by Florin Oprea
Steve O’Hear -Tech Crunch
Curve, the London fintech startup that offers a platform that lets you consolidate all your bank cards into a single Curve card and manage your money, is on the verge of closing $10 million in Series A funding.
FAO: Also mentioned in last Friday edition. Lead investor is Connect Ventures.
Elzio Barreto – Reuters
Hong Kong-based startup CompareAsiaGroup has secured $50 million in funding from investors led by the World Bank’s commercial lending arm, as the personal finance management platform looks to develop its technology and launch more products.
FAO: World Bank’s The International Finance Corp (IFC) agreed to invest $15m. Other investors include Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund and Japan’s SBI Group.
Mugdha Variyar – Economic Times
Fintech startup Numberz, which helps small businesses in invoice and cash flow management, is in advanced talks to raise a new round of funding from Sequoia Capital. The Gurugram-based startup had last year raised seed funding from Kae Capital and Khosla Impact.
Kane Wu, Julie Zhu – Reuters
Ping An Insurance Group Ltd, China’s largest insurer by market value, is scouting for fintech and healthcare assets in the United States, Israel and Singapore, as it looks to use a $1 billion investment fund, a company executive said.
FAO: Out shopping?
Sangeetha Chengappa – The Hindu Business Line
Omni-channel payment solutions provider Innoviti said it has raised a fresh round of funding of $18 million (₹120 crore) to further its vision of digitally organising the flow of money for businesses across the retail supply chain.
FAO: Lead investor of this Series A round was SBI-FMO Fund. Other investors: Catamaran Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners.
Nihit Nirmal – Inc 42
The Government of India’s focus on building India as the business hub of the world through ambitious projects like Start-up India, Digital India, Make in India and the roll out of GST has given tremendous growth impetus to several industries.
Swiss fintech Nectar has attracted one of Switzerland’s largest private banks as an investor, Julius Baer. It will invest in the Pfaeffikon, Switzerland-based wealth management provider.
FAO: Last year Urs Wietlisbach, one of the founders of private equity asset manager Partners Group, bought a stake in Nectar.
Josh Ye – South China Morning Post
FAO: Useful figures once again. VCs have invested US$2.3 billion in regtech since 2012 ( according to CB Insights) while the regtech market is expected to grow to around US$120 billion by 2020.
Rachel Witkowski – The Wall Street Journal (subscription)
WASHINGTON—Banks should be cautious about taking on new technologies for financial products, a national bank regulator said Friday in a semiannual report on risks facing the industry.
FAO: Hmmm. Interested to find out more about this warning. Maybe somebody from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency can send an opinion? We will publish it.”
Jeff Kutler, Editor in Chief – Risk Intelligence, Global Association of Risk Professionals, sent us his opinion:
The 23-page report touches on various categories of risk that the agency – which supervises some 1,400 banking entities accounting for more than two-thirds of U.S. bank and savings association assets – perceives as worthy of higher levels of alert or vigilance. The risk categories outlined are credit, operational, compliance, and strategic. Regarding the last, the report’s executive summary says: “Strategic risk remains elevated as banks make decisions to expand into new products or services or consider new delivery channels and continue merger and acquisition (M&A) activity. Banks face competition from nonfinancial firms, including financial technology (fintech) companies entering the traditional banking industry. This competition is causing changes in the way customers and financial institutions approach banking.”
That is one of only two places in the report where the word “fintech” appears, and it is a hardly unreasonable statement of a fact that incumbent financial firms ignore at their peril. The other mention of fintech is in the context of relationships with third-party service providers and the “increased risk relating to third-party risk management.” This is where an institution is exposed to operational, reputational, cybersecurity and other such weaknesses of vendors and business partners it contracts with. That may be a caution sign but is not an admonishment against “taking on new technologies for financial products.”
If anything, big, incumbent banks have been overly conservative, through their notoriously rigorous partner-vetting and due-diligence processes, in establishing business relationships with “disruptors.” Many now have some form of incubation program or innovation council to break down those bureaucratic barriers. The Comptroller’s office has been encouraging in this regard; Comptroller Thomas Curry, who stepped down in May, preached “responsible innovation” and launched an Office of Innovation last year, noting how regulators in some other countries are more openly supportive of fintech than U.S. overseers had been.
Under “strategic risk,” the semiannual report says:
“Boards of directors and management should comprehensively understand the benefits and risks of strategic changes before implementation [of innovative products, services and processes]. Banks involved in responsible innovation should use new products, services, and processes to meet the needs of consumers, businesses, and communities in a manner that is consistent with sound risk management and business strategies.”
That is not an unheard warning – just a reminder of the critical importance of risk – and IT risk – management in adopting these strategies and, when applicable, working with a new breed of business partner.
FAO: And here’s more from GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) ref. to report issued by the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency
Ted Knutson – GARP
From the vantage point of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the U.S. banking system is healthy and credit risk is stable in a continuing low-interest-rate environment. But various strategic, competition-related and operational risks, not least the prospect of rising rates and cybersecurity, require close attention.
Equinix announced the eighth phase expansion of its SG2 International Business Exchange (IBX) data center in Singapore.
Professionals and companies easily create a free profile and find matches for new roles or mentoring using the innovative AlgoMe technology.
Via Crowdfund Insider – CFTC) Acting Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo has appointed Daniel Gorfine to serve as Director of LabCFTC and Chief Innovation Officer.
Ryan Weeks – Alt Fi News
Iwoca has announced a strategic partnership with Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo. The fintech lending platform will now sell its credit products into the Italian banking group’s SME client-base.
FAO: Another win-win.
The Bank of Thailand (BOT) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) signed a FinTech Cooperation Agreement (CA) and updated an existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on Banking Supervision.
Ryan Browne – CNBC
New banking regulations involving customer data sharing and data protection are a “headache for everyone”, according to a fintech advisor at the Royal Bank of Scotland.
The New York Times
PARIS — France will use “all means” to make Paris Europe’s main post-Brexit financial capital, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Tuesday, while international bankers said they wanted to see if such pro-business reforms would stick over time.
Ryan Browne – CNBC
Fintech has felt the impact of Brexit, U.S. politics and a perceived direction towards protectionism, Western Union’s partnerships lead has said.
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief FinTech Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor FinTech Daily News