for robo advice across the industry and within the regulator. The FCA has received over 80 applications to its Advice Unit since June 2017 and, according to its website, is continuing to provide feedback to 40 firms which have been accepted for regulatory feedback.

The FAMR review is likely to provide further insight into the FCA’s work in the autumn. However, the latest research from its own economists suggests that creative and adept solutions such as hybrid advice may be needed to convince the robo-refusers, build trust in technology and realise the robots’ true potential.

https://www.linklaters.com/en/insights/blogs/fintechlinks/2020/april/aye-robot-robo-advice-at-a-crossroads-in-the-uk

Interview with Christian Dreyer about how XBRL will change our world.

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/30/interview-with-christian-dreyer-about-how-xbrl-will-change-our-world/

Christian Dreyer.001 

XBRL is a big but under-hyped wave of change in Fintech. So I was delighted when Christian Dreyer agreed to speak to me about how XBRL will change our world.

Christian Dreyer is a well known figure in the Swiss Fintech world.  Christian is that rare combination, both deeply knowledgeable and able to think outside the box. Christian is Swiss and has worked for banks, service providers and associations such as the CFA Society Switzerland and XBRL Advisory Council to the IASC Foundation. You can read all about Christian on his LinkedIn profile.

I started off by asking Christian to tell us a bit about his background and how he got involved with XBRL.

Early adopting seems to run in the family: my grandfather had the first ICE car in town. I followed in his footsteps with the first connected computers in my circle of friends in the 1980s and, more recently, the first Tesla in town. Pairing such technophilia with a keen interest in financial analysis and in understanding how markets process information has inevitably led me to running into XBRL early on. The rest, as in founding XBRL CH, the Swiss XBRL jurisdiction, is history.  

Q2: What do you think is the biggest impact of XBRL to date?

The eXtensible Business Reporting Language is a dialect of XML, one of the Internet’s core building blocks and a freely and openly available public domain standard. In the world of finance with its reliance on control and proprietary developments, this diversion from business as usual represented a major paradigm shift, which is only now beginning to bear fruit. Legacy financial institutions are still struggling, though. Here’s a piece of accounting science fiction I wrote a decade ago to illustrate how this might look like. 

 Q3: What do you think has been holding back the wider adoption of XBRL?

What’s the endgame of investment technology? I like to think of XBRL based reporting (and analysis!) as part of the investment value chain, which ultimately will be wrapped up in an investment platform. This platform will be global in scope, although compartmentalised along jurisdictional lines. It will either be a monopoly or a shared public infrastructure. I believe that the financial services industry’s aspiration towards the former and fear of loss of control in the latter goads it to work with the devil it knows rather than to engage with the open standards world that XBRL represents. 

 Q4: What has been the single most critical innovation in the history of XBRL to date?

The single most critical innovation surely is the standard’s specification 2.1. Everything else is a series of footnotes, not quite to Plato, but to the standard.  

Q5: What is the one innovation currently lacking in XBRL that you would like to see?

Gosh, that’s a tricky one! I guess that “the one” would have to be a business model innovation rather than a technical one, as the technology is pretty much feature complete as far as I can tell. How do we get the investment management industry to integrate XBRL instances “at source” into their analysis? Short of disruptive platform innovations outlined above, my intuition tells me that non-financial (i.e. ESG related) information may become a sufficiently complex and granular source of investment alpha to warrant incremental innovation in the reporting – analysis – investing value chain. 

————————-

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https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/30/interview-with-christian-dreyer-about-how-xbrl-will-change-our-world/

New Research Shows That Accountants Could Save 52 Days a Year by Automating Simple Tasks

https://thefintechtimes.com/new-research-shows-that-accountants-could-save-52-days-a-year-by-automating-simple-tasks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-research-shows-that-accountants-could-save-52-days-a-year-by-automating-simple-tasks

In a survey of 200 UK accountants tasked with bookkeeping, it was found that for 81% the automation of simple tasks could save around 2 hours a day on average. It was even higher for Scottish accountants, believing that they could save around 3-4 hours a day, unlocking almost £120,000 in untapped revenue per year.

Accounting, in general, is still far behind the rate of technological adoption, especially when it comes to AI solutions.50 Despite 50% admitting it would be useful for accurate auto-reconciling of data in client accounts and preventing incorrect information (44%), 40% of accountants aged over 55-years old were simply not interested in using it and one in 10 believing that the automation will be ruled out of accounting altogether.

