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Issue 16

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* SURA Investment Management Mexico, S.A. de C.V., Sociedad Operadora de Fondos de Inversión, a subsidiary company of SURA Asset Management Mexico, S.A. de C.V., who was awarded as “Best Asset Management Company - Mexico” on the “Global Banking & Finance Awards 2019”

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FROM THE

Chairman and CEO Varun Sash

editor

Editor Wanda Rich email: wrich@gbafmag.com Web Development and Maintenance Anand Giri

I am pleased to present Issue 16. For those of you that are reading us for the first time, welcome.

Head of Distribution & Production Robert Mathew Head of Operations Sreejith Nair Project Managers Megan Sash, Amanda Walker   Video Production and Journalist Phil Fothergill Graphic Designer Jessica Weisman-Pitts Client & Accounts Manager Chanel Roberts Business Consultants Rick Saikia, Monika Umakanth, Stefy Abraham, Business Analysts Samuel Joseph, Dave D’Costa Accounts Joy Cantlon, Mirka Maruszak Advertising Phone: +44 (0) 208 144 3511 marketing@gbafmag.com GBAF Publications, LTD Alpha House 100 Borough High Street London, SE1 1LB United Kingdom Global Banking & Finance Review is the trading name of GBAF Publications LTD Company Registration Number: 7403411 VAT Number: GB 112 5966 21 ISSN 2396-717X. Printed in the UK by The Magazine Printing Company The information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources the publishers believe to be correct. The publisher wishes to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying international, federal, state and/or local laws or regulations. The purchaser or reader of this publication assumes all responsibility for the use of these materials and information. However, the publisher assumes no responsibility for errors, omissions, or contrary interpretations of the subject matter contained herein no legal liability can be accepted for any errors. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the prior consent of the publisher

Our cover story, ‘Leader of Micro Finance in Thailand’ is an exclusive interview with Mr. Winyou Chaiyawan, Chief Executive Officer of The Thai Credit Retail Bank, where we discuss the way the Bank is leading to provide financial support to the micro business segment in Thailand. Issue 16 is filled with the engaging interviews with leaders from the financial community and insightful commentary from industry experts that you’ve come to expect from us. Our exclusive interview with Dr. Bernd van Linder, CEO of Commercial Bank of Dubai provides a look at their 50 years of banking experience, their commitment to customers and plans for the future. We learn how AYA Myanmar Insurance is making insurance easy and accessible in Myanmar from Managing Director, Myo Min Thu. And find out the top priorities for the Treasury Department this year at Ahlibank from Derek Kwok, Head of Treasury & Investments. We strive to capture the breaking news about the world's economy, financial events, and banking game changers from prominent leaders in the industry and public viewpoints with an intention to serve a holistic outlook. We have gone that extra mile to ensure we give you the best from the world of finance. Send us your thoughts on how we can continue to improve and what you’d like to see in the future. Enjoy!

Wanda Rich Editor

®

Stay caught up on the latest news and trends taking place by signing up for our free email newsletter, reading us online at http://www.globalbankingandfinance.com/ and subscribe to the print magazine for direct delivery. Featured on the front cover is the management team from The Thai Credit Retail Bank. Pictured from left to right is Mr. Veeravet Chaiyawan, Assistant Managing Director of Deposit Branch (seated), Mr. Natus Kittawaranon, Assistant Managing Director of Product and Marketing Group, Mr. Pornthep Permpornpipat, Assistant Managing Director of Risk Management Group, Mr. Kittipant Sriwannawit, Assistant Managing Director of Finance and Accounting, Mr. Kamolphu Phuredithsakul, Assistant Managing Director of Sales Group, Mr. Roy Agustinus Gunara, Managing Director and Mr. Winyou Chaiyawan, Chief Executive Officer.

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CONTENTS

inside... BANKING

10

Are Your Branches Boring?

32

How banks can prepare their workforce for the AI revolution

Sue Dowd, Senior Vice President of Retail Strategy at Miller Zell

Terry Walby, founder and CEO of Thoughtonomy

Digital Assets and Banking: Who Will be The Winners and Losers in the Knowledge Economy

87

David Rimmer, Leading Edge Forum

100

Switching banks? Brits want secure finances, not swish features Alison Wilkes, Head of Payments, FIS

133

Recreating the bank manager relationship? It’s all in the customer DNA

10

Doug Gross, CEO of NGDATA

BUSINESS

14

Mentoring and networking, hand in hand

Emma Sayle, Founder and CEO Killing Kittens, Safedate and Sistr

18

Losing the 'likes' - how Instagram is taking steps to stop the popularity contest

Nick Liddell, Director of Consulting, The Clearing, and co-author of Wild Thinking

24

CFOs of Consumer Brands: The Future Value Champion?

Paul Prendergast, Managing Director for the Consulting practice in the products industry at Accenture

28

Consumer trends: eco-friendly packaging now a ‘must’ for brands Graeme Young, Director of Packaging Works

100

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CONTENTS

108

BUSINESS Burnout is to be recognised by WHO in 2020 – so what does that mean for leaders in the financial sector?

64

Natalie Carrick, Executive Coach at leadership specialists Black Isle Group

108

Values and the Blue Chip World

110

Millennials: they don’t just want a paycheck; they want a purpose

Ryan Jackson, serial entrepreneur and success coach

Bruce Morton, Workforce Design and Talent Acquisition Expert and author of Redesigning the Way Work Works (BFA ad)

114

How to save millions, and your people, with automation Simon Richards, Global Managing Director of Financial Services, tekVizion

118

The role of recruitment technology in global banking and finance

Razvan Creanga, co-founder and CEO of hackajob

120

‘Ghost workers’ haunt companies as the UK’s gig economy continues to rise Zac Cohen, General Manager at Trulioo

126

Exporting to Asia: The Dos and Don’ts

136

Cracking corporate culture through learning and development

Siddharth Shankar

Dr Simon Hayward, author of The Agile Leader and CEO, Cirrus

FINANCE

120

22

Agent-based simulation – a new paradigm in financial risk assessment Justin Lyon, CEO of Simudyne

36

Is the Sheriff Entitled to a Commission on Real Property Sold Under the Auspices of the Bankruptcy Court? Bruce Buechler is a partner and vice chair of the Bankruptcy, Financial Reorganization and Creditors’ Rights Department of Lowenstein Sandler LLP

46

How to fix the relationship between finance and procurement

Paul Ellis, Managing Director, Wax Digital

124

Why do HNWIs struggle to secure a mortgage?

Alpa Bhakta, CEO, Butterfield Mortgages Limited

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CONTENTS

inside... INVESTMENT

122

Interested in UK-based off-plan property investments? Then don’t overlook these crucial steps...

26

Jerald Solis, Director, Experience Invest

TECHNOLOGY

16

When it comes to payments, think inside the {Sand}box Dave Smith, Chief Marketing Officer, Renovite Technologies

26

Our apps are an extension of our personalities

Professor Martin P Fritze from the University of Cologne

52

Staying safe when using financial apps and technology

Jamie Kavanagh, Contributor at Broadband Genie

58

How Financial Organizations Can Begin Their Journey Towards Secure Edge Operations

52

Michelle Arney, Head of Product, Cybera

62

Removing the Myths of Blockchain

82

The Pace of Technology Means Leaders Must Embrace Digital Optimisation

Marie Tatibouet, CMO of Gate Technology

Colin Dean, Director of Digital Transformation (financial services and insurance), Hyland (pathad)

96

Digital Identities: Creating Value for Individuals and Industries Arta Sylejmani, Digital Banking Strategy at Gemalto

105

The rise of self-service functionality in financial institutions Josh Ayres, head of emerging technology, IP Integration

128

How to ensure a successful S/4HANA migration?

Frank Schuler, VP SAP Technical Architecture at Syniti (formerly BackOffice Associates)

INTERVIEWS

30

Email marketing: The key to expansion and revenue generation Liviu Tanase, CEO, ZeroBounce

50

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The real state of play in modern banking Olivier Berthier, Co-Founder and CEO at Moneythor

96


CONTENTS

Inside... MAKING INSURANCE EASY & ACCESSIBLE IN MYANMAR Mr. Myo Min Thu, Managing Director, AYA Myanmar Insurance (AMI)

40

40

68 Front Cover Story LEADER OF MICRO FINANCE IN THAILAND The Thai Credit Retail Bank Interview with Mr. Winyou Chaiyawan, Chief Executive Officer of The Thai Credit Retail Bank discussing the way the Bank is leading to provide financial support to the micro business segment in Thailand.

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CONTENTS

COMMERCIAL BANK OF DUBAI -CELEBRATING 50 YEARS OF BANKING EXCELLENCE AND STILL LEADING THE WAY Dr. Bernd van Linder, Chief Executive Officer, Commercial Bank of Dubai

76 THE VITAL ROLE OF TREASURY IN BANKING Derek Kwok, Head of Treasury & Investments, Ahli Bank QSC

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Americas 10 Issue 16


AMERICAS BANKING

Are Your Branches Boring? How can you remedy your pesky double chin and branch malaise all at once? Simple: start looking up. Too often in today’s world we miss the inspiration all around us (and weaken our chin muscles) by keeping our noses buried in our smartphones. And this passive approach to our daily routines is showing in our branch designs – often trapped in a cycle of non-descript brick buildings and dingy interior color palettes. As the retail world continues to evolve in exciting and forwardthinking ways, many banks are stuck in customer experiences of the past. But what if your branches took a note from co-working spaces or quick service restaurants? Or even a speakeasy? While this may seem farfetched, it’s possible. And even more importantly, it works. I’ll show you how. Getting Started with the Unexpected Whenever I visit a new city, I almost always start with a walking tour. In my opinion, it’ the best way to really get to know a new area. A recent trip to Denver

was no different. Though I found myself sucked into my smartphone during my exploration – reviewing trip photos, texting, checking social media – I managed to notice something unusual in the sidewalk. A seal, branded by the company that laid the pavement, was etched into the concrete. Further down my path I noticed another, then another. This got me thinking about how turn of the century banks did something similar with their pressed metal seals, proudly indicating when it was built and by whom. If parallels can be drawn between a bank and a sidewalk, just imagine what else could apply to your branch designs. It’s for this reason that when beginning a new relationship with banking clients, I also start with a retail walking tour. Not only does it break them out of the office mindset but allows them to draw inspiration from anything – not just what’s trending in the industry. And let me tell you, inspiration is everywhere (if you can manage to look up from your phone) from the second you wake up to the last minute of your day.

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AMERICAS BANKING Where Your Day Can Take You Like many of you, I start out my day with caffeine. And naturally, this is where the first bits of inspiration can arise if you’re paying attention. What do your branches and, say, your favorite coffee shops have in common? Why, your drive-throughs of course! Much like your drive-up tellers, quickservice restaurants have many mobile and drive-through orders to fill. Fastcasual spots like Dunkin’ Donuts are reimagining their drive-throughs. In a new concept store, simply known as the rebranded Dunkin’, they’ve added an “HOV” lane for mobile orders – not too far from how many banks set-up exterior ATMs. Some major banks are taking a page from this playbook, including Chase and Huntington, with remote drive-ups for ATMs that are both efficient as they are a major branding opportunity to create an iconic statement. How does your drive-up stack up? It is an utilitarian, cement overhang void of branding and design? Just something to think about.

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More of a tea drinker? Another bit of inspiration from my time in Boston is an installation at T2 Boston, a tea shop, with walls adorned with “tea literacy” information about each product. How could that translate to a bank branch? Regions Bank is leading a similar charge with digital signage in branches that offer financial literacy quizzes to patrons, in order to help add value to their experience through education. As my day in Boston wore on, inspiration was waiting for me in the library. I find it interesting that, like banks, libraries are in the throes of reinventing themselves to become “relevant” again. For example, the Boston Public Library has strived for over 100 years to bring passion to the people. Though the building is historic, like many legacy banks and credit unions, you’re welcomed in by a lobby that’s nothing short of modern, outfitted with all interactive and engaging digital displays. For example, one display turns guest photos into images built from passages of classic novels. In the age of social media, this type of instant – and Instagram-able – gratification is key.

You might’ve noticed that many of my examples thus far are from customer service venues. “But what about the workplace,” you might be asking. “Banks are a place of business!” I couldn’t agree more, let’s take a look at the latest in workplace design: coworking spaces. The craze that’s taken over the entrepreneurial ventures of the last few years have some important things to add to a branch. A Boston WeWork has taken on the popular trend of hyper-localization, resulting in large murals, relevant signage (theirs being Red Sox-themed, naturally). Many banks are currently tying this theme into their branches, like Citizens Bank and its community walls supported throughout its network with digital displays. Going digital not only lends itself to a sleek design but is a cost-effective method of maintaining consistent execution while celebrating historical significance and community values relevant to each branch.


AMERICAS BANKING Other examples of banks mirroring the co-working space model is the widely talked about Capital One Cafes, a brick-and-mortar coffee shop and banking institution from the previously digital-only ING Direct, which incorporates discreet sitting areas for customer privacy. And at the end of a “work-day,” inspiration even found me during a nightcap in a Philadelphia speakeasy. Its monetary themed décor, with a nickel bar top or copper penny flooring, could speak so well to a banking interior. Even how the bar carved living room-esque dining spaces in lieu of close-together tables was thought-provoking. And during a commute home, it was clear that transportation too has run with this trend, for example, Union Station in Denver, which transforms multipurpose areas into cozy vignettes resulting in a more comfortable setting to relax in while traveling. Just think what this could do for your lobby areas while customers waited to speak with their banker. Where Are Your Possibilities? Now that I’ve shown you some of my inspirations, are you ready to find yours? It’s clear that banks and credit unions no longer need to stick to the status quo when it comes to design. In fact, if the goal is to stand out, it’s nothing short of paramount to think outside the box for your branch design. Your customer base is changing, and your branches can change with them. A well-seasoned design partner can not only help you evaluate your current network design and narrow in on your vision but should also bring unconventional ideas to the table that will allow your institution to create a unique, differentiated experience. Don’t forget how important it is to consider scaling and rollout as well, because a good design isn’t feasible without a tangible execution plan. And finally, remember to put down your phone and take in inspiration wherever you go. Your customers will thank you, and so will your chin muscles.

Sue Dowd Senior Vice President of Retail Strategy Miller Zell

Issue 16 | 13


AMERICAS BUSINESS

Mentoring and networking, hand in hand Mentoring and networking are often attributed to the ‘soft skills’ of a business; a cursory nod to personal development and proof that organisations are ‘invested’ in their people. Yet these seemingly softtouches are actually one of the most powerful ways for people to evolve their businesses and careers, honing and developing skills and building a network of invaluable support. No business book or google-search can compete with real-life hands-on experience that is altruistically shared within a like-minded community. Learning from those who have been there, seen it and delivered it is one of the most valuable investments people can make in their careers. Mentoring brings rich rewards to both parties; for the mentor, it is an opportunity to nurture less experienced individuals, which often brings a strong

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sense of fulfilment as well as the chance to build influential relationships into the future. Many mentors also report that helping others through their own challenges leads to their own self-reflection and consideration of how they might tackle situations differently in the future. For those being mentored, it is a safe and trusted place to explore key areas of business and leadership challenges and give them the belief and confidence that they can fulfil their ambition. Choosing the right mentor requires careful consideration and this is where networking plays an equally crucial role. Networking offers opportunities to connect and identify with a much wider community and its potentially rich resource of experience and expertise, but it requires sustained personal commitment and effort. Attending talks, conferences and workshops

are all excellent ways to forge new connections both inside and outside of one’s business network. But it is the prevalence of online communities, especially those that represent minority groups, which are starting to be a real game-changer in this area. They are rapidly changing the face of networking and mentoring as one of the most accessible and efficient ways to reach out to a niche source of inspiration, advice and support. At its heart, mentoring is all about empowerment. The premise of the Sistr mentoring platform, for example, was created by women for women and driven by the desire to redress the imbalance they face in business today. Evidence shows that British women still face huge amounts of bias and sexual discrimination in business. They remain disproportionally represented in the entrepreneurial community, with male start-ups


AMERICAS BUSINESS

outstripping women by a ratio of nearly three to one. Of the six million businesses in the UK, only a fifth are run by women. Being able to access a like-minded community of successful female businesswomen and entrepreneurs at the touch of a button means women can get the support they need. For the women who mentor them, it is about smashing misconceptions that women are not ‘tech’ enough or confident enough to launch their own business, especially in sectors that have especially been traditionally biased towards men. Whilst people tend to think of mentoring as predominately benefiting only the mentor and mentee, the advantages of mentoring can have a longlasting and far-reaching effect by creating more confident and capable influencers and leaders who, in turn, can inspire the next generation of business owners and leaders. Recent research on female university engineering students in the US revealed that 100% of firstyear undergraduates continued with their studies when they were allocated a female mentor. This was identified as a highly influential factor in encouraging women into the traditionally male-dominated industries within science and engineering. Results like these show that when people feel they are in a minority or are under-represented, access to a wider supportive network can make a powerful difference to their engagement and confidence to succeed. So, what makes a good mentor? Firstly, they will have a genuine, selfless interest in who they are

mentoring and are willing to share their personal experience and insight, without distracting from the individual. The vast majority of people seeking a mentor do so because they do not yet have the right type of experience or expertise they need to take their business or career to the next level. Talking to someone who has already gained first-hand experience and being able to identify with them is a proven and effective way to build one’s own development. Secondly, an effective mentor will recognise that the biggest leaps in learning come from the setbacks and challenges, not the successes. Mentoring someone through a difficult time not only provides the individual with much-needed support, it also equips them for the future when their experience will prove an invaluable learning point for someone else. Thirdly, a mentor can be an expert in their field but still recognise that they, too, are always learning. No-one can be an expert in everything and experienced mentors will seek out the support they also need to continue their own development. Networking forums serve an integral role here as they offer an opportunity to connect high-level business mentors to one another, which was identified as a key motivator for experienced female mentors joining the Sistr platform. Ultimately, mentoring can be a very powerful way to shape new mind-sets and deliver exceptional professional growth. The key is finding the right mentor through the right networking channels and for both parties to be willing to invest the time and effort needed to bring it to fruition.

Emma Sayle Founder and CEO Killing Kittens, Safedate, and Sistr

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AMERICAS TECHNOLOGY

When it comes to payments, think inside the {Sand}box The 21-century payments industry is part of a sector that has come to reward FIs prepared to push the boundaries by finding new, innovative ways of making money management user-friendly and convenient. Similarly, it does not suffer fools gladly. Mistakes are not easily forgiven.

Historically, military tacticians would plan military supply lines, troop formations, defensive strategy and so on, quite literally by drawing them in a box of sand. Now while IT developers and military personnel are an unlikely pairing, the historic term transfers nicely.

More recently, sector success stories tend to flow from challenger banks and innovative money app start-ups. Clever people with clever ideas who think outside the box. Often the driving Ideas can retrospectively appear to be so simple we wonder why we didn’t think of them in the first place. Yet, there is one “box” organisations in financial services might want to think very much inside, and that’s the experimental sandbox.

A sandbox is an isolated testing environment that offers FIs room to roam, room to succeed, room to fail, and room to try again. It lets organisations test new ideas and respond to regulatory requirements using real transaction types. Businesses can assess the effects of new services and validate them as part of their pre-live testing, eliminating risk and instilling confidence.

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Thanks to the arrival of 21-century cloud-native technology, the concept of an experimental sandbox isn’t restricted to larger organisations who can afford the extra server space. Instead, the sandbox becomes an affordable operational expense, paid for when required rather than as an upfront capital investment. Addressing the diversification agenda The evolution of consumer spending behaviour has accelerated at pace in recent times. Consumers are savvier about how they spend and the payment tokens available to them. This trend comes at a very interesting time for the payments industry. While on the one hand, we’re witnessing


AMERICAS TECHNOLOGY

a heightened sense of sophistication in consumer expectations, on the other, innovation in the payments industry has been anesthetised due to a lack of modern infrastructure and the embargo this has placed on new innovations. Some challenger banks’ capacity to offer a reliable, fault free service has also been negatively affected by infrastructure issues. The industry has reached a pinch point; it’s starved of innovation because the technology it’s embedded in is like an old racehorse; weary, stubborn, and if pushed, likely to collapse. The capacity to respond quickly to consumer demands with agility and flexibility isn’t realistic under these conditions. The sharp rise in demand for new payment services is outgrowing supply. This change is both a threat and an opportunity for payments organisations. It has cranked up the pressure on businesses to get creative and get responsive. At the same time, there lies an omnipresent danger; if processes are rushed, things tend to break – particularly in a heavily regulated compliance environment. Organisations need to be able to test fast, test deep, and test often. The risk of rushing and falling shy when it comes to testing practices bears significant risk. The volumes of negative media reports covering outages and IT meltdowns by FIs who have taken shortcuts is proof enough of this risk.

Testing for tomorrow An experimental sandbox environment lets businesses simulate the effect of new services against the kinds of transaction profiles they are managing today, and crucially, their plans for tomorrow. Representative Transaction Files can be generated to reflect different payment ecosystems and thoroughly evaluated, so no stone is left unturned prior to live deployment. New services are validated as part of the pre-live testing and deployed almost immediately thereafter—at pace, with confidence. Proving change is possible From a business management perspective, an experimental sandbox offers one further crucial advantage: it creates internal confidence. Businesses, particularly larger businesses that are used to operational stability need this level of assurance if the entire operation is to buy into the concept of transformation, which is an essential success ingredient. With a sandbox practice in place, new ideas can be validated, proven and deployed at an immense pace, outstripping the previous release models of vendor dependant upgrades. The more this happens, the more demonstrable proof points are created and the more collective confidence a business can garner.

sandbox model allows businesses to get ahead - and stay ahead, rather than floating around in the same water as everyone else in the market hoping to make it out alive. Some organisations may say they aren’t ready to migrate to the cloud, so how does this help? 21-century technology means a sandbox designed using cloud-native technology isn’t prescriptive. It can be deployed into the cloud, of course, but it can also be deployed onto on-premise servers, as well as a variety of hybrid configurations. It’s a choice that can be made by the business depending on what suits their individual requirement; it’s having full control over the deployment choice of technologies that is key. Giving a new service it’s first ‘real’ test in a live environment bears too much risk. Testing is a practice that organisations in an increasingly competitive payments environment simply cannot afford to get wrong. Consumers aren’t loyal to brands like they once were, they’re loyal to organisations that guarantee good service. Fortunately thanks to the availability of experimental sandboxes, this is something businesses of all sizes can now achieve, affordably and risk-free.

Speeding up the time to market of new services for a financial organisation allows for a huge advantage over their competitors. It creates a real sense of sustainable progress and influence when it comes to creating the product roadmap they really want. There’s a difference between being reactive and proactive when it comes to payments technology; it’s like treading water versus swimming to the end of the pool. The level of competitive agility created by the

Dave Smith Chief Marketing Officer Renovite Technologies

Issue 16 | 17


AMERICAS BUSINESS

Losing the 'likes' - how Instagram is taking steps to stop the popularity contest

Is the world’s largest social network about to become the world’s most powerful central bank? Facebook has announced its intention to launch Libra - a global digital currency aimed at disrupting financial services beyond recognition. The company claims that their currency will transform the lives of the 1.7bn unbanked people on the planet, who will be able to make instant and (almost but not quite) free international money transfers from their mobile phones. Despite support from the likes of Mastercard, Spotify and Uber, the response from central bankers at the G7 has been less than enthusiastic. A Facebook currency would be regarded as systemically important, but the company is a long way from being regarded as trustworthy enough to oversee a strong, stable, secure currency. As recently as January, CNBC published a report describing Facebook as a ‘cult-like’ workplace, where dissent is discouraged and employees are discouraged from voicing concerns. Added to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, central bankers’ circumspection is entirely understandable.

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Powerful populations Reading between the lines, there’s probably also a little bit of fear in the bankers’ response to Facebook’s announcement. Social media platforms play a central role in our everyday lives. They wield tremendous power. According to Statista, Facebook had 2.38 billion monthly active users in the first quarter of 2019. That’s roughly equivalent to the combined populations of China, the United States, Brazil, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, South Africa, Argentina, Australia and Syria. Facebook isn’t the only social media platform with a mind-boggling population. Instagram has around a billion users; if it was a country it would be the third most popular, behind China and India… and three times larger than the United States. Even Twitter – which is considered a tiddler in social media terms – is used by around 330 million people monthly. Social media platforms have the scale and the power to disrupt the world’s relationship with money – but will they ever command the requisite level of trust? It’s difficult to see how they will succeed at launching functioning currencies until they demonstrate that they can manage functioning communities. And we’re a long

way from that. Silicon Valley CEOs have been uncharacteristically open in admitting the negative impact that social media can have on people’s emotional wellbeing. In January 2018, Apple CEO Tim Cook told students at Harlow College in Essex that he discourages his nephew from using social media. In the same year, Simon Stevens, CEO of the NHS claimed that the health service is “picking up the pieces” of an epidemic of mental illness among children, fuelled by social media and called on social media giants to do more to protect children. Where’s the value in wellbeing? The issue isn’t limited to young users. Online bullying, harassment, radicalisation and manipulation affect users of all ages. In response, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has announced his intention to optimise the platform to make sure the time people spend on Facebook is “time well-spent”. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has also stated his intention to help “increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation”. This focus on societal wellbeing isn’t selfless; the more unhappy social


AMERICAS BUSINESS

media makes people, the more likely it is that they will eventually decide to “unplug”. Conversely, if the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can demonstrate an ability to make people happier, to promote a more cohesive society and productive economy, they effectively begin to fulfil many of the traditional roles of government… Which will eventually open the door to a social media-backed global currency that people will actually trust enough to transact with. So how do social media companies propose to re-engineer their experiences to promote wellbeing and earn our trust? In May this year, Instagram began trialling a new feature that hides users’ public like counts on videos and photos. The trial will run in Canada and has been introduced in an attempt to encourage people to focus on the quality of the content people share, rather than the quantified popularity of who or what is being shared.  Adam Mosseri, Instagram’s CEO explained the rationale behind the hidden likes experiment at Facebook’s annual developer conference in April: “We want people to worry a little bit less about how many likes they’re getting on Instagram and spend a bit more time connecting with the people that they care about.” The experiment is part of a broader strategy to evolve Instagram into a less pressurised and more welcoming environment.

Hiding your likes Instagram isn’t alone in exploring the potential for de-liking. Twitter has rolled out a prototype application called “Twttr”, which has hidden its “like” button. Jack Dorsey has also spoken openly about removing other metrics. His comments last year at a hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee suggest he has been engaging in a substantial amount of soul-searching about the metrics his platform shares with users – including that most fundamental of social media measures: follower counts. Jack Dorsey acknowledged that their prominence creates incentives for people to focus

on growing their follower base: “The question we're now asking is, is that necessarily the right incentive? Is the number of followers you have really a proxy for how much you contribute to Twitter and this digital public square?" Promoting “healthy public conversation” is now the company’s top priority, which suggests Twitter will shift its emphasis from quantitative metrics to improving the quality of experience and interactions users have on its platform.

