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BNY Mellon unveils new platform for digital asset custody – Industry roundup: 12 October

Vert, a new payments company, launched by Deutsche Bank and Fiserv in Germany

Deutsche Bank and Fiserv have launched Vert, a comprehensive payment acceptance and banking services provider for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Vert is a German provider that combines payment acceptance and processing with traditional banking solutions, satisfying market demand for a unified offering and streamlining access to products for merchants of all sizes. Additionally, merchants can access their funds quickly with Vert’s next-banking-day payments, said reports.

Reports indicate that merchants are looking for easy-to-use, integrated systems that enable them to accept payments as well as transfer and manage funds effectively. With Vert, clients can expect to use an online dashboard with transaction data that includes faster payments and acceptance of common payment types in a secure manner.

Vert's initial offering will consist of the following three options that can be used by a variety of companies, including brick-and-mortar restaurants, mobile food vendors, retail establishments and healthcare facilities:

 • Clover Flex is a mobile-optimised, full-featured, portable payment device that enables merchants to accept a wide range of payments and better manage their business.

• Go by Vert app enables merchants to use their Android smartphone or tablet as a contactless payment terminal. Vert provides a secure PIN entry that allows merchants to accept payments that exceed the contactless-only limits.

• PAX A50 is reportedly a portable and durable card reader that allows merchants to accept card payments at the counter and at the table without the need for a bulky device.

Vert intends to continually expand its product offering, with plans to offer online payment acceptance and currency conversion solutions. Kilian Thalhammer, Head of Merchant Solutions, Deutsche Bank, commented that the collaboration between the two industry leaders in cash management and payment acceptance technology enables Vert to offer both payment solutions and banking services with minimal complexity to SME customers.

Connecting blockchain payment networks via JPMorgan and Visa collaboration

JPMorgan Chase and Visa plan to link their global private blockchain networks, Liink and B2B Connect. Visa B2B Connect will use Liink’s new tool, Confirm, to authenticate new accounts for cross-border payments and to authorize new user accounts.

Reports indicate that Confirm will enable financial institutions to securely verify account information before transmitting a payment. Additionally, the new collaboration is expected to minimize payment returns, which are typically due to missing or incorrect information, as well as prevent fraudulent activity by pre-validating account information.

JPMorgan reportedly introduced Confirm in pilot mode in 2021 and has just registered Deutche Bank as an EMEA founding member for the product. The US bank is now seeking new founding member banks in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, with the goal of expanding its coverage to 35,000 banks and more than two billion accounts, said reports. The service is expected to be available in ten countries by the end of 2022, with a presence in over thirty countries by 2023.

BNY Mellon unveils new platform for digital asset custody

BNY Mellon revealed that its Digital Asset Custody platform is now operational in the United States, enabling clients to hold and transfer Bitcoin and ether.

In 2021, BNY Mellon established an enterprise Digital Assets Unit to create technological solutions for digital assets. The unit plans to introduce the first multi-asset platform to connect digital and traditional asset custody. With a presence in more than 20% of the globe's investable assets, BNY Mellon has the size to reinvent financial markets using blockchain technology and digital assets, according to Robin Vince, CEO and President, BNY Mellon.

High institutional demand for a financially resilient, scalable infrastructure that can support both traditional and digital assets has been revealed by the latest survey underwritten by BNY Mellon. Ninety-one percent of institutional investors have expressed interest in making investments in tokenized products, as stated by the survey. In addition, 41% of institutional investors currently hold cryptocurrency in their portfolios, and another 15% plan to do so in the next two to five years.

Reports indicate that BNY Mellon has been collaborating with fintechs and digital asset tech specialists, Fireblocks and Chainalysis, in efforts to fulfil the current and upcoming security and compliance requirements of clients in the digital asset space.

Delays from BaaS providers increase expenses for fintechs by US $11 million annually

This year’s Sibos event shared that approximately half of the fintech sector loses US $11 million per year due to product delays brought on by banking-as-a-service (BaaS) providers, according to research from ClearBank and Aite-Novarica Group, a report comprised of twenty UK- and Europe-based fintech firms with $25 million in annual revenue. The survey ran from June through September 2022.

Reports indicate that BaaS is currently utilized by 82% of fintech firms, with BaaS-related services accounting for 45% of total revenue. Based on the report, Confusion, Cost, and Compliance: The Bifurcation of BaaS and Embedding Banking, fintech companies are particularly dependent on their BaaS providers to accelerate time to market, increase revenue and fulfil compliance requirements. However, BaaS providers are reportedly finding it difficult to maintain the pace with companies rapidly expanding their product offerings, resulting in revenue losses, increasing costs and regulatory intervention.

The report focuses mainly on the transformation from BaaS to embedded banking, as embedded banking reportedly increases complexity. Fintech companies take regulatory compliance and risk into account as well, which is typically the responsibility of banks, in order to meet end users requesting transparency, according to Enrico Camerinelli, Strategic Advisor, Aite-Novarica Group

Regions Bank introduces a real-time payment solution for corporate clients

US-based Regions Bank launched a digital solution through its iTreasury platform that will reportedly enable corporate banking clients to send real-time payments through The Clearing House's RTP network. Clients will be able to spend more time managing their core business functions effectively due to the ability to send and settle digital payments in just a few seconds, commented Bryan Ford, Head of Treasury Management, Regions Bank.