This is despite larger practices on the whole (90% of those surveyed with over 300 employees) admitting that they were interested in the technology.

The age gap certainly continues when it comes to industry predictions, with 77% of 18-35-years old believing typical accounting tasks will be automated within five years.

And when it comes to the difference between men and women, twice as many females were more inclined to trust in the opportunities for growth that new technology can provide (43% vs 20%). Yet male accountants were twice as likely to believe that technology will provide wider access to challenger banks and new finance providers (42% vs 21%).

The surprising survey was conducted by cloud accounting software FreeAgent who encourage bookkeepers to let go of the day-to-day administration in favour of seeking new customers. The survey found that on average, the time saved could add up to an additional £68,000 a year in additional revenue.

Accountants could save 52 Days by automating tasksEd Molyneux

Ed Molyneux, co-founder and CEO at FreeAgent said, “By simply eliminating mundane, complicated processes around simple tasks, automation can bring explosive change that truly has the potential to revolutionise accountancy as a profession. In our survey, we see that accountants – and women, in particular – believe automation can open the door to opportunities for growth in business and create the chance for them to excel. With less time spent on admin and logging data, accountants then have time to focus on other aspects of the job including more consultative work, which will also bring significant benefits to their clients.”

Ed launched the survey with a webinar on Tuesday, speakers included: Marieke Flament, CEO of Mettle, Julia Kermonde, CEO at Freelancer & Contractor Services Association, Tony Margaritelli,  Chairman at Independent Certified Practicing Accountants and Dinusha Weerawardane, Senior Lecturer in Accounting and Finance at the University of West London.

The discussion was certainly passionate on the amount of time accountants and bookkeepers are wasting across inputting and manual data tasks when the solution of trusting new software could be much simpler. Although for some, these types of skills are starting to become much more recognised, Dinusha Weerawardane summed it up. She said:

“There will be increased expectations for support from business finance for example, partly because business partnering itself will shift upstream from budgeting and reporting to include things like scenario planning and advanced capacity.

“It’s clear that there will be a lot more cross-functional collaboration between business people, tech people, and finance to come.”

  • Gina is a FinTech journalist (BA, MA) who works across broadcast and print. She has written for most national newspapers and started her career in BBC local radio.

https://thefintechtimes.com/new-research-shows-that-accountants-could-save-52-days-a-year-by-automating-simple-tasks/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=new-research-shows-that-accountants-could-save-52-days-a-year-by-automating-simple-tasks

Capital on Tap and TrueLayer partner to speed up access to loans for small businesses

https://thefintechtimes.com/capital-on-tap-and-truelayer-partner-to-speed-up-access-to-loans-for-small-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=capital-on-tap-and-truelayer-partner-to-speed-up-access-to-loans-for-small-businesses

Open Banking will enable faster underwriting, more flexible repayments and increases to credit limits for more than 100,000 SMEs

 Digital lender Capital on Tap has partnered with leading provider of financial APIs TrueLayer to increase the speed and flexibility of loans to SMEs.

 The integration will enable Capital on Tap’s customers to benefit from Open Banking by increasing the accuracy of the underwriting process by using real-time financial data. This will allow businesses to quickly access finance during the Covid-19 crisis.

 Capital on Tap has also created two new services to provide reduced monthly payments on existing loans and increase the credit limit of current customers. Customers who explicitly opt-in to their financial data being analysed by Credit on Tap via TrueLayer’s integration will be able to adjust their monthly repayments and apply for an increased credit limit via a self-service function.

 In addition, Capital on Tap will be able to monitor businesses that may be encountering financial difficulties due to the crisis and offer financial support.

 Capital on Tap’s team created these services in collaboration with TrueLayer in under two weeks.

 David Luck, CEO and co-Founder of Capital on Tap, said: “Over the last few weeks, the team has been working tirelessly on implementing new self-service features including enabling customers to manage their monthly repayments where necessary. At the end of March, call wait times shot up from 30 seconds to 2 hours so the self-service feature had to be built quickly – and has meant wait times are back down to the 30 second average. In a matter of days, our engineering team pushed it live and the TrueLayer connection is now an additional step to provide payment reductions and additional credit lines to even more businesses”.