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AMERICAS BUSINESS

This is more than an emotional issue. Seeking social validation online through followers and likes doesn’t just mess up how people feel about social media – it messes up how they behave. In January this year, a picture of an egg became the most liked post ever on Instagram, amassing more than 50 million likes. The account was created solely with the ambition of breaking Kylie Jenner’s previous record of 18 million likes. Likes, it turns out, have become an almost useless measure of genuine engagement with social media content: online users can buy likes or comments from businesses like Fuelgram dedicated to artificially

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boosting social media metrics. The improved metrics enable ‘influencers’ to generate more revenue through advertisements and sponsored posts. Where will financial inclusion come from? Consider how this would affect a social media platform with its own currency, or credit-scoring algorithm based on follower data, likes and other social media metrics: could an imaginary egg qualify for preferential interest rates? Might it become a vehicle for money laundering? Would it be able to offer financial advice? Could it be sponsored by a bank? Could it be handsomely rewarded for

doing so? Would it be able to execute a hostile takeover of Kylie Jenner’s cosmetics business? The perverse behavioural incentives that social media platforms encourage could have very grave consequences when they have the potential to affect our access to credit, loans, and capital. They introduce the possibility that real people will suffer financial exclusion on the basis of a set of measures that are easily corrupted and frequently manipulated. But to exclude social media platforms participating in the delivery of financial services also presents a lost opportunity. Fintech platforms like


AMERICAS BUSINESS

Kiva have emerged as complementary systems for driving greater financial inclusion. Kiva is an international non-profit, which was established in 2005 to expand financial access to underserved communities. Rather than applying traditional credit scoring methods, Kiva uses a system it calls “social underwriting”, where trustworthiness is determined by friends and family lending a portion of the loan request, or by a Kiva approved Trustee vouching for the borrower. Around $1.3 bn has been lent through Kiva, predominantly to female borrowers. Lenders can browse potential borrowers based on the amount, length and purpose of the loan. They can read about the loan applicant’s story, their past repayment history, and they can see which other users have already committed to participate in the loan. Lenders can also see their own impact measures, which include loan amounts, borrower gender data, sectors and countries loaned to. Kiva is just the tip of the iceberg; a plethora of similar platforms have been founded to bring financial services to the excluded and underserved – in both developed and developing markets. These platforms share many of the characteristics of traditional social media platforms – an emphasis on personal storytelling, gamification of metrics and the ability to follow, interact, encourage and censure other users on the platform. A key difference between these financially oriented platforms and the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram seems to be they gather, share and

use metrics that deal with social validation. In the case of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all users are encouraged to focus on a very narrow set of extremely blunt measures – numbers of views, likes, followers and shares. Because there are so few measures – and because they all broadly aim to capture the same ultimate ambition of ‘engagement”’ – these platforms have unwittingly fallen victim to Goodhart’s Law: that once a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure. The Law was originally conceived of by economist Charles Goodhart in the 1970s and is intended to warn against the human tendency to ‘game the system’. The smaller and narrower the target is, the more likely it is that people will want and succeed in manipulating it. Platforms like Kiva are less susceptible to Goodhart’s Law because they measure behaviour across a far broader and more complete set of measures, as well as allowing users to define success in their own terms – and consequently chase different outcomes. Some may care more about funding projects that focus on gender equality, while others may want to support communities in a specific region, or projects that achieve some other social or environmental purpose. Because people aren’t all chasing the same targets and aren’t all seeking the same form of affirmation, there is less incentive for them to compete to ‘win’ on the same narrow measures. Instead, they can focus on the types of interaction that make them happier and more fulfilled. In theory, a social media platform that prioritises “healthy public conversation” should be better placed to challenge traditional financial services institutions. Having spent a substantial amount of time over the past twenty years talking to people about how they manage their lives

and their finances, it’s become very clear that we struggle even to engage in healthy private conversation about money. But if social media is going to be a part of the solution to under met needs and underserved individuals and communities, it will require more fundamental transformation than simply hiding a set of engagement metrics that users are now trained to fetishize. To escape Goodhart’s Law, social media sites will need to introduce a broader set of measures that more accurately captures ‘positive interaction’ rather than simply ‘user engagement’. To achieve this, their CEOs and leadership teams will need to nail down their vision for these interactions far more clearly, coherently and comprehensively than they have so far achieved: “time well-spent” and “healthy public conversation” don’t even come close. Until they have managed to do so, any global online currency associated with their platforms is likely to be doomed to hard-wire their shortcomings into the global financial system. Charles Goodhart would not have approved.

Nick Liddell Director of Consulting The Clearing co-author of Wild Thinking

Issue 16 | 21


AMERICAS FINANCE

Agent-based simulation – a new paradigm in financial risk assessment In the world of financial risk modelling, we stand on a precipice. The financial crisis firmly demonstrated why financial institutions must get a solid grip on their counterparty, client and market exposures. They have made limited progress in understanding the extent to which the financial system is interconnected but now have begun to realise that traditional risk modelling methods are not fit for purpose today. In today’s complex and connected world every decision sets off a chain reaction too dynamic for anyone to predict like interconnected lines of dominoes branching off in an infinite number of directions. Now thanks to advances in computing technology, we are finally able to take the next step in the evolution of risk modelling and begin to simulate those chain reactions. Using agent-based modelling (ABM), we can begin to capture the complexity of real-world systems by calibrating and testing them with simulation. By building virtual environments, we can test drive decisions, fail fast without real world consequences and gain the foresight to make the right risk decisions. The limitations of traditional financial risk modelling Traditionally, institutions have focused on mechanistic, or traditional risk modelling. Like linear theories in a text book, these assume the past is a good representation of the future, that there will be no structural changes to a market. In effect, we have limited our ability to predict future risk outcomes by driving 100 mile per hour using only a rear view mirror.

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Markets rarely behave like they do in textbooks scenarios. Take for example the case of Statistical Arbitrage (Stat Arb) funds during the infamous “quant quake” in August 2007. These algorithmdriven hedge funds were designed to take advantage of inefficiencies in the market, but when they were faced with unprecedented mass deleveraging during the subprime crash, they could not function effectively and suffered heavy losses. The funds had no exposure to toxic subprime credit derivatives, but they did have exposure to stocks that were also owned by institutions that did have subprime exposure. Thus they were sucked into a contagion event, and the undervalued stocks held by the Stat Arb funds kept falling but their short positions didn’t rise. There was no historical precedent and the funds dropped by as much as 30% in a matter of days. The theory of ABM ABM theory states that financial markets are simply a collection of people making decisions, and if these actions are highly correlated then unintended consequences can occur. Within electronically traded markets, for example, traders respond to each other’s activity and adjust their actions – and their algorithms – accordingly.

ABM isn’t a new theory. In the late eighties, Nobel laureate Harry Markowitz, regarded as a pioneer of modern portfolio selection, was trying to understand how 1987’s ‘Black Monday’ crash happened. He published a seminal paper that laid out the theory, explaining how understanding market dynamics allowed you to model how each individual’s logical, self-interested decision ultimately creating a costly and illogical outcome. Using the stock market again, participants adapt their trading strategies to the stream of events coming at them, executing orders accordingly. And, at a more macro


AMERICAS FINANCE

level, market participants buy and sell based on economic news, company announcements or even tweets. These interactions amongst many different traders, with their various trades and narratives, form a ‘complex adaptive system’. Technology finally catches up to scientific theory The theory of ABM developed through the nineties as the likes of the Santa Fe Institute built the earliest simulations through its Virtual Stock Market project. Central banks also began writing papers and testing the theory, as they understood that traditional risk modelling had not been able to adequately predict the subprime crash and ensuing market contagion. The struggle has been that until now, ABM has been purely theoretical. To put it into practice required simulating market execution, or agent-based simulation (ABS), which called for a huge amount of computational power to replicate the dazzling complexity of a real complex adaptive system like the stock market and its millions of participants. Only institutional supercomputers could simulate the millions of potential outcomes making it inaccessible for many organisations. But recently, technology has allowed the jump from theory into practice. The cloud and distributed computing now provide the capacity to build and execute large-scale agent-based simulations inexpensively.

Simulators have been used extensively in natural sciences, robotics and artificial intelligence to understand and manage complex adaptive systems. But that science is now being used in financial markets to take the next step in risk modelling. These simulators produce realistic synthetic data that represent the market under relevant scenarios. This data reflects the actions and responses of real market participants. The new paradigm in risk modelling Using ABS, financial instituions are beginning to model millions of ‘what ifs’, and then using that data to better train themselves and their algorithms. This level of risk management is necessary in an age of High Frequency Trading (HFT). It’s widely accepted that increased automation in financial markets has contributed to market volatility and the emergence of flash crashes. Simply, the market is struggling to manage the rapid market movements that are executed within black boxes working at nanosecond speeds. Regulation is being discussed to curb the speed at which the market currently moves, but we still cannot adequately predict what will happen in the event of the next “quant quake”. At the time of the “quant quake” in 2007, only around 30% of the daily volume of US equities were traded using algorithms, but now passive and quant stock picking accounts for more than 60% of all US equity trading. This risk can be better managed with ABS. It allows financial institutions to efficiently model an unlimited number of complex futures in a virtual environment before having to commit to decisions and capital in the real world. Trade execution teams are already using simulation to better model the performance and robustness of their algorithms before launching them to market.

Furthermore, ABS can be used beyond managing risk within HFT. As simulation becomes the gold standard of risk modelling, the range of industries it can be applied to are myriad. Fraud and anti-money laundering is an obvious next target – by creating synthetic fraudulent agents, the simulation could create scenarios that could predict the next scam before it happens. Beyond finance, just about any industry could use ABS to mitigate risk. As industries become more automated and produce more historical data, simulations can be built to forecast what could be. From autonomous vehicles to defense, we will be able to ask simulations to play out millions of scenarios and assess how we react to those eventualities. Ultima te ly, while we c a nn o t p red i ct the f uture , ABM solutions w i l l b e key to ma k ing ra dic a lly be t t er busine ss de c isions, e na bl i n g u s t o build sa fe r, m ore e f f ic ie nt m a r ket s in the longe r te rm .

Justin Lyon CEO Simudyne

Issue 16 | 23


AMERICAS BUSINESS

CFOs of Consumer Brands:

The Future Value Champion? We have seen huge disruption across a range of industries, with no signs of slowing down. For the big consumer brands, the relentless pace of change is creating higher consumer expectations and upending traditional certainties on an epic scale. Consumers are firmly in the driving seat and looking for more than just a “product”. They’re using digital platforms to buy directly from manufacturers, bypassing traditional retail. They want services that bring convenience to their lives and searching for experiences that embody the brand purpose they’ve bought into. The challenge for companies is to deliver something that’s “just right” for each consumer, meeting their individual needs at the precise moment. And the smaller players are giving them exactly what they want but turning "business as usual" on its head and creating new models on agile operating structures that engage in a larger ecosystem and accelerate innovation to satisfy growing consumer demand for low cost, personalized products and services. The traditional consumer goods operating models simply weren’t designed for this level of complexities. Successful companies will be those who can achieve an incredible amount of organizational agility – something that many just don’t have yet. It also calls for a rethink of the entire value chain, all the way from developing new concepts, through manufacturing, to the store shelf and beyond. To find new growth, brands must solve these challenges, injecting agility across the business,

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leveraging a wider ecosystem of partners, and delivering relevance at scale 1 for a marketplace of millions of individuals. Enter the CFO Chief Financial Officers are uniquely positioned to help drive this journey forward. They have a crucial role in driving the efficiencies in the core business. They have the necessary insights to build the business case for change, targeting operational improvements and the use of new digital technologies to unlock value and drive more profitable growth. Accenture’s research 2 shows that CFOs see their role is changing. They’re now just as likely to view themselves as “value champions” and “transformation drivers” as their

more traditional business functions. For instance, 81 percent of surveyed CFOs say targeting areas of new value across the business is a major focus, while 78 percent say they lead efforts to drive business-wide operational transformations and efficiencies through digital technology. CFOs understand the need for speed and agility today, with over half those surveyed (58 percent) saying they’re working towards real-time analysis of business performance. Interestingly, that’s expected to rise to a massive 89 percent in three years’ time. New roles, new skillsets Delivering relevance at scale means adapting the consumer goods supply chain for new levels of


AMERICAS BUSINESS

personalization and multiple sales channels. Given the challenges of doing this alone, most brands will need to leverage a much wider ecosystem of partners across the value chain. And here CFOs have a

These new requirements are changing the CFO skills profile. CFOs themselves say that anticipating and managing risk, long-term strategic thinking, and insight into new technologies are now their most important capabilities. And they know the broader finance function needs to change too, with the ability to innovate now the most sought-after capability for junior finance staff. Five actions every CFO should be taking today So, what are the immediate priorities for consumer goods CFOs as they drive relevance at scale for their brands? There are five actions every CFO should be taking today:

vital role to play. They can bring a data-driven approach to selecting partners, while ensuring this complex endeavor remains focused on the value-adding outcomes the business is targeting. We are seeing more CFOs actively taking a lead on data governance. They understand the value of data and see it as a strategic business asset, with 84 percent of finance departments taking responsibility for their organization’s data governance (higher than in any other industry surveyed). In fact, “inconsistent, inaccurate and inaccessible data” is viewed as the greatest challenge facing today’s consumer goods CFOs according to Accenture Research.

#4 Drive a deep transformation of operations. CFOs should be considering zero-based budgeting as a means of creating spend visibility, driving the efficiencies that can fund a pivot to new growth. #5 Be the architect of value. CFOs should be influencing decisions about ecosystem partner organizations, ensuring every move is focused on delivering ultimate value for the business. Above all, CFOs need to put themselves at the center of business decision making as their companies pivot to the operating models that deliver consumer relevance at scale 3 and capture new growth opportunities in a highly complex and uncertain marketplace.

#1 Start with digitizing finance – then the company. Finance is an ideal testing ground for digital technology, automation, and AI. CFOs should be using their experience and lessons learned to drive a digital transformation across the business. #2 Plan holistically and harness data for insights. CFOs know the value of data visibility and should champion the use of real-time analytics and insights across the C-suite and beyond. #3 Develop the future finance workforce. CFOs should be planning holistically for their future talent needs, including promoting the greater use of AI and other innovative digital technologies.

Paul Prendergast Managing Director for the Consulting Practice in the Products Industry Accenture 1

“Consumer Goods & Services Consulting.” Accenture, www. accenture.com/us-en/industries/consumer-goods-andservices-index.

2

“CFO Research: Consumer Goods and Services.” Accenture, www.accenture.com/gb-en/insights/consulting/cfo-researchconsumer-goods-services.

3

“Consumer Goods & Services Consulting.” Accenture, www. accenture.com/us-en/industries/consumer-goods-andservices-index.

Issue 16 | 25


AMERICAS TECHNOLOGY

Our apps are an extension of our personalities

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? I bet it’s not brushing your teeth, drinking coffee, or even saying ‘Good Morning’ to the other person in bed, but rather picking up your phone and replying to messages, downloading the latest news, and ordering something online using various digital services; but why is this? In an ever more digitalized society, we now see digital services on our phones as an extension of our personalities, and we rapidly connect to and are reluctant to give them up once we have obtained them. Over the years, studies have highlighted how important the ownership of

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material products is for individuals, however more recently, there has been a call for understanding consumerism for digital markets, and why we are now so reliant on the apps on our phones. Consumer research has exposed extensive evidence proving that people view their material possessions as part of themselves, and that the things we own help us to express who we are or aspire to be. However, in the digital age, our possessions clearly extend beyond the physical, and it has become apparent that we can now also become instantaneously attached to our digital services, using our apps to express, reinforce or reach a desired identity.

We retain functional apps on our phones such as banking apps, due to their practical purposes, keeping them ‘just in case’. This is because, as humans, we have a conditioned tendency to keep hold of our possessions once we own them. We place a higher value on a good that we own, or feel we own, than on an identical good that we don’t. So, if we believe the app on our phone will fulfill the purpose of solving a task, and we acknowledge the possibility of being able to use the object in the future, we will hold on to it and will be reluctant to give it up once we have downloaded it.


AMERICAS TECHNOLOGY

However, beyond practicality, we also become attached to the apps on our phones not only due to their potentially useful functions, but also because they tie into our self-image, meaning we also use our apps to fulfill our emotional needs and desires. We use apps to help us reach our personal goals, like becoming healthier, finding a relationship or to save more money, and when we attach some meaning to our apps, which exceeds purely functional dimensions, it allows us to express ourselves in ways we may not in everyday life. This means that we hold significant sentimental value towards them, viewing the digital services on our phones as an extension of our personalities, and as an access route to wider communities we may develop strong affiliations with. With this in mind, given how important digital services such as Instagram, Tinder, and WeChat have become to people’s lives and how much time and emotional energy individuals spend using such services on a daily basis, it would be naïve to think that relying so heavily on our apps couldn’t lead to serious mental and physical health issues, due to their pervasive and addictive nature.

However, we know that relying on apps on our phones can lead to mental and physical health issues, and the full extent of the effects that consumer behavior has on individual wellbeing in the digital age is not yet fully understood. Further research on human attachment to digital services is rich in potential, and we have to gain a better understanding of people’s reliance on apps, especially when you consider the ongoing progress in artificial intelligence and the continuous rapid development of technology. For now, though, we should not be overemphasizing the importance that apps have on our self-worth and happiness, and we should aim for balance and moderation when incorporating digital services into our lives.

Professor Martin P Fritze University of Cologne

This along with the fact that downloading a new app, trying out a streaming service, or registering on a social media platform takes very little time to do, adds to the increasing inevitability and our likelihood that we will become psychologically dependent on our phones and tablets. In an ever more digitalized society, we should constantly be aware of this. Of course, there are a vast amount of positive aspects that digital services bring to our lives; they help us to connect with our loved ones, meet new people, express ourselves in ways we feel most comfortable, as well as simply making life more entertaining.

Issue 16 | 27


AMERICAS BUSINESS

Consumer Trends: Have you had a chance to catch up on ‘Our Planet’ on Netflix? If not, grab a box of tissues and be prepared to experience The Attenborough Effect: the global phenomenon fuelling the ‘war on plastic’ and bringing packaging decisions into the consumer eye. Consumers are paying more and more attention to their purchasing decisions when it comes to packaging. According to a recent survey of consumers from the US & UK by Globalwebindex 1 : •

42 per cent of consumers said that products that have packaging made from recycled and/or sustainable materials are important in their day-to-day shopping. The percentage of consumers globally who have said they are willing to pay more for ecofriendly packaging has grown from 47 per cent to 59 per cent in just seven years.

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eco-friendly packaging now a ‘must’ for brands

More than half of people surveyed said they’re now making a conscious choice to use less disposable plastic than they were doing a year ago.

It’s not just documentaries that are fuelling this step-change in consumer trends, it’s also due to viral trends on social media. Images of heaps of rubbish piling up on islands and videos of animals being injured or even killed by plastic packaging are evoking strong emotional responses from the public. Twitter users slam e-commerce brands by posting photos of excessive delivery packaging. All brands are facing consumer scrutiny about their packaging choices in ways not possible before the days of social media. So, where do brands stand when it comes to packaging trends? Brands’ responses to packaging scrutiny Companies opting to commit to recyclable packaging are making headlines daily.

Guinness and other beer brands have finally decided to abandon those dreadful plastic rings to opt for plastic-free alternatives like gluing beer cans together. A supermarket in Thailand has gone viral after creating ‘banana leaf packaging’ for fruit and vegetables. And Aldi has committed to selling only recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging by 2025. It’s not only selling recyclable packaging that matters, however. CocaCola was recently slammed as being the most common source of packaging pollution on UK beaches, even though they recently announced that 98 per cent 2 of their packaging is recyclable. Now, campaigners are calling on the British government to toughen packaging laws 3 and make companies 100% responsible for the cost of the waste resulting from their packaging. How can your company make adjustments to satisfy consumer demands for eco-friendly packaging? Customers in the US and UK are becoming more aware of


AMERICAS BUSINESS environmental issues and how companies work – from production to delivery to disposal. Whether you’re selling clothing, food, tech gadgets or cosmetics, online or in-store, your company needs to reassess your packaging strategy in order to maintain a market position in today’s eco-friendly world. Sustainable packaging is no longer a USP: it’s a must. Affordability and brand trust are typically the most important considerations for consumers, which is why it’s important to choose a packaging option that won’t break the bank but that is still sourced responsibly. Keep in mind that almost half of consumers are trying to buy products that use recycled or sustainable materials – an upward-growing trend. 61 per cent of consumers recently surveyed said that if they realised their current brand is not environmentally friendly, they’d be likely to switch to one that is. Companies around the globe are working on improving packaging standards. It’s not a simple process, however: there are many factors to consider that are of importance to consumers: •

Is your packaging manufactured responsibly? For example, is the

paper and cardboard sourced from sustainable, managed forests? Are materials made from renewable resources?

Organisations taking their environmental commitment to the next level could be redefining the future of packaging.

Could you be using packaging that is reusable instead?

Is the price point right, in accordance with the materials used?

Does the size of your packaging fit the product? Is it overpackaged?

Waves of bulk-buying stores are offering new ways to think about packaging: consumers simply reuse jars and containers to purchase items like spices, lentils, pasta and even laundry detergent. These are popping up across the US & UK and could inspire supermarkets and other shops to clone their model.

Are instructions for recycling included on the packaging? Is it simple for consumers to separate the different materials for recycling and/or disposal?

By not only switching to sustainable packaging materials, but by also promoting your brand’s commitment to the environment and providing details on packaging about your commitment, you can create a shared experience with consumers. Brands redefining eco-friendly packaging Scores of consumers are joining the ‘zero-waste’ movement and committing to only buying from brands that don’t use excessive packaging or those that offer recyclable packaging – or even brands that don’t use packaging at all.

Loop, a new ‘zero-waste platform,’ is a delivery service that is launching pilots in New York and Paris this year. The scheme relies on reusable, stainless steel packaging for items like food and cleaners. The containers are sent back to a sterilisation facility after use and resold to other consumers to repeat the process. The bottom line: eco-friendly packaging is no longer just a ‘nice-tohave.’ Brands not adopting new eco-friendly practices will face consumer criticism sooner than later. Big steps must be taken but investing in a switch to environmentally friendly packaging will only help companies retain their market share.

Graeme Young Director Packaging Works

1

https://1ec4c04de36c11011b7bb0e482557560956b9f71038ee7452dfa.ssl.cf3.rackcdn.com/ Sustainable-Packaging-Unwrapped.pdf

2

Wells, Liz. “Coca-Cola Reveals 98% Recyclable Packaging Achievement.” Talking Retail, 9 May 2019, www.talkingretail. com/news/industry-news/coca-cola-reveals-98-recyclablepackaging-achievement-09-05-2019/.

3

Harvey, Fiona. “Coca-Cola Most Common Source of Packaging Pollution on UK Beaches – Study.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 May 2019, www.theguardian. com/environment/2019/may/14/coca-cola-packagingpollution-on-uk-beaches-surfers-against-sewage-study.

Issue 16 | 29


AMERICAS INTERVIEW

Email marketing:

The key to expansion and revenue generation

Exclusive interview with serial entrepreneur Liviu Tanase, CEO of email validation company ZeroBounce talking about how organizations can use email marketing to expand and generate revenue. What are the biggest challenges in the email marketing industry right now? One of the greatest challenges is the organizational ability to create a comprehensive email marketing strategy and the right plan to execute on it. Also, it’s become a challenge to find the most reliable email service provider (ESP) to support strategic efforts and fight data decay and spam. The path from email send to delivery has gotten increasingly complicated and has created many new players. Each individual issue, and more importantly, the overall marketing strategy need to be carefully crafted. Small oversights can cause deliverability issues and can derail even the best email campaigns. Optimizing ESPs, data decay, and spam, and pathway navigation are not easy challenges, and it takes a strong operational plan to stay on top of them. Like any other project, an email marketing program is only effective when you manage to get all your wheels spinning in the right direction. The teams managing each issue need to work within the parameters of the larger strategic marketing goal. Also, they need to have a platform

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and technology to enable the management and analytics of their marketing campaigns. Fortunately, organizations today have access to so many useful technologies that can manage individual issues within the larger framework. I’m inspired by the abundance of businesses that have emerged in this space and the innovation that has enabled a smoother and more reliable email marketing universe. How do you help your customers overcome their challenges? Our goal is to be the #1 source of tools and information when it comes to maintaining email hygiene. Using a clean database is essential when you send marketing emails. With email addresses and consumer data becoming obsolete so fast, organizations want to reach out to experts who can help them. Thus, they can stay abreast of methods to maintain healthy relationships with consumers and provide goods and services in the most efficient manner. Companies use our email validation API to verify email addresses in real time and make sure they’re accurate and real. Also, they use our bulk email validation system, which is a fast and easy process: upload – validate – download. What they get back is a powerful, high-performing email list they can use confidently. Also, our customers know that whenever they reach out to us

with a question, we’re always there to answer it. Some of the most experienced people in the industry work at ZeroBounce, and I’m happy that we can put our knowledge to good use. This way, our customers avoid the many pitfalls of running unsafe and inefficient email marketing campaigns. What would you say ZeroBounce does differently than other email validation companies? The first thing that comes to mind is our data protection system. We use military-grade encryption mechanisms on the platform to ensure that all data and consumer information stays safe. Then, it’s the efficiency of our service: ZeroBounce promises 98+% accurate results. As a bonus, when downloading lists of email


AMERICAS INTERVIEW

Liviu Tanase CEO ZeroBounce

consumers, users notice we added missing information about their subscribers – name, gender, and location. If our customers haven’t gathered client data in the list building process, we provide it for them as part of the service offering. This tool makes segmentation and personalization much easier and helps our customers to generate greater returns on marketing spend. Another feature that sets ZeroBounce apart is our email scoring system. We call it ZeroBounce A.I. because it uses artificial intelligence to rate the quality of an email address. When our customers know that they have a great lead, they can focus on marketing to that specific person and maximize revenue.

Finally, our team plays a tremendous role: they are stellar professionals and genuinely empathetic people. Whether we’re educating our customers through our blog or cleaning email lists, it all starts with our genuine desire to help. People feel that. The feedback we’re getting is overwhelmingly positive and that only drives us to do better. How do you choose the people you work with? What are the qualities you most appreciate in the people you hire? My partners and I built ZeroBounce around the idea of helping businesses thrive. The more you focus on supporting others to be successful, the more successful you will become, as well. Every person who works at ZeroBounce has the same mindset. It’s contagious, and it is a large part of the “secret sauce” of our business.

Another quality that I appreciate is the reliability of our team. Our business runs 24/7, 365 days a year, and we know that we can count on everyone; they are “all-in”. ZeroBounce employees are always diligent, fast and productive. I love that about them. When it comes to our engineers, the quality that I applaud the most is their innovative minds. They’re always thinking of new solutions – sometimes for problems that don’t exist yet. We always try to anticipate our client’s needs to provide a pathway that propels email marketing efforts forward. What are the most important pieces of advice you would give to someone who’s just starting their own business? Dedicate yourself, trust your team, create a culture that is based on respect, performance, and continuous evolution. What’s the most important piece of business advice you’ve ever received? Never stop if you really believe in something.

Issue 16 | 31


AMERICAS BANKING

How banks can prepare their workforce for the AI revolution

AI is about people, not robots The financial services sector has been one of the early adopters of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), deploying automation to increase efficiencies, meet compliance obligations and drive customer experience. However, within financial services the focus is now moving from tactical implementation, where basic back-office tasks and processes are automated across the HR and accounts functions or contact centre - to more complex and strategic initiatives. Forward thinking organisations are increasingly looking to automation to tackle the widespread skills and productivity issues which are threatening future growth and to free up capacity amongst highly-skilled employees to drive innovation and growth. Intelligent Automation (IA), which combines RPA with Artificial Intelligence (AI) functionality, and additional capabilities such as Natural Language Processing, is now enabling banks and financial services to

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automate a far wider range of workplace processes, faster, more effectively and securely. We talk to financial services organizations about how they can redefine the way in which ‘work’ is resourced across their operations, based on the relative strengths and capabilities of human and digital labor through Intelligent Automation. For business leaders, it’s a real game-changer, providing the agility to respond to disruption and ever-changing regulation, and also to innovate and pursue new opportunities that would otherwise be impossible with a traditional approach to resourcing. But it’s important to remember that the introduction of AI is about more than processes and technology. Automation is just as much about people as technology, arguably more so; it does not just impact those employees whose roles or parts of their work is being automated, it requires a shift across the whole workforce. Organisations need to equip their people with the skills, mindset and cultural behaviours required to effectively work alongside AI and to drive better business outcomes.


