BANKING NEWS FLASH March 17, 2014
Table of Contents Sales & Marketing ................................................................................................................. 3 Finance ................................................................................................................................. 8 Technology .......................................................................................................................... 13 Strategy .............................................................................................................................. 17
2|Sutherland Insights Banking News Flash Mar 17, 2014
Sales & Marketing OpenEye completes Digital Signage rollout for US Bank March 14, 2014 | BBR http://retailbanking.banking-business-review.com/news/openeye-completes-digital-signagerollout-for-us-bank-140314 OpenEye, a global digital media consultancy, has announced the completion of a multi-million dollar, full rebranding initiative for one of the 25 largest retail banks in the United States. The company also is working to expand the digital merchandising program for the bank's UK entity. OpenEye upgraded more than 700 branch locations with 1,500 digital displays by creating a dynamic, modern environment, including a digital merchandising program that allows the bank to communicate more frequently and effectively with its customers. The program - designed and implemented by OpenEye - allows the bank to display a variety of dynamic marketing messages, such as real-time rate information, localized offers and core product information. "We look at the relationships banks have with their customers and the means in which they communicate with them to create and position a digital merchandising program," said Bryan Meszaros, OpenEye managing partner. "The goal was to allow the bank to maximize the impact of their marketing messages and help increase customers' awareness around new product offerings." Meszaros says more banks are turning to digital as they explore ways to upgrade their in-branch marketing and boost engagement with customers. "Digital technologies have brought a major shift in consumer banking behavior. Brick-and-mortar branches will need to leverage the latest technologies to offer a personalized banking experience if they want to secure their place in the future. Digital tools are driving this transformation," said Meszaros. As banks explore ways to integrate digital solutions in their branches, Meszaros says no two clients are alike. That means the products and technologies that were successful with one client won't necessarily work in the next project. Therefore, OpenEye engineers and designers listen to clients before they start to develop a solution and offer a customized approach. "It shouldn't just be a display on the wall - you should look at ways to integrate the displays within the design of the environment," said Meszaros. OpenEye is involved in all phases of the digital signage installation, from start to finish - and beyond. This includes conceptual design and content creation, either by OpenEye staff or one of its partners. The company also completed projects at Provident Bank and Brooklyn Independence Community Bank, before it was acquired.
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Horizons ETFs Management unveils Korea KOSPI 200 ETF March 10, 2014 | BBR http://mutualfunds.banking-business-review.com/news/horizons-etfs-management-unveilskorea-kospi-200-etf-100314-4192358 Horizons ETFs Management (USA), a member of the Horizons Exchange Traded Funds Group, has launched the Horizons Korea KOSPI 200 ETF (HKOR). This is the first ETF listed in the United States that gives investors exposure to the KOSPI 200 Index (the "KOSPI 200"), an important Korean equity index that holds 200 blue chip companies listed on the Korea Exchange ("KRX"). HKOR seeks investment results that, before fees and expenses, generally correspond to the performance of the KOSPI 200 Index. The KOSPI 200 is a free float-adjusted, market capitalization weighted index, which is comprised of 200 blue chip companies listed on the KRX. It uses factors such as market and sector representation and liquidity to determine stock weightings. HKOR will be the first country-specific ETF launched by Horizons ETFs in the U.S. The KOSPI 200 is a widely used Korean equity benchmark to access Korea in Asia. It also has a robust derivatives market that provides a strong depth of liquidity for ETFs that track the index. "HKOR will be the lowest-cost (0.38% Total Gross Expense Ratio) and most broadly diversified Korean equity ETF in the U.S." said Howard Atkinson, Managing Director, Horizons USA. "Korea is often listed as an emerging market economy, but with a well-established manufacturing base and steady GDP growth, it has an economic profile that is more in line with well-established developed markets, generally making it a more stable entry point into emerging market investing." Horizons USA's global affiliates already have experience running KOSPI 200 ETF mandates in some of their other global ETF markets, such as Korea and Hong Kong. "The launch of HKOR is a perfect example of how our firm can harness our global capabilities to deliver exceptional ETF solutions for the local markets we serve," said Taeyong Lee, president of the Global Business Unit of Mirae Asset Global Investments Co, Ltd. "We have extensive experience in running KOSPI 200 mandates on our global ETF platform, so it was a natural progression that we leverage that expertise to give U.S. investors low-cost exposure to the most broadly diversified Korean equity benchmark." Horizons ETFs is able to leverage its global presence by utilizing Mirae Asset Global Investments (Hong Kong) Limited ("Mirae Asset Hong Kong") as the sub-manager of the ETF. Mirae Asset Hong Kong is a leading asset manager based in Hong Kong that is part of the Mirae Asset Global Investments Group ("Mirae Asset"), which manages more than $59 billion in assets globally (as at January 31, 2014), and is part of the Mirae Asset Financial Group, one of Asia's largest independent financial services groups. Mirae Asset is also recognized as one of the largest investors in emerging market equities by AUM of fund managers' surveyed. In fact, as of December 31, 2013, the investments in emerging markets equity alone exceeded US $22.71 billion.