 Francesco Simoneschi, CEO and co-Founder of TrueLayer, said: “Quick access to finance and flexibility on repayments is absolutely critical for businesses and individuals at the moment. Open Banking offers a way to radically speed up this process by offering instant decisions and personalised products. It also reduces the administrative burden on businesses when applying for credit or a change of terms.”

https://thefintechtimes.com/capital-on-tap-and-truelayer-partner-to-speed-up-access-to-loans-for-small-businesses/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=capital-on-tap-and-truelayer-partner-to-speed-up-access-to-loans-for-small-businesses

Economic reality sharpens future vision for insurance and pandemics

https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/30/economic-reality-sharpens-future-vision-for-insurance-and-pandemics/

depositphotos_31424897-stock-photo-man-standing-on-the-road

I have been writing about the potential and now actual insurance effects of COVID-19 since late February, and the discussion has evolved from what might be, to what is, to what is not, and to what is now how the industry must begin taking action on what might be for a next pandemic or other systemic risk. 

It’s no longer sufficient to allow coverage gaps to exist for global-effect occurrences, even if another like outbreak may not occur for years or decades- the economic shock presented by being unprepared is simply too great.

Patrick Kelahan is a CX, engineering & insurance consultant, working with Insurers, Attorneys & Owners in his day job. He also serves the insurance and Fintech world as the ‘Insurance Elephant’.

The historic pattern is clear in how global economies react to systemic risk events- wailing, gnashing of teeth, rending of garments and governments stepping in to backstop the losses.  For the U.S. and elsewhere the needed government action is due to the outcome of businesses expecting their insurance policies to help cover economic losses due to the mandated shutdowns, and insurance companies never expecting BI losses to be part of insurance coverage.

As of this article’s writing the effect of COVID-19 is exemplified in the U.S. 2020 Q1 GDP results-   -4.8% on an annualized basis, coming on two months of growth and one COVID-19 affected March.  A similar result for Q2 would be unexpected as April and May could produce even less robust results.  Percents and projections, resulting in real-world declines of a few trillion dollars, and mirrored results in other countries.

Can a first step in planning be an understanding of the vagaries of business insurance and business interruption cover?  Not having easy access to policy forms for carriers outside the U.S. market we’ll just have to use the U.S. policies as exemplars.

Description of BI (Business Income or Business Interruption) coverage per U.S. carrier websites:

  • Carrier A– “Helps replace lost income and helps pay for extra expenses if a business is affected by a covered peril.” Lost income being described as revenues minus ongoing expenses.
  • Carrier N– “Helps you pay bills, replace lost income and cover payroll when a covered peril forces you to close temporarily.”
  • Carrier TH– “Can help replace any income your business loses if you can’t open for a time after a covered loss.” Income being total revenues less business expenses, operating costs.
  • Carrier H– “Will pay you the income your company would have made during the period it’s out of action due to a covered loss…including normal operating expenses incurred…most of employee payroll.” Income being revenue less normal operating expenses.
  • Carrier T- “Helps replace income and expenses.”
  • Or per ISO form CP 00 30 04 02
    • Business Income means the:
      • Net Income (net profit or loss before income taxes) that would have been earned or incurred; and
      • Continuing normal operating expenses incurred, including payroll.
      • Must be caused by direct physical loss of or damage to property…in the Declarations.

The carriers’ descriptions of BI cover seem similar, but each has its unique wording and intention.

To highlight varying benefits across the spectrum of the carriers noted above, consider a small business scenario as follows:

  • Monthly revenue- $25,000
  • Payroll- $15,000
  • Rent- $2500
  • Utilities/other expenses- $3500
  • Taxes- $2000
  • Net income- $2000

A one month disruption of the business due to physical damage to a covered loss, insured unable to conduct any business, payroll and expenses are continued, provides the following estimation of the BI cover outcomes:

chart

$2000 BI cover, or $25,000?

Of course the devil is in the details of the policy coverage verbiage, but the tendency is clear- policies differ, there’s a significant variance between policies that cover loss of income alone versus policies that cover loss of revenue and ongoing expenses, or policies that cover ongoing expenses and loss of income.  What is uniform is that BI cover stems from, 1) a cause of loss a policy covers, 2) physical damage to covered property, and 3) no exclusions to coverage applying. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 the drivers of cover are not present in most BOPs and the BI costs are not covered.

