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  • Andy Browning V Fsa Article Preview 01
    Keeping the Conversation Going

    One of the benefits of the pandemic is that all of us have had to get more comfortable with change.  Almost overnight we shifted our work lives online – commuting to the kitchen table instead of the City and catching up over video rather than over a beer.  This changed the way we all shared ideas, but as an active participant in the capital markets arena, we made the effort to stay in conversation with the broader fixed income community to better understand the key challenges they face and develop solutions together. ​To keep this conversation going we created the Sell Side Fixed Income Network where we look to regularly review key topics for the industry. We recognised that all of us benefit from regular discussions exploring what others are thinking about, what is driving decisions, and what problems we are facing. We are providing a forum that allows market participants to understand and benchmark their views against their peer group. We kicked off this initiative at the end of 2021 and are seeing excellent growth in the network. Initially created to be online, we will further look to expand on how we engage the network through webinars and in-person events in 2022.From our latest report, we identified a number of key trends, and the community was very clear in highlighting the biggest barrier to growth in 2022 is internal technology limitations. Digging further into the detail, the three key technology issues raised were the inability to change quickly, legacysilo-based data, and total cost of ownership of vendor platforms.​valantic FSA partners with the community to address these three challenges.Strategic Agility – Getting results now. The first is strategic agility and the ability for clients to make changes quickly. Working to be both a change agent by directly helping our clients make changes quicker, but also as an enabler for change providing the tools and frameworks to help our clients build on their existing systems.We are addressing the problems that clients are facing now, and helping them to fix them now, as opposed to them waiting for a multi-year project to be completed. For example, today it is possible to create front ends that source data from both legacy and other 3rd party platforms. In this way, technology debt can be paid off incrementally, and firms can embark on a path of continuous innovation.The Wider View–Better insights. The second is moving from data silos to data centricity. Being able to pull together large data sets from multiple systems and data sources is not easy. Our tools allow firms to move away from a classic silo-based approach and put a layer across all data. This wider view leads to greater insights and the ability to deliver better customer service.Clarity on TCO The final piece is reducing the total cost of ownership by looking at all associated costs of running a platform as opposed to just focusing on the cost of software licensing.  Understanding the elements involved and being able to address all of them is key.In addition to automating our clients’ workflows for pricing, quoting, trading, and data aggregation in Fixed Income, we provide our solutions in a fully managed SaaS offering allowing clear cost reduction strategies to be implemented.As well as addressing these current needs, we have ambitious plans to enhance and develop new tools for the community in the coming year. Continuous platform development - We are continuing to work on our technology transformation capabilities by leveraging our low code development framework.  Using this framework, we assist clients by building around their current legacy systems that aren’t quite cutting it for them.  As new tools become available, they can be easily integrated into existing workflows and put into production with minimal effort or disruption.Growing Opportunities - Our mission is to digitise, augment and evolve the value streams within our clients. We will be expanding our geographical reach and broadening our product line of core software solutions as we grow internationally. This includes specific Capital Markets Solutions but also has application across financial services, building on our success to date.​At valantic FSAwe have successfully digitised the workflow for over 100 firms in the financial industry, building robust and highly innovative systems for trading, workflow management and downstream transaction automation. In the next edition of our Sell Side Fixed Income expert network, we will be digging deeper into the technology issues that are hampering growth – please reach out if you’d like to learn more about the network.​

