News > FinTech

Record registrations for Citi Asia Pacific mobile challenge
FinTech
<p>More than 70 teams have been chosen from 1900 registrations across 376 cities for the Asia Pacific Citi Mobile Challenge (CMC). </p> <p>Participants will show working prototypes for mobile apps and interconnected devices, ranging across every area of banking and FinTech including mobile payments, investment banking, wealth management, B2B services, financial inclusion and financial literacy, authentication and savings and personal financial management.</p> <p>They will be evaluated by a group of Citi executives and technology influencers with the potential to making them marketable.</p> <p>“The Citi Mobile Challenge is fostering the development of the next generation of FinTech solutions. This region is home to a fast growing FinTech community and this strong support for the Asia leg of the challenge will help accelerate and uncover new and exciting opportunities,” said Francisco Aristeguieta, Citi’s Asia Pacific CEO, in a statement.</p> <p>CMC Asia Pacific is a next-generation accelerator that combines a virtual hackathon with an incubator and a worldwide network of FinTech experts and developers who will compete to build tech systems that are capable of running on Citi’s digital platform. </p> <p>The registration number sets a record for the CMC with demo days to be held November 3 in Bengaluru, November 6 in Singapore, November 10 in Sydney and November 12 in Hong Kong.<br /> Photo: Tao Tsai<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Simplicity wins for fintech
FinTech
<p>Easy access, clean design, mobile capabilities. Large companies are realizing that new innovations don't have to be revolutionary. Sometimes simple is best.</p> <p>At a recent awards night hosted by innovation consultant Market Gravity, large established companies from airlines to credit cards to soccer clubs competed for the best new services and products. With more than twice as many nominations as last year across more industries, Market Gravity judges awarded companies for best innovation, best new product, best new service, best new venture, and social impact. Among the nominees and winners were fintech developments, including those from credit cards and existing giants like MasterCard and Barclays.</p> <p>Sometimes genius comes in simplicity, says Iain Montgomery, senior consultant at Market Gravity. Many new innovation programs are building on existing ideas and filling tangible holes, rather than creating something completely new. Focus in fintech has become more about the user experience. Visa, for example, developed a mobile location confirmation for travelers. Customers can confirm a payment abroad through their phone, rather than have their credit card put on hold the second a suspiciously fraudulent transaction is made. "You think you know everything, but you don't," says Montgomery of companies. There are always these small, pesky problems to solve.</p> <p>Western Union, who was awarded best new service, created a "stage and pay" money transfer to make use easier for customers. Western Union teamed up with Walgreens in the U.S. to make access to Western Union through existing photo kiosks, cutting the need for separate technology.</p> <p>Bank of Montreal (BMO) was nominated for best new service for its savings builder account. The account is the first high interest savings account in Canada to add bonus interest when customers save $200 or more each month. Other nominees included more personalization and confirming identity through finger prints and facial recognition.</p> <p>Most creative award, in our opinion, goes to Pornhub for its "wankband." The promo is a "renewable source of energy, powered by Pornhub's quality content." Strap it to your forearm, create energy, and use it to charge anything with a USB.<br /> Photo: Hey Paul Studios</p>
Next robo-advisor target: ETFs
FinTech
<p>Robo-advisors are seeping into the market, and in 10 years, they could be managing the $13 trillion of U.S. unadvised assets, reports Daily Fintech. Those robo-advisors could then push the ETF assets under management from $3 trillion globally to a massive $75 trillion in 10 years.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Asia's growing HNWI populace needs fintech solutions — Fintech O-2-O Meetup
FinTech
<p>As Asia's population of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) explodes, so is the growing demand for fintech solutions to serve them, wealth management professionals told an audience at yesterday's Cyberport NexChange Fintech O-2-O Meetup.</p> <p>The event, held in Hong Kong's Cyberport Tuesday, opened with a keynote speech by Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen, founder of fintech-focused investment firm Nova Founders, which was followed by two panels.</p> <p>The first panel included Joanne Murphy, CAIA Association's Asia Pacific managing director, and Peter McMillan, head of wealth management Asia at Thomson Reuters, and featured a discussion on the growing demands of an increasingly sophisticated HNWI client base.