That good first step in grasping the gravity of the coverage problem starts with the scenario noted above, and the economic effects extended to the U. S. business economy at large.

There are by estimation anywhere from thirty two to forty million businesses in the U.S., 99.9% being small/medium businesses, with an estimated thirty million being insured by business owner’s policies (BOP), and all being affected by COVID-19 shut down effect- some more than others but the majority affected entirely with full business interruption.

The potential BI data are stark:

  • Thirty million policies with a modest coverage limit of $50,000 would represent a probable maximum loss in a similar pandemic of $1.5 trillion.
  • Thirty million businesses claiming BI damages for one month- even if the claims average $20,000- equates to $600 billion.
  • Thirty million BI claims constitute an estimated $22.8 billion in adjusting expense.
  • Thirty million BI claims would require 600 million man hours to prepare, and
  • 300 million man hours to adjust, or ten man weeks for every claim staffer employed in the U.S. P&C insurance industry.

The U.S. is two months into a shut down, so the potential BI loss cost grows to $600 billion plus LAE (loss adjustment expense).  Want to guess what the entire amount of available cash and investable assets are for U.S. P&C carriers?  $1.75 trillion.  Considering these numbers- having business interruption cost financed by traditional indemnity insurance cover is as carriers have known- untenable.

However, insurance carriers cannot be blind to the economic effects of COVID-19 because they affect the viability of a large segment of the carriers’ business base- the SMEs. Economic pressures from legislators and litigation are presenting potential ex post facto cover, and if the outcomes pass constitutional muster the end effects are enormous in implication.  The inability of the industry to deal with the logistics of handling the claim demands are clear.

There must be plans to shift expectations from no response to some response, indemnity investigation to parametric,  avoidance of customer responsibility by all to collaborative and shared responsibility by insureds, insurers, the capital markets, reinsurers, and government.  Early efforts in the UK in devising a fund in parallel with Pool Re, France working on an insurance backstop for pandemics, and early U.S. efforts to craft a similar plan as the terrorism TRIA fund are meaningful, but absent serious consideration of parametric options not meant to solve the BI cover problem but to take a big edge off of it will carry the industry to a similar place as now.

There are additional efforts being made to build discussion; Lloyd’s Lab is sponsoring varied innovation programs focused on COVID-19 matters, and insTech London is in the midst of its sponsored podcast series on pandemics and what might come next for insurance (yours truly participating with Dr. Marcus Schmalbach , Laurie Miles and Matthew Grant in the 5/05/20 session).  These efforts as well as those of the nascent Ten C’s Project (more to come) are the counter to having no insurance response, or inconsistent, impractical indemnity programs that cannot apply as designed.

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https://dailyfintech.com/2020/04/30/economic-reality-sharpens-future-vision-for-insurance-and-pandemics/

5 Questions With TD Wealth’s new head of US distribution

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/wealth/5-questions-with-td-wealths-new-head-of-us-distribution/

In this monthly Q&A segment, Bank Innovation features executives and industry thought leaders who highlight technology and innovation trends in financial services, and explores strategy and best practices in leading financial institutions. As Alan Chabot steps into to his new role as TD Wealth’s head of U.S. distribution, the banking veteran is eyeing investments in …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/wealth/5-questions-with-td-wealths-new-head-of-us-distribution/

Sunway Group acquires stake in Credit Bureau Malaysia

https://thefintechtimes.com/sunway-group-acquires-stake-in-credit-bureau-malaysia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sunway-group-acquires-stake-in-credit-bureau-malaysia

Sunway Berhad, via its 100% subsidiary, Sunway Holdings, is acquiring a 51% stake in Credit Bureau Malaysia (CBM). Upon completion of the acquisition, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad (CGC) and Sunway Holdings will be the two (2) shareholders of CBM.

“The acquisition will enable us to advance our ambition of building a financial technology (FinTech) ecosystem and securing a digital banking license, in order to promote financial inclusion for Malaysians and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) aligned with the 10th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of Reducing Inequalities,” said Sunway Berhad President Dato’ Chew Chee Kin.

 The move is part of Sunway Group’s exercise to diversify into FinTech. With this collaboration with CGC and CBM, Sunway Group eyes opportunities to offer finance related services to SMEs.
“SMEs are one of the most important catalysts of our economic growth and contribute almost 40% to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product. We see considerable potential in this segment, particularly in finance related services,” added Dato’ Chew.