  • White Men & Dei Ashley Botten Tipalti Thumbnail 01
    White Men and DE&I

    I feel like a fraud writing about DE&I, fearing groans of “what could he know”? Perhaps that’s why we don’t hear enough from people ‘like me’ on the topic. And let’s face it, any groaners would be right. I’ve never myself experienced deficits of respect, safety or equity just because of who I am, how I look, or who I love. As I write this, I realise I’ve likely benefited, directly or not, by others being held back; leaving the field on which I play, a little less crowded maybe? It’s not a nice thought. Aware, but not aware enough, I hadn’t approached DE&I consciously enough until certain events this last decade brought endemic discrimination to life for me. Of course, these events weren’t new, they just added up for me for the first time. By simply asking questions I hadn’t before, I was soon confronted by the experiences of loved ones and those in my charge. Cat-called, followed, marginalised, belittled, passed over. Stories shared were confronting enough, but what really surprised me was the casual nature with which such behaviour was dismissed as normal. Worse still, I found myself questioning… “Really? Surely not, could you have misread that”? And so the problem compounds. You don’t need to be among the marginalised to appreciate that barriers to equal access and treatment are wrong. If you’ve ever felt that subtle relief that this doesn’t affect you, you’ve answered the question of whether you should care already. Those of us in positions of leadership have an obligation to do right by our people and by our business. Speaking and acting on DE&I is key to both. Beyond the moral obligation, diversity in team and leadership has been shown over and over to improve results. I work in tech sales; a largely male-dominated space, although it really shouldn’t be. Despite any ‘machismo’ reputation to the contrary, sales requires curiosity, listening, empathy, solving problems and having great attention to detail. I happen to have observed that the women I have worked with often best their male counterparts in these areas and despite a male majority, women have led the pack in individual sales performance and leadership. Bigger brains and datasets agree; in 2019, a BCG study found that “Sales organisations that don’t actively promote women into positions of leadership run the risk of underperforming.” If, like me, you’re male, pale and tasked with growing the top line, removing barriers for others is key to your success. In recent years, my action toward gender equity in particular has been more conscious. Balanced representation has been hard to achieve, but committing to tip the scale away from a male-dominated norm has never backfired. The sales leaders I work alongside today are 50% female. We experience less groupthink and a broader range of ideas, skills and collaboration. Given the hyper-growth our business is experiencing - and this may sound familiar to Fintech readers, this ratio may be hard to maintain in the short term as we race for talent in a field that is largely male, but commitment to diversity will remain. This formula works. Action is more important than words in so many regards, but in this connected world, words can travel a lot further. White men are too quiet on this topic. For all the groups, forums and movements on DE&I, the voices are almost entirely of those who are under-represented and fighting for a seat at the table. Women advocating for women, LGBTQ communities, black and Asian forums demanding access. These efforts will drive real change and are a major learning resource for people like me opening their mind to what others are experiencing. Throughout history, the oppressed have had to challenge the established to affect change. It’s been slow and bloody, but it’s happened. Wouldn’t it be better for the established to advocate change, to welcome it, to heed the data, to improve their businesses and to contribute to the betterment of society today, rather than clinging on to a status quo that will see naysayers displaced over time? I haven’t known where to add my voice, or whether it would always be appreciated, but it’s obvious that overcoming my own discomfort is essential if I want to contribute. The more I engage, the more I learn, the more I realise the fear of getting it wrong is insignificant compared to the value of participating and being an ally. Having asked my female peers to proof my words, a theme emerged. “So what’s the call to action here?” Gulp. Ask more questions and learn what others have experienced. What comes back may surprise and motivate you.Don’t dismiss something as untrue just because you don’t experience it yourself.Engage in forums where white men aren’t present enough. Company diversity councils, Women’s groups on LinkedIn. Ironically, these groups which advocate for diversity and representation often do so without the presence and support of enough white men. Change needs to happen together.Build networks of future colleagues ahead of positions needing to be filled. When we hire reactively and need to fill roles fast, picking from a candidate pool that represents the status quo leaves little room to affect change. And speak up. I can’t profess to have gotten this right yet. But if we wait until we’ve ‘got it right’ to speak up on DE&I, we’ll leave those who deserve our support without it for too long.​Article from The Financial Technologist, Issue 1 2022 'The Most Influential FinTech Firms of 2022'. Read the full magazine here.​

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  • The Dei Discussions (1)
    An Introduction to The DEI Discussions