AMERICAS BANKING

Innovation, scale and growth – the new benefits of automation Demand for Intelligent Automation is coming from both ends of the market. Established banks are recognizing the need to respond to huge disruption in the market and to develop more agile operations to compete, whilst smaller players are looking to AI and automation as a way to scale quickly whilst keeping costs down. In fact, many fintech businesses, which are essentially technology platforms themselves, are putting Intelligent Automation at the core of their operating model from the start, deploying a hybrid human-virtual workforce as a way to scale quickly and maximise the value of their key talent within coding and software. We’re seeing financial services businesses (both large and small) developing and launching new products and services which are built exclusively on the use of digital labor, and examples of companies that are using their virtual workforce as a platform to expand their operations into new territories. By deploying digital labor within these smaller operating units, they can deliver a first-rate service to customers without having to develop a sizeable infrastructure which can be slow, cumbersome and prohibitively expensive, and they can navigate around skills shortages.

Indeed, one of the major benefits of Intelligent Automation is that it means organizations can use their staff in a far more effective way. So rather than having highly-skilled (and hugely costly) talent tied up on executing repetitive tasks, businesses can automate processes to maximise the time these people dedicate to strategic, high-value work. People no longer need to act as the ‘integration layer’, manually transferring data from one disparate IT system to another (a major barrier to digital transformation) – this work is handed over to virtual workers and people can focus on driving innovation and customer experience. So what are the key considerations for business leaders when thinking about automation and what are the skills and competencies that need to be brought into the business to drive results? Longer-term, how does automation impact training and development requirements in a world where more mundane tasks will increasingly be carried out by virtual workers? Automation for the people

He re a re f ive tips to pre pa re a work f orc e f or the introdu ct i o n of AI a nd to e nsure a smo o t h , ha rmonious tra nsition to a h yb r i d re sourc ing mode l: 1. Remove the fear by proving the benefits Employers need to demonstrate how AI can reduce the amount of time that employees spend on mundane and repetitive tasks and free them up to focus on more creative and fulfilling work, to learn new skills and to enjoy a more varied, flexible career 1 . Getting sceptical staff to see the benefits of AI is often the biggest challenge when so much of the narrative around automation remains highly emotive, caused by media reports that automation will lead to millions of jobs being replaced. There is an element of some job displacement but it should be noted that AI will result in net job creation. Most industries will see a whole range of strategic, high-value jobs being created, a report from PwC 2 provided some real insights to emerging opportunities.

Organizations need to tackle any internal resistance to automation head on and we’ve seen some great examples of banks, and organizations in other sectors, which have engaged and educated staff in creative and fun ways about the benefits of a digital workforce.

2. Be transparent and inclusive

Businesses need to work with people on the ground to identify and target specific process and bottlenecks within operations that cause frustration and act as a drain on time and morale. This is a particularly important message within financial services where regulatory compliance is a huge driver for automation and a huge burden for many staff.

Some have run competitions amongst staff to name their virtual workers, with winning entries rewarded with prizes and charitable donations. Others have run initiatives asking people from across the workforce to nominate the mundane and laborious tasks (the ones they really don’t want to spent time on) that would be ripe for automation. Again,

Very few organizations are currently communicating with their employees this shift of how AI and automation will transform business in any meaningful way. This needs to change.

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prizes are awarded for anybody who identifies a process that goes on to be automated. These sorts of initiatives are good because they get the entire workforce thinking about the potential benefits of automation for them personally and understanding how IA can improve their own working lives and careers.

Re-training people to give them the skills to oversee an automation program and manage a team of virtual workers is a great message to convey to the workforce. And for the individuals themselves, they can move from doing what is often mundane work (hence it being automated), to becoming highly skilled and highly sought-after experts in IA. They can transform their careers (and their income) in a very short space of time.

3. Focus on learning and upskilling the workforce 4. Create Champions of Automation People's expectations of work is changing, the digital native is not expecting to be in an environment processing data knowing that it can be done more efficiently by technology. They demand stimulating work and expect employers to equip them with the most up-to-date skills. Therefore AI provides a platform to attract talent by differentiating against the competition with an exciting, modern employer brand. Employers will need to develop new skills to support and complement the contribution of AI and digital labor, within their specific environments. The World Economic Forum predicts that the average worker will need an extra 101 days of learning by 2022 3 to prepare for the introduction of AI. Organisations should map the new skills that they will need to develop amongst their workers in order to maximise competitive advantage in a more automated environment, and to help them shape future-looking HR and L&D plans as part of building a business case for automation.

When it comes to the technical skills required to implement automation programmes, very few organisations have a budget dedicated to building a new business function, so it’s often a case of starting small, re-skilling people internally to build a team, and then scaling up once the business case has been proven.

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Beyond the dedicated automation team itself, it’s also important to ensure that each business department has its own ‘automation champions’ who can help their peers to get to grips with automation technology and to work effectively alongside virtual workers. These individuals also have a crucial role to play in identifying a pipeline of processes that can be evaluated for automation on an ongoing basis – after all, it is the people working on

the front line within each business unit who are much better placed to identify mundane tasks with high volume or process bottlenecks which are ripe for automation, rather than senior execs or the automation team.

5. Establish a culture of automation The ultimate goal for organizations should be to instil a positive ‘culture of automation’ amongst the workforce, where people are proactively looking to automate some of their work to free up their capacity and feel comfortable handing over tasks to AI and virtual workers. Such a culture be achieved over time, by communicating a steady stream of positive news about how the company’s virtual workers are helping individuals, teams, and the organisation as a whole be more successful. While it is critical that everyone understands the wider context for intelligent automation (faster processes, reduced costs, better customer experiences etc),


AMERICAS BANKING

the more personal stories are often overlooked. Employers should encourage workers to share their experiences of working with AI and how it has impacted their own morale, motivation and career prospects.

We talk about AI and the virtual workforce empowering people to maximise their full potential. It may seem counter-intuitive but the best AI and Intelligent Automation programs are essentially about people; about how they can be best deployed to add value to the business and how organizations can achieve more with the same headcount. That’s why AI must always start and end with people.

Terry Walby Founder and CEO Thoughtonomy

1

Gannon, Sam, and Thoughtonomy. “Intelligent Automation: Helping Employees Find Meaning.” Intelligent Automation Resources, info.thoughtonomy.com/blog/intelligentautomation-employees-meaning.

2

PricewaterhouseCoopers. “How Will Automation Impact Jobs?” PwC, www.pwc.co.uk/services/economics-policy/ insights/the-impact-of-automation-on-jobs.html.

3

“The Future of Jobs Report 2018.” Future of Jobs 2018, reports.weforum.org/future-of-jobs-2018/?doing_wp_cron=15 46954706.2929949760437011718750.

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Is the Sheriff Entitled to a Commission on Real Property Sold Under the Auspices of the Bankruptcy Court? The following is a familiar fact pattern for those involved in real estate. A borrower defaults under a mortgage and note. The lender commences a foreclosure action. Once a final judgment of foreclosure is entered, a writ of execution is issued, and the sheriff schedules a sale to sell the real property. Either before or the day of the foreclosure sale, or within the borrower’s time period to exercise its right of redemption of equity, the borrower files for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or 11 in an attempt to obtain more time to sell the property. Ultimately, the real property is sold pursuant to a bankruptcy court sale process, usually pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. The sheriff then seeks a commission in connection with the bankruptcy court sale of the real property. Question: is the sheriff entitled to a commission? Today, due to tight budgets and limited revenue sources, one can expect to see the sheriff (and other governmental entities) seeking to more actively exercise their alleged rights in bankruptcy in order to collect revenue. While the fact pattern described above is simple and occurs with some frequency, the sheriff’s entitlement to a commission, if any, is primarily based on the applicable state law where the foreclosure sale was pending. If the sheriff does not actually sell the real property, (i) in certain states, such as Georgia, North Dakota and Virginia, the sheriff would not be entitled to any commission; (ii) in certain states, such as Colorado and Idaho, applicable state law entitles a sheriff to a fixed commission; (iii) in some states, nothing; and (iv) in certain states, such as New Jersey,

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New York, Hawaii and West Virginia, the statute is ambiguous and courts are split as to the sheriff’s entitlement to a commission and, if so, how much. By way of example, under New Jersey State law, a sheriff only has a right to a commission pursuant to N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8 “where a sale is made by virtue of an execution….” The statute also states that the sheriff would be entitled to a commission “when the execution is settled without actual sale and such settlement is made manifest to the officer, the officer shall receive 1/2 of the amount of the percentage allowed herein in case of sale.” Mathematically, under N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8, the maximum fee to the sheriff is calculated as follows: 6% of all amounts not exceeding $5,000, and 4% of all amounts exceeding $5,000, plus reimbursement of actual disbursements. Thus, in the fact pattern above, while the sheriff did not sell the real property, as it was sold under the auspices of the bankruptcy court section 363 sale process, the sheriff could assert a commission for 1/2 of the regular commission, which could result in a sheriff’s fee of potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the sale price of real property. Interestingly, there is a split in the New Jersey case law as to whether a “settlement” occurs when there is a sale of the real property pursuant to a bankruptcy court sale process and order. Thus, under New Jersey law, the sheriff could only be entitled to a commission if (i) the sheriff sold the property, which it did not in the fact pattern, or (ii) the execution was settled, which is questionable in our fact pattern. In Jacoby v. Eseo, 329 N.J. Super. 119, 122 (App. Div. 2000), the court had to


AMERICAS FINANCE “determine the Sheriff’s entitlement to fees after a foreclosure sale has resulted in a default by the high bidder and the forfeiture of a deposit.” Id. at 121. The court determined that the sheriff was only “entitled to a commission on the amount of the forfeited deposit rather than the amount bid.” Id. The court held: “we conclude that the Legislature intended that the fees recovered by the Sheriff be related to the sums recovered by the creditor as a result of the sale. Fees calculated on the bid which was never performed failed to meet that intention.” Id. at 124. Thus, the Jacoby court approved of a commission to the sheriff based on the $20,000 deposit posted, not the bid price that was not paid. In In re Bejjani, 2003 Bankr. LEXIS 2150 (Bankr. D.N.J. September 2, 2003), the bankruptcy court determined that the sheriff had no entitlement to a commission based on the sale of the real property pursuant to the bankruptcy court’s sale order. In Bejjani, the debtor filed a voluntary Chapter11 petition in March 2002. Prior to commencing the bankruptcy case, the lender commenced an action in New Jersey state court to foreclose on real estate owned by the debtor. A judgment in foreclosure and writ of execution were issued prepetition. The sheriff was not notified of the bankruptcy filing, so the sheriff scheduled a foreclosure sale, which was discontinued when the sheriff was advised of the bankruptcy. Thereafter, pursuant to an order of the bankruptcy court, the real property was sold. The issue before the court was whether the sheriff was entitled to a statutory commission. The bankruptcy court held: The parties’ actions did not produce a settlement or resolution of the foreclosure action. A settlement under the statute applies to the situation where a plaintiff and defendant settle the action and satisfy the writ of execution absent an actual auction sale by the sheriff. The statute has no application to a sale approved by order of the Bankruptcy Court after a bankruptcy petition has been filed.

The Court-ordered sale of the Property did not constitute a settlement for purposes of N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8. The Sheriff’s cross-motion is denied to the extent it seeks a commission. To rule differently would reward the Sheriff an impermissible windfall from the bankrupt estate. CONCLUSION In summary, the Bankruptcy Courtapproved sale of the Property by the Trustee did not constitute a settlement under N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8, thereby precluding the Sheriff’s entitlement to a statutory commission. The Sheriff’s CrossMotion for Turnover of Funds is, therefore, denied. However, the Sheriff is to be reimbursed $266.00 in actual out-of-pocket expenses for actions taken after the bankruptcy filing but before receiving notice of the filing. Id. at 13-14. A different New Jersey bankruptcy judge faced with the same issue reached the opposite conclusion. In In re Smith (Dobin v. Golden), ___ B.R. ___, 2019 WL 1590077 (Bankr. D.N.J. April 9, 2019), the Chapter 7 trustee commenced an action against the sheriff and the secured lender asserting that the sheriff had no right to a commission because the trustee sold the debtor’s real property pursuant to a bankruptcy court order. The bankruptcy court denied the trustee’s motion and held that the bankruptcy sale was a settlement within the meaning of N.J.S.A 22A:4-8 entitling the sheriff to receive one-half of the statutory commission, which commission was calculated based on the amount of the foreclosure judgment, and directed that the commission be paid by the bankruptcy estate effectively as part of the secured lender’s costs. The facts of the Smith case are as follows: the bank obtained a final judgment of foreclosure in New Jersey state court on January 4, 2017 on real property in the amount of $307,632.33. The sheriff’s sale was then scheduled and adjourned several times. Before the sheriff’s sale could be conducted, the debtor filed for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy court

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AMERICAS FINANCE approved of the trustee’s sale of the real property for $1,015,000. The sale closed on November 1, 2018. From the sale proceeds, the bank was paid $335,232.90. The sheriff sought a statutory commission. The bankruptcy court held that the sheriff was entitled to one-half of the commission based on the amount of the foreclosure judgment. It is submitted that the Smith decision was wrongly decided because of the improper reliance it placed on the 1859 decision of Sturges v. Lackawanna & Western Railroad Co., 27 N.J.L. 424 (Sup. Ct. 1859), that a “settlement” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8 should be broadly defined. Sturges was not a real estate foreclosure action, as the plaintiff directed to the sheriffs of three counties to levy on personal property. Subsequently, the plaintiff “withdrew the executions.” Id. The Sturges court’s broad statement must be tempered by is holding allowing “the sheriffs may lawfully claim the percentage on the value of the goods by them respectively levied on. If the value of the goods exceed the amount due on the execution, then they may each, in proportion to the value of the property levied on.” Id. at 427. The key is the sheriffs levied on personal property and thus incurred costs to safeguard the personal property entitling them to a commission before the plaintiff decided to withdraw the executions. Additionally, the New Jersey Appellate Division in Regency Savings Bank. v. Southgate Corporate Office Center, 388 N.J. Super. 420 (App. Div. 2006), certif. denied, 189 N.J. 429 (2007), noted that while a subsequent New Jersey Supreme Court decision “cites Sturges with approval, it certainly did not accept [it] as applicable in the context of a mortgage foreclosure sale settlement….” 388 N.J. Super. at 428. Thus, Sturges is of questionable support in a real estate mortgage foreclosure. In Regency, the sheriff sought a statutory commission in a mortgage foreclosure where the parties settled after the judgment of foreclosure and writ of execution were issued, but before the sheriff conducted a sale.

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The settlement, which the court stated was “complex,” essentially required the defendant to pay Regency a nonrefundable payment of $250,000 to cancel the sheriff’s sale and provided the defendant with 90 days to refinance the property. The Appellate Division, affirming the trial court, held that the sheriff’s commission was based only on the $250,000 settlement payment, nothing more. The court stated: Therefore, we hold that when a sheriff’s sale pursuant to a mortgage foreclosure is cancelled by the plaintiff because of a settlement with defendant, the sheriff’s percentage fee under N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8 must be based, not on the amount of the judgment or the value of the property, but on the amount of the settlement. Id at 429. The Regency case makes clear that the term “settlement” within the meaning of N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8 means exactly that, a settlement between the parties, not a sale of the real property authorized by another court. Thus, a sheriff should not be entitled to any commission based on a sale of the real property and sold pursuant to a bankruptcy court sale process. N.J.S.A. 22A:4-8 states that “when the execution is settled without actual sale and such settlement is made manifest to the officer….” In our typical case, there was no sale effectuated by the sheriff. The sheriff in no way aided in the sale of the real property pursuant to the bankruptcy court sale order or in the debtor’s efforts to locate the buyer. There was no settlement between the debtor and lender. As noted by the New Jersey Supreme Court in Sturges, a commission is due the sheriff for a sale of personal property “if anything is done between them by which a sale is rendered unnecessary, that must be considered a settlement within the meaning of the act.” 27 N.J.L. at 426. That did not happen in our hypothetical case. There was no agreement between the debtor and lender that rendered the sheriff’s sale unnecessary. The sheriff, if allowed the commission, would be

receiving a windfall. Thus, the law should follow the decision in Bejjani which denied the sheriff a commission. In sum, whether the sheriff is entitled to a commission in a real property foreclosure sale when the property is sold under the auspices of the bankruptcy court will depend very much on the jurisdiction where the foreclosure action was pending in. This is an issue parties and counsel should be very aware of because if a commission is due, it could possibly result in hundreds of thousands of dollars being owed to the sheriff that could reduce the amount to be received by the secured lender in the event the property was underwater or may result in the bankruptcy estate having to pay additional claims in light of the foreclosure action, thereby reducing the amount of funds available for other creditors under the Bankruptcy Code’s distribution waterfall. Thus, all parties should be forewarned that the sheriff may come looking for money.

Bruce Buechler Bruce Buechler is a partner and vice chair of the Bankruptcy, Financial Reorganization and Creditors’ Rights Department of Lowenstein Sandler LLP. He can be reached at bbuechler@lowenstein.com. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Lowenstein Sandler LLP or any of its clients. Mr. Buechler thanks Raymond Cooper, a summer associate, for his assistance on this article.


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ASIA INTERVIEW

Making insurance easy & accessible in Myanmar AYA Myanmar Insurance (AMI) is based in Yangon and has been a leading insurer in Myanmar for both life and general insurance since inception in 2013. The company's vision is to be a partner for life and offer leadership in driving social and economic development. AMI caters to all age groups and businesses with protection against future uncertainties. The service includes easy and simple mobile and internet banking, a wide range of nationwide workshops and 24/7 customer support. AMI’s remarkable growth has earned the firm the reputation of being one of the leading insurance companies in the industry and is committed to helping individuals and families of Myanmar to live healthier and happier lives. Recently we welcomed Managing Director Myo Min Thu to London to discuss the insurance sector in Myanmar and the company's progress. Phil Fothergill: Welcome to London, lovely to see you again, this is not our first meeting, I know; so, congratulations once again on another award from global banking and Finance. Myo Min Thu: Thanks Phil, we're very excited to be here again in London. So, something that would actually make our staff proud of. Phil Fothergill: I'm sure, and I'm sure they've all been part of the team effort, we'll talk a little bit about AYA Myanmar in just a moment; I'd like to ask you first of all though about the insurance industry in general in your country, how is that developing?

Myo Min Thu: Well, since the liberalization of the market in 2013 for the private insurance companies, we have really grown exponentially over the past six years. This year, there is something very special happening in the market, we are looking at five foreign insurance companies coming into the market as one hundred percent owned. So, we will be seeing a lot of competition in the life space. For the general insurance space, we have got joint ventures coming in; so, the government is doing all they can to actually ensure that we have more foreign direct investments through the financial sectors. So, basically looking at insurance in Myanmar because we were actually in the very nascent stage of the development, general insurance penetration was about 0.1%, across our GDP and life insurance is so much lower as 0.01%. So, we see a lot of development once the liberalization takes place in the end of the year. Phil Fothergill: Well as you mentioned, there are obviously more and more competition; so, the next question I suppose I have to ask you is; what differentiates your organization AYA Myanmar from others? Myo Min Thu: Well we're going to be competing with the bigger boys; so, there are a lot of foundation set in terms of getting our strategy right. I think there are a few areas that we are looking at, one is of course developing our human capacity; because we've got a huge lack of human capacity in the country, so we need to actually groom more expertise into the market, so making sure that our internal customers which are the

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employees of the company as AYA Myanmar Insurance is well versed in terms of insurance knowledge and stuff that is the first thing. And second thing, we're looking at is of course is creating awareness across the general public in Myanmar, because there's a huge lack of interest and awareness on insurance itself. Not many people believe in insurance in the first place, that is the reason why the penetration is so very low and we are looking at ways to actually make sure that the public is aware of how insurance works and what benefits them in the longer and the shorter term. Last of all, what we are trying to differentiate is of course in terms of innovation, we want make use of innovation to ensure that insurance is simple and accessible for the people in Myanmar. Phil Fothergill: You mentioned there about not many people are convinced initially about insurance, so how do you go about convincing them that it's a good thing to have? Myo Min Thu: Well so, it's always very difficult, you see you're selling a piece of paper and making a promise, so in emerging country like Myanmar, it is very difficult and also because of religious belief where; you know, not all bad things should happen but bad things happen; so, we try to educate them and of course create awareness through different examples. I mean it is easy to actually create awareness in terms of general insurance on the public but for life, it is to very much of a difficulty because not many people

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believe in bad things happening to them. So, it's always difficult‌ Phil Fothergill: It's an element of superstition sometimes. Myo Min Thu: Yes. Phil Fothergill: That's interesting. I also wanted to ask you about some of the more modern high-tech operations that you provide, you were one of the first companies to actually provide a digital platform. Tell us how that works and how successful that has been? Myo Min Thu: Well the digital journey started somewhere around 2017, this is more of getting our strategy right in terms of making sure that our back-end platforms are set in a good foundation; basically, because we need a huge and stable core system back-end to support whatever frontend applications that we provide in the near future. So, this is the near future that we have arrived where I think the competition is going to be very very intensive in the next 5-10 years, so we have got a good core system back-end, we are the first insurance company really developed and embark on a digital platform back-end. And right now, we are looking at more in line with our strategy of making sure that insurance is simple and accessible. So, we are coming up mobile applications, we are coming out with new channels through selling, through banks. So, we have a lot of sales applications coming up

for our sales agents, we are looking at portals for customers where they are able to access their policies online. So, making sure that this is easy, actually not an easy thing. Phil Fothergill: Yes, it's not easy for you but presumably the idea is to make it as easy as possible for the client? Myo Min Thu: Yes Phil Fothergill: And let's expand on that, how do you actually go about making sure your clients to actually get the best possible service and make the best possible use of your work. Myo Min Thu: Well, we actually did some studies one of the reasons why people are not interested in insurance is that it is not simple as it is, and it is not easily accessible. So, we have to go to insurance officers’ branches which is physically, buy insurance products which might be cheap; so, we're trying to actually make it accessible for them. One of the reasons why we have actually embarked on this digital platform is that we are actually trying to expand it through our sister company, AYA Bank. so, we've got a bank within our group where a lot of policyholders are able to actually just walk into the bank branches which has got bigger network than us. And of course, through digital platform our agents are able to sell the policies and within 24 hours a customer will receive an email of a policy that covers them for the for the rest of their life.


ASIA INTERVIEW

So, a lot of easy underwriting, a lot of accessibility actually gives them the awareness the interest on insurance itself. Phil Fothergill: Now, looking at the development of the industry, you were talking about earlier on. what would you say the challenges and indeed opportunities are now, as the industry expands bit by bit? M y o M i n T h u : We l l o n e o f t h e first challenges that we face is of course intense competition b e c a u s e w e a r e l o o k i n g a t d i f fe r e n t players in the market, who come f r o m d i f fe r e n t c o u n t r i e s , w i t h a

lot of experience. So, one of the t h i n g s i s a c t u a l l y t o d i f fe r e n t i a t e ourselves from foreign players. And although, it is not a difficult task because the foreign insurance players will have to also get a local knowhow knowledge and the brand itself, we are more established in our own markets. But, having said that, the competition in terms of innovation, the technology, the know how expertise, these are where they have more advantage in. So, as a local company, we have to build our own resources actually try to have more innovative ways of competing them.

And the second challenge that we're looking at is of course regulation. I think regulation has evolved over time, because we've always been in a very closed and isolated economy away from others and what I believe is that with the move that government has taken up in terms of liberalizing the market, it would go a way forward in making sure that regulation becomes more robust, supporting both local players and of course the foreign insurance companies. The third is of course on the point that I've mentioned, on creating awareness among the locals. So, it serves as both the challenge and an opportunity, because there's a huge

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net for the general mass public. So, we'll be able to actually bear the cost of losses to a certain extent, that worked. In other countries where there are major losses and if the insurance coverage is not adequate and that's where the government funding comes in.

lack of interest and awareness in the market, which of course makes it interesting for foreign insurance companies coming into the market of course. So, with the entry of foreign insurance companies, I think the awareness will probably be exponential in terms of growth; so, a lot of people will be interested in the whole public country and city will blaster with banners, posters, billboards. So, this will eventually create awareness, which is good for everyone in the market. Phil Fothergill: And going on along those lines, of course obviously, the country is developing now rapidly after a lot of change; how do you as an organization give social and economic support to the nation? Myo Min Thu: Well as AYA Myanmar Insurance, we as an organization as,

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a group, we have always been very much active in social developments because we have been active, we have participated in different kind of social beneficial activities. So more in CSR activities, actually looks at flood victims, you say we have a lot of CSR activities in safety campaigns and stuff. So, in terms of, in a nutshell; if you're looking at the economy development, we want to actually create jobs, well actually trade jobs for the young workforce in Myanmar which in turn will be able to actually turn them into the future leaders of the country. And of course, with the creation of jobs, that will be creating a huge domino effect into the economy, increasing in disposable income and so on and so forth. So, that is where we are looking at more of economic development, at the same time I think we are providing a good safety

So, we as a player in in the market as an insurance provider, we want to actually bear the burden of cost in terms of any catastrophic loss or disasters. So, there is in a way of helping the economy in a way; and in terms of socio-economic, as the social development we are in a way providing safety nets. Of course, we are actually driving the country out of poverty as well, we've got about 28% of poverty in the country. So, with the insurance, I think that we need to actually educate people that this is why this is a good thing for them, to actually get out of poverty, not to actually spend their life spending all their savings in such bad instances, yeah, this is where we are coming from. Phil Fothergill: And because of the work that you're doing in that direction, obviously you continue to expand and grow; what are your plans for the future going forward? Myo Min Thu: Well, I think we've made it right direction strategy in terms of investing in technology last


ASIA EMEA INTERVIEW BANKING

two years ago; so, we've got our core system up. And right now, what we are looking at is of course enhancing our capabilities into the frontline, where we are translating whatever we have in digital back-end, to have mobile applications, sales portals and of course expansion through the branches of the bank to be able to have simple and accessible insurance products for our customers. So, there are a few initiatives that has happened over the past twelve months, one of the things is expansion of our branches across different states and divisions in

Myanmar. we were planning to expand about five to six branches really for the next five year, basically covering all states and division by end of year four or five.

should be actually bought through online banking or mobile applications itself. So, this is going to be happen for the next two or three years and it is very exciting.

Second is where we are looking at leveraging our banks, our sister company banks to actually leverage their branches, the customer network to actually promote insurance in the communities that the banks are present in.

Phil Fothergill: It does seem like it because obviously it's all part a growth industry isn't it, so because of that means all the time you're expanding, I wish you every success with that. Thank you so much for coming to London and congratulations on the award.

The third is using technology to actually ensure that we reach out to customers more easily. things like smaller ticket size insurance products

Myo Min Thu: Thank you very much again.

Mr. Myo Min Thu Managing Director AYA Myanmar Insurance (AMI)

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finance

procurement

How to fix the relationship between finance and procurement Procurement and finance teams have a lot in common. In fact, procurement can trace its origins in finance. However, as the process for buying goods and services has matured, the relationship between these two functions can often become strained, and this is something with the potential to affect businesses across the world. A popular theory about the tension between the two functions stems from finance’s continued insistence that procurement should be under its control. Indeed, as procurement is there to ensure money is spent well, surely that must be finance’s jurisdiction? In this article, we’ll be looking at ways to stop any bad blood between the two departments, using data from a recent Wax Digital survey to support our findings.

