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Industry roundup: 1 May

Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas pick up ESG plaudits

Deutsche Bank’s Italian Investment Advisory team has won the first prize for financial innovation with their Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) investment solutions at the “Financial Innovation - Italian Awards”. Part of PCB Italy, the team won the “Wealth Management Products and Services” category in the annual awards arranged by AIFIn, a financial innovation think tank, and MarketLab, a financial marketing and research institute.

Although the focus on sustainable investments has grown in recent years, it has remained a challenge to bring effective and comprehensive ESG solutions to private clients. The team is leading the way in Italy by providing a model portfolio that takes advantage of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management’s Chief Information Office’s strategic allocation approach - and matching it with a selection of active and passive ESG-focused investment strategies. By complementing the model portfolio with strategies and products from Deutsche Bank and external asset managers, the team can offer a more flexible and personalised approach which makes the solution better suited to private clients.

Meanwhile, BNP Paribas has been recognised as number one European bank on the management of climate-related risks and opportunities. UK NGO ShareAction released the results of its 2020 “Banking on a Low-Carbon Future” study, analysing how the 20 largest European banks are managing the risks and opportunities related to climate change. It is the second edition of this study, whose first release in 2017 also ranked BNP Paribas as the top performer. 

With the 2020 findings, ShareAction also provided a benchmark of European banks, which contains information for policymakers, retail customers and investors. BNP Paribas earned the highest overall score in this benchmark, with a score of 63.2% against an average of 39.9% for all banks studied. The Group notably obtains excellent results in two areas: its engagement and collaboration with stakeholders on climate-related issues, and the inclusion of climate-related issues within its governance and strategy.


MoneyMatch and Ripple provide global payments for Malaysian SMEs

MoneyMatch is a cross-border transfer service that helps small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia pay their global suppliers. As the country’s traditional financial institutions were charging high FX rates on the smaller volume transactions typically requested by SMEs and individuals, MoneyMatch partnered with Ripple to offer cheaper and faster payments to more than 120 countries around the world.

With everyone plugged into the same network, the company has been able to cut integration and operational costs, allowing it to provide a faster and more affordable service to customers. RippleNet partnerships also helped MoneyMatch offer same-day settlement times.


Italian Digital Sureties project attracts over 30 organisations

More than thirty organisations in the insurance, banking and finance, public and business sectors, as well as associations and institutions, including Guardia di Finanza (the Italian finance police), are participating in the national “Fideiussioni Digitali” (Digital Sureties) project promoted by CeTIF, SIA and Reply, in collaboration with the Bank of Italy and IVASS, to digitise the management of sureties using blockchain technology.

Organisations taking part in the project include Acquedotto Pugliese, ANCE Lombardia, ANCI Digitale, ANCI Lombardia, AON, ASMEL, Assolombarda, Banca Mediolanum, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banca Popolare di Puglia e Basilicata, Banca Popolare di Sondrio, Banco BPM, Cattolica Assicurazioni, CEDACRI, Bari Municipality, Milan Municipality, Confindustria Digitale, CONSIP, HERA, ICCREA Banca, InfoCamere, Innolva, Intesa Sanpaolo, Poste Italiane, Reale Group, ARIA - Regione Lombardia, Sicily Region, Roma Capitale (Rome Municipality), Terna, and VIVIgas energia.

The experimentation has officially started and is currently in the solution design phase from a functional, legal and technological point of view. Between July and October 2020, at the end of the development phase, the blockchain platform will be tested by uploading and managing real and legally valid sureties. When fully operational, the platform is designed to provide guarantors and beneficiaries with greater efficiency, transparency and information certainty throughout the entire surety management process, with the primary objective of reducing potential fraud. The project is being developed within a sandbox under the supervision of a scientific committee composed of the Bank of Italy, IVASS, Guardia di Finanza, CeTIF, SIA, Reply and other participants in the initiative.


ING Ventures invests in TransFICC

ING has invested in TransFICC, an eTrading technology company. ING says the investment allows it to remain at the forefront of electronic fixed income trading while gathering intelligence and knowledge in this area.

London-based TransFICC enables financial institutions to access eTrading venues, while streamlining technology requirements and reducing operational costs. Its ‘One API for eTrading’ platform provides connectivity to multiple trading venues while supporting a variety of workflows across asset classes such as rates and credit bonds, and interest rate swaps. The investment was part of a Series A funding round involving Albion Venture Capital and HSBC.


Santander completes Ebury investment

Banco Santander announced the completion of its purchase of a c.50.1% stake in Ebury, an international payment, FX and international cash management platforms for SMEs, after obtaining all regulatory approvals from the required authorities. This transaction was announced in November 2019 and is part of the bank’s digital strategy, providing SMEs with the necessary tools for their international expansion through global trade finance services. 

Ebury already has operations in 17 countries and 140 currencies, and has increased its revenues by an average of 50% per year over the past three years. With the support of an international group such as Santander, the company will be able to expand its business to other markets in Latin America and Asia. Ebury maintains its headquarters in the UK, from where it operates a global distribution platform supported by a data-based business model.

Santander invested in the region of £350m (around €400m) in the deal. Of this amount, £70m was used to bolster the company’s resources to underpin its international expansion. The agreement provides Ebury with access to Santander’s international network. The bank already supports more than four million SMEs worldwide, of which over 200,000 operate internationally. The bank can also offer support to Ebury’s existing customer base, which includes SMEs and companies, and agreements with financial and other industry partners.


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