</p> <p>"Investors are smarter," said Murphy,"and they have a need for greater accessbility."</p> <p>She added that clients want more transparancy and information regarding their investments, but pulling out the relevant information for each client can be expensive and time consuming. This is just one area where fintech innovation is needed, the panelists said.</p> <p>The second panel included Dr. Cedric Jeannot from APrivacy, and Phillip Yoon of Phinary Advisors, both managers of their respective wealth management-focused fintech startups. Both expressed similar sentiments to the first panel.</p> <p>Dr. Jeannot observed that small family offices and asset managers were also more nimble when it came to adopting fintech solutions. Yoon meanwhile added that it was important that wealth managers did not focus on innovation for innovation's sake, saying:<br /> "Innovation brings assurance. Regardless of what tools you bring, clients want assurance."<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Backing startups
FinTech
<p>Investment banks suffering from falling sales and trading revenues are turning to Silicon Valley to boost income. None more so than Goldman Sachs, reports the Financial Times. (paywall)</p> <p>“The bank has climbed back up the league tables for tech IPOs, according to Dealogic, and was recently appointed lead underwriter on the IPO of Square, the payments company. So far this year Goldman ranks second among tech underwriters behind Morgan Stanley, and is a clear number one in M&amp;A,” writes the FT.</p> <p>But, there are risks. </p> <p>“If one individual does much of the legwork, banks make themselves vulnerable if that person leaves. That was the case at Goldman when Anthony Noto [one of the three leaders of the bank’s tech, media and telecommunications division] left last year and joined Twitter, via a short spell at a hedge fund."</p> <p>In addition, “cosying up to young start-ups with unpaid work and other favours can also create 'awkward situations', notes another rival banker, if there is no obvious reward at the end of it.”<br /> Photo: Patrick Nouhailler<br /> &nbsp;</p>
The global race to win the crown of fintech capital continues apace
FinTech
<p>The battle is on to create a global fintech center. Top contenders: The U.S. and U.K. Startups around the world (especially Israel) may be idea-machines but they need large markets to scale. In Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore are vying for the startup crown, lagging well behind mainland China.</p> <p>Enter Funding Circle, which Daily Fintech argues could be giving London an edge in the global competition:<br /> Funding Circle looks like it is joining the really big Lending Marketplaces such as Prosper and Lending Club. As this marketplace is in hyper growth phase with maybe 5-10% penetration of a massive market, this is a huge opportunity for Funding Circle. They have one big advantage – Funding Circle focus has always been on small business lending rather than consumer and as our research showed in November 2014, that is were the action is.</p> <p>So it looks like Funding Circle could be one of those big winners that London needs in order to earn its coveted Fintech Capital of the World status. Lots of exciting new ventures is not enough. London needs a couple that scale to be global winners (like Hanson Trust). To do that, they need to win big in America.<br /> The ultimate crown goes to the host of the largest and most numerous IPOs. Where will Funding Circle list when the time comes?<br /> Photo: Christian Bucad</p>
Why users are raging at WeChat's new payment charges
FinTech
<p>WeChat, the popular Chinese social messaging app owned by Tencent, has started to charge its users for its payments and money transfer services and they are very unhappy about it.</p> <p>The amount being charged is small — 0.1% on spending and transfers over 20,000 yuan — but it has still managed to irk users who until now have been getting the services for free, according to Tech In Asia.</p> <p>The most galling aspect is that WeChat is competing Alibaba's Alipay which currently holds the lion's share of the market. Alipay doesn't charge users for its services (unless they are using the website were it charges 0.2%). Tech in Asia quoted one Zhengzhou-based user as saying:<br /> "Alipay controls more than 70% of the market, and WeChat only controls more than 10%. I really don’t know where [Tencent CEO] Pony Ma’s confidence is coming from?"<br /> It's a good question, but there is perhaps an equally good answer. While Alipay dominates now, WeChat has a few tricks up its sleeve. As the country's number one messaging app WeChat has a suite of products it can draw from to incentivise users to sign up to its services.</p> <p>These services include WeChat's Chinese New Year red envelopes promotion, for gifting money to relatives, and City Services, a platform that allow users to manage things like a doctors appointments and handle utility bills via its chat app. This is likely why users are so angry, because many are so tied into WeChat's ecosysyem that there is very little they can do about it.<br /> Photo: Steven Depolo<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Wealth management plays fintech catch-up