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"We think having Mirae Asset Hong Kong sub-advise HKOR is a great benefit to potential investors," said Mr. Atkinson. "We have great confidence in knowing that the ETF portfolio is being monitored by a professional portfolio management team based in Asia with extensive experience in the Asian equity market." 1. One of the largest investors in emerging market equities amongst 79 asset management firms surveyed - IPE Survey: Managers of Emerging & Frontier Market Equities, Investment & Pensions Europe (IPE) January 31, 2014. Individual shares of the Horizons-branded exchange traded funds (the "Funds") may be purchased or sold in the secondary market throughout the regular trading day on the New York Stock Exchange through a brokerage account. However, shares are not individually redeemable directly from the Funds. Each Fund issues and redeems shares on a continuous basis, at NAV, only in blocks of shares ("Creation Units"), principally in-kind for securities included in the relevant Index. The Creation Unit for HKOR is 50,000 shares. Before investing you should carefully consider the Funds' investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses. This and other information is in the prospectus, a copy of which may be obtained by visiting the Fund's website at HorizonsETFs.com/USA . Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest. Distributor: Foreside Fund Services, LLC. There are risks involved with investing, including possible loss of principal. The Funds are nondiversified and may invest a greater portion of their assets in securities of a small number of Horizons ETFs Management (USA) LLC issuers which may have an adverse effect on Fund performance. Concentration in a particular industry or sector will subject the Funds to loss due to adverse occurrences that may affect that industry or sector. See prospectus for specific risks regarding each Fund and sector. The fund is comprised of securities of companies that are traded on the South Korean Stock Exchange and domiciled in South Korea. The risks of investing in the South Korean market include risks of natural disasters, lack of natural resources, reliance on trading partners, national security, unpredictable political climate, large government debt, and currency fluctuation. The realization of such risks could have a negative impact on the value of securities of South Korean companies. See prospectus for specific risks regarding each Fund, sector and country. It is not possible to invest directly in an index. The KOSPI 200 is a product of KRX or its affiliates. The Underlying Index and the trademarks have been licensed for use in connection with HKOR by Horizons USA or its affiliates. HKOR is not sponsored, endorsed, sold, or promoted by KRX or its affiliates and neither KRX nor its affiliates makes any representation regarding the advisability of investing in HKOR.
BofA to launch new current account March 07, 2014 | BBR http://retailbanking.banking-business-review.com/news/bank-of-america-considers-launchingno-overdraft-current-account-070314-4191497 Bank of America (BofA) is set to launch its new current account designed for customers with low balances and free from any kind of overdraft fees.
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Dubbed as Safe Balance, the new account will enable BofA to deal with such customers who maintain zero balance in their account. The lender will charge a mandatory monthly fee of $4.95 from account holders and will not allow cheques processing in accounts with insufficient balances, reported The Wall Street Journal. BofA said that the new account will provide a consistent revenue stream and reduce its costs associated with managing such accounts. A customer will have to reimburse $59.40 annually for a 'Safe Balance' account without any cheque and overdraft facility. BofA global corporate social responsibility and consumer policy head Andrew Plepler told the publication, "We've been doing a lot of listening to customers, doing a lot of meetings with regulators and [consumer] advocates. "Predictability, safety, no surprises, no hidden fees is a recurring theme."
UBS Fund Services launches Depositary "Lite" platform March 05, 2014 | BBR http://retailbanking.banking-business-review.com/news/ubs-fund-services-launches-depositarylite-platform-050314-4190192 UBS Fund Services, a global fund administrator, has announced the launch of its Depositary "Lite" platform to support managers of offshore funds fulfil the requirements of the Alternative Investment Funds Directive ("AIFMD"). UBS will conduct the cash flow monitoring, safekeeping and general oversight requirements as required by the Directive which will be a change to the existing framework for offshore funds. This new service is one of many new product offerings that UBS Fund Services will bring to market in 2014 to further support managers target European capital. David Rochford, Head of Regulatory Product Development at UBS Fund Services said, "We offer the full range of Depositary Lite services to meet clients' Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs) requirements or preferred service model. Our platform can be deployed as part of a split service model working alongside other providers, or as a one-stop shop solution." He added, "Together with our team of dedicated specialists, we are able to guide clients through the on-boarding process, making delivery of the Depositary Lite framework as seamless as possible."