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Finance and procurement spending in summary Finance has an important role to play when considering its relationship with procurement and a healthy business. They set spending limits for departments, business units and so on, and then, procurement finds ways of saving money through cost savings and cost avoidance measures. Procurement typically manages this by leveraging purchase-to-pay systems, to link together ERP and purchasing systems – from purchase requisition, all the way through to invoice processing. This helps to centralise and automate many elements of purchasing, delivering the spend visibility needed to spot potential efficiencies (to the adage of you can’t control what you can’t see).

Once purchasing is complete, finance pays for the contracts that procurement has negotiated using a process called three-way matching. This is used to make sure the items ordered are what they received, and what the company needs to pay for. What do finance and procurement think of one another? In our recent CPO Viewpoint 1 study, we surveyed finance, procurement and marketing professionals in over 200 companies about their relationships with one another. The survey found that 66% of finance professionals believe that procurement teams are a hindrance to the overall objectives of their business. In fact, further data from the study showed that only a third of finance respondents feel that procurement actually helps


ASIA FINANCE

with cost-saving – the vast majority seeing it as a support function to finance-led initiatives. Conversely, procurement thought better of finance. 46% of procurement respondents said they had a ‘very close’ relationship with finance, compared to 22% of finance personnel saying the same about procurement. How to fix the relationship between finance and procurement Improving the relationship between the two departments is not a quick fix, and requires time, effort and a commitment from both parties. Here, we list some of our top relationship building tips that can bring finance and procurement teams together: #1 – Use better awareness tactics Adopting a proactive approach to sharing the positive impact procurement is having on the business is something purchasing departments should do. Not only will this approach get procurement in the minds of employees from elsewhere in the business, but it will also help demonstrate to finance the impact procurement is having on the bottom line. You should take advantage of the wealth of data eProcurement tools available by leveraging the wealth of

metrics they provide. Tools such as e-sourcing, analytics, SRM and savings trackers can be priceless in helping to automate, illustrate and ratify achievements for comparatively small investments. #2 - Make sure you know who owns what To prevent procurement and finance clashing over certain matters, it’s important to set out clear guidelines on who is responsible for what. That way you will avoid employees stepping on one another’s toes and duplicating efforts. Furthermore, greater clarity regarding the two departments’ responsibilities ensures there is less chance that something will be missed – an unfortunate by-product of poor interdepartmental communication. #3 – Improve communications Establishing clear lines of communication between procurement and finance is a sure-fire way to prevent any tense situations between both teams. You should arrange regular meetings between departments to ensure that any concerns are voiced, and that resolutions are discussed. It’s easy to ignore alternate viewpoints and arguments if both teams remain in their separate echo chambers but opening both departments up to each

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other’s philosophies and strategies could challenge the status quo and improve performance. In addition, getting senior stakeholders to work collaboratively and to emphasise the need for cooperation is a great strategy, ensuring that key interdepartmental changes cascade down the business. #4 – Collaborate on tech measures Procurement and finance teams often have a silo mentality towards technology, failing to see the bigger picture or neglecting to share the benefits of new tools and services with other departments. By ensuring finance is involved in implementing new tools alongside procurement, both teams will realise their benefits and are more likely to use them collaboratively. Utilising the same technology will also improve the chance that results, and reporting are consistent and cohesive. Not only will this make the lives of senior management and stakeholders easier, it will reduce the possibility of conflict between finance and procurement if any discrepancies occur.

Conducting training days in which departments gather together to discuss their responsibilities and processes will give them a platform from which to demonstrate their importance and relevance within the wider business, so teams like finance and procurement can recognise one another’s value. Finally, the actual members of the two departments should be asked about their views of their own practices and performance, and that of the other departments. By understanding the actual feelings of employees at all levels of the business, senior management will be better placed to make the improvements required to ensure a stronger relationship between finance and procurement. With greater interdepartmental cohesion, both finance and procurement will be better placed to truly benefit the business.

Choosing and implementing technology is also an opportunity to better integrate the two departments. By electing members of the finance and procurement teams as part of a committee to select and launch new technologies for the business, this will promote greater collaboration. #5 – Review regularly Implementing deep-rooted change in business is one thing, but maintaining it is another thing entirely. Regular reviews of the relationship between the two departments is key to ensuring that harmony becomes a core cultural trait within the business.

Paul Ellis Managing Director Wax Digital

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“CPO Viewpoint Report - Sales and Marketing.” Wax Digital, www.waxdigital.com/resources/cpo-viewpoint-sales-andmarketing/.

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ASIA INTERVIEW

The real state of play in modern banking In this feature interview Olivier Berthier, Co-Founder and CEO at Moneythor provides his views on the impact digitalisation and modern technology will have on traditional financial institutions, detailing the biggest threats and opportunities that are coming down the line and offering insights into how institutions can overcome and embrace them.

How has banking changed? For hundreds of years, banking has been a standard operation in economies. Banks product offering has adapted and changed but their basic business model has stayed the same. The last few years has flipped what a traditional bank should look like on its head. Challenger banks and competitive FinTechs are rapidly encroaching on their space and their margins. Not to mention new regulatory initiatives like Open Banking and technology behemoths like Google, Facebook and Amazon who see the lucrative potential of offering financial services and are making moves into the space too. Competition is heating up. Do you think traditional banks can endure all of this change? I often read articles forecasting the downfall of banks and although I agree that the industry is changing and that natural selection means only the strongest and most adaptable will survive, I think some predictions are overly negative when it comes to the future of banking.

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Predictions are that a high number of traditional banks will close in the next few years, but what about the number of Neobanks that will shutter too? Just look at Loot, a digital current account provider targeting teens and students, with quick initial growth and successful funding rounds, Loot showed great potential. But when RBS pulled out of a full buy out, the company was not financially viable. It pains me to say that for every bank that shuts down, I expect to see five times as many Digital banks and FinTech providers go too. What are the biggest threats to traditional banking? The biggest threat to banks is the legacy issues they face internally. Challenger banks, by nature, are nimble and can quickly pivot strategies and adapt technologies to fulfil customer’s changing needs. Banks on the other hand are looking at long lead times for technology advancements and the road to innovation tends to be full of red tape and bureaucracy, something that new players don’t have the same problem with.

When consumers had no choice but to queue in a physical branch to deposit money and enquire about loans, they did so without much questioning, but with so much choice and high digital expectations, a once very loyal customer base is now looking elsewhere. Traditional players need to overcome internal stagnation and find the quickest path to digital transformation. What are traditional banks biggest advantages over new entrants? Due to their history and longevity, banks are trusted institutions who have large and strong customer bases. They have loyalty, strong balance sheets and economies of scale that new digital banks just do not have yet (the likes of Google/Facebook/ Amazon excluded). Focusing on digital transformation and partnering with appropriate external businesses


ASIA INTERVIEW

will bring meaningful and sustainable growth to banks and allow them to take advantage of this before their competition gets too big. Is Open Banking a threat to traditional banks? Personally, I think Open Banking initiatives have the greatest potential for saving traditional banks. The problem is that some banks still see it as a threat and are therefore blind to the possibilities that regulation like this offers. In Asia Pacific, we are seeing traditional banks make leaps and bounds by experimenting with Open Banking style initiatives and partnering with innovative technology firms, even though no formal regulation has been instituted. For example, DBS, who have deployed the Moneythor solution in Singapore, Indonesia, India and Hong Kong, are leading the way when it comes to providing a digitalised and engaging customer experience through their digital channels, rivaling that of new tech entrants. Given that technology has the ability to streamline processes and reduce operating costs, it is hard

to understand why European banks, even with all of the PSD2 regulation in place, would still be hesitant to open up to FinTech partners. Open banking and APIs can give them the speed to market they need, helping them overcome legacy issues and facilitate digitilisation in record time.

It’s tricky to say who will win out, but one thing is for sure, the financial institutions that will be around in the future are those that offer customers the best digital experience and take an innovative stance on how they provide banking services. I think right now there is a pretty open playing field and a lot of opportunity, banks just need to keep their eye on the ball.

What role does regulation play in the battle of the banks? Banking is a complex industry, and both Neobanks and traditional financial institutions come up against big regulatory challenges all the time. Recently we saw N26 come under fire from BaFin regulators for not being reactive enough in monitoring their Anti Money Laundering (AML) activities. In the same week, Standard Chartered were also fined for flouting AML rules. Neither challenger nor incumbent are immune from the complexities of banking compliance and the watchful eye of regulators. Both come up against similar issues all the time. What does the future of banking look like and who will the big winners be?

Olivier Berthier Co-Founder and CEO Moneythor

Olivier Berthier is a seasoned professional with over 18 years’ experience in banking technology. Olivier is the Co-founder & CEO of Moneythor a software company specialized in digital banking services and analytics.

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ASIA TECHNOLOGY

Staying safe when using financial apps and technology

With more people doing more things online, understanding the risks as well as the opportunities is essential. Whether you’re thinking of banking online or just want to learn more about the risks and how to mitigate against them, this page will walk you through everything you need to know. With banks closing branches all the time, online banking is now mainstream. Whether cause or effect, online banking and banking apps are taking over from the brick and mortar branches and every bank has their own app. But how secure are they? Jamie Kavanagh, a Contributor at Broadband Genie talks through what the risks are when using them and what you can do if you have been a victim of online fraud. Potential risks with financial apps and the internet in general There are a number of risk factors with internet banking, apps and general internet use. These risks should never put you off using the web as it really is a force for good but you should always be aware of the potential risks you may face. Common risks online can include:

Let’s take a quick look at each...

• • • • • •

Viruses and malware Viruses and malware are probably the oldest computer threats. Viruses are much rarer now as hackers have shifted towards malware and ransomware but they are still out there. Viruses and malware will infect your device through a download of some kind and will usually delete all your files or otherwise render them inaccessible.

Viruses and malware Phishing Spyware Ransomware Eavesdropping Targeted attacks

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ASIA TECHNOLOGY

Phishing Phishing describes an email that pretends to be from your bank, government, tax office or other official entity. They are usually very realistic and look exactly like the real thing. These will include a URL of some kind that will take you to a realistic looking web page where you will be asked to enter account details or other private information. Spyware Spyware is a type of malware that spies on you. It usually includes a keylogger or something that records keystrokes to try to collect usernames and passwords. The spyware will then secretly send this data back to a central server to be used in crime. Ransomware Ransomware is relatively new but evil. It works like malware and downloads onto your device. Rather than destroying your data, it will encrypt it and hold you to ransom. It will demand payment in cryptocurrency to unlock your files. There is never a guarantee of your data being unlocked even if you pay. Eavesdropping Eavesdropping is where someone sets up a fake WiFi hotspot or hacks your

wireless networks and collects all the traffic on it. This can provide them with logins, credit card details and all manner of private information. Targeted attacks Targeted attacks differ from all the above. Rather than a hacker throwing their net wide to see who they can catch, a targeted attack will focus on you. They will learn everything there is to know about you and will try to trick you into giving them information such as account details, name, address or whatever they need to steal your identity. Staying safe online Don’t let that list of potential risks put you off as there are simple ways to combat all of them. Some involve using tools while others use behaviours. Either way, follow these suggestions to avoid 99% of internet risks. Keep your devices up to date Whatever device you use and whatever applications you have installed, keeping everything up to date is essential 1. Most operating systems will manage updates automatically. Most applications will also automatically update when one is available. Regularly check to make sure as updates will contain security fixes that can protect

against risks. Don’t neglect firmware updates for hardware, either, especially vital devices such as Wi-Fi routers. Always download apps from official app stores In the case of any app but especially financial or banking apps, always make sure to use a legitimate source. That could be downloading from the bank directly or from Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Don’t download from anywhere else. Always use security software Every device you use should have a software firewall and antivirus running at all times. Computers should also have a malware scanner. These programs should always be set to automatically scan and automatically update. Some programs are free while others will cost money. The free programs have the same level of protection but fewer features. You do not compromise protection by using free security. Use strong unique passwords Every website you log into will use a password as part of account security. The importance of a strong password that is unique to that login and not used anywhere else cannot be overstated. It is essential to make the

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password as strong as possible and to never use it elsewhere. There are password managers available which allow you to securely store all your logins without having to remember the details for each. Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible If a website or app you use offers multi-factor authentication (MFA), use it. This is a valuable extra protection. It requires an extra step to log into your account, such as a random code sent to your phone, but can make it much more difficult to hack an account. Without that MFA code, even if a hacker had your username and password, they would not be able to log in. It’s a free but very useful extra security measure. Enable account notifications Many web apps and websites have the option to notify you via email of logins or suspicious activity. Always have these enabled. Should your details be hacked, you will be notified of any access by email or text and can act quickly to prevent any loss or damage to that account or quickly change your password.

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Use Wi-Fi safely Wi-Fi is a risk as it’s possible for data to be intercepted. But it’s too useful to avoid using altogether, so you can get a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your device to encrypt all your data. VPNs create a secure tunnel between your device and the VPN server that protects your data. Even if you accidentally connect to a fake Wi-Fi hotspot, your traffic is unreadable so is useless to the hacker. Watch where you surf Being aware of where you are on the internet is essential. Always check the URL, hover your cursor over a URL on a page or in an email to check it before clicking it and make sure you always use trusted websites. Be very cautious if a site is not encrypted using HTTPS. This will be indicated in the web browser URL bar, and if it’s not then your data could be at risk. Never enter any kind of information into a site which is not protected with HTTPS. Know how to remote lock or erase your phone If you use financial apps, banking apps or have personal data on your phone, it makes sense to familiarise yourself with


ASIA TECHNOLOGY

the remote locking and erasure feature. Android and Apple both have a feature to remotely locate, lock or wipe your phone in case yours is lost or stolen.

If you think you have landed on a fraudulent website, close your web browser and perform a full antivirus and malware scan.

What to do if you’re a victim of cybercrime

If you are subject to a ransomware request, don’t pay. Wipe your device and rebuild it or have a professional do it.

If your bank alerts you to strange behaviour on your account, independently verify and then phone your bank or credit card company using the number on the card.

If you see strange debits on any account, alert the bank, change associated passwords and report the fraud to police.

If you find yourself a victim of cybercrime, there are things you need to do to protect yourself. Exactly what depends on what has happened. The one universal requirement is to act quickly. Be proactive If you’re subject to any kind of crime or hacking online, you have to be proactive about the situation. That means actively changing affected passwords, contacting any related organisation, stopping credit cards, informing your bank and alerting the necessary authorities. Here are some practical tips for actions to take: • If your security program detects spyware, scan your system and allow it to clean the device. • If you suspect you have received a phishing email, delete it and never click a link within it.

Prevention is always better than cure, but it isn’t always possible to avoid risks on the internet completely. If you follow the advice in this article, you will avoid the vast majority of risks out there and be able to enjoy the internet in the way it was originally designed to be enjoyed. Good luck out there!

Jamie Kavanagh Contributor Broadband Genie

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Cyberaware.gov.uk, www.cyberaware.gov.uk/softwareupdates.

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EMEA INVESTMENT

BIDV Securities JSC (BSC) is a Vietnam-based provider of financial investment services, formally established and operating since 1999, then IPO in 2010, and offically listed on HSX 1 in 2011. The company with more than 200 staffs - 100% graduated and postgraduated provides various financial products and services for institutional, individual, domestic, and foreign customers.

F

or many consective years since the establishment, BSC is in top 10 Securities companies with highest brokerage market share on HNX, 2 HSX and UPCOM, 3 in Top 6 Securities companies with highest derivatives market share, is the leading sercurities company in term of Government bond brokerage on HNX since 2013 up to now. Currently, the operation of BSC's Investment Baking

department is not only limited to the territory of Vietnam but is taking steps into the world. The company has built up a network of customers and foreign investors who have interests in investing in Vietnam stock market. With the exploitation of the market, BSC will continue to seize opportunities, to catch up with new wave of foreign investment. BSC's proprietary trading department is heading to develop sustainable profits,


participating in marketmaker activities, focusing on issuing structured products such as ETF, Covered Warrants ... to take advantage of conditions and avoid the effects of market conditions. BSC realizes that the development of traditional securities product services has almost reached the limit. Securities companies which want to make a breakthrough have to find a way to make a difference. The Industrial Revolution 4.0 alone with the application of new and modern technologies that have had far-reaching influences in all socioeconomic fields, especially finance, helpd BSC solve the challenges to develop. BSC determine technology will be the backbone of BSC operation. Many products with high technology application, using artificial interlligence platform have been introduced to the market by BSC such as BSCibroker, BSC i-Invest, ... BSC's customers will have opportunities to experience the high quality financial services for the first time in Vietnam stock market, from getting investment information 24/7 to being

provided with tools to support the allocation, management and investment in securities professionally according to the needs of each investor. In addition, with the application and introduction of Open API's in distribution of products and services, BSC has created a completely new approach compared to traditional sales distribution channels. In 2019 (and the following years,) BSC will continue to steadfastly pursue core business values, building a solid foundation based on sustainable development goals. BSC will grasp its opportunities and realize those opportunities. New products and new services will be put into operation, tested and promoted to be perfected. The

information technology system will continue to get a worthy budget to upgrade and modernize the sales channels will be strengthened, expanded and improved. The international cooperation activities are promoted... BSC is establishing a new space, a new position. 2019 is the year BSC celebrates its 20th anniversary. 20 years of co-operation with Vietnam stock market is a relatively long time for BSC. BSC, the pioneers of the last 20 years, have neer stopped tryging with the desire to bring the best Vietnamese financial products and services to Vietnamese stock market and customers. We, together, wish the best for BSC in the enxt stages of development. (1): Hochiminh Stock Exchange (2): Hanoi Stock Exchange (3): Unlisted Public Company Market


ASIA TECHNOLOGY

How Financial Organizations Can Begin Their Journey Towards Secure Edge Operations Financial services organizations have traditionally utilized virtual private networks (VPNs) to connect remote locations and/or to deploy new apps. Until rather recently, VPNs were the ideal solution to assist in controlling costs, while also providing a level of security. However, as the data landscape has evolved – with financial services organizations becoming increasingly decentralized, it has become clear that VPNs can no longer deliver the benefits for which they were originally intended. They simply were not engineered with today’s requirements in mind. Unfortunately, many financial services organizations are learning this the hard way. Todays’ compute environment, made up of big data, mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and so on, continues to extend traditional enterprise perimeters, rendering VPNs highly vulnerable to threats and incapable of providing the cost advantages for which VPNs have been traditionally associated. In fact, as new applications are added to distributed locations, the cost and complexity of adding more VPNs to secure them now in fact escalates considerably. Today, much of the answer can be found in innovative, multi-layered security solutions that are evolving to secure and protect assets. Unfortunately, oftentimes the remote distributed sites of the newly updated HQ data centers are not brought up to date as quickly or as completely. And, even when the remote sites are provided with like IT hardware and/ or software, more often than not, they do not have the same level of onsite IT expertise to ensure ongoing optimum IT operation. This renders

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the remote site(s) potential weak links in the overall security chain – and not just vulnerable at their specific location, but potentially opening avenues of vulnerability into the corporate site as well. Given this all too common scenario, and its potential ramifications for the business and regulations compliance, it is not surprising that the question of how to extend enterprise data center-grade security to remote sites with limited IT staff and tight budgets remains at the top of most IT and security professionals’ priority list, not to mention the C-suite, compliance and legal teams. Today, Secure Software Defined Wide Area Network (SD-WAN) for the Network Edge has emerged as an ideal solution to overcome these challenges. Secure SD-WAN at the Edge puts the power and security of the compute resources as close to the sources of data as possible – i.e., at the network’s edge – near where the work is actually being done. It is purpose built to address these challenges by uniting security and simplicity into an integrated solution. The power of secure SD-WAN Edge lies in taking a defense-in-depth approach while at the same time decreasing the enterprise attack surface by logically segmenting the network on a per application basis. Additionally, this multi-layered security methodology is offered with the architectural simplicity, scalability, reliability and significant cost savings of a virtual overlay network. The majority of those responsible for data security in today’s increasingly distributed financial services organizations know only to well the challenges that lay with traditional

connectivity solutions, such as VPNs: •

Complicated Deployment/ Management – Connecting new locations and new applications is hard. Each location may have multiple devices, different device configurations and various security requirements. Turning up a new location on a VPN requires experienced IT staff to deploy, manage, troubleshoot and support. Today’s increasingly decentralized financial services ecosystem means security configurations may be deployed and/or managed by anyone from a highly trained professional to a novice. This opens-up edge compute locations to the possibility of misconfigurations or inconsistent configurations, and consequently, dangerously vulnerable to security risk.

Costly – The capital expenditure for acquiring, deploying, managing and supporting various point solution hardware, public IP addresses, and software continues to rise. In addition, and rightly so, the cost to hire and retain highly skilled IT professionals capable of managing the entire infrastructure – from HQ to the remote sites – is increasing. And, when such skilled professionals are tasked with managing and putting out fires in this area, it takes them away from activities that could more directly impact competitive advantage, profitability and shareholder value.

Rigid – Adapting to changing network needs, turning up new applications, or responding to new security threats, such


ASIA TECHNOLOGY

as ransomware, malware and spoofing, must be automatic or rapidly executed to ensure security and business continuity. But, traditional connectivity measures are inflexible and require labor intensive efforts to execute and manage adequately. Straightforward and Uncomplicated As financial services organizations continue to decentralize, and more business data is created and utilized at the network edge, a straightforward, uncomplicated solution to securely connect and manage them is required. Secure SD-WAN Edge is especially well suited for this endeavor. Secure SD-WAN Edge technology streamlines enterprise networks and significantly reduces the capital and operational expense of managing

enterprise WANs. Secure SD-WAN Edge technology effortlessly extends the multi-layered security defenses utilized in corporate data centers to branch locations and remote ATMs. Most importantly, secure SDWAN Edge allows mission-critical infrastructure such as ATMs and electronic card readers to co-exist with public applications like Wi-Fi on a single network while providing application-specific security and end-to-end network segmentation. These applications are segmented into their own dedicated logical networks, preventing them from intermingling with other application traffic on the network. With secure SD-WAN Edge solutions, these applications are connected in a cost-effective, scalable way without compromising security. This is a distinct benefit over VPNs, which

provide an either/or scenario: either all traffic intermingles on one VPN, which is lower cost but very insecure; or all traffic can be segmented on separate VPNs, which requires more cost and complexity to maintain security. Virtualizes the WAN Secure SD-WAN Edge virtualizes the WAN so that all network intelligence is handled in software. For example, remote locations can be defined simultaneously and then kept perfectly in sync using centralized cloud-based policy administration inherent in SD-WAN Edge connectivity models. This groundbreaking architecture helps reduce expenses and complexity, while increasing network flexibility. Best of all, it can be piloted in your network incrementally on a branch-by-branch basis, mitigating concerns about network

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disruption, and giving you a quick way to determine the return on your investment. Additional values of secure SD-WAN Edge are provided below. Other Benefits for Financial Organizations Increased Security - Logical network segmentation allows security policies to be enforced on a per application basis. By applying complete end-toend segmentation of each application, exposure from any potential breach is limited to that single application. Just as importantly, the centralized virtual overlay approach of secure SD-WAN Edge configurations eliminates the multiple manual configurations that open your network up to security risks. With secure SD-WAN Edge, you can easily extend the multilayered security approach used in data centers out to the edge of your network without highly skilled IT professionals at the branch. Increased Agility - Secure SDWAN Edge functionality allows for zero touch deployment, resulting in the rollout of network services “on demand”, supporting the needs of an agile business. For example, new cloud applications, such as POS and loyalty, can be rolled out quickly. Reduced Complexity - Distributed enterprises can be operationalized in minutes instead of months. Secure SD-WAN Edge simplifies network setup with automatic provisioning and configuration from a central controller. The remote location will also receive network updates and changes automatically. Proven Scalability - Secure SD-WAN Edge is designed with scalability in mind and provides the level of security and performance on demand network services need in large distributed enterprises. Policy

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changes, software updates, and new branch deployment are made simple and expedient without compromising network performance. It is precisely because of all these benefits at dramatically lower costs that multiunit organizations such as Arby’s, Blimpie, Cold Stone Creamery, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Shell and Kirkland’s have incorporated secure SD-WAN Edge into their networks. Decreased Costs - With secure SDWAN Edge virtualization, the cost of WAN infrastructure hardware, software, and support can be reduced by up to 79%. The technology eliminates the need for multiple, dedicated premise devices by integrating functionality, such as Wi-Fi, wireless back-up, firewall and intrusion detection/ prevention in one solution. Here are the high level steps for financial organizations that wish to commence their Secure SD-WAN Edge Journey: •

Identify and engage all key stakeholders in creating and/or approving the Strategy & Program (IT, security, legal, regulations compliance, C-suite)

Develop a data connectivity and security program for HQ, as well as your remote locations

Do your homework – explore multiple solutions and vendors, seek guidance from trusted partners/advisors

Narrow your search, conduct POCs (proof of concept testing)

Once chosen, roll-out incrementally on a branch-bybranch basis

Michelle Arney Head of Product Cybera


ASIA TECHNOLOGY

Removing the Myths of Blockchain In the technology driven world that we live in today, the distributed ledger, blockchain, allows digital information to be dispensed in a secure and efficient manner. By allowing digital information to be distributed, but not copied, the technology has created the backbone of a new type of internet for its users. With the fast developing pace of the blockchain industry and with many sectors now utilising the technology, it is important to address the misunderstanding and confusion of the market that remains. It’s now more important than ever for companies to ensure that customers are not fazed by the myths that circulate the blockchain industry. Here we take a look at some of the most common myths surrounding blockchain. Myth #1: Blockchain isn’t secure or trustworthy One of the main myths related to blockchain is that it isn't secure or trustworthy, when in fact it is said to be the securest transaction system in the world. Blockchain is a distributed ledger, which means that the elements of the system are stored on a number of different networks and storage for the data is not connected to the same processor. As a result of this, it means that the records cannot be retroactively altered without

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changing all of the blocks involved. Therefore, this makes it difficult for hackers to change the recorded block without detection. Myth #2: There is only one type of Blockchain There is a general assumption that there is only one type of blockchain, however there are actually three different types. The first is a public blockchain, the most common one. As the name suggests, it is open to the public and it has no restrictions on who can access it. Anybody who has access to the internet is able to handle a transaction and complete the validation. Additionally, anyone can review the transaction at any time and anywhere on the blockchain. A private blockchain is the second most common blockchain. The private blockchain has someone who is in charge and who regulates everything within the blockchain. It is also not free for everyone and the individual in charge has to give permission to users wanting to join. A private blockchain is mostly used within organisations. Lastly, a consortium or federated blockchain is the third type of blockchain. This type of blockchain is a mixture of both public and private blockchains. There is more than one person in charge, usually a group of individuals or a number of companies. These people make decisions together which is best suited for the network.


ASIA TECHNOLOGY

Myth #3: Blockchain can only be used in the financial industry Many believe that blockchain can only be adopted within financial industries which isn’t the case, even though this is usually where we hear about it most. More and more industries are now integrating this technology into businesses in order to revolutionise the way they work, and keep their valuable information secure. Blockchain is being used within supply chains in order to improve efficiencies and reduce costs. These businesses are able to keep solid records as well as tracing products, creating end-to-end visibility. The medical sector is another example of an industry embracing blockchain to support their business. Blockchain technology is leveraged to keep health records safe in a private ledger, whilst medical professionals are able to request permission to access a patient’s record regardless of where they are in the world. The education industry is also utilising blockchain to keep student records secure, as well as sharing student records in a safe manner. With cyber attacks on the rise and personal information in a vulnerable state, blockchain is able to help keep this information protected and secure from hackers. Myth #4: Blockchain is the same as Bitcoin

is a cryptocurrency, or digital currency, whereas blockchain is the technology that underpins Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency which has different rules depending on country specific regulations and laws. The goal behind Bitcoin is to create a currency that can bypass government currency controls by being decentralised and avoid negotiations that can increase costs of transactions. On the other hand, blockchain is a digital ledger technology where each transaction is encrypted and forms a chain of data. This chain holds all of the record and requires a code to unlock.