Corporate clients can expect to receive payments in real time as well as process digital payments, such as payroll, insurance, B2B, trade commissions and other disbursements, instantly via iTreasury’s secure centralized application, said reports. Beyond payments, the platform will include modernized file delivery methods and secure API connections.

The upcoming rollout of Regions’ CashFlowIQSM, which is expected to launch in 2023, will be another enhancement intended to improve clients' cash flow by providing efficient accounts payable, accounts receivable, invoicing and business bill payment capabilities for small and mid-sized businesses. 

Thoma Bravo to privatize software company ForgeRock in a US $2.3 billion transaction

ForgeRock, a recent publicly traded digital identity management firm, will reportedly be acquired by US-based private equity and capital firm, Thoma Bravo, in an all-cash deal valued at approximately US $2.3 billion. The acquisition is expected to close during the first half of 2023. Reports indicate that takeover activity by private equity buyers has increased as public tech company valuations have fallen, with relatively broad equities selloffs caused by high inflation and tightening monetary policy.

ForgeRock shareholders can reportedly expect to receive $23.25 per share, representing a premium of approximately 53.4% over the stock's last closing price. ForgeRock has fallen more than 43% this year, currently selling below its initial public offering price of $25 per share.

ForgeRock, based in San Francisco, offers identity and access management solutions for businesses, consumers and internet-of-things devices, said reports. Demand for digital security solutions has reportedly increased as a result of the distributed workforce and an increase in cyberattacks on businesses during the pandemic. This has fuelled expansion for businesses like ForgeRock that provide tools and software to counter these types of threats, said reports.

Reports show that ForgeRock had raised over $230 million in growth capital from investors, including Accel, KKR & Co, and Riverwood Capital, before going public in 2021.

HSBC introduces a capability for financing digital receivables, closing the funding gap

HSBC has launched a digital receivables finance (RF) technology platform to simplify and accelerate the authorization process from months to less than 48 hours, further assisting businesses in securing working capital funds with speed and security, said reports. With a few clicks, customers can reportedly transfer data directly via an API from their accounting software package or upload their data via a user interface.

The digital RF solution, developed on the Trade Ledger platform, uses a rule-based decisioning algorithm to automatically generate a survey and risk report which is submitted to underwriters within hours of the application. The client is advised on the status of their application as well as a final decision/offer within two days. Vinay Mendonca, Chief Growth Officer, Global Trade and Receivables, HSBC, stated that 88% of trade finance transactions now originate online, signalling an unprecedented shift to digital over the past three years.

Digital RF is said to use enterprise-grade technology to enhance service quality, closing the financing gaps for businesses worldwide, stated Martin McCann, CEO, Trade Ledger. The digital RF application process is currently available in eight countries and territories, including the United Kingdom, Hong Kong, the United States and India, with plans to add three more countries by the end of 2022.

BNP Paribas to acquire Kantox, a currency risk management company

BNP Paribas has agreed to acquire Kantox, a currency risk management automation firm. Financial details were not disclosed. According to reports, Kantox provides corporations with an all-in-one, API-driven, plug-and-play solution for establishing hedging strategies.

Since 2019, BNP Paribas has reportedly been providing clients with hedging technology. Kantox software will reportedly be promoted to large corporations as well as SME and mid-cap clients by two of the bank's divisions, Corporate & Institutional Banking and Commercial, Personal and Banking Services.

Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity expands further into Europe to include France and Sweden

Ripple, an enterprise blockchain and crypto solution provider, has partnered with Lemonway, a Paris-based payment provider for online marketplaces, to launch its first On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) customer in France. Lemonway will reportedly be able to improve its treasury payment procedures by utilizing RippleNet's ODL, which uses XRP for crypto-enabled payments. The partnership provides Lemonway with increased operational efficiencies by avoiding the requirement to pre-fund accounts overseas. This allows them to use the pre-funded capital that was previously locked to expand and scale their business.

Additionally, Ripple has also disclosed a second ODL customer in Sweden. Xbaht, a Swedish money transfer company, facilitates money transfers between Sweden and Thailand. With its new partnership with Ripple, Xbaht can expect to offer immediate and cost-effective retail remittances via ODL, which will reportedly be supported by Tranglo, a Singapore-based cross-border payment hub.

With RippleNet’s support, businesses and consumers in France and Sweden can expect to initiate cross-border real-time payments more easily. Reports indicate that Ripple's products continue to be in high demand in Europe. As per Ripple's New Value research, 70% of survey participants from European financial institutions state that blockchain will have a substantial impact on their companies within the next five years, while 59% say they are interested in using blockchain for payments. Ripple's ODL currently supports payments in twenty-five countries, including Singapore, Malaysia, Poland, Indonesia and Thailand.

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