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70% of bankers see fintech making significant impact on banking
FinTech
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p> A new survey of bankers and Fintech executives highlighted the impact that Fintech is having on the banking world.</p> <p> Nearly three out of every four bankers foresee some form of major disruption from Fintech.<br /> Fintech executives expect the deposits and small business loan segments to be most impacted.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The Fintech revolution has grown rapidly in recent years, and it appears as if it will not be going away anytime soon.</p> <p>How much of a threat does Fintech pose to traditional banks? A new survey of 100 Fintech executives and 100 senior bankers conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise shed some light on where Fintech is headed and if big banks should be worried.</p> <p>Here’s a look at some of the key findings from the ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com</p> <p>Photo: FamZoo staff</p>
How to play oil's short-lived rally
Asset Management
<p>There has been plenty of chatter about an alleged oil rebound in recent weeks. If theUnited States Oil Fund (NYSE: USO), which tracks front-month West Texas Intermediate crude futures, being up half a percent over the past month qualifies as a legitimate rebound, so be it.</p> <p>Oil equities have been vastly superior over that period. For instance, the usually volatileSPDR S&amp;P Oil &amp; Gas Exploration &amp; Production ETF (NYSE: XOP) is up 10.3 percent over the past 30 days and that is even with the burden of an almost 5.4 percent decline over the past week. Still, there are reasons to be cautious with the oil patch, both futures- and equity-based exchange traded funds.</p> <p>There is political wrangling regarding the US potentially becoming an oil exporter and headlines about Saudi Arabia moving to crush the U.S. shale boom. The Direxion Daily S&amp;P ...</p> <p>Full story available on Benzinga.com</p> <p>Photo: Natalie Maynor <br /> &nbsp;</p>
China’s profitable congress
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Chinese media called it the “wedding of the century”. Earlier this month, TV star Huang Xiaoming tied the knot with Angelababy, who has been described as “China’s Kim Kardashian”. The nuptials took place at the Shanghai Exhibition Centre, witnessed by more than 2,000 rich or beautiful guests and set the groom back a small fortune.</p> <p>“The centre, which costs half a million yuan a day to rent, was sealed off for several days beforehand for decoration purposes. The South China Morning Post reports that the main hall of the centre was filled with tens of thousands of roses while 200 workers laboured overtime to replicate the bride’s dream of getting married in a castle. There was also a 2.5 metre cake fashioned to look like a carousel, which is said to have taken a month to make,” writes Week in China.</p> <p>“Days before the wedding, the bride also showed off her pear-shaped six-carat diamond Chaumet Josephine engagement ring via her social media account. It is estimated to be worth $1.56 million. During the wedding ceremony, she also wore an antique brooch and a crown that were rented from Chaumet’s own museum.”</p> <p>Yet despite the excess, online advertising and endorsements meant the marriage apparently got off to a lucrative start.</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> Photo: 路易豪豪</p>
CITIC Capital seals the deal on Akakura buyout
Asset Management
<p>Despite the nation’s shaky fundamentals, foreign investors are still enthralled Japan – and it appears that China’s CITIC Capital is no different.</p> <p>The $5 billion private equity and real estate shop announced that it recently completed its acquisition of Akakura, the 60-year old Japanese footwear retailer, adding that it has installed a new CEO and that it’s looking forward to seeing it grow:<br /> “Following the acquisition, CITIC Capital will continue to operate the 60 profitable stores, which are expected to grow further in the coming years. Mr. Masahiro YAMADA, a footwear industry specialist, has been appointed as the new CEO to lead the restructuring process. CITIC Capital will assist Akakura to capture the rise of consumer spending, emergence of the middle-class in China and the rapid growth of in-bound tourists into Japan, as well as enhance Akakura’s supply chain management.</p> <p>CITIC Capital is also committed to working closely with Akakura’s management and employees to rebuild Akakura’s leadership in the women’s footwear industry and create long-term value to the Company.”<br /> How much CITIC spent for the retailer however was not disclosed.<br /> Photo: 드림포유</p>
Cybersecurity and Israel's booming fintech space
FinTech
