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China is launching a new financial regulator – Industry roundup: 8 March

IDC projects global spending on AI-centric systems to reach US $154 billion in 2023

Global spending on artificial intelligence (AI), including software, hardware and services for AI-centric systems, is expected to reach US $154 billion in 2023, up 26.9% from the amount spent in 2022, stated forecast reports from the International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Artificial Intelligence Spending Guide. Furthermore, spending on AI-centric systems is expected to exceed $300 billion in 2026 as a result of the continued integration of AI into a wide range of services, which is expected to yield a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.0% for the projection period of 2022–2026, said reports.

Companies of all sizes that implement AI too cautiously are said to risk lagging behind their competitors significantly. Mike Glennon, Senior Market Research Analyst, IDC, commented that AI is best suited for supplementing human skills, streamlining routine processes, offering customizable solutions and executing data-driven decisions quickly and accurately.

Forecasts indicate that banking and retail will become the two major sectors to invest the most in AI in 2023. Geographically, the US is forecasted to represent more than 50% of all AI spending globally, making it the largest market for AI-centric solutions, said reports.

Kyriba unveils its upcoming event to collaborate with treasury and finance teams

Kyriba, a global cloud-based finance and IT provider, has announced its 12th annual conference, KyribaLive 2023, to be held in Phoenix on April 10-12th, as part of its global series of KyribaLive events held all over the world. The three-day in-person event aims to bring treasury and finance professionals together to network, demonstrate innovative technologies, and speed up the adoption of new financial practices. Additionally, the event is expected to offer a schedule of over thirty presentations delivering client case studies, industry thought leadership and technology practices.

Highlights of the conference include:

• Industry leading practices and thought leadership from Platinum Sponsors Clearsulting, Deloitte, RSM, Elire, ICD and Nitor. Strategic Treasurer (which owns CTMfile), a Silver Sponsor of the event, will be exhibiting at the conference, and Craig Jeffery, Managing Partner of Strategic Treasurer, will speak in a session exploring how automation can make a more efficient treasury department and increase staff retention.

• More than 30 roundtable discussions and presentations covering subjects such as data analytics, liquidity planning, risk management, API integration and payments fraud.

• Acknowledgement of exceptional achievement in ten prize categories, including treasury transformation, productivity, FX optimization, payments innovation, working capital optimization and/or implementation.

Lenders have until December to strengthen their risk data, per the Bank of England

The Bank of England is reportedly assessing whether to impose stringent disclosure requirements on banks by end of 2023 following the near-collapse of pension funds last September, which underscored vulnerabilities in measuring risks. Reports indicate that banks were exposed to liability-driven investment (LDI) funds, which are reportedly used by pension programs to ensure pensioner pay-outs.

Following the announcement by former Prime Minister Liz Truss pertaining to unfunded tax cuts, the prices of the UK government bonds reportedly fell, making it difficult for them to meet collateral demands. Victoria Saporta, Executive Director, BoE, claimed that banks were unaware of the extent of their exposures to counterparties in pension funds, adding that there was no active counterparty risk management.

Although bank stability was reportedly unaffected, the BoE had to purchase UK government bonds to help stabilize the market and relieve pressure on LDI funds and pension plans. The BoE's supervisors now intend to focus on making sure banks can accurately quantify their exposures, stated Saporta. However, the BoE intends to exert more pressure and raise the standards if shortcomings are uncovered by the end of 2023. Furthermore, in order to prepare for any decline in bond prices, regulators have reportedly compelled LDI funds to retain greater liquidity.

Later this month, the Financial Policy Committee of the BoE is expected to lay out a stricter framework for long-term regulation of LDI funds. Additionally, since the funds are reportedly listed in locations throughout the European Union, including Dublin and Luxembourg, effective action may also be required on a global scale.

China to launch a new financial regulator as part of its restructuring initiatives

China plans to establish a new financial watchdog to take the place of its banking and insurance regulators in efforts to revamp its state institutions, following concerns about the country's deteriorating real estate market. The State Council, which is the highest government body, intends to have direct control over the new structure, which has yet to be named, and aims to bring supervision and governance of China's financial system.

The National People's Congress is expected to vote on the new financial regulator this week during its annual parliamentary session, with aims to centralize the management of China's US $60 trillion banking industry. Beijing states they intend to prioritize stability and reduce economic risk, predominantly in the real estate industry, which dropped 5% last year when the government’s restrictions on lending caused developers to halt construction on millions of housing units.