Marie Tatibouet CMO Gate Technology

Although these misconceptions of blockchain can change people's opinion on the technology, there are many benefits that people are largely unaware of. Some of these being increased transparency, reduced costs and greater transparency. Helping users understand and clearing up the myths of blockchain will enable them to better understand this exceptional invention and how it can create an improved system for everyone, due to the enhanced security of the platform and how all data is stored in one, secure place. The potential for blockchain to transform how organisations add value is vast.

In addition, many believe that blockchain is the same as bitcoin and that it is not public, which is not the case. Bitcoin

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ASIA BUSINESS

Burnout is to be recognised by WHO in 2020 -

so what does that mean for leaders in the financial sector? After the World Health Organisation (WHO) announced that it will recognise ‘burnout’ as an official phenomenon from 2020, leaders in the financial sector are facing a significant challenge. The WHO has defined burnout as ‘a syndrome conceptualised as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed’. That’s an interpretation which places the responsibility firmly with leadership

– so the ball is now in the court of managers, directors and CEOs to challenge a culture of long hours and poor work-life balance that has existed in the finance, banking, accounting and professional services sectors for too long. For anyone who is in any doubt, this definition from the WHO represents a step change in thinking. It’s a call to action, a challenge that’s being laid down to leadership in business to say: ‘you need to take this seriously’. If we look at the illnesses normally associated with working conditions, then it’s natural to think about plumbers lagging pipes and being exposed to asbestos, or miners working in hazardous conditions underground. These were environments where it became obvious that the workplace was damaging people’s health. The office has not been on that list until now, and yet anyone who has worked in the City will have seen colleagues who are clearly

not well and hear of people who have suffered badly from stress and may even have died as a result. On top of that there are what I would call the ‘not ill but not well’. This describes people who are in that twilight zone where they are pushing themselves hard, not sleeping well and perhaps propping themselves up with alcohol, sugar, painkillers or drugs in order to get by. They haven’t yet suffered a major health issue like a heart attack, but they are in a zone where they aren’t medically classified as ill, but they don’t feel well. This kind of physical state, a lack of wellness, has been undiagnosed until now. However, if the WHO is classifying burnout as a official phenomenon, that is about to change. This has serious implications for leaders, especially in the financial sector. There could be legal repercussions for businesses, which fail to change their culture and certainly there will be greater pressure to think more deeply about the well being of staff and the working conditions and environments that result in excessive and/or chronic stress. For a long time, people have been asking: what is this environment we are working in? We have a feeling that it’s damaging to our health, but we haven’t been able to point to a specific condition which results

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from it. For plumbers it could be asbestosis and mesothelioma, for builders Hand-Arm Vibration Syndrome. Now we have a condition to attach to the office environment and it’s a syndrome called burnout. To be clear, stress is not all bad. We are not aiming to have zero stress in our lives that would be completely unrealistic, and shortterm stress, e.g. having to meet a deadline, focuses the mind and allows us to channel our energies appropriately. But what is the role of the leader in preventing excessive stress and how do they begin to change their company’s well being culture? Here we look at 10 main pointers: 1. It starts with you If you are not looking after yourself, if you are working in a way that undermines your health, then you are not fit to lead – in both senses of the word – because everyone looks to leaders for guidance on how to behave. This is particularly relevant for leaders who are physically distant from their staff, in a global business for instance. If we know someone quite well, we think about them as a person. If we don’t know them and they are distant from us, then we look at them as a brand; and their brand of leadership gives us an indication on how to behave. So, if their brand of leadership is working all hours, sending out demands for information late at night and at the weekends, then managers are placing a pressure on people which may lead to chronic stress.

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ASIA BUSINESS 2. Don’t be a hero We can all think of leaders we have experienced over the years, the ones who stood out for some reason, good or bad, and I can think of two in particular. One of my first managers was someone who really did take care of his health. A former pro cyclist in his youth and blessed with a natural coaching style of leadership, he would warn people if he felt they were at risk of burnout and call their attention to it. But in contrast I encountered other companies, where the archetype was of the hero leader. In one organisation, members of the exec would fly in on the red-eye, head off to make a coffee and stagger around the office, completing a tour of everyone’s desk and looking like death-warmed-up as they did so. They were effectively saying ‘look at me, I’m a hero’ and the implied message was ‘this is how you have to operate; this is how you have

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to work – and it isn’t necessary to factor in any recovery time in to your travel schedule. It was an unhealthy example to set, and perhaps unsurprisingly the business suffered a higher level of staff turnover. 3. Consider enterprise leadership It’s not only working long hours which cause damage; the inability of a leader to delegate or encourage enterprise leadership has its own issues. By holding on to all the responsibility, they create stress beneath them. Effective leaders create a healthy culture and then empower and trust managers to live that culture and make the right decisions. 4. Think differently about recruitment If you look at sectors such as banking, financial services, law and professional services, they attract and actively recruit people who could be described as insecure overachieversi.

These are people who, due to their personality type, are fanatical about perfection. They drive themselves very, very hard. Consequently, they put themselves under excessive pressure and are willing to engage in a long-hours culture. What’s more, when they are promoted into a leadership role, they project that personality trait onto others. They will start to create a culture which is driven by their own desire to overachieve, setting impossibly high targets for their team - which creates stress and pressure. 5. Talk to your managers Having open conversations about stress is key to preventing burnout, so never underestimate the value of storytelling, explaining to others your own route in to leadership and how you have coped and dealt with stress in the past. However, the success of this tactic depends on the climate you are creating. Is it one of trust, where people feel safe to be open


ASIA BUSINESS and honest about what is going on for them, for instance their suitability for a role, how they are feeling, their performance? Or are you driving a culture of fear?

away with the other – people see through it and it creates cynicism, which in itself is unhealthy. Ensure your business purpose and business values are authentic.

If it’s the latter, there will be implications in term of people’s willingness to talk honestly; and if you have built a low trust, high pressure culture, then you can expect people with elevated cortisol levels as a result. Their bodies will be producing excessive levels of cortisol, which is the key stress hormone, and one impact of that is a reduction in sleep quality. Sufferers have fewer resources because they haven’t slept properly, and naturally they reach out for props – normally coffee or sugar or sometimes alcohol - in a search for energy. You are then part of a vicious circle which is hard to break.

9. Formalise working hours and expectations Because the technology is there for us to be connected 24/7 there is an implied expectation for employees to participate in that - unless businesses take responsibility to set parameters. In reality, it’s hard for people to stop looking at emails. It taps into the brain’s reward system and we get a little dose of dopamine when we receive an email. We hear that ping and feel ‘I’m needed’. That’s why smart phones are so addictive. So, on one hand technology is a great enabler but it also contributes massively to people’s stress.

6. Have a strategy to prevent burnout, not cure it Think about prevention – this is the first step. By the time someone is experiencing either mental or physical health issues then the horse has already bolted. Think about what you can put in place and what you can start doing to support people and put well being at the core of what you do.

Make it clear when people are expected to be available to read emails and when they are expected to be solving business problems. This gives people permission to take time out, to rest their brains and bodies in between. Ensure they aren’t routinely expected to be solving business problems and checking emails late in the evening before they go to sleep at night.

7. Use education to up-skill staff and managers Educating people about the need to balance workload with the body’s need for recovery is vital. Consider offering ‘lunch and learns’ on nutrition, diet, exercise and maximising sleep quality. At the same time, educate managers to spot the signs of burnout and stress and help them gain the skills to open a constructive conversation with their team about it.

10. Understand the stress ecosystem Giving an individual a real awareness of what drives stress and pressure for them personally can in turn provide the self-help tools needed to avoid burnout. There will always be things that make one person feel stressed which don’t affect someone else. So, you need to understand them and place boundaries around those things to take control.

8. Avoid wellwashing 2 This a term used to describe companies, which have a well being strategy that masks an unhealthy culture. So, it’s almost as if they are saying ‘we’ll make you work all the hours God sends, but here’s a bowl of fruit’. There is no point in giving with one hand and taking

With all these issues it is important to talk about physical as well as mental health, and burnout certainly can include both sides of that coin. There’s an emphasis at the moment on mental health but when it comes to burnout, but the effect on our physical health is just as great.

We’ve always known there’s a link between stress and heart disease, but it was only in 2017 that a paper published in The Lancet 3 described the biological mechanism by which this happens. It demonstrated that emotional stress causes increased activation in a part of the brain called the amygdala, two almond-shaped structures that sit deep in the limbic, unconscious brain. We can think of the amygdala as the brain’s smoke detector, its role is to detect threats to our survival. The research showed that over the measurement period, increased amygdala activation, due to stress causes increased bone marrow activity and arterial inflammation, leading to cardiovascular disease. This means we now have an articulated mechanism by which stress leads to a heart attack. If we in our role as leaders are creating a climate of excessive stress, which could lead to this initial change in the brains of those working for us, it’s going to have all sorts of implications. The evidence is there and the challenge for businesses, and especially for leaders, is how to limit it.

Natalie Carrick Executive Coach Black Isle Group

1

Hill, Andrew. “Insecure Overachievers and How to Handle Them.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 24 Sept. 2018, www. ft.com/content/c7f8c4d4-bc31-11e8-94b2-17176fbf93f5.

2

Clark, Pilita. “Corporate Wellbeing Is No Substitute for Good Management.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 22 Apr. 2018, www.ft.com/content/7ef4e4ba-432e-11e8-803a295c97e6fd0b.

3

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS01406736(16)31714-7/fulltext

Issue 16 | 67


ASIA COVER STORY

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ASIA COVER STORY

Leader

of Micro Finance in Thailand

The Thai Credit Retail Bank is the Micro Finance leader in Thailand. The Bank’s unique business model and product development are aimed at meeting the financial needs of Micro Finance and Micro SME entrepreneurs throughout the country. Editor, Wanda Rich recently interviewed Winyou Chaiyawan, the Chief Executive Officer, to discuss the way the Bank is leading to provide financial support to the micro business segment in Thailand.

products according to customer’s needs, not just a standard one fits all. For example, they have a doctor loan to support the medical profession or the apartment loan to support apartment owners. They offer various types of loans either with or without collateral and they also have SME 150 Max which gives 150% LTV. Faster approval and fewer documents are something they have improved too.

From May to June of this year, The Thai Credit Retail Bank opened 65 new branches nationwide. According to Winyou Chaiyawan, this branch expansion is one of the keys to the Bank's strategic growth. Their target segment is Micro Finance and Micro SME entrepreneurs. As Micro Finance customers mainly station at their shops most of the time, therefore, the Bank decided to specifically locate their branch as well as a kiosk in the community or inside the traditional market in order to give easy access with much more flexible office hours to suit customer’s behavior.

When it comes to technology and the move towards cashless transactions, The Thai Credit Retail Bank is ready to meet the challenge. According to Winyou Chaiyawan, the Bank is in the process of transforming itself to be a digital bank as digital technology is another key instrument to improve financial discipline and asset quality of lowincome borrowers as they can see financial data on the digital channel whilst the Bank can better control default risks of customers by using data analytics.

When asked about their other unique financial product offerings, Winyou Chaiyawan explained that they are the bank that understands the Micro SME segment, tailoring their product programmes for different business categories. Creating

When asked about their plans for further expansion Winyou Chaiyawan said, ”We are continuing to grow in the micro finance segment and at the same time, we also carry on our transformation to be digitisation on both our products and services.”

Featured on page 68 is the management team from The Thai Credit Retail Bank. Pictured from left to right is Mr. Veeravet Chaiyawan, Assistant Managing Director of Deposit Branch (seated), Mr. Natus Kittawaranon, Assistant Managing Director of Product and Marketing Group, Mr. Pornthep Permpornpipat, Assistant Managing Director of Risk Management Group, Mr. Kittipant Sriwannawit, Assistant Managing Director of Finance and Accounting, Mr. Kamolphu Phuredithsakul, Assistant Managing Director of Sales Group, Mr. Roy Agustinus Gunara, Managing Director and Mr. Winyou Chaiyawan, Chief Executive Officer.

Issue 16 | 69


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EMEA 76 Issue 16


EMEA INTERVIEW

Commercial Bank of Dubai

- Celebrating 50 Years of banking excellence and still leading the way Commercial Bank of Dubai is using their 50 years of banking experience to deliver innovative, bespoke financial solutions to their customers and drive economic growth and development. For more information on their commitment to customer success and plans for the future we interviewed CEO, Dr. Bernd van Linder.

The Bank's establishment in 1969 coincided with a period when the Emirate of Dubai was witnessing a rapid transformation into an increasingly important regional, latterly global, trade hub, under the wise leadership of the late His Highness Rashid bin Saeed AI Maktoum, the founder of modern Dubai.

Commercial Bank of Dubai (CBD) first began operations in 1969. How has the industry changed over the last 50 years?

As one of the oldest local banks, Commercial Bank of Dubai played an important role in financing UAE’s trade and development projects. The Bank has since continued to finance infrastructural projects, promoting the development of trade, business, industry and services throughout the UAE.

Changes in the global banking industry have been massive over the past fifty years. To name a few, we have seen the introduction of Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs), online banking, mobile banking and the rise of the likes of WeChat and WhatsApp as payment channels. The nature of banking is changing, and banks need to be agile in adopting the new technologies. In the United Arab Emirates, change has been even more profound. Commercial Bank of Dubai was established in 1969, two years ahead of the foundation of the UAE. Our success over the past five decades has gone hand in hand with the development and prosperity of the United Arab Emirates itself.

Today, Commercial Bank of Dubai is a fully-fledged bank that offers a wide range of banking products and services that meets the financial needs of our corporate, commercial and retail customers in both conventional and Sharia-compliant formats. We are proud of the trust our customers place in us and equally proud of our contribution to the economic development of the UAE and Dubai in particular.

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EMEA INTERVIEW

In your opinion, what differentiates CBD from other banks? Since its inception, CBD has been a bank, by and for the family-owned and managed businesses across all the Emirates in the UAE. Traditionally, we have a strong franchise in the corporate and commercial segments but we are increasingly using that strength to expand in the retail and SME segments as well. If I would have to say one thing in which we distinguish ourselves from other banks, then it is truly our customer focus. We are a true relationship bank, always focusing on the overall, continuing relationship with the client and not just on the transaction at hand. We stand by our clients through economic cycles. We are an accessible bank, and all of us understand that we only exist by virtue of our customers. How is technology evolving bank operations? Technology has traditionally played a major role in banking, and banks have been avid adopters of technology. From the first mainframes in the 1950s and the first ATMs in the 1960s, banks have been at the forefront of technology. These days it is no different, albeit that the pace of technological change is accelerating. Consumer banking has essentially become fully digital, with mobile banking being the preferred channel for customer interaction. Combined with ATMs, CDMs and online banking, general banking services are available 24x7, everywhere. Bank branches have become service and advice centers, where more complex transactions are being handled. Similar trends are visible in corporate banking where transfers, cheque processing and cash deposits are increasingly initiated at customers’ premises. With several government run initiatives aiming at efficiency, to

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EMEA INTERVIEW

make the economy paperless, cashless, and frictionless the trends towards technological banking will continue, and the need for cash, cheques and physical branches will continue to reduce. In what ways are fintech and digitalization impacting the banking sector? To me, Fintechs, AI, blockchain and digitization are the next phases in the technological (r)evolution of banking. Fintechs have started to influence the banking sector and the capital markets, from lending to asset management and from portfolio advice to payment systems. Their main impact so far has been less on the back-end, and more on the customer facing front-end, where they set new standards for customer experience. As such, Fintechs have a symbiotic relationship with banks: we have the back-end processes and infrastructure, the clients and the trust and reputation built up over many years while Fintechs bring the focus on customer experience in the digital age. Artificial intelligence (AI), and more specifically machine-learning, plays an increasingly important role in banking. Everywhere there are patterns to be recognized, AI can be of value. In marketing, AI allows for automatically deriving a micro-segmentation of the market. In transaction monitoring, AI has reduced the number of false positives thereby improving the bank’s risk profile, and in credit, AI helps to better assess the credit worthiness of loan applicants using machine learning and big data. Blockchain, or distributed ledger technology, will be prevalent whenever there is a requirement for the secure exchange and editing of documents. A typical example is real estate, where the Dubai Land Department will be using blockchain for all their processes, which will enhance secure access to information. Likewise, blockchain could have an impact on banking, since the secure exchange of information and documentation is essential to the finance sector. Blockchain will play a very important role in sharing know-your-customer data, and pilots are being run successfully in various jurisdictions. Blockchain has also great potential in trade finance, which is predicated on payment versus the secure exchange of

documents. Supply chain financing, which essentially is providing finance against documents, is another area where I see the application of blockchain. Commercial Bank of Dubai is well known for being at the forefront of innovation when it comes to payments & cash management solutions. What are some of the challenges corporations face when it comes to payments and cash management? Treasurers today face a daunting task with several challenges due to rising uncertainty across the region and the world in general. One of the biggest challenges they are facing is the relative low emphasis on operational efficiency and the resulting lack of focus on treasury technology, which continues to create problems for treasurers. Although there are several corporate treasurers who are integrating or upgrading their existing systems to help reduce operational risk, many continue to rely on manual data distributed across several spreadsheets. Over 80% of treasurers feel that new technologies like artificial intelligence can help provide management with relevant information on cash positions and forecasts faster and with deeper insights, which in turn helps companies save or make money. Related to the lack of focus on technology is the lack of standardization of payments. As of today, corporates face a diverse set of payment and reporting formats which makes it challenging to integrate with their existing ERP / TMS systems. However, with the advent of low value faster payments in the region and with the introduction of SWIFT gpi, there is increased standardization which is helping treasurers initiate and trace payments far more efficiently than conventional payment methods. What solutions do you have available to help corporates streamline operations and improve efficiency? CBD offers bespoke payments and cash management solutions to all its wholesale banking customers covering accounts receivable, accounts payables and liquidity management solutions. All wholesale banking customers have access to a variety of customised services through iBusiness, CBD’s state-of-the-art online banking platform.

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EMEA INTERVIEW

CBD payments and reconciliation solutions can also be directly connected host-to-host, SWIFT solutions to customer TMS or ERP platforms using APIs, to improve accounts payable and reconciliation efficiencies. Moreover, CBD has helped corporates streamline their internal operations through providing virtual accounts and remote cheque scanning solutions. Our dedicated cash management sales and advisory team assists all our customers in identifying areas which require process improvement and help them achieve efficiencies and reduce operational costs.

In addition to contributing to the development of the UAE economy through providing ethical banking services, we are also proud of our contribution to developing Emirati talent. To this end, we have two flagship recruitment and development programmes. The first of these is the “Tumoo7” program which is designed

In addition, the bank continues to be a responsible corporate citizen through a robust CSR framework that is aligned with its corporate culture and belief. CBD has supported various charitable organizations across the UAE in the areas of health, education, arts and culture and community wellbeing through donations and sponsorships.

How does Commercial Bank of Dubai support the socio-economic development in the UAE?

What does the future hold for CBD?

To me, there are several angles in answering this question. First and foremost, as a bank, we are extensively involved in financing projects that contribute to the growth and development of the economy, whether it is financing of ports, airports, solar farms, desalination plants, waste management solutions, roads, hospitals, schools and others. In providing banking services, CBD strongly believes in acting ethically, always having the best interests of our customers at heart. This ethos inspires the structure of our products, the delivery of our services and the principles that run our business. Everything we do at CBD is based on customer needs and to help create economic value for customers.

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The second one is a first-of-its-kind leadership initiative in the UAE, the “Next Generation Leadership Program”. This programme is designed specifically for high performing UAE national graduates with 8 to10 years of working experience. This nine-month program includes targeted career planning and specialized training programs.

CBD has a strong client base, a strong capital and liquidity position, and a fantastic team. We are ready for more growth this year. With the UAE economy forecasted to grow by close to 3 per cent, we aim to outgrow both the market and the banking sector as a whole again in 2019. Growth is expected to be broad-based across all segments and sectors. Our ambition is to continue to be the bank of choice for our customers, for the next 50 years and beyond!

for fresh graduates. Tumoo7 helps develop the potential and capabilities of UAE youth and prepares them for leadership positions within the Bank through a series of practical training courses and job rotations in various departments and branches.


EMEA INTERVIEW

Dr. Bernd van Linder Chief Executive Officer Commercial Bank of Dubai

Dr. Bernd joined CBD in January 2017. He built his career at ABN AMRO, before moving to Saudi Hollandi Bank as GM for Treasury and eventually becoming CEO of the same bank in 2009. He has a wealth of experience in all aspects of banking and an excellent track-record in leading strategic change processes. He holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence and an MBA in Financial Management.

Issue 16 | 81


EMEA TECHNOLOGY

The Pace of Technology Means Leaders Must Embrace Digital Optimisation The technological revolution in finance means that, rather than being a once in a decade transformation, going digital has become a decadelong process. Against this backdrop, banking and insurance executives must change their strategic and mental approach, because carried out ad-nauseam the transformation mentality can be damaging. Nevertheless, there is still a strong imperative to drive financial services down a data-rich and technologically efficient path. Indeed, many banks and insurers still have a digital deficit to overcome. However, for those organisations with a clear product and customer service strategy, digital optimisation is often a more appropriate approach than organisational transformation.   This is not to say that banks, wealth managers and insurers won’t undergo many transformative digital changes in the years to come - but rather that leaders need to build both an atmosphere and an infrastructure that ensures each change smoothly adds value to a greater strategic focus and is not overly disruptive to the organisation.   Transformation is Strategic   Digital transformation means a foundational change in how an organisation delivers value to its customers. Successful digital transformations do not begin with technology: Instead, the focus is on overhauling the organisation with a customer-focused goal in mind, such as building customer-centric new products and services.  

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Such an undertaking is high-risk for any organisation, more so in something as finely balanced, unpredictable yet also highly scrutinised and regulated as finance. Financial services have arguably already undergone a major digital transformation, but it took 20 years and was fraught experience for many companies. Finance institutions may not welcome another revolution but the good news is, that they have yet to realise many of the advantages of the last one. Digital optimisation can ensure they do. Digital Optimisation Offers Evolution and Efficiencies Digital optimisation means ensuring that a company is using its technology effectively; is fully digital in terms of its functions and processes; and therefore able to leverage its data, human resource and brand into new platforms and formats, as the need arises. It involves ensuring an organisation is always prepared for change, without being driven by it.   Much of the current technology being considered by financial firms does not involve changing the fundamental

product. Instead, fintech more often than not uses new methods to automate and improve current services; new consumer platforms must be integrated alongside old favourites, as new generations of customers are targeted, but the level of customer care must be upheld. Digital optimisation has proven highly effective for this purpose as it uses technology to implement current strategies and make processes smoother; to improve current


EMEA TECHNOLOGY

services rather than offer radically new ones - even if those services are being presented to the customer in an entirely new way. At the same time, it drives efficiencies and paves the way for new technologies to be adopted safely and smoothly. Â Optimising People and Technology Optimisation is underpinned by technology - because the ability to freely share and access data is crucial in a digitally optimised organisation - but it also revolves around people. By allowing people, processes and

technology to function together seamlessly for the benefit of your customers, the optimisation process encourages an entrepreneurial atmosphere where staff try to use information and available tools to save time and deliver great service. Â Data is at the core of this process, as all new digital innovations require a stream of fresh information to function effectively. This can be delivered through a single enterprise hub for data, where information gathered on many formats will be visible to authorised members of staff on a single screen. By providing users

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EMEA TECHNOLOGY

with easy, secure access to complete information – anytime, anywhere, on any device – an organisation can facilitate more responsive, meaningful interactions. This is the final area of digital deficit that many financial services providers need to address. There has been understandable caution given the strengthening of regulations on data, but free-flowing information is crucial for the next generation of technologies. Their introduction should not be a true transformation, however, because it is important that humans remain in charge at a strategic level.   Freeing Data and People to Close the Digital Deficit Optimisation is the key to extracting real value from technology investments to date, and to integrating tomorrow’s systems with a minimum of disruption and while maintaining strategic aims. By removing business silos, seamlessly integrating core

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or legacy systems, eradicating reliance on shadow systems and sharing data across the business, banks can maximise the value and savings available from existing IT infrastructure and investments, rather than replacing them. That’s the technological side, and data availability is at its core. On the human side, by facilitating a greater entrepreneurial focus on the development of technology and uses, organisations are in a much stronger position to resolve the digitisation deficits in their operations and will become highly agile in their ability to spot, and adapt to, new consumer trends.   Financial services companies that aim for optimisation to back a robust strategy aimed at the customer, may even find that the process is transformative.    

Colin Dean Director of Digital Transformation (financial services and insurance) Hyland www.hyland.com


Recognized for Providing a State of the Art Smart Branch Most Innovative Digital Banking Initiative - Kuwait

AUB Kuwait is delighted to be awarded the Most Innovative Digital Banking Initiative (Smart Branch) Kuwait 2019 by Global Banking & Finance Review through judging panel, for our dedication to providing leadership and excellence in digital banking.

www.ahliunited.com.kw


EMEA BANKING

Digital Assets and Banking: Who Will be The Winners and Losers in the Knowledge Economy David Rimmer from Leading Edge Forum looks at role of digital assets in propelling banking into the knowledge economy. In the knowledge economy, digital assets play a pivotal role. Information technology (IT) is both a significant intangible asset in its own right and the key connecter of other intangible assets. Inevitably, banks must build their strategies around digital assets, just as in the industrial age firms planned their business around machinery, factories and

connections to transport networks. In developing strategies, banks will need to take into account the distinctive characteristics of intangible assets, such as scalability and synergies, and identify how to combine digital assets with other intangibles. Let’s take a closer look at the major digital assets which will drive bank revenue and profits.

banks this is no problem. They are built digitally from the bottom up, which inevitably gives them scalable software-based operations, with tiny variable costs per transaction. Conversely, if incumbent banks are to compete in the long term, they need operations and IT systems that can scale to match ‘digital-native’ businesses which are digitised from front to back.