The strength and expertise of CBM in credit reporting and trade referencing will complement the existing finance related services offered by Sunway Group, which includes money lending, hire purchase, factoring, cross-border remittance and others.

 Chairman of CBM, Suresh Menon echoed Dato’ Chew’s view and added that he is confident the new partnership would help bolster CBM’s efforts to bring more value-added solutions to our clients and the market.
With the collaboration, CBM and Sunway Group will soon be able to offer seamless end-to-end services from credit reporting, right up to the various finance related services to Malaysians and SMEs within the vast business ecosystem of CBM and Sunway Group.

https://thefintechtimes.com/sunway-group-acquires-stake-in-credit-bureau-malaysia/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=sunway-group-acquires-stake-in-credit-bureau-malaysia

Great Southern Bank streamlines loan ops with nCino 

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/lending/great-southern-banks-streamlines-loan-ops-with-ncino/

Great Southern Bank is using lending technology from the cloud banking vendor nCino to increase efficiency for commercial and retail loan officers.  “We had a [loan origination system] that really handled everything from application through underwriting and approval,” said Ryan Storey, director of loan operations at the bank, during a webinar with nCino today. “But …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/lending/great-southern-banks-streamlines-loan-ops-with-ncino/

Personalization and the Road to Loyalty

https://finovate.com/personalization-and-the-road-to-loyalty/

Gregg Hammerman has seen first hand what works when it comes to personalization. In fact, in 2012, he launched a company built around the entire premise of personalization.

Hammerman is now CEO of Larky, a loyalty platform that enables banks to offer users point-of-sale discounts at both local and national merchants. However, personalization and push notifications– while effective– can be difficult to implement. Not only do the timing and location have to be perfect, there is a careful balance between messaging and spam. On top of that, privacy is often a top concern for both banks and their end users.

We caught up with Hammerman to tap his expertise on implementing a personalized user experience.

When it comes to personalization in fintech we often hear of sending offers to the right consumer at the right time in the right place. What is the most challenging aspect of this?

Hammerman: It’s critical to make sure that these communications are relevant, meaningful, and helpful to the consumer. We work closely with financial institutions to create experiences that use these communications to make people feel like they are part of a special club.

Three key things make our programs a success. First, we recommend segmenting an audience so you can tailor messaging for a person who has a mortgage, someone who recently purchased a car, a student with a new checking account, and other unique parameters that shape consumer habits. Second, scarcity is a powerful component. Consumers want to know that they have access to something special that isn’t available to everyone. Third, communications need to be fresh. Consumers want to see new messages and new experience opportunities on a regular basis.

What measures does Larky have in place to keep banks from fatiguing their customers with too many alerts and messages?

Hammerman: We work closely with our financial institution clients to give them complete control over how they communicate with their customers. The financial institution is always able to increase or decrease messaging frequency based on what is the best fit for their audience.

From an end-user perspective, account holders can snooze messages, turn off some types of notifications, and more. A lot of this discussion returns to making sure that these communications have high value. If every time I go for an auto repair, my financial institution tells me that I can save $100 because I’m a valued account holder, I’ll never fatigue from that message.

Thinking about geo-targeting, how does Larky balance a user’s privacy with the need to know their physical location?

Hammerman: Larky has been on the forefront of user privacy since our initial solution launched in 2013. We believe that users have the right to access any information that is collected or stored about them, and the right to obtain that information and have it destroyed if desired.

We are in compliance with all regulations from Europe and California. We plan to continue to lead and innovate on privacy. We don’t sell the data that passes through our servers. It’s not part of our business model. We have never and will never share any user information with any third parties.

Aside from knowing a consumer’s location and the best time to send a relevant offer, how else does Larky help banks with personalization?

Hammerman: We’re now working with financial institutions to leverage data from their other systems to help personalize communications. For example, we help improve new account holder onboarding with touchpoints that welcome and educate new clients and help them become more engaged with the financial institution.

We’re able to help financial institutions create campaigns that reach out to only their account holders who have an auto loan, just one account with the financial institution, recently started direct deposit of their paycheck, and much more. We’re finding that partnering with financial institutions to personalize the right message to the right consumer increases the impact of the campaign and includes account holder engagement.

https://finovate.com/personalization-and-the-road-to-loyalty/