    ​At Harrington Starr, we are constantly working to make the financial services a more inclusive space through the dynamic work we do. Nadia Edwards-Dashti, our Chief Customer Officer, is spearheading this effort. We recently caught up with her to explore the brilliant work she is doing to walk the talk for change across the entire industry.I wanted to share with you the work we are doing to help drive a more inclusive industry through our work in building more inclusive workplaces.We have been raising awareness and presenting actionable change workflows through our podcasts, our blogs, magazines, social media and I will have a book published early next year called “The FinTech Women who Walk the Talk: driving change for workplace gender equality.”We plan on walking the talk ourselves and taking strides forward through measurability and data. Polls, surveys and RFIs will be shared to help us gather better knowledge of who we know and interact with. It will also to allow for you to understand the dynamic of this marketplace and in turn allow for me to drive change whilst being able to measure progress.My audio journey revolves around, "FinTech with Nadia: The DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) Discussions." This is a series of Podcasts which were created with purpose. I want to educate, raise awareness, empower and inspire the industry through real lessons and storytelling. I have loved celebrating the people within our industry and cannot wait to interview more.-The Women of FinTech Podcast - Women in leadership within the FinTech community talk about their journey, challenges and steps to drive equality in the workplace.-The Humans of FinTech Podcast - We explore that DEI isn’t only a gender issue, there is so much more to be done and celebrate what has been done so far.-The Talent Surgery - This is a celebration of the people behind the people strategies, ensuring that environments are best set up for safety, inclusion and therefore success.-The Maternity and Paternity Stories of FinTech- The ground-breaking series where we share experiences and best practice so everyone can create better environments for their working parents.You can stay up-to-date with Nadia’s pioneering work, and get the latest from the ground-breaking DEI Discussions Podcast Series, by following our dedicated LinkedIn Page: get in touch today to see how we can work to make your business a more inclusive

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    Global Processing Services and Currencycloud partner

    ​Global Processing Services and Currencycloud partner to offer complete, enterprise-grade, cross-border payments solution  London, UK - 29 June 2021: Multi-award-winning payments processor, Global Processing Services (GPS), today announces that it has joined forces with Currencycloud, the experts simplifying business in a multi-currency world, to widen access to cross-border payments for financial institutions and fintechs, providing a passport to a post-COVID world.  The pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation of payments and the move away from cash. People are naturally operating more globally, whether that’s for personal or business travel, to accommodate multiple bases as the world shifts to a more hybrid model of working, or growing e-commerce and global supply chains. As a result, financial institutions and fintechs need to offer customers solutions that satisfy this changing dynamic as people shift to digital-first behaviours for safety and convenience.  Leveraging each other’s expertise, the combined value proposition will deliver a complete, enterprise-grade, off-the-shelf and pre-integrated solution. It will enable businesses to offer customers compliance and regulatory infrastructure, cross-border payments infrastructure, real-time FX for overseas card transactions, access to a global banking network, multi-currency accounts, banking cards and much more.    Fintechs can now upgrade their existing product offerings and launch dynamic new services, including:  Multi-currency wallets: Using Currencycloud rates, customers can fund up to 34 foreign currency wallets with real-time wholesale rates, allowing consumers to purchase currencies ahead of travelling and while on the go. Competitive FX rates for 38 currencies, including restricted and non-restricted currencies, and nearly 300 currency pairs. Guaranteed weekend FX rates.  Point-of-Sale (POS) FX: Cardholders benefit from transparent, competitive, real-time FX rates when making purchases abroad and can choose to be notified of the amount spent in their domestic currency via push notifications on mobile devices in real time. By securing a guaranteed and real-time FX rate at the point of sale, ensuring it is locked in through to clearing and settlement, cardholders now know exactly what overseas transactions cost at the point of sale.  Shaun Puckrin, Chief Product Officer of GPS, commented: “There is a major opportunity for payment players to further displace cash with seamless card-based FX payments. Integrating our respective platforms provides fintechs with enterprise-grade capabilities, driving speed to market, and an invaluable competitive advantage as we emerge from the pandemic.”  Stephen Lemon, Co-founder and VP, Partnerships & Enterprise at Currencycloud, said: “For fintechs, building a multi-currency solution requires a huge effort across multiple functional and regulatory domains. By working with Currencycloud and GPS, fintechs can reduce the complexity involved and get to market much more quickly for a fraction of the cost of self-building, while vastly reducing ongoing operational risk and overhead.” 