Scalable digital operations Intangible assets, such as data and algorithms, have the potential to scale but banks require a means to scale in practice through digital operations if they are to maximise this notional value. For FinTechs and challenger

At present, most incumbent banks have digital transformation plans that move the bank forward one step at a time from where they are now. This is sensible and pragmatic, but banks will not be able to compete without a parallel strategy that

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EMEA BANKING

starts from the destination, working backwards from what the bank’s cost structure needs to be. This will be nothing like where they are now, nor even where they expect to be after their current digital transformation plans. Transaction costs may need to be orders of magnitude lower. A vital consideration is that, owing to concentration effects, the number of banks that reach scale in any given market may be small. There are four options for achieving scalable digital operations: greenfield, brownfield, insourcing / outsourcing and per-click operations. Greenfield - The critical manoeuvre in this strategy is making the cut-over from old to new, i.e.: “How does the bank bring over legacy customers and data?”; and “How are existing brands and partner relationships leveraged?”. Otherwise, this strategy amounts to following the challengers two to three years after the fact, without leveraging the bank’s strengths in intangible assets. Brownfield - Banks may decide that in some parts of their business they can come close enough to the goal of scalability through a brownfield approach based on simplifying and transforming their current IT. Here, automation across every function will be indispensable as, put simply, people don’t scale. Out s o u rc e / i ns ourc e - Where the ba n k i s n o t a t s c ale , outsourci ng t o ot h er s e r v ic e p rov iders w i l l be a c om p e llin g o p t io n , especi al l y i f a f un c t io n o f fe r s lit t le potenti al t o di f fere n t iat e in t h e eyes of t he c us t o me r. Of c o urse, the m i r ro r ima g e o f t h is strategy i s to i ns ou rce ad d it io n a l vol umes from ou t so urc in g b a n ks . Per-click operations - The final option for scalability involves accessing external services on a per-click model. This is how many

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digital businesses have managed to achieve global scale quickly. Uber’s rapid growth was possible because its operations are essentially just a bundling of services sourced from partners on a per-click basis. Partner APIs lie behind Uber’s geopositioning, route calculation, maps, push notifications, payments and receipts. Banks can identify where banking functions and commodity services are available on a per-click basis and incorporate them within their digital operations. Digital Platforms The platform is rapidly becoming the dominant business model for the 21st century. This makes platforms fundamental to any intangible strategy. In addition to driving revenue in their own right, platforms draw in more customers, spin off more data and create new data interfaces – all intangible assets that can be leveraged in other areas. Building platforms A platform is essentially a multisided marketplace that connects parties on each side, with network effects creating a virtuous circle that attracts ever more producers and consumers to the platform. Banks can build platforms around areas of banking, such as trade finance, asset management and wealth management. Alternatively, banks can target platforms at particular customer segments, e.g. small businesses, millennials or high net-worth individuals. A further option is building a platform whose sole role is connectivity, with Bloomberg the poster-child. In any case, the starting point must be total clarity around customer jobsto-be-done, say, exporting goods or saving for retirement, to use Clayton Christensen’s framework. Why would a customer come to the platform? What jobs do they want done? Equally, banks need to think

through which partners are required and what is in it for them. A number of banks have embarked down the road of building platforms, but too many have viewed the platform as a vehicle simply for distributing existing bank products, as opposed to working back from customer jobs-to-be-done and the partners needed for those jobs. 1 Tapping into external platforms and network effects Not everyone can be a platform – by definition. Banks should, therefore, consider where it makes sense to adopt a contrarian ‘cheap and cheerful’ strategy of accessing the network effects of other platforms. i.e. “If you can’t beat, them join them’. As an example, 58 banks across Europe have decided to use Raisin as a distribution platform for savings products in order to access a larger network of customers than is possible via their own channels. Strategies for the global platforms (GAFA and the Chinese platforms) A further strategic dimension should be assessing opportunities and threats from the global platforms that have become such dominant features in our business landscape. The global platforms may act in the role of distribution channels, customers or competitors – or all three. •

Competitors – In China, AliPay and WeChat have come to dominate


EMEA BANKING

certain financial services segments. In Europe, Amazon, Facebook and Google have registered as a third party to aggregate payment data and initiate payments under Payment Services Directive 2. As a result of these and other moves, banks need to identify where their business is vulnerable to the major platforms and develop defensive strategies. • D istribution channels and interfaces – Global platforms, such as Amazon, have become the high streets of today’s digital world and, consequently, it is essential for banks to have a strategy for distribution via these digital high streets. This strategy will need to include integration with platforms’ intelligent agents such as Siri and Alexa, which are likely to become the standard interface for accessing frequently-used digital services. • C ustomers – Banks should look out for revenue opportunities from providing financial services to the platforms themselves and to their customers. For example, Zopa, the UK peer-to-peer lender, has struck a deal with Uber to offer car loans to their drivers. Algorithms An algorithm is a set of rules for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. In some ways, the written operational procedures that banks depend on today can be regarded as algorithms because they similarly define a series of steps. Computerisation,

however, has transformed the ability of banks to deploy algorithms. Computerised algorithms bring greater consistency in decisions, allow much larger volumes of data to be employed and increase the speed of decision-making. Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) bring a further step-change in potential to apply algorithms. Whereas hitherto people programmed an algorithm’s rule-set, ML and AI models allow computers to derive their own rules and progressively improve decisionmaking. In future, all the decisions that are fundamental to banking - credit, risk, fraud and investment will be made, or at least supported by ML and AI models. Monetisation of algorithms Banks will want to capitalise on opportunities to monetise algorithms outside their own operations. After all, if you have a scalable asset why wouldn’t you want to market its use, generating not only added revenue but also harnessing more data to improve your algorithm? A case in point is Metro, the UK challenger bank, which has partnered with Zopa. Metro brings the customer deposits; Zopa brings the algorithms. Similarly, the AI-based lender, OakNorth, is commercialising its algorithms in countries outside its home UK market. In order to develop and manage algorithms as a coherent set of corporate assets, a centre-ofexcellence model stands out as an obvious approach, especially when it comes to ML and AI. The reasons for this are that: the state of the art is not yet mature; expertise is scarce; ML and AI are General Purpose Technologies (GPTs) with application across the whole bank; and, multiple ML and AI models will draw on similar data. Critical too will be measures of model

performance and their impact on cost, revenue and profit. These metrics will be prominent in the dials that executives monitor most closely in tracking and predicting bank performance. Data Most banks have long-running data quality programmes, but compliance is typically their principal driver. Of course, compliance matters but the importance of algorithms means that banks should think about data first and foremost as a vital asset for revenue generation. In many respects, the data is more valuable than the algorithms. With data you can build algorithms, but algorithms without data are worthless. Google is happy publish its algorithms because it is the only firm that has the data on customer search queries. Few banks can expect to succeed in the knowledge economy if they are not masters of their data. Data Value = Data x Ability to Exploit Data As with any asset, you first need to know what you have. Banks should build a map showing what data they hold and its business value (or potential value). I say ‘potential value’ because as with many intangibles assets, the value of data is not intrinsic, it depends on how / if it is brought into play, i.e. Data Value = Data x Ability to Exploit Data. For most incumbent banks there is a huge ‘data value gap’: the difference between what their data is worth at present and what it would be worth if it were classified, associated with other data and made accessible to those who need it in a timely manner. Closing the data value gap In large part, closing the ‘data value gap’ is a matter of improving data quality through traditional disciplines, such as data cleansing

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and applying meta-data. However, new factors are coming into play as banks extend their use of algorithms and harness new types of data such as unstructured data and ‘big data’ from outside the bank. As an example, for many ML and AI models, where data is stored and how is critical. In addition, as banks hold more and more data, the cost of data storage and management will become a significant concern. Likewise, because the value of much data ages fast - a breaking news story is worth infinitely more than yesterday’s news - access to data in real-time may be important, for example, via data streaming. This is an area of rapid technology innovation where ‘received wisdom’ around how best to do things has yet to evolve. For most banks, unlike say manufacturing companies, the challenge is not the volume of data but its inter-relatedness and its timeliness. In the meantime, the challenge is keeping abreast with a flood of new technologies, understanding how and where they fit. Data access and monetisation Once data is classified and made accessible, i.e. turned into an asset, it can be monetised. Whereas

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traditional management information and business intelligence models involve ‘pushing’ data to consumers of information, maximising the value of data entails reversing the flow through a ‘pull’ model. ‘Self-service’ becomes the goal, where consumers of data are provided with data, metadata and a set of tools. There will also be opportunities to monetise data outside the bank’s own operations, for example: •

Data services – Banks can seek to provide data services, both in order to generate revenue and to increase stickiness. In personal banking, increasingly customers’ choice of a bank will be shaped by the tools it offers to analyse and advise on spending. For merchants, Wirecard, the German payments provider, has built a service on top of its ePOS solution, which takes merchants’ payment data and provides back to them a machine learning solution for analysing customer value and migration rates. 2 Data integration is another strategy: Barclays’ DataServices transfer data on payments and cash balances directly into customer accounting systems


EMEA BANKING

• R evenue from data sales – GDPR and other data regulations notwithstanding, banks will derive revenue from data sales. For example, companies such as Cardlytics provide targeted offers from retailers to bank customers who have opted to receive offers • D ata aggregation - As banks’ ability to derive value from data increases, they will be active in aggregating and acquiring additional data, through offering customers added-value services in return for permission to use and partnering with data vendors who hold complementary data sets where 1 + 1 =3. The sooner banks start down the road of thinking about their data as a vital corporate asset the better because it is hard to make up lost ground. Firstly, resolving data management issues around years’ of complex inter-related data plain takes time. Secondly, developing algorithms – which is why you want the data - is a learning process that depends on iterations, so it too just takes time. Most banks require much more impetus here. Digital assets that can be monetised in their own right Having built digital assets to support their own business, banks may find opportunities to monetise digital assets in their own right. In many cases, the opportunity to monetise digital assets will come through APIs. Capabilities that were developed as part of an overall bank process, such as providing account data or initiating a

payment, may be commercialised as stand-alone services via an API. Partners will consume bank APIs on a per-click basis as part of their own distinct customer proposition. As more and more elements of the economy are digitised, there will be an increasing range of opportunities to embed payments and other banking functions within the operations of other sectors. Banks should consider monetisation of any functions that they have digitised to support their business – not just banking functions. For example, Know Your Customer (KYC) checks are needed in a range of sectors (accountancy, legal and real estate) as a precursor to doing business. Conclusion To succeed in the knowledge economy, banks will have to put digital assets at the centre of their strategies to drive revenue and profits. Thinking about scalable digital operations, platforms, data and algorithms as distinct assets will in itself mark a step-change – right now they barely feature, if at all, on bank balance sheets. Human capital and organisation capital – people, skills, roles, processes and governance – will all need to evolve in support. Moreover, as with chess pieces, banks will have to learn the moves that are possible with each digital asset and decide how to bring them into play alongside other intangible assets within an overall game strategy.

David Rimmer Leading Edge Forum

1

A framework for brownfield firms to map out platform strategies and to anticipate the moves of digital-native competitors is detailed in Liberating Platform Organizations, by Bill Murray of the Leading Edge Forum

2

Digitise Now, Wirecard Annual Report, 2017

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EMEA INTERVIEW

The Vital Role of Treasury in Banking

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Global Banking & Finance Review interviewed Derek Kwok, Head of Treasury & Investments, Ahli Bank QSC (Ahlibank) to discuss the Bank's operations and the top priorities for the treasury department this year.


EMEA INTERVIEW

Ahlibank has been in operations for over 35 years. How has the bank evolved over the years? Ever since it was founded in 1983, Ahlibank has remained true to the traditional values and qualities that have defined who we are today. Backed by a strong and stable shareholding, our entrepreneurial approach has enabled the Bank to adapt to change and deliver to our clients a wide range of quality services across Corporate Banking, Retail & Private Banking, International Banking, Brokerage Services and of course Treasury.

What are the current challenges facing the banking sector in Qatar?

which we as a bank are building our future growth aspirations.

The government and its leadership have maintained their commitment to the Qatar National Vision 2030, therefore providing confidence in the future growth prospects for the economy, while the domestic financial system has demonstrated its strength and resilience in the face of significant headwinds over the last 2 years. These factors have created a solid foundation upon

What are the top priorities for the Treasury Department this year? The Treasury & Investments Department is unique within the Bank as we serve as both a profit centre and a support function to the rest of the organisation, thus our ability to operate at the top of our game is vital for the overall success of the Bank.

Last year the balance sheet size reached QR40 bln mark for the first time and 2019 is off to a strong start, with a net profit of QR 359.3m for the first half of 2019. What do you attribute this success and what is your strategy for continued growth? Ahlibank has a long history of sound financial performance, where the size and quality of our balance sheet provides us a certain degree of flexibility. As a Qatar centric bank, we have also been able to avoid some of the challenges faced by a number of our peers, thus enabling us to remain focused on our clients and delivering strong results to our shareholders.

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Additionally, Treasury plays a vital role in managing the Bank’s liquidity & funding requirements, thereby ensuring our compliance of all regulatory obligations and delivering a solid financial platform as evidenced by our excellent credit rating. Looking forward, our goal is to build upon the platform we have established and ensuring that Treasury remains a central pillar of the Bank’s performance. Crucial to this is our clients and our desire to understand their needs, and ensuring we have the right capabilities and product suite available to address them.

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Has technology impacted business operations? Technology plays a critical part of every business, whether it be providing enhancements to our client facing initiatives or improving internal efficiencies. Keeping pace with these advancements is vital to achieving our long-term goals and helps us to bring tomorrow’s banking to Qatar today.

How does Ahlibank support the socio-economic development in Qatar? Ahlibank takes our responsibility within the community seriously, supporting various causes throughout Qatar aimed at enriching the lives of its citizens & residents. An example is our support of activities during the National Sports Day, where Qatar is the only nation to have a public holiday dedicated solely to promoting the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle.


EMEA INTERVIEW

Derek Kwok Head of Treasury & Investments Ahlibank

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EMEA TECHNOLOGY

Digital Identities: Creating Value for Individuals and Industries Living in the digital age impacts almost all areas of our lives. So much so, that we’ve inadvertently created multiple online identities, in sharing logins, passwords and private information, for all the services we use. In many ways this has exposed one of the last remaining frontiers of the ‘analog’ world - in how we verify who we are. Across Europe and beyond, we are still for the most part, reliant upon paperbased ID documents to authenticate our identity. Whether this is in airport security, paying taxes, applying for a loan or getting served alcohol. This creates a disconnect between the seamless and convenient nature of operating in a digital world, and the cumbersome process of proving your identity through uploading scans or sending off your paper-based ID.

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To address this challenge, governments, private organisations and financial institutions are exploring digital identities. Digital identities include unique, verifiable information about an individual including biometric, biographic and behavioural data. This data can be verified remotely over digital channels, and in turn, unlock access to banking, government benefits, healthcare, education and other ID dependent services. Digital identities can be issued through a national or local government or even a third party, and use a combination of biometric data, passwords and smart devices to confirm your identity. Let’s explore just how much value the onset of digital identities can create for both individual citizens and the industries deploying them.

Recognising the wider economic benefits According to a recent McKinsey report 1 , digital identities could unlock an economic value equivalent of 3 to 13 percent of GDP by 2030. While this is of course dependent upon significant levels of usage, there is nothing to suggest that these estimates are not reachable. With the correct infrastructure, digital IDs can provide a flexible, robust solution that can be used in a variety of industries. The most direct use-cases are in banking services with Norway and Belgium already providing tangible examples of successful mobile schemes. BankID, for instance, is used by all Norwegian banks and provides secure, verified


EMEA TECHNOLOGY

transactions, easy online onboarding of new customers as well as automated digital signatures for the approval of online documents and notifications. Its mobile solution is used a staggering 3.5 times per week by customers 2 and has fundamentally changed how the public interacts with online financial services. Si milar ly, Be lg iu m’s Itsme mobi l e so l u t io n h a s b e e n suppor ted by fo ur le a d in g Be lgi um bank s and t hre e o f t h e c o u ntr y ’s bi ggest t e l e c o ms o p e r at ors. Thank s to i ts e a s e o f u s e , s e c uri ty and fl exi bi l i ty, i t at t r ac t e d mo re than 350,000 us er s in it s f ir s t year of operati on 3 . An d n o w, as it e cl i pses two years i n ex is t e n c e , it is reachi ng the one m i l lio n c u s t o me r mi l estone.

Bringing security, convenience and financial inclusion to individuals Digital identities can also bring great economic benefits by driving financial inclusion. According to the World Bank’s ID4D database 4 , there are approximately 1 billion individuals without a legal form of identification, and just under 3.5 billion with some form of ID but no recognisable digital trail. This means that over half of the world’s population is either unable or has no means to access critical online services and participate in the digital economy. For those in this bracket, the result is often societal marginalisation as they are unable to enjoy the same security and convenience benefits afforded by the connected world.

Digital identities provide a robust solution to this problem. They can create economic and social value for excluded communities by providing secure, yet flexible access to previously unattainable goods and services. Unlike paper-based ID documents, they are under the protection of a third-party, usually a bank, and can be used to unlock digital benefits in real-time. Importantly, third parties, such as banks or government services, can use an individual’s digital ID to streamline access to public services and drive service innovation across the private sector. In this scenario, digital identities can be used by authorised government or banking institutions to verify ID requests without having to disclose the individual’s personal data. As the

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EMEA TECHNOLOGY process is automated, individuals can benefit from instant access to financial services, improved passage to employment, streamlined government services and significant savings in time and effort. In real-world use cases, this translates as secure digital payments, digital tax filing, online voting, automatic school enrolment, automated background verification and efficient payroll services. Using digital identities beyond banking and public services However, it’s not just in banking and public services that digital IDs are primed for deployment. In travel

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and agriculture, electronic identity authentication has an opportunity to make significant progress. Starting with travel and tourism, the sector is under increased pressure because of the growing number of travellers; this compounds risk and security requirements as well as infrastructure capacity limits. These pressures hinder a secure and seamless cross-border traveller journey and cause various pain points for governments, businesses and travellers. The integration of digital identities into the passenger experience could enable governments, in partnership with industry leaders

and organisations, to conduct prevetting risk assessment and security procedures to enhance the seamless flow of travellers through borders. Security officials can then redirect attention and resources to identifying threats, as opposed to passenger processing, making the entire experience much safer and convenient. While in agriculture, digital identities can boost financial inclusion and support supply-chain traceability and delivery of goods. For example, a comprehensive, government recognised digital ID service can help smallholder farmers formally register land and livestock, protect their


EMEA TECHNOLOGY assets, and access mobile, financial, and other services that allow them to work, sell and spend income formally. Growing demand for ethical and organic produce has meant that smallholder farmers are increasingly asked to disclose the origin of their produce, especially when attempting to enter larger markets. This level of traceability relies on the ability to track produce back to a single farm of origin. In the case of smallholder farmers, this often means tracing back to a single farmer, which can be greatly supported by the use of a unique ID.

Achievable only through trust Clearly, the value that digital identities can bring to both individuals and industries could fundamentally improve how society interacts through digital. Yet, these benefits are only achievable if it is built upon a trusted ecosystem containing all digital identity participants. It’s critical that whoever controls the verifiable data, be it banks, telco providers, government services or institutions, adopts secure yet scalable infrastructure solutions to protect the information as it travels from one party to the next.

This infrastructure requires the creation of a ‘trust loop’; the process of continuous service enrolment, application, authentication and approval that creates a loop of trust between the consumer, the service provider and other third parties. To work, this needs to be underpinned by the most advanced digital and biometric authentication technology to ensure all parties involved can trust the data that’s being shared. Without trust, the ecosystem will crumble and the digital identity opportunity ahead of us will never materialise.

Arta Sylejmani Digital Banking Strategy Gemalto

1

“Digital Identification: A Key to Inclusive Growth.” McKinsey & Company, www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/ digital-mckinsey/our-insights/digital-identification-a-key-toinclusive-growth.

2

https://www.gsma.com/identity/wp-content/ uploads/2014/02/Case-Study-on-Digital-IdentityNorwegian-Mobile-Bank-ID.pdf

3

https://www.gemalto.com/brochures-site/download-site/ Documents/fs-cs-itsme.pdf

4

“Mission Billion - Overview: Identification for Development.” Home, id4d.worldbank.org/missionbillion.

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EMEA BANKING

Switching banks?

Brits want secure finances, not swish features Nowadays you can do pretty much anything online. From reading the news, booking your next holiday, to ordering your burger and fries – the modern lifestyle is only a click away. Banking was initially slow to get with the digital program, but what it lacked in speed it is now making up for in spread. FinTech is booming, in the UK especially. Venture Capital and private equity investment in Britain is at an all-time high of £2.6 billion 1 and innovation has only been spurred on by the Open banking standards rolled out across Europe last year. The banking sector’s technological developments are, in some respects, paying off. According to a report that FIS recently released, Performance Against Customer Expectations (PACE) 2019 2 , consumers are

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EMEA BANKING

receiving digital banking with welcoming arms. The use of mobile payments in Britain is rising year on year. This is especially true of person to person payments, 11% of which is currently carried out using mobile. Millennials are unsurprising leading the charge, with a 39% adoption, however Baby boomers aren’t close behind. However, the same study shows that, when it comes down to it, what really matters to consumers is security and peace-of-mind. When asked what the most important attributes were in choosing a bank, the most popular response was safety and security (82%), closely followed by trustworthiness (81%). When asked what trustworthiness meant, consumers mentioned transaction security, fraud prevention and protection of personal data. Technological innovation is still important to consumers – usability and seamless customer experience was the third most popular attribute – however this was somewhat of a lower priority at 64%. Is the financial sector doing enough to act on consumers’ demand for banking security? At a time when unprecedented sums of money are being pumped into FinTech innovation, financial fraud is only increasing. Last year, the Financial Ombudsman Service received a record high number of fraud complaints 3 , representing a 40% rise on last year. This was largely driven by Authorised Push Payment (APP) schemes, where consumers were duped into transferring funds to fraudsters posing as official entities. Meanwhile across Europe, Card Not Present (CNP) fraud in rising 4 , fueled in no small part by the uptake of oneclick-payments. In many cases, a preoccupation with technological features is actually at odds with security. Digital banking has opened the door for fraudsters to prey on consumers, and for all its

benefits in terms of openness and transparency, many would argue that the Open banking initiative has only made it easier for them. One thing’s for sure – a direct link exists between digital activity and fraud. According to the PACE 2019 report, 72% of fraud victims claimed to have recently switched to a mobile banking app. Given the upsurge in online payments that will undoubtedly continue into the future, this statistic is all the more worrisome. By the same token, increased security is commonly seen to be the enemy of usability. The tighter Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) requirements 5 coming into effect across Europe this September are already prompting concerns amongst merchants that a more complex payment process – albeit a more secure one – will deter customers from making purchases. However, on the other side of the coin, some financial providers are looking to technology to improve safety and security for their customers. Many are looking to Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and biometric testing to more intelligently detect fraud, tracking pattern that human analysts overlook. Indeed, 47% of respondents to the PACE 2019 report called for technologies like facial recognition to replace passwords as authentication methods. In addition, the imminent roll-out of 5G will likely assist in adopting these technologies quickly and reliably. It will also help providers deploy security enhancements 6 more seamlessly without prompting users to download updates. Financial providers are clearly intent on using technology to offer greater functionality and usability to consumers, and while this is clearly appreciated, their customers are asking for more. What really matters, it would appear, is the ability to carry out their banking with peace of mind that their financial provider is keeping their money and their data safe.

Technology may have assisted the rise of digital fraud, but it can also help to prevent it. There is no shortage of funding in the banking sector, and fewer barriers to innovation than ever. For too long the financial sector has directed its creativity towards usability, believing the consumer appetite favoured experience over security. But consumers have spoken, and they want both. It’s time for the sector to channel the same energy it has directed towards usability into the problem of digital fraud.

Alison Wilkes Head of Payments FIS

1

“The UK's Fintech Sector Hits Record Level of Investment as Startups Turn into Scale-Ups.” CityAM, 3 June 2019, www. cityam.com/273120/uks-fintech-landscape-reached-recordlevels-investment-last.

2

“PACE Report 2019 - Banking Insights.” FIS, www.fisglobal. com/pace.

3

Beioley, Kate. “Banking Fraud Complaints Hit 'All-Time High'.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 14 May 2019, www. ft.com/content/93f14958-7663-11e9-bbad-7c18c0ea0201.

4

Global Banking & Finance Review. “The Ongoing Battle of Strong Authentication vs Customer Experience – Who Will Win?” Global Banking & Finance Review, Global Banking & Finance Review, 7 July 2019, www.globalbankingandfinance. com/the-ongoing-battle-of-strong-authentication-vscustomer-experience-who-will-win/.

5

Hackett, Robert. “After GDPR Struggle, Are Companies Ready for the Next EU Data Law?” Fortune, Fortune, 7 May 2019, fortune.com/2019/05/06/eu-regulation-gdpr-psd2-stripe/.

6

Legters, Bob. “Five Ways 5G Might Change How You Bank.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 15 May 2019, www.forbes. com/sites/boblegters/2019/05/15/five-ways-5g-mightchange-how-you-bank/#22b011c35fc8.

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EMEA TECHNOLOGY

The rise of self-service functionality in financial institutions Automation technology within the financial world has never been more accessible, especially when it comes to ‘selfservice’ technology for the customer. From assessing mortgage applications to chatting with customers via a digital agent, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to revolutionise the financial sector’s customer service. As networking and the Internet of Things continues to grow, and smartphones become ubiquitous the world over, customers now have more options than ever to communicate with their financial service providers on a vast array of matters. From transferring money online using biometric authentication to tracking spending via an app to using contactless payment, customers can do just about any action when it comes to their banking requirements.

customer journey. Indeed, new Vanson Bourne data found that 98% banking and financial services CIOs feel pressured to deliver a wider customer experience and are increasingly expected to respond with the same efficiency across multiple digital platforms, from email and SMS to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp Business. The problem in delivering this experience is that 67% of CIOs cited legacy IT systems to be a major barrier they have in delivering a frictionless customer experience. In order for financial institutions and banks to keep up with these increasing customer expectations, they too must turn to automated technologies. It is a view widely accepted by industry experts as well, with Gartner predicting that by 2022, two-thirds

As customers become grow increasingly digital-savvy, they expect to be able to have instant access to their banking information. Fintech start-ups, the likes of Monzo and Yolt, are already streaks ahead with their user-friendly offerings. Legacy banks and financial institutions are taking smaller in this direction, however, as they are having to adapt their traditional infrastructure to deliver a more modern

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of all customer experience projects will make use of IT, and Accenture’s latest TechVision survey finding that 78% of banking executives see these technologies having an impact on the industry over the next few years. Whilst behind the scenes AI is making it possible for banks to focus on higher level objectives by improving workflows and decision-making processes, such as fraud prevention, where AI systems identify, track and flag potential threats, on the customer-facing side, banks also need to focus their attention on automated technology and the advantages this can bring. The age of the chatbot When a customer contacts their bank with a problem or question relating to their hard-earned money, they want fast answers and easy resolutions to their queries. Chatbots are one such way that banks can help keep the

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customer journey flowing smoothly. Chatbots are already starting to come into use in banks. Bank of America’s Erica, RBS’ Luvo, and American Express’ Facebook Messenger bot are just some of the automated chatbots that are interacting with customers on their digital devices to help solve queries and fix problems. Erica helps check balances, pay bills and answer bank related questions. Luvo, who is a Natural Language Processing (NLP) AI bot, will answer RBS, Natwest and Ulster bank customer's questions and perform simple tasks like money transfers. Luvo will also pass a customer over to a member of staff it is unable to answer a particular query. AmEx’s bot provides realtime sales notifications, contextual recommendations, and reminders about credit card benefits. These bots, as well as helping the customer with their query, can also, ironically, create a more personal

experience for the customer. The Netherlands’ ING chatbot, Inga, for example, has empathetic responses to customer problems such as a lost card, making the customer feel they are talking to a real person. This experience in turn engenders stronger loyalty in the bank without costly manual intervention as the customer will feel there are truly being heard. Chatbots are regularly being employed to save both time and money in the banking industry and their use is only growing in momentum. Indeed, Gartner predicts that by 2020, 85% of customer relationships with an enterprise will occur without customers interacting with another human. Automation is not the enemy Chatbots, however, don’t have to mean the demise of the human element in customer service. Whilst there are fears that these digital agents will replace their human counterparts, banks and other financial services


EMEA TECHNOLOGY should actually be using such technology to enhance the customer journey, whilst also helping the customer service representative more efficiently solve queries and issues. The financial centre contact centre has a lot of potential for the use of AI to help both the customer and the human, and chatbots and other virtual assistants are the most effective way of implementing automated technology into a bank’s customer service. The human agents can work alongside their digital counterparts to speed up and more efficiently deal with a customer query as the bot can help resolve some of the more mundane queries that a human agent answers on a regular basis. Changes of address or contact details, for example, are tasks that can be assigned to the bot, without the customer needing to speak to a person. This allows for the human agent to spend more time with another customer on a more complex problem. Whilst ultimately most customers will want to interact with another human – a PSKF survey found that 83% of consumers want to speak to a real person – having the bot in place to deal with simple and repetitive tasks will lead to a quicker resolution for the customer. And there are many more benefits to introducing chatbots and other advanced technologies to the customer journey. The positive impact of automated technologies Introducing chatbots and other automated technology in financial sector customer service can be a help rather than something to fear, for the institutions, the contact centre employees and the customers. Maintaining customer loyalty and providing an excellent customer experience is a top priority for

banks, who are constantly looking for ways to innovate. Indeed, Vanson Bourne found that 77% of banking CIOs fear an inability to automate customer journeys end-to-end will lead their organisation to fall behind competitors, but only 25% are currently able to do just that. For these organisations, chatbots are a good place to start. Banks can also see a huge cost saving by investing in automated technology to help their customers. Forrester research indicates that automated technology can save businesses $8b by 2022, with banking saving over 4 minutes per enquiry, which equates to around 50p per interaction. Furthermore, a new study from Juniper Research found that chatbots could save $7.3b globally in operational costs for banks by 2023. This represents 862 million hours saved, the equivalent to nearly half a million working years. Contact centres are also finally beginning to realise the importance of the employee experience, especially crucial in contact centres where employee retention can be tough. Indeed, Vanson Bourne found that 85% of banking and financial services CIOs want to empower teams to innovate the customer journey. Not only will this streamline the customer journey, but it also reduces the amount of pressure on the agents as they no longer have to handle repeatable queries and questions – that is now the chatbot’s job, and the agents can focus on something more complex. The workforce will also gain a new skill and feel more valued, meaning they are less likely to stray. And there is little fear that these bots will replace their jobs. Indeed, Accenture found that 67% of banking employees expect intelligent technologies to create opportunities for their work as the virtual agents can take care of simple queries and issues, allowing

the agents to manage relationship portfolios and deal with major issues involving complexity and sensitivity, something they have been trained to deal with but rarely get to do. And of course, these chatbots will also help bring the customer and bank closer together, through a more personalised experience for the customer, aiding in customer retention through loyalty and a frictionless experience that customers increasingly expect from all their financial services providers. As customers get more accustomed to interacting with digital assistants as tech continues to evolve and improve, they also expect the service from their bank to match. Financial service providers need to get onboard with automated technology in order to keep up with their competitors and changing customer demands, as well as improve the job satisfaction of their customer service agents. The technology for chatbots has never been better or more accessible, and if financial institutions can overcome the infrastructure hurdles and update their legacy architecture, the rewards that can be reaped from implementing advanced technology are well worth the effort.