<p>Cybersecurity was high on the agenda this week when a delegation of Israeli startups gathered in Hong Kong for the 2nd Israeli FinTech Forum.</p> <p>The event, hosted by the Consulate General of Israel of Hong Kong and Macau alongside FinTech HK, saw a total of 11 companies showcasing their businesses to attendees.</p> <p>Sectors varied from payments and big data analytics to software-as-a-service (SaaS) solutions, but security was overwhelmingly the biggest fintech sub-sector. Here are some of the start-ups that presented:</p> <p> Algosec (Cyber securuty)<br /> Beyond Security (Cyber securuty)<br /> BondIT (Portfolio managament)<br /> Checkmarx (Cyber Security)<br /> CyberInt  (Cyber Security)<br /> OffLA (Cyber Security)<br /> Pronto.ly (Payments)<br /> SentinelOne (Cyber Security)<br /> ThetaRay (Big Data)<br /> Wisesec (Payments)<br /> 2 Team (SaaS)</p> <p>Israel is a natural hub for the fast-growing cyber security industry which offers a range of fintech solutions including fraud preventation and anti-hacker software.</p> <p>The sector sits at a crossroads between the Israel's hi-tech industry and its sizable defense sector. The synergies are such that Israel startups are now poaching military and intelligence officers to give them the competitive edge in the space, according to the Wall Street Journal.</p> <p>For its part Hong Kong could be a big investor in Israeli cyber security. During the event, Sagi Karni, Israel's Consul General in Hong Kong, told the audience that in the last three years VC flows from Hong Kong to Israel's tech industry totalled $500 million, and the number is increasing.<br /> Photo: istock</p>
China funds did pretty well in September
Hedge Funds
<p>High-profile hedge funds like Pershing Square and Third Point may have been hammered in September, but according to China Money Network, their China-focused counterparts didn’t do too bad:<br /> “Greater China-focused hedge funds gained 1.26% in September, compared with the CSI 300 Index, which was down 4.86%, and the global hedge fund index's 0.58% decline during the month, according to data released by industry data tracker Eurekahedge.</p> <p>The gain compares with a decline of 6.55% in August for China-focused hedge funds. Asia ex-Japan was the best performing regional index during the month, up 0.67%.”<br /> Unfortunately, a hulking 42% of them are still underwater, and yes, 1.26% doesn’t really make you go “hmmm,” but still, their performance has so far eclipsed those of their North American peers (-1.34%) as well as those of their South American rivals (-2%).</p> <p>They still have a long way to go to beat their Australasian counterparts though; Aussie and Kiwi-focused funds apparently gained a whopping 7.37% in the same time frame, quite the hurdle to jump.<br /> Photo: Charles LeBlanc</p>
Is Xiaomi losing its magic?
Venture Capital
<p>For a while now venture capital-backed smartphone maker Xiamoi has been the darling of Asian tech, disrupting incumbants left and right, but new sales data shows that the firm may be losing some of its lustre.</p> <p>Tech in Asia reports that the firm may be feeling the effects of a China slowdown, citing several reports that indicate Xiaomi might be fall short of its revised goal to ship 80 to 100 million units this year.</p> <p>Xiaomi is yet to release it Q3 sales figures but the consensus among research firms is that the hype might be wearing off. That said, most agree the firm could still be on course to shift around 70 million units, which is still an awful lot.<br /> Photo: nijanthan_v</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
A Blockchain Alliance has been formed – not everyone is happy
FinTech
<p>As part of the industry’s ongoing fight for legitimacy, a group of blockchain companies have decided to club together and form the Blockchain Alliance in order to better aid law enforcement. Some in the industry are alarmed.</p> <p>Created by Coin Center and the Digital Chamber of Commerce, two Washington D.C. trade associations, the Alliance is a private sector initiative intended to create a forum whereby enforcement agencies and regulators can share information and get technical assistance from the industry on blockchain. </p> <p>Some 16 companies and organizations – see the release for a full list – have agreed to work with a several government enforcement groups including:</p> <p> The FBI<br /> U.S. Marshals Service<br /> U.S. Secret Service<br /> Immigration and Customs<br /> Homeland Security<br /> Commodity Futures Trading Commission</p> <p>Needless to say, in a post-Snowden world, this does not chime well with some liberty-loving bitcoiners. Knowing this, the Alliance has stressed that it will not be a backdoor for the government to get info on companies and their customers but rather a “higher level discussion about typologies, trends, and technical issues.”</p> <p>That said, there is still some skepticism and debate on both Reddit and on the Bitcoin community forums over the extent to which the bitcoin community should be engaging with The Man. People like Bitcoin foundation director Bruce Fenton and Bitcoin Foundation chief scientist Gavin Andresen have weighed in on either side of the argument. And then there are the twitter reactions: </p> <p>New Blockchain Alliance is a big step to ensure Bitcoin is used for innovation, not crime. Well done, @coincenter. https://t.co/lTrkf8DEeD<br /> — Rep. Jared Polis (@RepJaredPolis) October 22, 2015</p> <p>Blockchain Alliance -- at first glance, a profoundly bad idea https://t.co/Vini88Nt7g<br /> — Bruce Fenton (@brucefenton) October 22, 2015</p> <p>Value your privacy? DO NOT use any of the products or services listed in this Article. https://t.co/VfeCLTYIlN</p> <p>— Samourai Wallet (@SamouraiWallet) October 22, 2015</p> <p>@lightcoin Fintech is getting into Bitcoin that is why we nee</p>