  • 1[1]
    Banks to Move Online and Form Customer-Centric Digital Ecosystems Within Five Years, Finds Economist Intelligence Unit Report for Temenos

    ●     Almost two thirds (65%) of global banking executives believe that the branch-based model will be “dead” within five years, up from 35% four years ago●     The same proportion (65%) of bankers see new technologies as the biggest driver of change for the next four years, up from 42% three years ago●     Four in five bankers believe that banks will seek to differentiate on customer experience rather than products●     47% expect their businesses to evolve into ecosystems, involving partnerships with both banking and non-banking third parties●     This independent global report surveys over 300 banking executives, half of whom are C-suite GENEVA, Switzerland – June 29, 2021 – A new report published today by Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the banking software company, finds that 65% of global banking executives believe branch-based banking will be “dead” within five years. The report written by theEconomist Intelligence Unit (EIU) entitled “Branching out: can banks move from city centres to digital ecosystems?” is based on a recent survey of 305 senior global banking executives. The research highlights how COVID-19 branch closures, new technologies and increased competition from fintechs, super-app platforms and tech giants have accelerated digital transformation and triggered a shift in banking priorities and business models.  The report highlights how 65% of global banking executives view new technologies such as cloud, AI, and APIs as the trend that will have the biggest impact on the sector over the next four years, ahead of regulation and changingcustomer demands. Moreover,81% think unlocking value from AI will be the differentiator between winning and losing banks. Banks are focusing their technology investment on cybersecurity, AI and cloud computing as they accelerate digital transformation projects. The report finds that 81% of bankers believe banks will seek todifferentiate on customer experience rather than products. With this, many established banks are turning to strategic partnerships and investments in technology to become trusted banking partners and the purveyors of consumer-friendly banking experiences.The pandemic has been a catalyst for collaboration and experimentation. The report states that nearly half (47%) of bank executives expect their businesses to evolve into ecosystems in the next two years, whereby banks offer third-party products and services, together with their own, to customers and other financial organizations. Aalishaan Zaidi, Global Head of Digital Banking at Standard Chartered notes the change in attitude and culture as a result of the pandemic: “The big shift for us was our belief that we could change fast if we really wanted to.” Mr. Zaidi adds that pre-pandemic, “We would have never done the partnerships we are doing now.” The report also shows how the pandemic has emphasized the societal role of financial services. Findings show that bankers view microfinance for entrepreneurs (34%) and accounts for the unbanked (33%) as the most promising inclusion-related business opportunities.​ Kanika Hope, Chief Strategy Officer, Temenos, said: “Open Banking and increased competition from big tech and new entrants are causing banks to rethink their business models. Many now aspire to develop digital ecosystems that bring more human, differentiated experiences to their customers using the power of cloud, SaaS and AI. This report shows that bankers now understand that technology will be an enabler for these new business models and is critical to their competitive differentiation. Temenos continues to extend its leadership in AI and cloud, serving more than 3,000 banks worldwide, including incumbents and more than 70 challengers. We recently brought to market The Temenos Banking Cloud to help banks digitally transform and take control of their business models and innovation cycles.”

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    Isle of Man's first digital bank, Capital International Bank, secures first full alternative banking regime licence