Josh Ayres Head of Emerging Technology IP Integration

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Values and the Blue Chip World ‘Corporate’ and ‘corporations’ have become dirty words in recent years. Blue chip businesses have been blamed for many of the problems experienced across the world: pollution, global warming, debt, exploitation, war – the list goes on. Is this what happens when companies put more value on profits than people, or social values?

Walk the walk

Many would say that the problem stems from greed: that big corporations have engendered a dog-eat-dog culture in which competition is rife, humility is rare, there is little honesty, emotions are ignored, and values are non-existent.

Much like individuals, many organisations start off with good intentions, but don’t have that absolute commitment when it comes to their values – the important things that create and sustain their own organisational culture.

Of course, we cannot tar all large companies with the same brush, since many of them are making moves towards more socially-conscious business models. But when your key drivers and objectives are to increase profits and shareholder value, you inevitably create a culture that risks jeopardising your moral values in pursuit of profit.

Upon a company’s inception, the owners or founders will choose values that, they believe, represent them as an organisation. But their actions tell a different story. I don’t know any company whose stated values are ‘money’ or ‘making bigger profits’ – yet for most companies, this is their sole focus. The corporate world decided that this is the correct measurement of companies’ success and everyone has accepted this, unquestioningly.

What matters? This problem in corporate culture is also a narrative within society as a whole – and the individuals within it. It’s a lack of clarity on who they are, what their purpose is, and what really matters to them. If I told you that your values are the things that are most important to you – what would you say? If I were to ask you what your values are, could you honestly tell me? Many people would give a response along the lines of ‘honesty’, or ‘family’… and yet, their dayto-day actions in life do not reflect these values. For example, what creates the difference between achievers and non-achievers is very simply the choice they make between educating themselves or entertaining themselves. Achievers choose education over entertainment. Non-achievers drift away, distracted from a clear sense of purpose.

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Our values are unconsciously demonstrated through our behaviour, what we gravitate towards, what we spend time doing. These are how we live our values – the qualities and things we value as important in life. And these values are also reflected in business.

Company culture An organisation’s culture and values influence how the organisation and its leaders think and behave. As a company’s success grows, however, they allow the wider, established ‘corporate culture’ to slowly infiltrate and dilute their own distinct values and culture. However, if you allow corporate culture to prevail, before you know it, your world becomes like everyone else’s: driven by money and profits. Of course, that’s not to say that profit doesn’t count, but surely there are other equally important variables that should play a part in how we measure a firm’s success? Businesses naturally evolve and form a life of their own, but their objectives and values influence how they behave. So, this is where the change must occur. For most companies, there is a discrepancy between the values they had originally, and what they do now – but many


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older, more established organisations haven’t yet had this moment of realisation. They may have set up their business with good intentions, but the ‘corporate culture’ has gradually influenced their actions. So, how do companies maintain their identity, and keep true to their values? Core identity To retain their authenticity without succumbing to the allure of profits above all else, there must be a wholehearted commitment to the firm’s core identity and values – and they must be enacted throughout. A company’s values are the foundations upon which everything Is built. When these values are embedded in every area of the business, they act as the guiding principles for how the business should think and behave.

Clarity on who you are also helps you to easily identify what you’re not – and this enables you to make values-based decisions. This clarity of purpose, identity and values is priceless – giving you an immediate point of reference if you are ever uncertain of your direction or find yourself procrastinating over a decision. You instinctively know what is and what isn’t a right fit for your company. This is business with integrity. These qualities garner respect, and you will find that a values-led business is attractive to customers, clients, partners and staff. Ironically, you will probably increase profits without it being your primary objective. Greed is never an appealing trait.

Ryan Jackson

Ryan Jackson, a serial entrepreneur and success coach who runs multiple businesses in the UK and abroad. Ryan is passionate about inspiring other business owners and individuals to become the best version of themselves through personal development. www.ryanjackson.org

So – which will you choose as your business driver? Your company’s value, or your company values?

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Millennials: They don’t just want a paycheck; They want a purpose

Introducing the “Talentsumer” A generational shift in the workforce and changing conditions have produced workers with different values, desires, and expectations than their predecessors. Today’s Talentsumers came of age in a consumer-friendly atmosphere, in which they grew to expect and insist on responsiveness to their needs in the workplace to the same level of respect and attention. These job candidates, employees, contractors, and freelancers may have enjoyed more flexibility and open communication from their parents than earlier generations, and so they project these desires on the employer who might engage a majority of their time. Because workers today face shorter tenures, less job stability, higher expectations, expenses, and potentially longer lives than those who came before them, they have a list of urgent demands. Talentsumers prefer to work for employers who meet their need to: •

Build skills and expand the types of work they can take on

Work on projects with a start and end—not BAU

Receive frequent feedback and coaching from inspiring leaders

Get continuous training, development and visible paths toward promotion

Enjoy a flexible hiring status and work hours

Respondents of a recent survey we conducted perceived four areas of the greatest concern to those looking to find work with one company versus another:

Offering more developmental opportunities

Providing ongoing feedback and coaching from managers

Encouraging collaboration among employees

Recognizing and rewarding high performance

As workers in other age groups have seen the benefits of these conditions, they, of course, want them too. So, gradually, the key people that employers pursue have become Talentsumers. We want ways to enrich our lives, and in return, we contribute to the task at hand, the overall culture, and the company’s success. Everyone wins! Before you discount the value of accommodating workers’ new attitudes toward work, remember that we no longer have the luxury of an “employer’s market.” Even as far back as 2015, a survey of three hundred HR professionals by Human Capital Institute and Allegis Global Solutions showed that the candidate, not the employer, now holds the power in hiring negotiations. The majority of respondents reported having shifted their hiring strategies, such as increasing starting salaries, due to higher turnover for key roles and a longer time to fill a greater volume of open positions. The candidate is now well and truly in the driver’s seat, and we had better hand them the keys. Let’s consider more deeply why these things may have grown in importance for up-and-coming generations. Consider the world they will inhabit. Barring a cataclysm, the human population will continue to grow, and competition for resources and the work that provides them will as well.

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EMEA BUSINESS Throw the effects of climate change into the mix, and they’ll see even more competition for organic resources. The rural-to-urban trend will probably leave fewer jobs in outlying areas and create more in cities, where dense populations will vie for them, yet employers still may not be able to fully staff up from local pools. Travel or remote work will increase. And since the employment scene will be volatile, job stability will degrade even further from the thirty-years-and-a-goldwatch standard than it already has. That’s not enough? At the same time, according to the Human Mortality Database, people will be living longer lives. Half of all babies born from this point onward in developed nations are expected to live past one hundred years. Yet, we continue to pursue our working lives as our parents and grandparents have done—enjoying a single major career path to a certain age, say sixty-two or sixty-five, and then retiring on money previously saved and invested. How many people

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in current and future generations will be able to afford retirement barely halfway through their lives? How many will be forced to change jobs or careers many times and start over building skills, income, and future plans? In answer, today’s Talentsumers want to be able to appeal to a variety of employers in more than one niche. So, they seek to associate with companies that provide continuing education, training, and support for the work they are doing— real opportunities to push themselves and develop new skills and interests. Given the future of sixty-plus years in the Our job candidates and employees want the right to guide their working lives into new territory. They’re serious about it. If they’re with you now, they want the tools to perform a cost-benefit analysis of how their investment in you is paying off. If they’re considering joining your team, they’ll want information at their disposal to help them gauge the

potential relationship, on their terms. Think about how you can answer the big questions that will help them plot the return on their investment, such as: •

How much and how fast can I learn?

How challenging, rewarding, and exciting does the work remain?

How much of my time is spent doing great and important work?

How much personal success do I achieve—however I choose to define success?

How easy is it for me to achieve what you ask?

How easy is it to achieve what I want?

How well, or poorly, do you use the assets I provide?


EMEA BUSINESS These are not necessarily “new� human desires. They are simply louder iterations of fundamental needs that are intrinsic to our nature. We hear plenty of business leaders lauding the work of Daniel Pink, a business writer and thinker who determined that autonomy, mastery, and purpose are all elements of fulfilment that motivate and engage workers and we want to think that our organizations provide opportunities in those areas. But how accessible are they? How easy is it for our employees to structure their workdays (autonomy), excel in their roles (mastery), and contribute to something larger than just quotas and deadlines (purpose)? In the midst of those pursuits, how easy do we make it for them to do their jobs really well and do their very best work? The other shift in younger-generation employees is a natural extension of the work/life balance debate. Now that the majority of people are always connected and, therefore, always with work on their minds, they rightly feel the separation of work and life is bogus. This is what lies beneath the movement toward creating more holistic and satisfying company cultures. Yes, great culture helps businesses financially, and this trickles up or down to employees. But workers now understand that they contribute their personal as well as professional gifts to employment. The equation demands that they then receive a measure of their personal satisfaction from the arrangement. Much of appealing to the Talentsumer mentality is connected with cultural improvement. So is the endeavour of optimizing our workforces and work processes. We should be looking to revolutionize all of this now, so that we don’t fall behind the steady march of technology and changing demographics and values. A vast break with the past is here, whether we like it or not.

Bruce Morton Workforce Design and Talent Acquisition Expert and author of Redesigning the Way Work Works, available on Amazon

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How to save millions, and your people, with automation When Standard Chartered announced in its end of year results that it will include a $900 million provision for penalties relating to investigations into FX trading issues, trading compliance was once again thrust firmly into the spotlight. In the UK alone, the FCA found that more than 1,000 investment firms were falling short of transaction reporting requirements under MiFID II in 2018; with the true figure being possibly "many thousands more" as regulators become ever more vigilant. The rather uncomfortable truth is that this 1,000+ figure only counted firms that "noticed they were in breach" of the new rules while "many thousands more firms are likely submitting inaccurate reports but are not catching them and informing the regulator". And what happens if the eagleeyed regulator uncovers a reporting failure? Well, as Goldman Sachs found out earlier this year, it can be very

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expensive. Fined over £34,000,000 by the FCA, their lack of "accurate and timely reporting" related to some 220 million transactions over a decade. From electronic chat rooms to email, video calls to phone calls, there is a constant fight by banking regulators around the world to have effective oversight of the communications channels and so clamp down on unscrupulous traders set on cheating the system. But to be clear, this isn’t just about stopping the tiny minority who are committing fraud, it’s about creating a level playing field where all parties are protected, where trading transparency is paramount, and where a single record of truth is created should there be any confusion or dispute over the intricacies of a trade further down the road.

The challenge of the ‘fickle FICC call’ In the world of fixed income, commodities and currency (FICC) trades, voice trading remains paramount. These highly complex financial instruments are far from straight forward vanilla; they require long and detailed negotiation and definition. In short, they need explaining. The final contractual element of the financial instrument is clearly important. But so is all the preamble to the trade. Where small print in contracts can be argued over, it is critical that every step of the process that went into creating the trade is known. MiFID II requires comprehensive and evidence-proof recording and archiving of all communications relating to a trade. In practice this means that every bank must record all calls which will/may result in transactions, notify the customer that the conversation is being


EMEA BUSINESS How to lose over $9 million in an hour An ITIC survey found that reliability requirements for the Banking and Finance sector were above the average of other industries, and that 86% of companies in this sector require a minimum of 99.999% (five nines) of uptime from their IT systems. But here’s the rub: UC systems have a base reliability of no more than 99.5% guaranteed uptime under industry standards. That means at the very highest performance level, an investment firm will lose 29 hours. At an average loss of $9.3 million per hour, that’s a costly $269.7 million thrown away. Manual testing increases system uptime to 99.8% on average, a 0.3 percent improvement in reliability that cuts downtime to 12 hours. That’s still $111.6 million in losses that could be prevented by keeping voice trading systems up. Plus, manual testing adds operational costs to deployments and regular upgrades. Augment with automation recorded, store all these recordings for a minimum of five years, and then finally be able to quickly retrieve upon request from the regulator all communications leading up to a specific transaction or in a given time period. Put simply, if a trade needs explaining, it needs recording. What’s more – and on this MiFID II is clear – you cannot trade if you cannot record the trade. Large players in FICC trading have trading volumes in the billions of dollars per year, meaning every minute a system is shutdown translates to substantial losses. All this means that for FICC traders, their Dealerboard or Turret voice trading systems are mission critical. So, reliability is vital – and being able to rely on your reliability is the key.

Augmenting manual testing with automation can increase system reliability up to minimum of 99.99%, which reduces downtime per year to 36 minutes or less. That brings voice system outage losses down to about $5.6 million (and that’s for the year, not the hour!). That’s still a hefty sum, but a mere fraction of what is lost through manual test or no testing. A more proactive automated program that increases frequency and includes after-hours testing can get that reliability up to the all-important ‘five nines,’ driving annual downtime to just five minutes. That brings the annual downtime loss to $775,000. An automated solution costs about two percent of the overall UC and voice trading system but represents a 60 to 70 percent annual savings compared to manual testing.

Augmenting and enhancing the testing of these high-leverage systems can dramatically mitigate risk and reduce the cost while increasing the coverage of testing. By integrating test plans into areas such as audio recording compliance, automated and proactive testing every night means that issues are identified before they impact a trader and the bank’s senior management are kept fully informed together with the steps that are being taken to quickly correct the issues. Weekends don’t have to be testing But this isn’t just about avoiding lost revenue through downtime, it’s also about operational efficiency – and both the financial and human cost that comes from operational inefficiency. The reality for banks’ Operations teams is that the weekend is the only time when they can get access to the trading floor and carry out the allimportant upgrades and testing of these business-critical voice trading systems. This traditionally manual task quite literally requires them to ‘walk the floor’, testing each and every turret to ensure that essential security patches and feature upgrades have been installed correctly and that the system is working properly ready for the markets to open on Monday morning. Not only is this a significant labour cost for the business having to pay a premium for weekend hours, it’s also a significant investment of time by the Ops team which means they are having to work anti-social hours at a time when recruitment is already a challenge across the financial services sector. For an average sized trading floor of about 1,000 turrets, this requirement to physically ‘walk the floor’ and conduct manual testing over a weekend is a significant overhead. It translates into a team of 20-25 people having to come into the office on a Saturday and each spending 4-5 hours simply checking everything is still working.

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www.kfh.bh

+973 7777 7777


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And this assumes everything is working. If they find something wrong, then the impact on both people’s time and labour costs soon start to snowball.

with no alternative but to pay for this engineering resource at premium weekend rates.

And this daily testing of live systems would be a time-consuming and costly operation – were it not for automation.

Test don’t trust

If the onsite team can’t identify the problem, they have to bring in on-call engineers (so their weekends and family time are also never their own even if things are working). If these engineers can’t explain the reason for a failure and correct it, they have no choice other than to roll-back the software and schedule a repeat of walk the floor on Sunday with the previously working version.

Banks aren’t conducting this testing for fun, it’s not a nice to have. Their trading systems are business-critical; and getting it wrong exposes them to the potential wrath of the regulator. MiFID II mandates effective call recording, making effective testing processes even more important and onerous. Just because the proverbial ‘red light’ is flashing on the call recording system, it does not automatically follow that the system itself is recording properly. You can’t record silence when the trading floor is closed over the weekend; you need to record live traffic.

By augmenting manual testing with proactive automated testing, banks can reduce downtime, free up Ops time for innovation and value creation, and provide real peace of mind that if/when the regulator comes knocking they’ll have the all-important recordings available.

Banks of course try to keep to their own Ops teams as small as possible and augment them with specialist on-call engineering support from their vendors and SIs. However, with security patches going live every month, break/fix patches quarterly and feature releases twice a year, maintaining the voice trading system is a costly business. If issues are found and roll-backs are required and the update rescheduled, these costs are quadrupled with the bank is left

To ensure compliance, testing must be done daily and cover every Turret on the trading floor. Periodic sampling can no longer be seen as a ‘every reasonable effort’ by the regulator, and leaves the bank exposed to significant compliance risk.

Simon Richards Global Managing Director of Financial Services tekVizion

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The role of recruitment technology in global banking and finance Technological capabilities are advancing at a rapid rate, causing almost every sector to undergo radical and widespread change. As a result, companies across the globe are scrambling to invest heavily in digital transformation. McKinsey 1 recently estimated that, on average, companies will invest hundreds of millions of pounds, with some investing billions, over the next five years.

seniority) – and this is before a potentially lengthy notice-period is weighed in. A study 2 from Bersin by Deloitte, found, on average, recruiting new talent takes approximately 52 days. Yet top-tier is unlikely to stay on the market that long.

For the global banking and finance sector, this offers numerous opportunities to improve their business functions. One key area already seeing a particularly dramatic change, is recruitment. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning present numerous opportunities which could shape the future of banking and financial services recruitment. However, adapting to these changes could prove problematic.

A dip in graduate interest in the banking and finance sector is the other issue. Enticing, recruiting and retaining talent is one of the most important aspects of running a successful business. But sourcing the next top analyst or financial advisor is now harder than ever for the new generation of employees. A global study 3 conducted by CNBC with Randstad found that only 10% of the participants were interested in finance. A Financial Times analysis 4 also showed that finance as a career choice was down 22% from 2008.

Today’s issues While the CV has been an essential aspect of recruitment, its flaws are widely known. Most importantly, it’s impossible for an interviewer to gain a true insight into a candidate’s character, motivation, aptitude for the role or even cultural fit purely by looking at a piece of paper. These outdated recruitment functions not only hinder companies acquiring the best candidates, they are also time-consuming and expensive. The process can take several months (depending on

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How to fix it With competition to recruit top talent now fiercer than ever - worsened by record low unemployment rates and uncertainty around Brexit - businesses must come up with new and innovative ways to improve staff recruitment processes. All this, while also speeding up the hiring process - a tall order. So what solutions are there?

Traditional means of assessment, such as the CV and cover letter, must be replaced with slicker, more standardised tools such as rigorous online skills-based testing. By matching jobs with applicants using data and skills testing, talent can be sourced and recruited on an entirely meritocratic basis – making it simpler to hire talented people from outside the sector and broadening the talent pool by eliminating bias in the screening process. Our research reveals a correlation between this kind of assessment during the interview process and employee happiness. Treating interviews as a box-ticking exercise may lead employers to fall into common traps, such as assuming candidates with better education will out-perform other candidates with more real-life experience. Such businesses risk missing out on potentially talented recruits while


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Razvan Creanga co-founder and CEO hackajob

exposing themselves to the risk of unconscious bias and a lack of diversity, which has been shown to impact on productivity (a recent study 5 by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has shown that companies with more diverse management teams enjoy a 19% boost in revenue due to innovation). However, businesses will not only have to think more creatively about the recruitment process itself but also about how they find top tech talent in the first place. The UK alone has over two million freelancers 6 , yet businesses still find identifying and hiring technically skilled staff problematic. The growing popularity of more agile working solutions such as flexible working or remote working presents businesses with opportunities to make themselves stand out from the crowd.

Outsourcing tech briefs and looking at contract staffvii as an alternative could bolster their technical recruitment drive too. Global businesses in the banking and finance sectors must adapt their offering and invest in recruitment technology or risk losing a competitive advantage. This starts with creating a strategy that involves a combination of AI and human intervention to ensure a fairer, faster and more costefficient process.

1

“The New Tech Talent You Need to Succeed in Digital.” McKinsey & Company, www.mckinsey.com/businessfunctions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/the-new-tech-talentyou-need-to-succeed-in-digital.

2

Bersin, and Deloitte. “Bersin by Deloitte: U.S. Spending on Recruitment Rises, Driven by Increased Competition for Critical Talent.” PR Newswire: Press Release Distribution, Targeting, Monitoring and Marketing, 28 June 2018, www. prnewswire.com/news-releases/bersin-by-deloitte-usspending-on-recruitment-rises-driven-by-increasedcompetition-for-critical-talent-300070986.html.

3

Schawbel, Dan. “Why Today's Most Promising Young People Are Choosing to Work in Tech Instead of Finance.” CNBC, CNBC, 18 May 2017, www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/whyyoung-people-are-choosing-to-work-in-tech-instead-offinance.html.

4

Jacobs, Emma, et al. “Beyond Banking: Filling the Recruitment Abyss.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 11 Nov. 2015, www. ft.com/content/f5f79cfc-8228-11e5-a01c-8650859a4767.

5

“How Diverse Leadership Teams Boost Innovation.” Https:// Www.bcg.com, www.bcg.com/en-us/publications/2018/howdiverse-leadership-teams-boost-innovation.aspx.

6

“UK Has 2 Million Freelancers and the Number Will Continue to Rise.” Consultancy.uk, www.consultancy.uk/news/18474/ uk-has-2-million-freelancers-and-the-number-willcontinue-to-rise.

7

“Contract Jobs For Developers And Employers.” Hackajob, hackajob.co/p/contract.

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‘Ghost workers’ haunt companies as the UK’s gig economy continues to rise Zac Cohen, General Manager at Trulioo, talks about the rise of the gig economy and how it’s being manipulated for nefarious purposes. The UK’s gig economy has continued to boom in the last year, with the country now playing home to an estimated five million selfemployed people 1 . Described as "a labour market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs", the gig economy shows no signs of slowing down. With the rise of companies such as Uber, Etsy, and AirBnb, amongst others, more people are taking on part-time work – or ‘side hustles’ as they are often referred to – and joining the gig economy. The number of self-employed workers aged 16 to 24-years-old, has nearly doubled in the last two decades and numbers for those aged 65-years-old and over have nearly tripled since the recession. In the last ten years alone, there has been an increase of around 800,000 self-employed workers – which accounts for roughly 15 percent of the UK’s entire workforce. 2 While we can’t assume that every self-employed worker falls into the gig economy category, an increasingly sizeable portion would consider carrying out work in the industry 3 . However, with billions of pounds changing hands across gig economy platforms every year, this emergent sector as begun to attract the attention of bad actors, who have devised new, more sophisticated ways of laundering money. According to research, freelancer platforms or online job marketplaces, such as Fiverr and Upwork, have proven to be a primary target 4 .

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The launderer’s strategy is essentially quite simple. Firstly, locate an online job marketplace of choice and set up a pseudo-job posting. Secondly, find a willing individual to masquerade as a freelancer in search of employment. Now all the launderer has to do is select that chosen individual from the pool of applicants and pay them via the online job marketplace platform. Once the individual receives the payment, they accept their portion and return the rest of the money to the launderer. Thus, the dirty money has successfully been ‘laundered’. This technique, known as microlaundering, involves ‘washing’ a large sum of money by scattering it over thousands of electronic transactions. Another way micro-laundering is executed is by leveraging drivers and hosts at large digital marketplace platforms to partake in the scam. The modus operandi is simple – fraudsters, from one corner of the world, book and pay for rides with complicit drivers thousands of miles away. In reality, these “ghost rides” never actually take place; once the sum of dirty money has been cleaned, the complicit driver transfers a portion of it back to the fraudster. To stay under the radar, the malicious actors spread the money across a network of complicit drivers – effectively, these small amounts of money become less likely to arouse suspicion from the taxi aggregator. 5 What makes freelancer platforms particularly vulnerable to such forms of money laundering is that payments on these platforms are held in escrow and are disbursed to the freelancer upon successfully completing the task – the use of escrow, to an extent, helps cover up the launderer’s tracks.

To stay abreast of changing techniques and trends in money laundering modern, agile solutions are required. By placing electronic identity verification at the very beginning of the customer onboarding journey, online platforms can prevent fraud by simply keeping fraudsters at bay. Effective identity systems are a cornerstone element of a modern and functioning society, helping to establish a foundation of trust between organisations and individuals. A reliable identity system can mitigate the risk of fraud and effectively manage transparent and secure access to various levels of service, ensuring AML compliance for all companies in the burgeoning gig economy.


EMEA BUSINESS

By implementing a robust fraud monitoring and detection program, any business that deals with the transfer of funds online can reduce the risk of fraudulent activity. This can be done by tracking all transactions from the moment they are made until the money reaches the respective bank accounts. Online marketplaces have changed the landscape of business, creating new possibilities for buyerseller interactions, and unlocking the gates to a truly global and borderless economy. Buyer-seller relationships are undergirded by trust; as transactions in the physical world become a thing of the past,

and online marketplaces connect more buyers to sellers, the need to build a layer of trust at the heart of digital interactions becomes greater than ever. It effectively boils down to one question: how can buyers and sellers trust each other for online marketplaces to function successfully? For any online marketplace, enabling a layer of trust is at the heart of its risk management strategy.

