48% of Singapore firms want better fintech solutions to solve business concerns
Nearly half (48%) of businesses in Singapore identify better fintech solutions as the paramount factor in addressing their most pressing business concerns. This is according to a report by Rapyd, titled ‘2023 State of B2B Cross-Border Payments in Singapore’. The study looked into the payment preferences and obstacles of 100 B2B businesses in Singapore. The Singapore report is part of a larger global research study by the fintech, which gathered insights from 715 business proprietors and payment decision-makers across key markets, including Brazil, Canada, Germany, Mexico, Singapore, the UK, and the US.
The 48% response surpasses any other category in Singapore and demonstrates that B2B businesses in the country prioritise fintechs as a way to solve business problems - more than their counterparts in any other country surveyed.
The Rapyd report states that, despite Singapore being one of the world’s most advanced payment markets, many B2B businesses have yet to adopt digital payments. This presents a valuable opportunity for these enterprises to collaborate with innovative fintech firms and embrace modern payment solutions to harness the full benefits of real-time payment networks and streamline payment processes to enhance their operational efficiency.
Payment delays emerged as a substantial operational hurdle experienced by businesses throughout the markets surveyed. Among the seven markets, Germany and Singapore reported the greatest payment delay. Singapore businesses reported a 2 to 10 days delay, and in many cases, even more than 10 days delay in sending or receiving payments.
The report noted that the delays could be attributed to the fact that a significant portion of Singapore enterprises still lean on traditional wire and bank transfers for making and receiving payments. Many businesses have deep-rooted relationships with traditional banking methods and, as a result, gravitate toward these long-standing practices. The resulting delays add complexities to cross-border business operations, impacting cash flow, supplier relationships, and overall business efficiency. Such delays underscore the critical need for efficient and reliable payment solutions to facilitate seamless cross-border transactions.
Further, the research also highlighted that 43% of B2B companies in Singapore incur cross-border fees ranging from US$10 to US$25 per transaction. This rate is above the average observed across the surveyed markets, where approximately 36% of businesses face cross-border transaction fees within the same US$10 to US$25 range.
US headline inflation sticks, slight decrease in core
US headline consumer prices inflation (CPI) was recorded at an annual 3.7% for September, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, compared to consensus expectations for 3.6%. That means there was no change from the rate of 3.7% in August. In monthly terms, CPI rose 0.4%, beating consensus of 0.3%, compared to a gain of 0.6% in August.
September annual core inflation (which excludes food and energy) rose 4.1% in line with consensus, versus 4.3% in August. In monthly terms, core CPI rose 0.3%, again in line with consensus and matching the gain of 0.3% in August.
“The ongoing slowdown in core inflation could go some way to counteracting the blow-out jobs report last week if the FOMC is to keep interest rates on hold when it next meets on 1 November,” commented Daniel Casali, Chief Investment Strategist at wealth manager Evelyn Partners. “Moreover, policymakers are likely to place importance on the recent sharp rise in long-term government yields, which reduces the need for the Fed to tighten further, as the markets have effectively done their job for them. The FOMC will also be aware of the impact on growth from strikes in the auto sector and a potential US government shutdown from mid-November.
“Regardless of whether the FOMC raises interest rates in November or not, the Fed is likely coming to the end of its interest rate hiking cycle,” Casali added. “This reduces the risk that the FOMC overtightens on interest rates to creates downward pressure to the economy and financial markets.
“While it is tricky for investors to balance the impact of interest rates and economic growth on markets, the upside case for equities is that the US economy avoids a severe economic hard landing. The downside case for investors is that a rapid rise seen in interest rates could overwhelm consumers and businesses so that spending grinds to a halt. This downside scenario appears less likely, as the consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg, expect 1.0% real GDP growth in 2024, after a 2.1% expansion in 2023.”
Earlier in the week, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the Producer Price Index (PPI) for final demand increased 0.5% in September, seasonally adjusted, suggesting the protracted nature of the fight against inflation. Final demand prices rose 0.7% in August and 0.6% in July. On an unadjusted basis, the index for final demand advanced 2.2% for the 12 months ended in September, the largest increase since moving up 2.3% for the 12 months ended in April.
Leading the increase in the final demand index in September, prices for final demand goods rose 0.9%. The index for final demand services advanced 0.3%. Prices for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services increased 0.2% in September, the fourth consecutive advance. For the 12 months ended in September, the index for final demand less foods, energy, and trade services moved up 2.8%.
Thomson Reuters unveils e-invoicing solution for multinational corporates
Thomson Reuters has launched ONESOURCE E-Invoicing, a centralised platform designed for multinational businesses who are being mandated to comply with e-invoicing regulations around the world.
The solution gives customers a single access point to manage e-invoicing compliance. It offers pre-built integrations connecting financial systems, including common enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Additionally, a collaboration with Pagero supports customers in achieving e-invoicing compliance with minimal cost and effort, a statement said.
Today, more than 80 countries have mandated e-invoicing or continuous transaction control requirements, and this figure could potentially surge by 2025 as governments prioritize tax reform and real-time reporting.
“We’re seeing an abundance of tax reforms and greater sophistication of tax authorities worldwide, and for tax departments in multinational corporations this requires a step change in how they keep pace with new rules and regulations to mitigate risks for their business,” said Ray Grove, Head of Product, Transactional Compliance, Thomson Reuters. “Compliance with e-invoicing mandates is accelerating as a key priority, and historically it has not been an easy task, with regulations varying significantly across regions.”
Deutsche Bank invests in AI startup
Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) group has invested in Kodex AI, a Berlin-based startup developing an AI-powered solution tailored to the specific needs of the financial industry.