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GAMCO, DIAM Asset Management unveils Japan-based open-end fund March 03, 2014 | BBR http://mutualfunds.banking-business-review.com/news/gamco-diam-asset-management-unveilsjapan-based-open-end-fund-030314-4187712 GAMCO Investors has partnered with Japan-based DIAM Asset Management to roll out a Japanese open-ended fund, the Beikoku Wariyasukabu Fund. Dubbed as "The Value Hunter", the All Cap Value fund will open on 19 March 2014 and will be distributed by Resona Bank, Saitama Resona Bank, and Kinki Osaka Bank. GAMCO Asset Management will act as the fund's sub-advisor and will carry out an All Cap Value mandate based on the firm's proprietary Private Market Value with a Catalyst approach to Value Investing. GAMCO Investors chairman & CEO Mario Gabelli said, "What began as an expansion of GAMCO's research efforts in Asia has evolved into a flourishing business center and an asset gathering hub for the region." The fund will be managed by Kevin V Dreyer, Christopher Marangi, Jeffrey Jonas CFA, and Mario Gabelli, while GAMCO's more than 30 analysts will support the portfolio managers' efforts by identifying companies using GAMCO's unique Private Market Value with a Catalyst approach. GAMCO Investors, through its subsidiaries, manages private advisory accounts, mutual funds and closed-end funds and partnerships and offshore funds.
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Finance Lemon co-founder raises $20 million for bitcoin vault start-up March 14, 2014 | Finextra http://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=25848 Xapo, a bitcoin wallet and cold-storage vault start-up established by former Lemon founder Wences Casares, has raised $20 million in Series A funding led by Benchmark, with Fortress Investment Group and Ribbit Capital. Aiming to become the Fort Knox of the Bitcoin world, Xapo keeps bitcoin accounts in total lockdown using multiple layers of proprietary security protocols backed by insurance against losses from Meridien Insurance. Accounts are stored in a computer that has no Internet access, with encrypted data back-ups segregated onto external drives and paper and secreted in physical vaults in geographically dispersed locations. "Think of it like a safe deposit box at your bank," says Casares, who was part of the team behind the Lemon digital wallet platform, which was sold to LifeLock for $43 million late last year. Casares is billing Xapo as a one-stop-shop for bitcoin users, combing a free wallet and vault security service. Storage in Xapo's Vault costs an annual fee of 0.12% for each deposit made. "When I first learned of Bitcoin, I immediately saw the promise and utility of the currency and platform," says Casares. "I grew up in Argentina, where at times the economy experienced 12,000% annual inflation. I believe that a digital currency like bitcoin could solve the disjointed nature of our world economy."
Remittance hots up as WorldRemit and Azimo secure multi-million dollar funding rounds March 12, 2014 | Finextra http://www.finextra.com/news/fullstory.aspx?newsitemid=25835 WorldRemit, a London-based online money transfer service, has secured a $40 million series a investment from Accel Partners to help it muscle into the huge global remittance market. Traditional money transfer giants Western Union and MoneyGram currently dominate the remittance market, which according to the World Bank is worth $519 billion. However, WorldRemit argues that these established players use expensive and inefficient physical networks and rely on cash, creating compliance risks. WorldRemit is hoping to challenge them through its online platform, which can be accessed via mobiles and already lets migrants and expats from 35 countries send remittance payments to families and friends in over 100 destinations.
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The firm has partnered with banks, mobile operator hubs and mobile money transfer networks including M-Pesa, to build its network. Senders can use its platform to make payments by debit or credit card, or via bank transfers, while recipients receive funds via bank deposit, direct transfer to mobile wallets, cash pickup or delivery, and airtime top-up. It now plans to use the Accel Partners money to expand its staff from 50 to 200 people and move into new geographies. Ismail Ahmed, CEO, WorldRemit, says: "We expect the online money transfer sector to account for approximately 30% of the remittance market in the next few years and that WorldRemit will be at the forefront of this change." In a related development, another UK-based remittance start-up Azimo has closed a $10 million investment round led by Greycroft Partners. Launched in August 2012, it currently supports money transfer from numerous European countries to 192 countries globally. The company says it will use the funds to accelerate European expansion and target other key markets in North America and Asia.