Zac Cohen General Manager Trulioo

1

https://www.consultancy.uk/news/18474/uk-has-2-millionfreelancers-and-the-number-will-continue-to-rise

2

https://www.randstad.co.uk/gig-economy/

3

https://www.wired.co.uk/article/good-work-plan-uk-gigeconomy

4

https://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1310/1310.2368.pdf

5

https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2019/gigeconomy-money-laundering-kyc-compliance/

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Interested in UK-based off-plan property investments? Then don’t overlook these crucial steps... Over the last few months, the government’s failure to resolve Brexit has hampered growth across all areas of the UK economy. However, the uncertainty has probably had its greatest impact in the housing markets where homeowners and investors alike have adopted a “waitand-see” approach. With Theresa May’s exit date now set for June 7, it’s not known whether market activity will increase in the coming months. However, it’s important to acknowledge that Brexit uncertainty has not undermined the number of property investment opportunities currently on offer. This is particularly true when it comes to off-plan proeprty investment. Off-plan property investment has become an increasingly attractive option for a number of reasons. Most significant is how the culture of lending has changed significantly since the 2008 financial crisis. In essence, many traditional lenders have become more risk averse in order to mitigate against defaults and this has created a shortfall in investment funding for construction projects and property developments. As such, this has forced construction firms to seek alternative forms of investment, often from foreign investors and financial institutions. But what’s in it for potential investors? And what can investors do to get the most out of off-plan opportunities? Why go off-plan? The primary reason why off-plan investment represents an attractive opportunity for investors is that it allows them to buy a property

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at a discounted price. Indeed, investors can get as much as 15% off the completed asset’s value. In addition, the investor benefits from any capital growth of the asset during the construction process. This means that if the the value of the property increases during the construction process, the asset could be worth exponentially more than it was purchased for on eventual completion. However, what really sets off-plan apart from say, a standard buy-tolet investment is that they provide the investor with annual returns throughout the construction process. Essentially, by investing off-plan investors are financing a property development and are therefore reliant on the construction company to make interest repayments on the debt.

Once you have established clear goals, the next step is to decide what type of property you’re looking to finance. Off-plan investment is available for many forms of residential and commercial property including care homes and student accomodation as well as residential flats.

Despite the political turmoil, the UK property market has continued to perform strongly in recent years. During 2018, house prices nationwide grew by 2.6%. Now is a great time to be investing in the UK market and off-plan investments represent one way you can get immediate returns.

Ultimately, it’s up to each individual to make sure they are aware of the different factors that might dictate which type of property will work best for them. Of course, this is true with any property investment but it’s especially pertinent for off-plan because of the potentially long gap between the debt being issued and the development being completed.

Ultimately, off-plan investment is an untapped source of potential returns for prospective investors but, as ever, a degree of caution as well as due diligence is required to ensure that the investment works for you.

There are many potential upsides to off-plan property investment for sophisticated investors. Indeed, anyone with firsthand experience of the industry knows that there’s an extensive list of dos and don’ts when it comes to going off-plan.

This is also an important consideration where location is concerned. It’s not enough to just identify a desirable town or city, responsible investors must consider the long-term outlook for the location in question. For instance, is it near a university or shopping centre? Crucially, with off-plan, the importance of new commercial developments cannot be overstated as they will represent a determining factor on residential property prices for years to come.

I’ll go into some of the most common and important points here. First is to set out your expectations. The investor must know what they’re looking to accomplish, principally in terms of establishing what sort of returns they’re looking to accrue from the off-plan investment you might want to take on. It’s important that the investor gives this question careful consideration because things are more likely to go wrong if you fail to clearly articulate your expectations.

However, your responsibilities as an investor doesn’t end there, as you have to give careful consideration to which developers you wish to work with. Usually, the actual deal itself will be structured by an intermediary but for their own peace of mind, investors should also do their research on the developer. There are forms of protection against this problem. For example, some developments are covered by a warranty, such as the NHBC Buildmark.

Taking advantage of off-plan property investments

Jerald Solis Director Experience Invest

Jerald Solis is the Business Development and Acquisitions Director at Experience Invest, a company that provides property investors in the UK and overseas access to exclusive investments across a variety of asset classes. He is also a Director at Opto Property Group; a construction firm committed to creating developments that have a longterm, positive impact.

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Why do HNWIs struggle to secure a mortgage?

Within the mortgage industry it is widely known that highnet worth individuals (HNWIs) often make for complicated clients. This might seem strange to some. After all, one may assume that the super rich would be a very straightforward group to provide mortgages to. However, the reality is quite different, and the challenges within this specialist market have become accentuated over recent years. Since the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008, there has been a broad shift in the mortgage market, with lenders becoming much stricter in assessing applications in an effort to mitigate against the risk of defaults. Generally speaking, it is has been a positive and necessary development. But it has also been a great source of frustration for many HNWIs, who are now particularly susceptible to being turned away by lenders who are unable to process their more complicated financial profiles.

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Research commissioned by Butterfield Mortgages Limited (BML) at the start of 2019 showed that one in nine (12%) HNWIs have been turned down for a mortgage in the past decade. This is because the measures high street lenders take to assess an individual’s finances are sufficiently prescriptive as to advantage those with straightforward finances. In other words, applicants who lack a regular income, are often perceived to be high-risk by lenders. Wealthy individuals typically fall into this category––they rarely have a regular or structured form of income. Indeed at BML, we generally abide by the maxim “the wealthier an individual, the more complicated their finances” because it is common for a HNWI’s portfolio to be split across many different asset classes and jurisdictions.


EMEA FINANCE 2014 Mortgage Market Review, which requires lenders to implement a more rigorous financial stress test to ensure prospective borrowers have sufficient and reliable income to repay any loan. As a result, HNWIs are at greater risk of being denied a mortgage because they fail to meet the criteria many lenders are following. HNWIs themselves are certainly conscious of the way these changes negatively impact them; 79% think too many banks apply tick-box methods when assessing mortgage applications, failing to adequately account for personal circumstances. Navigating the property markets The widespread adoption of this tickbox approach isn’t simply a source of frustration for propespective real estate buyers; property markets cannot run optimally when buyers and investors are unable to access the finance they need to make new acquisitions.

they represent specialist borrowers who, consequently, require specialist lenders. For those lenders who are not wellversed in the intricacies that mark out HNWIs, a lack of a regular income will seem like a red flag rather than a reflection of the individual’s true wealth. Therefore, HNWIs looking to secure a mortgage are typically better served by seeking out a financial provider who will take a more holistic approach to assessing their finances; a task that requires skill, experience and time. Ultimately, the shift towards a more risk-averse lending industry will help instill stability and trust into the UK mortgage market in the long-term. However, in the short-term, HNWIs must identify the mortgage providers who are well-placed to adapt their services to their particular needs, and in doing so offer the support required so he or she can proceed with a property purchase.

Many HNWIs, particularly those who derive much of their wealth from property investment, have found themselves limited by the changes as lenders have been circumspect with regard to mortgages for nonprimary residential property. BML’s aforementioned study showed that 60% of HNWs believe it has become increasingly difficult to secure mortgages for non-primary residential purchases.

It might seem strange but individuals who maintain a significant portion of their wealth in the form of both traditional and alternative investments––including assets such as art, classic cars and international real estate––might actually struggle to meet the stringent requirements that high street lenders insist upon. Furthermore, this broader change in culture has been underpinned by structured regulatory changes. The most significant change in the legislation governing the UK mortgage industry comes in the form of the

In essence, wealthy property investors depend for their dynamism on the ability to borrow against the strength of their existing portfolio. However, according to BML’s survey, 44% of HNWIs claim that their difficulty in securing a mortgage stems from the fact their capital is tied up in existing real estate investments, with two thirds (67%) feeling high street banks adequately cater to the needs of buyto-let investors generally. What can you do? Property Investors and HNWIs need to understand that their finances do not conform to the expectations of most UK mortgage providers. As such,

Alpa Bhakta CEO Butterfield Mortgages Limited

Alpa Bhakta is the CEO of Butterfield Mortgages Limited. Part of the Butterfield Group and a subsidiary of The Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son Limited, Butterfield Mortgages Limited is a London-based prime property mortgage provider with a particular focus on the needs of UK and international HNW individuals.

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Exporting to Asia: The Dos and Don’ts Economists predict that nine of the fifteen fastestgrowing economies in the world in 2019 will be in Asia. India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, The Philippines, China and Mongolia are all expected to grow by between 7.4% and 6.2%. This makes Asia an increasingly important and lucrative focus for UK businesses looking to grow their brand globally.

Do: Utilise smart payment

Brexit has put exporting centre stage within the UK and the energy the hastily created Department for International Trade has invested in building trade links around the globe has paid off. UK exports have broken a new record – totalling £639.9 billion in the last financial year.

Retail is booming in Asia and convenience is a priority for consumers. Products that get into stores that meet this need will have the biggest opportunity to grow fast and gain market attention.

For businesses looking to capitalise on the market for British goods in Asia and launch a product there, here are some helpful dos and don’ts:

Make up and skin care products are selling increasingly well in Asia, especially if they are pharmaceutical-related. At the other end of the market, alcohol is a huge growth area. Beer is

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Smart payment is becoming as popular in Asia as in the West. Making the shopping experience easier, quicker and more enjoyable, smart payment gives products an advantage over those sold in retailers without this capacity. Consider this when choosing which local distributors and retailers to partner with.

Do: Export alcohol, make up, health foods and tech


EMEA BUSINESS

already very popular in Asia but rum and gin are catching up – and even English sparkling wine is beginning to gain interest. Asian consumers are also spending more on home tech appliances – looking for cuttingedge design as well as functionality. Conveniently packaged healthy foods are also a winner. Don’t: Assume Western products have universal appeal in Asia In China, yes – products are often appealing to the market because of their Western branding, but this isn’t the case across the whole of the region. In India, for instance, unless a product is given an ‘Indian touch’ it’s likely to fall flat. It’s also vital not to make assumptions and instead carefully research how a product could be perceived in each individual market within Asia that you export to. For instance, a British brand might be excused for thinking that, as a Chinese dragon or phoenix is a symbol of greatness and fortune in Chinese culture, this would be acceptable to include on a product. However, an element of clothing carrying these emblems would be frowned upon. Throughout history,

these symbols were reserved only for the clothes of royalty and therefore, although people wouldn’t be banned from wearing such clothes, they would be considered arrogant for doing so. Don’t: Roll out the same approach for each market A totally different approach is required to launching in each region within Asia. Different products will be successful. For instance, highend luxury goods are more likely to fly in Japan, whereas across Thailand and Cambodia, heavy industrial products are valued due to their emerging infrastructure. Different launch strategies will also be required. For example, ideally, to successfully launch a brand in India, a company would first launch around the Indian market, in places like Singapore, other ASEAN countries or UAE. Establishing a brand in these destinations eases the path into India. That way the target segment of consumers will already have formed an understanding of the brand, which will likely pique demand.

It’s important to even recognise the differences between cities and regions within countries. Businesses tend to automatically target the biggest or most famous cities within a country first when launching a new product. However, this isn’t always the best policy. If launching a fashion brand in Asia, for instance, it could flop if the city is particularly politically sensitive but fly in a more commercial city. Don’t: Underestimate red tape The amount of documentation required to export to each country within Asia is extensive. It’s important to plan in enough time and resources to jump through the necessary hoops and be prepared to navigate a legal system that operates in a very different way. The documentation required includes everything from a certificate of origin to different language versions of contracts to licencing products for the target market in order to get clearance to sell them to protecting your Intellectual Property.

However, it is comparatively easy to launch a Western product directly into China.

Siddharth Shankar CEO Trails Trading

Siddharth Shankar is a leading expert in trading with Asia and CEO of Tails Trading, an innovative new solution helping UK SMEs to export their goods to Asia. Visit www.tailstrading.com to find out more.

Issue 16 | 127


EMEA TECHNOLOGY

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How to ensure a successful S/4HANA migration? In six years, SAP's support for the Business Suite core application ERP will end, and customers will have transitioned to S/4HANA. But data migration can be complex – after all, it is not just a matter of system migration, but the existing data must also be successfully transformed to S/4HANA. And here lies the crux of the issue: according to a Gartner study 1, half of all data migration projects go beyond budget or schedule, with negative effects on business. There are two ways to switch to S/4HANA. The first – the 'Greenfield transition' 2 – is to implement S/4HANA from the ground up and then migrate the existing data into the new system. Alternatively, some companies prefer to transfer their existing SAP ERP components, including all customisations and data, to S/4HANA with the so-called Brownfield approach 3 . When deciding which path is right, software versions, integrations, modifications, and interfaces shouldn’t be the only things considered. Of central importance is also the ERP data. On the one hand, because S/4HANA only supports Unicode, the data may need to be converted first. On the other hand, in the new system, only the relevant data should be processed in-memory, it, therefore, has to be decided what information will be stored as well as how and where. Finally, S/4HANA brings new data quality requirements, because real-time processing eliminates any intermediate steps to cleanse the data: the data quality in the system itself must be right. No matter which migration strategy a company chooses, an increased focus should always be on upfront data

cleansing. This is because complete, accurate and clean data reduces the costs, complexity and risks of the change. Vice versa, if data does not exist and is not converted correctly or formatted after the migration, then the new SAP applications will not work as planned during go-live. And troubleshooting can then be difficult and time-consuming. Failure pre-programmed? In many companies, data migration projects fail because their importance and complexity are not taken seriously enough. Ad hoc planning, limited project transparency, isolated decisions and poor communication are additional factors. Some companies also struggle with the technical side when they try to get data under control through self-programmed custom integrations. However, data migration is much more than a purely technical task. As with so many other major projects, planning is the key to success. The first step is to gain an overview of the existing data landscape and the quality of the existing data. Which data is central to the processes in the company and what standards must be met? Where are gaps, inconsistencies, errors? After that, it's time to formulate clear and realistic quality goals that meet the needs of all business units and processes. What new requirements will S/4HANA place on the data? How can records be transformed and supplemented with missing information? And with which processes will the correctness of the data be authorised and validated in the future?

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Proceed step-by-step Once the framework requirements have been clarified, the migration project itself can be subdivided into several steps: data preparation, extraction, profiling (i.e. analysing and purging the source data), design with development of the necessary data schema for the target system and mapping between the source and target system. There is also the consideration of missing data records for new data fields, data transformation with simulation and validation of the loading process, and finally moving all the data into the production system. This structured approach has proven valuable in numerous projects and helps to keep all stakeholders – project managers, system integrators, users, the IT department and data managers – on the right track. In addition, an iterative approach makes sense, firstly by breaking down the migration data into smaller, more manageable units. Loading simulations should also be considered because they help to detect problems early before the go-live. This form of testing is done by putting load on a system and measuring its response.

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Many data cleansing and migration steps can be automated and can’t be handled without the right professional tools. When selecting such tools, it's not just about technical integration with data sources and company systems; they should also provide functionalities that support project management, interdisciplinary collaboration and best practice methods. The more complex and dynamic the migration, the more important it is that the system allows a constant overview of the progress of each project section based on defined measures and goals. But migration is just the beginning. Even after the system changeover, the integrity and relevance of the data must be maintained over the long term. Because digital processes generate tons of new information every day, the value of which can only be unlocked if the data quality is right. Intelligent data monitoring solutions serve as a centralised place for defining all the data rules in the enterprise and can automatically detect and correct data issues before problems arise. Even with S/4HANA, the reliability of business decisions depends on the reliability of the underlying data.

Frank Schuler VP SAP Technical Architecture Syniti (formerly BackOffice Associates)

1

Gartner_Inc. “Take These Four Key Actions to Reduce Data Migration Hazards and Ensure Success.” Gartner, www. gartner.com/doc/3813570/key-actions-reduce-datamigration.

2

“Brownfield vs Greenfield Approach: Moving to S/4HANA.” Panaya, 31 July 2019, www.panaya.com/blog/ sap/s4hana-brownfield-vs-greenfield/.

3

“Digital Transformation Goals Spark New S/4HANA Migration Momentum.” SearchSAP, searchsap.techtarget.com/ news/252448471/Digital-transformation-goals-spark-new-S4HANA-migration-momentum.


Transforming the concept of Service Leadership hinges on the ability to understand customer needs, quicker and better than the competition. At SegurCaixa Adeslas we are constantly reinventing ourselves to offer the best experience to our trusted customers, responding to their demands and transforming the concept of service into: flexibility, convenience, accessibility and excellence. That is why we keep leading the Spanish Health Insurance market, with the highest growth among the Top 10. Also, for the third consecutive year, we have proudly been recognised with the Best Insurance Company award. One more reason to keep working and become the leaders of tomorrow.


EMEA BANKING

Recreating the bank manager relationship? It’s all in the customer DNA Personalised banking is nothing new. Few of us today may remember it, but there was a time when anyone could walk into the bank and have a chat with their bank manager to discuss their finances and impending life changes, or to discuss investment opportunities. Somewhere along the way we’ve lost that intimate connection between banks and us, their customers. Yes, we have phone, internet and even banking apps, but for all their convenience these are faceless, impersonal and merely transactional services. In many ways they are a poor replacement for the two-thirds of bank and building society branches that have closed 1 over the last 30 years. That’s because these services rarely provide the personalised customer service and relevance that consumers have come to expect from other areas of their lives. A new breed of challenger banks have been quick to fill this void with a range of highly personalised services, which is one of the reasons why they have managed to capture a quarter of millennial 2 customers. It’s only now that traditional banking institutions are waking up to the opportunities of hyper-personalisation. The personalisation revolution Banks can’t say they weren’t warned. Back in 2015, one estimate suggested that European

banks could lose out on €22bn of revenues 3 to big technology groups offering a range of digital-first financial services. A year later, NGDATA found that less than 30% of customers think their bank’s offers are customised for their individual needs. Meanwhile banks market their new product offers as ones specially tailored to customer needs, let alone their communication with said customer – so where has this perception gap originated? We need to go back to the beginning and rethink what we truly mean by ‘personalisation’. It could be something as simple as Wells Fargo’s customisable ATM experience 4 which displays the customers “favourite” services on the screen. But the most effective personalisation is when banks provide the most relevant interactions, services and marketing to each customer at every touchpoint and at the right time. The benefits of personalisation are clear. McKinsey has found 5 that full personalisation can deliver between 10 and 20 per cent more efficient marketing and a 10 to 30 per cent uplift in revenue and retention. Singaporean bank DBS, meanwhile, claims 6 to make more than £700 revenue each year from its digital customers, more than double what it makes from traditional customers.

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This is to say nothing of the increased customer loyalty that comes from delivering a fantastic customer experience. This is not a particularly new concept. In 2016, KPMG cited personalisation as the first of its six pillars 7 for banks looking to unlock rapid growth. It’s no wonder traditional banks have spent the last few years upgrading their IT infrastructure to provide the ability to capture and analyse huge amounts of personal data on which hyperpersonalisation depends. But merely having the data isn’t enough to create a winning customer experience: there are many other questions that banks must solve before they make hyperpersonalisation a reality. Tapping into “customer DNA” Technology now enables banks and other financial institutions to understand each customer’s unique “customer DNA”, enabling them to tailor their communications and financial products to every individual – a process we call “hyper-personalisation”. This means delivering truly contextual personalised services, which improve the user experience based on a customer’s objective. While this is key to increasing a bank’s engagement with customers, any investment must be focused on delivering true value. Personalisation for its own sake could hurt rather than help a bank retain and grow the customer base – especially if they take a cavalier approach to people’s data security. Banks must therefore find a way to maximise the value of the data they hold, while staying onside with data protection regulations such as GDPR. They must

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also ensure that they strike the right balance between relevance and the “creepy factor” of seeming to know too much about customers’ financial affairs. How, then, can banks balance the need for privacy while delivering the next generation of hyperpersonalised services? The 360° customer view There is so much data being generated by and about customers today that it can be nearly impossible to gain a complete view of them. And, because data is often generated and kept within business siloes, it takes a great deal of time to merge data into a singular customer view that is still relevant and offers actionable insights. By utilising an intelligent customer engagement platform that merges operational and marketing data, organisations can merge thousands of metrics into a singular, comprehensive view of enterprise customers on the individual level that is required for personalisation.

With this approach to teasing out customer DNA, banks will gain maximum visibility into customer behaviour, enabling them to deploy customer experience campaigns in a whole new way. O nl y w he n ba nk s ga in a hol i sti c v ie w of c ustome rs c a n they delive r the pe rsona lisa tion that the se c onsum e rs c rave : f or exampl e , by be ing a ble to prov ide hyper-re leva nt ma rke ting a nd products tha t inc re a se e nga ge me nt and con ve rsion ra te s, ba nk s are abl e to re duc e irre leva nt commu nic a tions, m ak ing c ustom e rs feel val ue d a nd unde rstood. The bank manager of old knew that time spent on face-to-face engagement with customers was never wasted, leading as it did to opportunities to sell new services, or simply to strengthen loyalty with high-value customers. Thanks to technology, we can recreate these relationships – and, indeed, make them stronger than ever before.

Doug Gross CEO NGDATA

1

Makortoff, Kalyeena. “UK Banks Urged to Justify 'Staggering' Level of Branch Closures.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 16 Nov. 2018, www.theguardian.com/business/2018/ nov/16/uk-bank-urged-justify-staggering-level-branchclosures-which-survey.

2

Quarter of Millennials and GenZs Use Challenger Banks, www. fstech.co.uk/fst/Crealogix_Millennials_GenZ_Banking_Habits.php.

3

Dunkley, Emma. “Banks Face Losing Market Share to Digital Services.” Financial Times, Financial Times, 22 Sept. 2015, www.ft.com/content/e44a49b2-611e-11e5-9846de406ccb37f2.

4

“Wells Fargo Launching Personalized ATMs.” Bank Systems & Technology, 19 Feb. 2013, www.banktech.com/ channels/wells-fargo-launching-personalized-atms/d/did/1296164d41d.html.

5

“Personalization at Scale: First Steps in a Profitable Journey to Growth.” McKinsey & Company, www.mckinsey.com/ business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/ personalization-at-scale-first-steps.

6 https://www.dbs.com/investorday/presentations/Creating_ shareholder_value_from_digitalisation.pdf

7 “The Six Pillars.” KPMG, home.kpmg/xx/en/home/ insights/2018/06/tomorrows-experience-today-the-sixpillars.print.html.

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Cracking corporate culture through learning and development Culture is something that is widely talked about, but developing one that actually delivers against business objectives is scarcely found. Dr Simon Hayward, author of The Agile Leader and CEO of leadership consultancy, Cirrus, works closely with Standard Chartered to deliver cultural transformation across the bank. Together, they developed the ‘Leaders Drive Performance’ (LDP) programme which recently won the Business Culture Award for Best International Initiative. Here he shares how creating a cultural shift can be used as a tool to drive towards business objectives…

Standard Chartered offers banking services that aim to create wealth and growth across its global marketplace. The bank employs over 86,000 people. Its brand promise is ‘Here For Good’ and its valued behaviours are ‘Better Together’, ‘Never Settle’ and ‘Do The Right Thing’. Following the appointment of CEO Bill Winters in 2015, there was a strong desire to drive smarter growth in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world. The bank was keen to develop increasingly positive, values-based leadership behaviours alongside the capability to collaborate and respond to customers and market changes. They were looking to become more agile and to develop a culture of innovation.

In line with strategic growth goals, there was a need to shift away from the existing culture which felt quite safe and comfortable towards a culture of challenge and disruption where direct feedback is welcomed and acted upon. The bank has always invested in developing leadership skills and behaviours, and introduced a range of leadership learning and coaching programmes to drive cultural change. One particular programme, Leaders Drive Performance (LDP), focused exclusively on the bank’s middle managers. This population was chosen because they are critical to delivering a cultural change across the thousands of employees they manage. What were the goals of the programme? •

• • •

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To deliver a cultural shift, experienced through the adoption of a performance mind-set and common language. To increase accountability and a stronger client focus. To introduce strong conversation habits. To increase explicit exploration and constructive challenge in meetings and conversations based on ‘VUCA’ (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world challenges. To increase the engagement levels of leaders so they in turn could engage others. To increase employee retention.

Creating a programme to drive change Standard Chartered worked in partnership with Cirrus to develop ‘Leaders Drive Performance’ (LDP), a programme designed to deliver cultural transformation across the bank. Many of Standard Chartered’s previous leadership development programmes had an intense focus on personal development and were not always effectively linked to strategic goals and cultural change. This programme was


EMEA BUSINESS

closely aligned with Standard Chartered’s strategy and used disruptive and immersive techniques to change behaviours and create a cultural shift in line with the bank’s overall growth agenda.  It was practical, immersive and experiential, designed to build the leadership capability of leaders so they could become increasingly proactive and accountable for achieving strategic goals and cultural change.

A 100-day leadership learning journey started with a highly innovative and immersive two-day workshop. Participants received valuable coaching support throughout the journey and the Cirrus Strata digital platform enabled online collaboration, project communications and scheduling. High quality online communications including video and animation ensure participants were actively engaged.

To ensure the programme was effective Cirrus initiated a four day ‘design lab’ involving key stakeholders from Standard Chartered. This approach – which is very different from the standard needs analysis typically used – instilled such confidence in the solution that Standard Chartered gave Cirrus the goahead to immediately develop and roll the programme out across the target population. 

The majority of leadership development programmes take a content first/practice after approach. This programme created a rich environment for learning through the challenging, context-rich, immersive and experiential aspects of the business simulation, as well as the just-in-time introduction of blocks of learning content. This ensured that learning was always connected to participants’ immediate experience, so that multiple learning outcomes could be realised.  

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Engaging a global audience  Standard Chartered is a global bank, and this programme was delivered to individuals from the majority of countries. A wide range of global locations were available for the face-to-face element of the programme. Cirrus’ Strata digital platform enabled online collaboration, project communications, scheduling and coaching. High quality online communications including video and animation ensured participants were engaged throughout the 100-day programme. Cirrus was conscious of cultural nuances to ensure the learning landed within different countries. For example, while the business simulation element of the programme remained the same, the facilitators changed the kind of language and wording used depending on the different cultures and backgrounds of the people in each cohort. The benefits To date, 1,125 leaders across multiple markets have taken part in this programme. Since the programme was launched, engagement levels have increased and there has been a notable drop in attrition for leaders who attended the programme versus those who did not. Many participants have said the programme is the best learning they have undertaken in their career and the best programme Standard Chartered has ever run. It has also been highly recommended by participants to their colleagues. “This is an elaborately designed and executed training programme,” said one functional head. “To me, this demonstrated Standard Chartered’s commitment to cultural change, and support of a leadership style that I buy into. This gave me the moral backing to pursue my path with

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authenticity. Oneto-one coaching also helped me gain perspective and I feel I have become a more rounded leader as a result.” “The LDP programme was a stepping stone in the right direction,” said another. “It shed some light on having focused conversations with proper alignment and commitment, the ability to take bold informed decision making that reflects the bank’s strategy and welfare, engaging the right people, becoming the change. It has changed my outlook and given me the motivation and tools to connect and communicate more effectively, hence enabling me to constructively challenge people in a way that promotes the right behaviours and ultimately drives better performance.”

cultural shift and driving business growth. There is a much stronger emphasis on action and accountability for implementing action plans. The ultimate goal of LDHP is to develop leaders to drive the execution of Standard Chartered’s strategy by leading the creation of a highperformance culture with increased urgency and intensity.

Building on success Standard Chartered recognises the successes of the LDP programme and its significant impact on the way its leaders perform – they are more robust to deal with challenges faced today and better equipped for the future. In a fast-moving world with constantly evolving markets, the bank is committed to ongoing investment in leadership development. Following the success of LDP, a new programme, Leaders Drive High Performance (LDHP), has been developed for more senior leaders. The new programme is an 18-week blended learning journey with an even sharper focus on leading a

Dr Simon Hayward Author of The Agile Leader and CEO Cirrus


Best Retail Bank in Portugal 2019 Thanks to our costumers for trusting us We continue focused in our purpose of helping Portuguese families and companies to prosper.

The prize is the sole responsibility of the entity who awarded it.

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Global Banking & Finance Review Issue 16 - Business and Financial Magazine  

Global Banking & Finance Review is a leading financial portal and Print Magazine offering News, Analysis, Opinion, Reviews, Interviews & Vid...

Global Banking & Finance Review Issue 16 - Business and Financial Magazine  

Global Banking & Finance Review is a leading financial portal and Print Magazine offering News, Analysis, Opinion, Reviews, Interviews & Vid...