The investment follows a collaboration which started earlier this year as part of the bank’s Entrepreneur in Residence programme, which invites talented entrepreneurs to partner with the bank to validate, develop and scale their ideas. Over the past months, Kodex AI’s co-founders Thomas Kaiser and Claus Lang have worked with the bank’s teams on a large language model (LLM) based specialised AI-solution that can be used to extract and analyse data from financial documents.
The model was specifically trained for the financial industry in order to precisely understand complex technical terminology and contexts. This allows for deeper and more accurate analysis of financial documents compared to general AI models. Unlike traditional solutions that are limited to text, the solution can also interpret visual elements such as tables.
One use case currently being piloted within Deutsche Bank focuses on non-financial risk. Kodex AI’s solution here is an intelligent and user-friendly chatbot that can help employees get quick answers to policy-related questions and navigate through the high volume of complex documents.
Orum builds instant account verification on top of FedNow
Orum has launched Verify, which it says is the first ever product built on top of FedNow, the Federal Reserve’s new instant payment rail. The patented technology determines within 15 seconds whether a bank account is open and valid before initiating payments.
With 100% coverage of all US-based consumer and business bank accounts, the tool is designed to make it easy for businesses to authenticate any type of bank account.
With the recent launch of FedNow, there has been a lot of discussion about its potential impact on the broader fintech ecosystem. Orum says Verify is the first example of the next generation of innovation built on top of FedNow – in this case replacing the slow and unreliable ways businesses have traditionally verified bank accounts.
“Failed payments cost the global economy over US$100bn each year,” said Stephany Kirkpatrick, founder and CEO of Orum. “Lost time verifying accounts equals lost revenue and ultimately lost customers. This is especially true for business bank accounts, which are notoriously difficult to verify. Businesses need confidence they are debiting or crediting a real account to ensure the payment lands safely in the bank account, but most solutions today are slow or don’t include coverage for all B2B use cases.”
Citi agented syndicated loans launch on Versana
Versana has announced that founding investor Citi is now connected to its transformative digital data platform, enabling syndicated loans agented by Citi to be available to its growing subscriber base in real-time.
Citi joins Versana’s other three founding investors – Bank of America, Credit Suisse and J.P. Morgan – in centralising global reference, historical transaction, position and floating-rate contract details for the US$7 trillion syndicated loan and private credit markets.
Thousands of additional facilities are expected to be available on the platform in the coming months as Versana continues to scale and onboard three additional agent banks – Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo – all of which invested in Versana earlier this year.
Payments Innovation Alliance releases tabletop exercise to help SMEs prepare for cyberattacks
Nacha’s Payments Innovation Alliance, a membership programme bringing together diverse global stakeholders, has released a tabletop exercise to help small to medium-sized businesses prepare for a cyberattack. The exercise is being offered as part of the Alliance’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month activities.
Developed by the Alliance’s Cybersecurity Response Project Team, the objectives of the tabletop exercise are to increase organisational preparedness, response, and recovery efforts related to cyberattacks; advance the understanding of management and key internal and external stakeholders; provide actionable approaches for leadership to direct and bolster the organisation’s resilience and identify enhancements requiring attention from company leadership. The exercise also establishes a framework for compliance by fostering an understanding of the laws, regulations and rules that apply, making it easier for participating companies to implement programs that can address their obligations.
The kit includes the Tabletop Exercise Leader’s Guide for facilitators, which covers planning, conducting and evaluating the exercise and responses and provides a framework that can be adaptable to a variety of cybersecurity threats. It also includes a Cybersecurity Scenario, containing a set of facts for the exercise, which can be customised by the company as appropriate, a Discussion Points Workbook for facilitators and a Participant Workbook for capturing notes during the exercise.
“One of the first possible steps for a business to address cybersecurity resilience is to conduct a role-playing activity in which participants respond to scenarios presented in a way that educates the participants on how to respond to a cyberattack and informs the company on areas where its cybersecurity response plan can be enhanced,” said Jennifer West, AAP, APRP, Nacha’s Senior Director, Payments Innovation Alliance, Education & Accreditation. “A scenario can be used to gauge an organisation's readiness, uncover opportunities for remediating issues and create an action plan while there is not a real, immediate cybersecurity threat.”
Hapag-Lloyd tops European ‘profit per employee’ list
Hapag-Lloyd has the biggest profit per employee in Europe, according to research in partnership with global fintech group Plus500. The exercise compared the top 100 companies in Europe by market cap, looking at profit in 2022 and dividing by the number of employees that work within the company. This gave the amount of profit the company makes per every employee working there.
Hapag-Lloyd is a German international shipping and container transportation company. With over 250 vessels, Hapag Lloyd employs 12,499 land staff and 1,609 sea staff. In 2022, Hapag-Lloyd recorded profits of over £14bn – a powerful financial performance, and almost £6bn more than 2021. This means that the company earned £1,058,898.94 per employee, almost triple that of Shell in second place.
Shell doubled its 2021 profits, making £31bn in 2022 and has over 86,000 employees worldwide, which means per employee the company makes £365,041 of profit per employee.
In third is another British multinational oil and gas company, BP. Profiting £22bn in 2022, like Shell, BP’s profits also doubled from 2021. BP does have slightly fewer employees than Shell, with 67,000 worldwide. This means per each employee, BP made £325,081.
Italian oil company ENI came in fourth with profit per employee of £324,293. The rest of the top 10 is comprised of Rio Tinto (profit per employee of £299,581), Maersk (£233,162), Ferrari (£227,364), Ørsted (£216,150), Hermes (£197,722) and British American Tobacco (£162,120).
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