U.S. Projects $179B Profit from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac March 10, 2014 | National Mortgage News http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/news/regulation/us-projects-179b-profit-from-fanniemae-freddie-mac-1041301-1.html Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could return $179 billion in profits to taxpayers over the next 10 years if they continue operating under federal conservatorship, according to White House budget analysts. The U.S.-owned mortgage-finance companies, seized by regulators during the 2008 credit crisis, have returned to profitability as the housing market recovers. By the end of this month, they will have sent $203 billion back to the Treasury, which counts as dividends on the U.S. investment and not repayment of the $187.5 billion they got in taxpayer aid. The projections, released today as part of an annual analysis prepared by the Office of Management and Budget, show an increase from last year, when budget writers forecast a $51 billion profit from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through 2023. Congress is working on legislation to wind down and replace the two companies. Investors in the two companies including hedge fund Perry Capital and mutual-fund firm Fairholme Capital Management have sued the U.S. challenging an arrangement in which the government takes all of the companies' quarterly profits as dividends.
FCA to establish new regulator to oversee ÂŁ75trn payment systems industry March 06, 2014 | BBR http://policiesandregulatorycompliance.banking-business-review.com/news/fca-to-establishnew-regulator-to-oversee-75trn-payment-systems-industry-060314-4190744 FCA is planning to introduce a new regulator to oversee UK payment systems by April 2015.
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Payment systems make every payment to or from UK consumers possible, by allowing funds to be transferred between people and businesses. Today the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has asked for views on the key issues facing the payments sector. Every year these payment systems process over 7 billion transactions, worth over ÂŁ75 trillion. The FCA's 'call for inputs' will help shape the focus of the new regulator's work. Martin Wheatley, FCA chief executive, said: "This sector is critical to the economy so it must reflect the needs of people and firms and enjoy their confidence. "We need to know if the sector is as open as it should be to new entrants into the market and whether consumers are getting the best possible deal." Competition will be high on the agenda of the new regulator. The largest payment systems are owned and managed by the big banks, but concerns have been raised that the sector lacks transparency and innovation. It also needs to be easier for challenger banks to access these systems and compete with the bigger players. The Banking Reform Act (2013) created a new independent regulator for payment systems as a subsidiary of the FCA. The new regulator will be fully operational by 1 April 2015 and has three objectives: promoting competition, promoting innovation and ensuring that payment systems operate in the interests of their users. There are a number of payment systems in use in the UK, and HM Treasury will consult on which payment systems will be overseen by the new regulator later this year.
GFT beats full year earnings target March 05, 2014 | Finextra http://www.finextra.com/news/announcement.aspx?pressreleaseid=54199 GFT Technologies AG today announced its preliminary and unaudited financial figures for the financial year 2013. With 15 percent growth in consolidated revenue to EUR 264.29 million (prev. year: EUR 230.69 million), the company exceeded its revenue target for 2013 by EUR 4.29 million. This substantial year-on-year increase in revenue resulted from the strong organic growth of the GFT division with its solutions for the banking sector and from the acquisition of the Italian consultancy Sempla S.r.l.. Pre-tax earnings (EBT) also surpassed the company's expectations with growth of 45 percent to EUR 17.52 million (prev. year: EUR 12.11 million). Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) improved by 53 percent to EUR 20.49 million (prev. year: EUR 13.35 million).