Property developers' issuance of bonds, which were then packaged and marketed to financial institutions and investors as asset-backed securities by local governments, reportedly contributed to the real estate crisis last year. Iris Pang, Chief Economist for greater China, ING, stated that these risks spread from the real estate industry into the financial sector. However, Pang expects that the new comprehensive financial watchdog will identify this type of risk sooner than in 2022. In addition, the new structure aims to handle emerging financial trends, including cryptocurrency.

The proposal also calls for the establishment of a brand-new centralized data bureau, a restructuring of the ministry of science and technology, and a 5% reduction in the number of positions in central government agencies, said reports.

Thailand approves tax exemptions for businesses that issue investment tokens

The government of Thailand has reportedly approved a change to exempt businesses that offer digital tokens for investment from corporate income tax and value-added tax. Reports indicate that businesses could have access to investment tokens as an alternative to more conventional methods such as debentures for acquiring funds.

The government anticipates that investment token transactions will reportedly total 128 billion baht ($3.71 billion), and that, as a result, it may lose 35 billion baht in tax revenue.

When the Securities Exchange Commission of Thailand commenced regulating digital assets, cryptocurrencies reportedly became more widely accepted in Thailand. In order to foster the growth of the industry, the government reportedly loosened tax regulations for crypto trading in 2022. Nevertheless, the use of digital assets as a form of payment has reportedly been outlawed by the nation's central bank and other regulators, who claim that it could harm the economy and financial stability of the nation.

Airwallex acquires technology firm and obtains a license for online payments in China

Airwallex, a global payments and financial platform, has reportedly acquired a full share in Guangzhou Shang Wu Tong Network Technology Co., Ltd., a provider of information and online payment services, and has obtained a payment business license in China. A license for online payment services is reportedly also held by Guangzhou Shang Wu Tong Network Technologies. Kai Wu, General Manager of the APAC region and Chief Revenue Officer, Airwallex, commented that the acquisition and licensing will reportedly provide entrepreneurs and enterprises with advanced technology as well as the ability to expand globally.

Reports indicate that Airwallex, which serves over 150 countries and processes $50 billion in transactions each year, currently has licenses in major markets around the world, including Australia, the European Union, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, the UK and the US.

The company’s team, which reportedly helps companies manage payments, treasury, card expenditures and embedded finance, aims to focus on integrating its platform to more effectively address the problems with cross-border transactions between China and the rest of the world, as well as supporting the introduction of goods and services in China for companies of all sizes as part of their global expansion strategy.

AI-based cash collection SaaS from Growfin expands to the US and Asia, securing US $7.5 million in a Series A round

Growfin, a fintech business with offices in Singapore and the US that offers SaaS solutions to help finance departments track and collect payments and manage their accounts receivable process, has raised a US $7.5 million Series A round of funding, which was led by Singapore-based SWC Global.

The business intends to use the funds to increase its operations in the US and Asia regions and to develop and expand its AI-based platform technology. Additionally, the company plans to create a forecasting tool that reportedly makes predictions about trends based on prior payment patterns and current receivables data obtained via Growfin’s platform. Furthermore, Growfin claims that its most recent round of funding was made possible by an 8x increase in customer numbers over the previous year, during which time it has assisted clients in collecting more than $1 billion in accounts receivable.

The company reportedly created a financial customer relationship management (CRM) solution, rather than AR automation software, in order to provide real-time visibility to sales, collaborative capabilities and customer successes in one location, while automating finance accounts receivable procedures. Growfin's main customers are in the B2B tech space, specifically in the SaaS, adtech, logistics and edtech sectors. Reports indicate that despite the rise of ERPs and CRMs, such as Salesforce and Netsuite, 90% of finance teams still conduct their AR operations outside of these technologies, generally using spreadsheets or internal databases.

Tuck Lye Koh, founding partner of SWC Global, stated that Growfin's AI-powered solution is ready to revolutionize the way businesses collect their invoice payments. With more than 100k customers worldwide, finance teams will reportedly be able to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their financial position with real-time cash-flow efficiency and forecasting.

The London Stock Exchange Group employs Mastercard’s open banking technology

The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has joined forces with Mastercard to utilize the payment giant’s open banking solutions in order to provide its clients with account verification services in a secure manner. LSEG intends to implement Nacha-compliant account verification solutions using Mastercard’s open banking platform.

The exchange aims to simplify onboarding, lower the risk of fraud such as digital identity fraud, and support compliance. Additionally, clients will reportedly have access to consumer-permissioned data to confirm the owner of a bank account, the balance of an income account, and transaction data.

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