    ​ISLE OF MAN’S FIRST DIGITAL BANK, CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL BANK, SECURES FIRST FULL ALTERNATIVE BANKING REGIME LICENCEFollowing receipt of a provisional banking licence in 2019, Capital International Bank (or the “Bank”) has received the full Class 1(2) banking licence under the Alternative Banking Regime (ABR) from the Isle of Man’s Financial Services Authority, which means it can now take on new clients. This is the Island’s first digital bank with a modern and easy to use interface, drawing on the latest technology and cyber security. The Bank, part of the Capital International Group, which is an Isle of Man headquartered business, will cater to the needs of corporates, professional services, fiduciaries, and the eCommerce and eGaming sectors. It has plans to extend its services to qualifying High Net Worth individuals in the first half of 2022.It has a quick pre-application process, whereby clients will know within just 200 seconds whether they are eligible for the service or not. Further to this, the onboarding process is 100% digital, and it is a zero-paper bank which means all signatures and documentation are electronically submitted.To date, it is the only applicant that has been successful in obtaining a Class 1(2) banking licence under ABR, which was introduced in 2016 to widen the scope for new banking opportunities on the Island, bringing benefits to sectors that require banking facilities.Capital International Group CEO Greg Ellison said: “Following continued engagement with the regulators and support from the Isle of Man Department for Enterprise, we are excited to bring a new digital corporate bank to market that is built around our specific clients’ needs.“We are focused on professional services firms, eCommerce and family offices in the Isle of Man and internationally and are drawing on the latest technology for our client experience and product offering.“Looking ahead, as international financial centres like the Isle of Man become even more relevant in corporate finance post-Brexit, the Bank offers a compelling option to international firms looking to do business in the UK and vice versa by acting as a facilitator. Therefore, we are confident and optimistic about the future.”Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for the Isle of Man Government’s Department for Enterprise, said: "Capital International Bank is an excellent example of a business which has truly embraced all the benefits of the ABR. “Both Finance Isle of Man and Digital Isle of Man, Executive Agencies within the Department, are excited about the ABR licence for the Island’s first digital bank. It highlights the innovation and strength of our financial services and digital sectors, which despite global uncertainty have continued to thrive and contribute to the Island’s economy”.

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    Wahed appoints new UK General Manager to spearhead growth

    ​Wahed appoints new UK General Manager to spearhead growth  June 24th 2021 London UK: Wahed Inc. (‘Wahed’), the world’s leading Islamic fintech company, today announced the appointment of Umer Suleman as General Manager of UK operations. His responsibilities will include overseeing Wahed Invest’s nationwide growth strategy and solidifying the firm’s position as a leading provider of ethically focused investment services. Umer comes with a wealth of experience and proven track record that includes over 15 years of regulatory, risk and strategy consultancy roles, as well as advisory positions across a variety of businesses and sectors including positions at HSBC, UKIFC, Daiwa Capital Management and Ernst & Young (EY).During his seven years at HSBC, Umer was Head of KYC Risk globally within their Global Banking & Markets business, Head of Business & Conduct Risk for MENA within Retail Banking and headed up the CCO function for Digital (GLCM) within the UK with a global remit.He has also advised a number of start-ups and fintechs across diverse sectors such as payments, real estate as well as the endowment space (waqf). Umer also serves as Economics and Business Advisor to the Islamic Council of Europe, a European wide fiqh council.In his new role Suleman will be responsible for expanding Wahed’s services across the UK, one of the world’s fastest-growing – and most developed – Islamic finance sectors. Britain is home to 3 million Muslims and boasts the biggest market for Islamic finance outside of the traditional Muslim regions, with global population figures projected to double over the next forty years. Under his leadership, Wahed will aim to address the underbanked needs of the Muslim community while also serving the increasing number of retail investors currently seeking ethical alternatives to wealth creation. Launched in 2017, Wahed has developed an easily accessible digital platform that balances ethical finance with modern investments, attracting over 200,000 active clients from around the world with features such as free portfolio recommendations and no hidden fees.‘Mr. Suleman’s appointment reaffirms our commitment to providing innovative and outstanding ethically driven financial services to a market that, historically, has been underserved,’ Junaid Wahedna, CEO explained. ‘We’re delighted to welcome Umer to the team and firmly believe that with him at the helm, our operations in the UK will continue to go from strength to strength and provide customers seeking ethical investments with accessible, trustworthy and innovative solutions.’The appointment of Suleman comes within six months of Wahed acquiring UK-based fintech Niyah and follows its most recent investment round. Combined, these milestones will help Wahed to achieve its ambition of creating an Islamic marketplace that meets growing demand for socially conscious investors – and not just those of Islamic faith. Indeed, Umer recentlywrote an article that explored the growing popularity of Islamic finance outside of the Muslim population as more and more investors seek out financial services with a higher level of positive social impact.The fintech firm also plans to utilise the UK’s position as a leading hub for Islamic finance as a springboard into other European cities, and believes it has a central role to play in providing Shariah-compliant services that address inclusion and inequality. The Islamic finance industry is currently valued at around $2.4 trillion and is expected to grow steadily by 10-12% over 2021 and 2022, having experienced rapid growth in recent years.