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The GFT Group comprises the two operating divisions GFT (formerly GFT Solutions) and emagine. Dedicated to delivering IT solutions for the finance sector, the GFT division posted revenue growth of 44 percent to EUR 174.04 million (prev. year: EUR 121.05 million). Adjusted for the revenue contribution of Sempla totalling EUR 21.77 million, GFT posted organic growth of 26 percent. This positive trend was mainly driven by the division's IT solutions for investment banking and its compliance solutions for growing regulatory requirements in the finance sector. Project business relating to the introduction of the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) also played a key role in driving growth. The company's German and UK operations posted particularly strong revenue increases. The earnings contribution of the GFT division rose by 53 percent to EUR 19.63 million (prev. year: EUR 12.86 million) with a corresponding improvement in the operating margin to 11.3 percent (prev. year: 10.6 percent). Increased capacity utilisation and an adjustment of the remaining purchase price for Asymo AG were chiefly responsible for the disproportionately strong increase in earnings compared to revenue. "We steadily improved our performance in the GFT division over the year, enabling us to exceed even the upgraded revenue and earnings targets from mid year," says Ulrich Dietz, CEO of GFT Technologies AG. On the UK success, GFT UK's Managing Director, Christopher Ortiz expanded: "GFT UK saw amazing growth in the areas of regulatory and big data projects in the Capital Markets space in 2013. But the work is just beginning with 2014 continuing the strong growth and need for expert business and IT consulting services." With its services for the staffing of technology projects, the emagine division posted revenue of EUR 90.23 million - 18 percent down on the previous year (EUR 109.54 million). This decline in revenue resulted mainly from the planned discontinuation of its low-margin Third Party Management (TPM) business. As a result, the TPM business contributed just EUR 3.46 million (prev. year: EUR 18.57 million) to segment revenue. Segment earnings of the emagine division were burdened by expenses for its realignment, especially in the first six months. Following an upturn in the third quarter, the division was able to achieve full-year earnings of EUR 1.06 million (prev. year: EUR 2.32 million). GFT Group improves EBITDA by 53 percent Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of the GFT Group rose by 53 percent to EUR 20.49 million (prev. year: EUR 13.35 million). The EBITDA result includes tax-free income of EUR 2.42 million from expected remaining purchase prices (prev. year: EUR 2.63 million) for an acquisition in 2011. Earnings before taxes (EBT) amounted to EUR 17.52 million and were thus 45 percent up on the previous year (EUR 12.11 million). The operating margin before taxes improved by 1.4 percent points, from 5.2 percent in the previous year to 6.6 percent. In the past financial year, the GFT Group generated net income of EUR 13.63 million, corresponding to year-on-year growth of 63 percent (EUR 8.34 million). Undiluted earnings per share amounted to EUR 0.52 in 2013 (prev. year: EUR 0.32). The calculated tax ratio was 22 percent, compared to 31 percent in the previous year. Headcount grows by 52 percent to 2,111 Due to the positive development of business and high utilisation of capacity, headcount at the Spanish development centres was increased by 19 percent to 1,046 during the reporting period. The acquisition of Sempla raised headcount in the GFT division to 1,968 (prev. year: 1,239). All in all, the number of full-time staff employed by the GFT Group increased by 52 percent to 2,111 (prev. year: 1,386) as of 31 December 2013.
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Increased dividend In view of the encouraging development of business, the Executive Board will recommend that the Supervisory Board proposes an increase in the dividend for 2013 of 33 percent to EUR 0.20 (prev. year: 0.15 Euro) per share at the Annual General Meeting on 27 May 2014. This would correspond to a total dividend payout of EUR 5.27 million (prev. year: EUR 3.95 million). Additional key data In the fourth quarter of 2013, the GFT Group generated revenue of EUR 78.85 million (prev. year: EUR 56.08 million) and pre-tax earnings of EUR 6.31 million (prev. year: EUR 4.31 million). On 31 December 2013, the GFT Group had cash and cash equivalents of EUR 48.62 million (prev. year: EUR 40.42 million) and EUR 20.88 million after deduction of financial liabilities (prev. year: EUR 40.42 million). Outlook The GFT Group expects business to make further progress in 2014 and anticipates year-on-year revenue growth of 17 percent to EUR 310 million. The Executive Board expects pre-tax earnings (EBT) to improve to EUR 23 million with an increase in EBITDA to EUR 28 million.
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Technology Atlantic Capital Bank launches mobile banking through Malauzai's SmartApp March 14, 2014 | BBR http://onlinebanking.banking-business-review.com/news/atlantic-capital-bank-launches-mobilebanking-through-malauzais-smartapp-140314 Malauzai Software, a provider of mobile banking SmartApps for financial institutions, has announced that Atlanta-based Atlantic Capital Bank has leveraged the company's mobile banking solutions to meet the growing needs of its client base. Atlantic Capital Bank, with $1.2 billion in assets, was founded in 2007 to serve corporate, private and commercial real estate clients. The bank approaches the market with superior levels of service, local market expertise and a robust suite of products and services. From the start, Atlantic Capital Bank's founders saw the growth of mobility in banking, and made the strategic decision to open only one banking center. As it brought on a growing number of private banking and small business clients, Atlantic Capital Bank sought a technology that would provide clients with the most advanced mobile banking experience. The bank selected Malauzai based the reputation of its SmartApps and user friendly interface. "At Atlantic Capital, we focus on bringing the bank to our clients. An important piece of this puzzle was creating a mobile app allowing private banking clients to bank anytime, anywhere," said Kurt Shreiner, Executive Vice President of Treasury Services at Atlantic Capital Bank. "Malauzai's SmartApps offer our clients a robust app that makes banking with Atlantic Capital as easy as opening the Go! Mobile app." The bank's new SmartApp is integrated directly with its core platform making new features and updates easy to implement. Atlantic Capital Bank also preferred Malauzai's SmartApps to other providers based on the company's wide range of integration with other vendors in areas such as imaging, mobile deposit and bill pay. "This is just the beginning of a strong relationship with Atlantic Capital Bank as we develop features for their private banking and commercial clients," said Robb Gaynor, chief product officer and cofounder of Malauzai. "This bank's story proves that an institution needs mobile no matter what type of customer it serves. We look forward to helping Atlantic Capital launch a successful mobile app and achieve their business goals."