Bankers in Hong Kong run from sunset to sunrise at Barclays MoonTrekker 2015
Lifestyle, 4:01
<p>Barclays Moontrekker, now in its seventh year, is Hong Kong’s leading annual night hiking and running fundraising event. Participants either completed the Moonlit 30km or the Sunrise 43km, reports FinBuzz.</p> <p>The race was held in Mui Wo (on Lantau Island) and finished at Pui O Beach. Runners in the 43km race began at the race after the sun had set and ran through the hills of Hong Kong, including Lantau Peak, which has a peak of 934 meters, with the goal to cross the finish-line before sunrise. The Sunrise 43km began at 8:45 pm and the Moonlit 30km started at 11:20 pm. Results are available here.</p> <p>Participants entered as a solo, pair, team of four or corporate team of four and are required to raise a minimum sponsorship amount of HK$650.</p> <p>Employees from Barclays dominated the event with 300 out of the total 1500 participants hailing from the bank. The number of participants is limited to 1500 for safety reasons.</p> <p>William Sargent, Founder and Event Director of Moontrekker, saw a growing demand for competitive events back in 2009, “but rarely did those events focus on the experience. I wanted to create something slightly different, fun and challenging,” he explained.</p> <p>Sargent, a long-time night hiker, launched Moontrekker as a side project. It was completely booked within six weeks and seven years later that demand has only increased.</p> <p>About 90 percent of participants work for multinational companies and more than two-thirds work in finance or professional services, Sargent says. “There are very competitive types in the finance field, anything related to health and the outdoors they do well. You would think that if they did it one year, then that’s enough, but it gets even more competitive within departments, year to year,” he added.</p> <p>“The experience of hiking in the night is far more exhilarating and intense than during the day, as it’s mostly pitch black, quiet, and you only have a stream of light to follow. The party at the finish line is epic, and it’s always fun to see what crazy outfit wins best dressed,” said a trekker, who wished to remain anonymous. “Even though it’s competitive between certain banks, in particular, there’s still a great vibe. The training is very harsh, though, if you aren’t that fit and not for the faint of heart.”</p> <p>Over the past six years, Moontrekker has raised HK$7,500,000 for charities including Room to Read, which supports literacy.</p> <p>The Nature Conservancy (a global conservation organisation working to protect ecologically important lands, waters for nature and people) was nominated this year, as participants wanted a charity based in Hong Kong (rather than seeing donations go elsewhere) that was inline with the event’s ethos.</p> <p>This story (with pictures) first appeared in FinBuzz.</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> Photo: Edwin Lee</p>
Think about the little guy, Fitch warns Fed
Capital Markets
<p>A couple of weeks ago the IMF raised the specter of widespread corporate debt defaults and economic misery in emerging countries that could cause a 2008-type sclerosis in the international financial system. Now here’s another report warning the Fed about being too parochial as it ponders an interest rate hike.</p> <p>Fitch Ratings points out that vulnerable emerging markets are already a threat to global growth as a collapse in commodity prices and political shocks worsen secular slowdowns.</p> <p>“Our latest forecast for global growth of 2.3% in 2015 is the weakest since the global financial crisis in 2009. Against this backdrop, the Fed's looming tightening of monetary policy after an unprecedented period of historically low rates will add to the macroeconomic and external financing pressures on emerging markets (EM),” notes Fitch.</p> <p>“EM bonds were boosted in the last decade by international investors' search for yield and increased funding disintermediation in local debt markets. This makes EM borrowers vulnerable to rising US rates and the reversal of previously strong capital flows,” Fitch adds.</p> <p>The most exposed? Turkey, followed by most of Latin America.<br /> Photo: bass_nroll<br /> &nbsp;</p>