FinTech
<p>&nbsp;</p> <p>New technologies are disrupting the financial industry. Innovative applications and alternative service providers are transforming the sector across the spectrum, from payment systems to cryptocurrencies, from client accessibility to more efficient trade execution.</p> <p>However, wealth management firms have been slow to introduce technologies that have been vigorously implemented in other parts of the industry. The arrival of new entrants with vast databases, such as Alibaba and Google, has been a catalyst for a change in mindset.</p> <p>“There are so many exciting trends and developments taking place on the internet, and so much that wealth managers can adopt and apply in order to enhance their services and reduce costs,” says Mads Faurholt-Jorgensen, managing partner, Nova Founders, who will be delivering a presentation at the Cyberport-Nexchange O-2-O Meetup in Hong Kong on 27 October. (Register here.)</p> <p>This need is nowhere more evident than in Asia. China and India are home to the fastest growing number of rich individuals on the planet, according to the RBC Wealth Management and Capgemini World Wealth Report (2015). Banks and the new pretenders are eager to tap into these growing markets, but costs are high and competition is feverish.</p> <p>The winners are likely to be firms that not only introduce new technologies rapidly, but also create viable, long-term business models.</p> <p>“There is fierce competition in the industry. Wealth managers are investing in financial technology, often through accelerator programs, and are now implementing essential services demanded by a digital-savvy new generation of clients,” says Joanne Murphy, managing director, Asia Pacific, CAIA Association.</p> <p>"They must branch out digital channels to connect with customers and reduce cost pressures," agrees Peter McMillan, head of wealth management, Asia, Thomson Reuters.</p> <p>Asian operations, in particular, suffer from high cost-to-income ratios and a shortage of experienced, well-connected relationship managers. They are also under pressure to offer open architecture products, differentiated by specialist services such as high-prestige property investments and philanthropy.</p> <p>This means that robo-advisors will not take over their world yet. There is clearly still a requirement for the personal touch.</p> <p>“New technology is supplementing not replacing the role of relationship managers,” argues Phillip Yoon, CEO, Phinary Advisors.</p> <p>Nevertheless, “if a bank were to start up a wealth management firm now, its business model would look very different if it made full use of the technology available today,” says Dr. Cédric Jeannot, founder and CEO, APrivacy.</p> <p>“Costs would be lower and client satisfaction greater,” he adds.</p> <p>The potential uses of state-of-the-art technology are extensive. Both relationship manager and client can benefit from more focused research and data, providing a customized service. Portfolio allocation, rebalancing, optimization and measurement can all be improved, and trade execution made cheaper and faster.</p> <p>And this is where new entrants have an edge.</p> <p>“Often, they are can create nimble platforms catering for specific demand. In addition, the conventional wealth management industry is being challenged by niche family office service providers, as well as from penetration by firms ranging from Google to insurance companies with access to large databases,” says Andrew Crooke, editorial and content director, Hubbis.</p> <p>Editors note: Cyberport and NexChange are hosting a three-hour “Wealth Management and Fintech” Meetup on 27 October (16:00-19:00) at Cyberport 3, Hong Kong. It will be the second in a series of events that will examine the impact of new technology in the</p>
Fintech companies build financial basics in Africa
FinTech
<p>For a region where only one-third of people have bank accounts but more than two-thirds have cellphones, fintech isn't just revolutionary. It's essential.</p> <p>Fintech in Sub-Saharan Africa is beginning to chip away at cash's dominance, giving more options for banking, payments, and transfers, reports CNN. Here are five fintech startups can are impacting finance in Africa:</p> <p> 22Seven: This Cape Town-based app links to bank accounts to allow users to create budgets and make investments.<br /> Nomanini: Linked to cloud software, Nomanini is a payments platform for informal vendors in unstructured markets making small transactions.<br /> Zoona: Similar to the popular Kenyan system M-Pesa, this Zambian cellphone-based service allows money transfer for the unbanked.<br /> GetBucks: Another South African startup, GetBucks wants to be the "private bank of the underbanked," providing short term loans and other products online.<br /> Cellulant: The Kenya-based company works across 10 African countries allowing mobile payments and banking services.</p> <p>Photo: David Stanley</p>
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>