Bank of England rolls out banknote application March 10, 2014 | BBR http://bankingtechnology.banking-business-review.com/news/bank-of-england-rolls-outbanknote-application-100314-4192423 The Bank of England (BoE) has rolled out its latest banknote application, an interactive guide to banknotes, suitable to be used on mobile phones that enable the public to identify security features on its banknotes.
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The app aims to make Bank of England educational material more accessible to retailers, businesses and members of the public. Through its touch-screen guide, it allows users to learn about the security features on all current Bank of England banknotes. The app is free to download through the Apple or Google Play Stores, or can be accessed through links on the Bank's website. Leveraging its touch-screen guide, the app enables users to learn about the security features on all current Bank of England banknotes.
ABN AMRO Clearing targets expansion with launch of AMG Global platform March 07, 2014 | BBR http://custodyandclearing.banking-business-review.com/news/abn-amro-clearing-targetsexpansion-with-launch-of-amg-global-platform-070314-4191578 ABN AMRO Clearing has launched a new global execution platform at the FIX EMEA Trading Conference 2014 in London, provides clients with seamless routing capabilities between Asia, US and Europe for equities and futures trading via a single FIX connection. AMG Global (which stands for ABN AMRO Market Gateway Global) provides clients in every region with execution capabilities on ABN AMRO Clearing's trading memberships and access to 22 US equity and derivative exchanges, 16 European equity and derivative exchanges and 3 Asian equity exchanges. Additional trading venues and order types will be added in coming months. The platform provides 'vendor neutral' access, allowing clients to trade on multiple exchanges via a front end system of their choice. Automated tooling for client and vendor software certification is being implemented to ease client onboarding. Orders are routed globally via ABN AMRO Clearing's network with major hubs in London, Frankfurt, New York, Chicago, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney. AMG Global also provides a comprehensive suite of pre-trade risk controls, designed and built by ABN AMRO Clearing to comply with local and regional trading regulations. A dedicated development team worked on the project during a turbulent period, when heightened regulation placed scrutiny on pre-trade risk systems' capabilities. The launch marks a concerted push by ABN AMRO Clearing into global execution as well as prime clearing, to complement its strength in securities clearing, said Marcel Jongmans, CEO of ABN AMRO Clearing: "AMG Global provides a simple, flexible, and powerful infrastructure to support the trading needs of our different client groups. We believe the capabilities of this platform will drive our ambition to become a major force in global execution and prime clearing." Chris Lee, Global Head of Market Access at ABN AMRO Clearing, said: "AMG Global delivers global, multi asset class connectivity and an agnostic approach to front end vendors. A key differentiator is that our trading venue connectivity is backed by ABN AMRO Clearing exchange memberships with the ability to execute trades and also that the platform is multi asset class across equities, derivatives and commodities. This is where many other offerings have failed."
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Part of ABN AMRO Bank, ABN AMRO Clearing is one of the world's leading providers of clearing and financing services for listed derivatives and cash securities, OTC products, warrants, commodities.
Grupo Financiero Banorte to deploy credit360â€™s sustainability software March 05, 2014 | BBR http://www.banking-business-review.com/news/grupo-financiero-banorte-to-deploy-credit360ssustainability-software-4190005 Mexico-based financial institution Grupo Financiero Banorte is to deploy credit360's sustainability software to track and analyze its social, environmental and economic performance. The software will allow Banorte to gather data across all of the subsidiaries of the group and use the information to drive progress on sustainability within its business. Using credit360's sustainability software, Banorte will strengthen its corporate responsibility initiatives and improve its sustainability reporting. Additionally, the software will enable Grupo Financiero Banorte to enhance the monitoring and analysis of their sustainability practices to identify risks and opportunities. Grupo Financiero Banorte, corporate responsibility and sustainability executive director, Mayra Hernandez, said: "We opted for the credit360 sustainability system due to the company's corporate sustainability experience and understanding of the challenges we face, as well as the flexibility of the product and the fact that it's highly user friendly." credit360, managing director, Mark Shields, said: "Investing in our sustainability software solution will help Grupo Financiero Banorte to take its sustainability performance management and reporting activities to the next level and retain its reputation as one of Mexico's most responsible companies."
