In the old days, banks could work independently of others providing financial services, but not anymore. As the world becomes more interconnected, banks are being drawn into emerging ecosystems comprised of old and new players. Cooperation and integration are the names of the game for both incumbents and newcomers such as fintechs and virtual banks, but putting the blocks in place to build the infrastructure is easier said than done.
Fossil fuels have been the mainstay of energy generation for decades, but the move away from carbon-based, nonrenewable fuels is being driven by concerned citizens and governments, although nations are falling short of targets. There will be winners and losers during the transition to a carbon-neutral world economy, and investment-portfolio managers want to be in the winners’ group. What are the climate-change, carbon-transition risks that portfolio managers need to consider?
Mr. Simon Hughes of International Banker travels to Belgium to interview Mr. Johan Thijs, Chief Executive Officer, KBC Group, on the bank’s ongoing digital transformation, the innovation that drives that transformation and KBC’s wider role in society.
For more than 50 years, Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation has assured Canadian depositors that their bank deposits are safe. Perhaps surprisingly, considering the relative tranquility of Canada’s banks, CDIC has come to the rescue after a number of failures. CDIC’s mandate goes beyond protecting depositors from loss to safeguarding the stability of the financial system as a whole from turbulence. How are changing times affecting that mandate?
Bankers are bullish on digital transformation. According to 2018 research by the Boston Consulting Group, 86% of financial institutions agree that digitization will upend the industry and permanently transform the competitive landscape.
Sovereign wealth funds are state-owned funds used by especially Middle Eastern and Asian governments to support projects they feel will promote domestic growth and welfare; lately, they have been shifting to emerging-technology opportunities. One difference between SWFs and other funds is a willingness to wait to realize long-term returns; technology firms with vast potential to serve private and public interests are proving to be the perfect targets for SWF investment.
Technology has brought us all closer together but at times, makes it more difficult to know exactly with whom we are dealing. Accurate customer identity verification is crucial for financial services, especially when the potential for criminal activities such as money laundering is factored in. Regulators are joining in the challenge by specifying how customers’ identities should be verified online, with the new 5AMLD in Europe lending guidance to banks.
Monaco, the iconic microstate on the French Riviera, is distinguished for its properties, including claiming the world’s densest population per square kilometre, with a large number of residents qualifying as millionaires. Monaco is a beloved destination for the jet-setting elite but also cherished as a place to call home—if one can find an available home to purchase! In our feature, a few residential opportunities for high-income buyers are showcased.
Few have not embraced the Green Agenda, as we all see the potential for renewable energy to transform the fabric of our lives and to hinder potentially devastating climate change. But wanting to do and doing can be two different things, with the availability of financing often being the deciding factor. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development fills the financing gap, with a focus on worthy private-sector green projects.
Just a short time ago, the innovative commercial real-estate company WeWork seemed to have got it just right. Its unique concept involving shared “flexible workspaces, agile services and leading technologies” apparently filled a void in networked office-space management. But its stellar progress came to an abrupt halt with the failure of its much-anticipated IPO. With debts piling up, this American start-up’s future lies in the hands of its Japanese rescuer.