A brief look back at week 33
Interesting to see that The University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business convened a workshop on the latest developments and future prospects from the convergence of banking and financial technology.
Co-sponsors were the Institute for Outlier Research in Business, Lexant Advisors and Berkeley Research Group.
"This revolutionary event brought together bankers, academic researchers, and leaders at pioneering fintech companies to collaborate and address some of the most challenging business and big data issues facing our rapidly evolving sector," said Gerard Hoberg, Professor of Finance and Business Economics at USC Marshall.
KY Cheng, Chairman of Lexant Advisors and a retired banker, addressed the opportunities and challenges confronting the 5,500 community banks and the fintech marketplace. He said he saw a symbiotic relationship between the two, but both need to reconcile their unique business cultures to make it a win-win situation.
Over in Bangkok and 2C2P launched "easy2send." This is a cross-border money transfer service which works with both local and international partners. It helps facilitate cross-border transactions from Thailand to any countries and vice versa.
Piyachart Ratanaprasartporn, CEO of 2C2P (Thailand), said: "Thailand is home to more than 2.1 million foreign workers and over 90% of them are Myanmar, Lao and Cambodian nationals. The number of expats in Thailand has also jumped significantly from the previous year with Japanese expats constituting the biggest increase of 4% from the previous year. The number of Chinese expats ranked second while the number of British and French expats are ranked 5th and 8th, with an increase of 23% and 17% respectively.”
In Brazil we heard that a fintech had raised funds ten times greater than its first debenture issuance in less than ten months. REBEL, an online personal loan platform, announced its second public offering of regular debentures. The Brazilian startup raised R$167m via securitization of financial loans, ten times greater than the R$16.6m it raised in 2018. Issued by the securitizer VERT Capital, the papers were purchased by XP Asset Management, Franklin Templeton and others.
We also read a Dun & Bradstreet study on automation transformation in finance. The headline take-out was that reliable data was identified as a top need for successful finance automation.
The study found that while 87% of respondents believe automation will improve the respective function's efficiency in the next three years, most organizations are not leveraging automation to their fullest potential yet.
"Dependable and comprehensive data is at the core of successful automation," said Andrew Hausman, General Manager of Dun & Bradstreet's Finance Solutions. "When fueled by analytics and insight, automation can not only reduce operational costs and increase efficiency, but it can help open new avenues of growth across the business."
Towards the end of the week we heard from NJF Capital which said that Europe's tech ecosystem is becoming a worthy rival to the US. This is down to a recent boom in tech and start-up entrepreneurship.
The point was made that people often think of unicorn companies as a Silicon Valley phenomenon, but in 2018 alone, 17 European companies achieved unicorn status, six of which were in the UK.
"This is incredibly exciting for European investors," said NJF Capital founder Nicole Junkermann. "Europe's tech ecosystem is now firmly established and can only continue to grow and evolve from here on in."