Bank of Africa automates risk management for all credit products March 03, 2014 | BBR http://riskmanagement.banking-business-review.com/news/bank-of-africa-automates-riskmanagement-for-all-credit-products-030314-4187996 SOFGEN Holdings Limited (SOFGEN) is pleased to announce the completion of the CreditQuest implementation at Bank of Africa subsidiaries in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda. The product, directed at helping financial institutions improve asset quality and reducing compliance risk, is in production in each of the bank's subsidiaries. The project enables Bank of Africa to have a unified view of customer activities, to enforce credit appraisal rules and processes, and to improve credit application turnaround time and monitoring. CreditQuest has permitted the bank to reduce paperwork in its credit process and to minimize manual interventions.
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"We evaluated different options and determined that CreditQuest best meets our requirements," said Kwame Ahadzi, Managing Director, Bank of Africa, Kenya. "CreditQuest offers modules covering our entire portfolio of corporate, SME and retail lending processes. SOFGEN did an excellent job implementing CreditQuest at the bank and integrating it with our core system." CreditQuest has now been successfully installed in over 10 banks in sub-Sahara Africa and in over 200 banks across the world. "Bank of Africa subsidiaries in East Africa are strategic accounts for SOFGEN as we continue our march towards becoming the preferred provider of IT solutions to banks in Africa" observed Tunde Oladele, Chief Executive Officer, SOFGEN Africa. "We intend to deepen our relationship with Bank of Africa to assure that the benefits of the bank's investment in CreditQuest are realized."
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Strategy Barclays plans overhaul of investment banking business March 14, 2014 | BBR http://www.banking-business-review.com/news/barclays-plans-overhaul-of-investment-bankingbusiness-140314 British bank Barclays is planning to launch a comprehensive revamp of its investment banking business, to slash rising operational cost and boost balance sheet. Under the ongoing review plan, the bank is exploring whether to trim down size of the investment banking operation or to divest the unit, which will result in thousands of job cuts. It is believed that the London-based lender will reveal its strategy in the summer of 2014, when the review is expected to complete, reported The Financial Times. The bank will also cut thousands of jobs at the investment bank and transfer its capital to more profitable business areas, including Barclaycard and UK mortgage lending. The restructuring could result in the possible departure of the co-heads of the investment bank, Tom King in the US and Eric Bommensath in Europe. Earlier in February, Barclays was reportedly considering eliminating between 10,000 and 12,000 jobs this year, including 7,000 in the UK, which equates to nearly 9% of its total workforce. Barclays chief executive Antony Jenkins, who took over from Bob Diamond 18 months ago, had said that nearly 220 managing directors and 600 directors would be leaving the bank over the next six months. The bank cut 7,650 roles in 2013 to reduce its annual expenses by approximately $2.8bn by 2015, as part of its restructuring strategy. Several global banks are also decreasing their fixed income operations and allocating capital to equities or advisory units, or into other areas of commercial banking.
OTC Markets Group to establish new community and regional bank marketplace March 10, 2014 | BBR http://ecnandexchanges.banking-business-review.com/news/otc-markets-group-to-establishnew-community-and-regional-bank-marketplace-100314-4192066 OTC Markets Group, an operator of financial marketplaces for 10,000 US and global securities, has unveiled its strategy to establish a new public marketplace designed to fulfill the requirements of community and regional banks.
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Known as OTCQX Banks, the new entity will boost OTCQX marketplace for established US and global companies, while offering SEC- and non-SEC reporting banks with an efficient and informed public market that uses their existing bank regulatory requirements. Scheduled for launch in spring 2014, OTCQX Banks will deliver community and regional banks and their shareholders a cost-effective public market that meets their unique requirements. Features of the new bank comprises enhanced visibility with investors, depositors and the community, transparent disclosure with less complexity, dedicated capital market support, and peer benchmarking. OTC will use its large network of data distributors and media partners, to ensure financials are promptly distributed, readily available, and easily researchable. Using dedicated capital market support at OTCQX Banks, the lenders can now select a principal "Corporate Broker", who will act as their OTCQX advisor, offering access to institutional investors, trading expertise, wealth management and investment banking services. OTC Markets Group vice president and managing director Tim Ryan said with over 600 community and regional banks traded on OTCQB marketplace, the firm recognized the need for a marketplace that better supports these banks' distinct place in the public markets. "The OTCQX Banks qualification process will distinguish shareholder-friendly small banks and provide them enhanced visibility without the cost and complexity of a traditional stock exchange listing," Ryan added.
Morgan Stanley may divest Swiss private bank: Report March 07, 2014 | BBR http://www.banking-business-review.com/news/morgan-stanley-looking-to-divest-swiss-privatebank-report-070314-4191318 US-based global investment bank Morgan Stanley is reportedly planning to offload its private banking business in Switzerland, as part of its strategy to shed non-core operations and improve efficiency. The bank, which has been evaluating and realigning its business strategy to concentrate mainly on wealth management operations, is exploring a number of options, including direct sale of the business, finews.ch reported. The company may announce its plans during the second quarter of 2014. The Swiss banking business had assets worth nearly CHF10bn ($11.3bn) as of 31 December 2013. It has a workforce of approximately 130 staff working across Zurich and Geneva. In March 2013, Morgan Stanley sold out its wealth management unit in Europe, the Middle East and Africa region, with $13bnn in assets to Credit Suisse Group, although; the Swiss private banking business was not the part of that deal. The company had also signed an agreement to sell its Indian wealth management unit to British bank Standard Chartered for an undisclosed amount in May 2013.
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Huntington Bancshares completes acquisition of Camco Financial March 05, 2014 | BBR http://retailbanking.banking-business-review.com/news/huntington-bancshares-completesacquisition-of-camco-financial-050314-4189476 Ohio-based Huntington Bancshares has acquired Camco Financial, which is the parent company of Advantage Bank, in a cash-and-stock deal that was initially valued at about $97m. The merger of Camco is expected to enable Huntington increase regional presence in some of its geographic markets and expand into some new ones. As per the agreement, which was originally announced in October 2013, 20% of tenders were to be accepted for cash, with the remaining targeted for Huntington shares before proration. Additionally, Camco shareholders were given an option to receive 0.7264 shares of Huntington stock, or $6 a share in cash, for each Camco share. Following the completion of the deal, Advantage banking offices were successfully converted to open as Huntington branches. Huntington Bank chairman, president and CEO Stephen D Steinour said, "We are extremely pleased to welcome the more than 55,000 customers of Advantage Bank to Huntington. "With the addition of nine new branches, former Advantage customers and long-time Huntington customers will enjoy more convenience and accessibility from Cambridge to Cincinnati." Camco Financial operated 22 banking offices throughout eastern and southern Ohio with $800m in total assets and $600m in total deposits as of 30 June 2013. Customers of Advantage will now be able to access Huntington's entire 1500-ATM network throughout the Midwest, with no service charge, including more than 700 traditional and in-store branches.
RBS plans merger or sell-off of Ulster Bank: Report March 03, 2014 | BBR http://retailbanking.banking-business-review.com/news/rbs-plans-to-divest-certain-stake-inulster-bank-merger-plans-on-card-report-030314-4187556 Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), the 81% UK government lender, is reportedly planning to merge or divest certain stake of its Irish banking unit, Ulster Bank, to cope with the growing operational costs. The proposed consolidation initiative is expected to enable Ulster Bank to boost its position in the Irish market, as reported by The Sunday Times. The British bank, which recently announced that it will divest nearly 28% stake in motor insurance business Direct Line, failed to find a suitable buyer for Ulster Bank.
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RBS is looking to merge the Irish division with Permanent TSB or the Irish subsidiaries of Danske Banke or KBC, the publication reported. RBS posted a 2013 loss of £8.2bn, with Ulster reporting operating loss of £1.5bn for the year 2013, compared to a loss of £1bn during 2012. According to the plans, RBS is also in talks with private equity firms to support a scheme to merge Ulster with rivals and if the proposal turns into reality, RBS' stake in Ulster will drop to less than 50%. In February 2013, Ulster Bank was reportedly planning to cut approximately 1,000 positions, after completion of the review of all its operations by RBS. Ulster Bank, which serves more than 1.9 million customers in Ireland, was acquired when RBS bought NatWest in 2000.
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