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Industry roundup: 25 June

SIA and Quant Network successfully test blockchain interoperability

Quant Network, an enterprise blockchain technology firm, and payments infrastructure company SIA have successfully tested cross blockchain interoperability between multiple distributed ledger technology (DLT) protocols.

The breakthrough was achieved by integrating Quant Network’s Overledger technology (a DLT operating system that allows interoperability) into the SIAchain private blockchain infrastructure leveraging on 580 European network nodes within SIAnet (the fibre optic network with high-speed and low-latency stretching over 208,000 kilometres).

This integration provides the ability to bridge permissioned blockchain instances between SIAchain and other external networks - which could not be previously connected - in order to have cross-platform applications and services covering for example notarisation, payments and KYC.

The development of the solution began in mid-2019 and a full program of testing has been executed on SIAchain, R3 Corda and private Ethereum platforms. Quant Network and SIA will now work together to go to the market developing and implementing further innovative use cases and applications addressing blockchain interoperability challenges.

 

UK businesses owed £133bn since lockdown

UK businesses are returning to work this month with some trepidation, according to data from fintech business lender MarketFinance. Nine in ten businesses are waiting to be paid an average of £148,917 for work done pre-lockdown, half of those that applied for CBILS loans have been declined and cash flow will be strained as invoices take longer to be settled. Some 85% of business owners have felt a sense of loss of control over the past three months.

With £148,917 still owed to them since March 2020, the vast majority of businesses (81%) are also expecting to wait longer to be paid for the goods they provide and work they do from now on. Half anticipate waiting anywhere between 14-30 days beyond normal terms (45 days). While 15% reported they could be waiting anywhere between 3-6 months longer to be paid for work.

Only 43% of businesses that applied for a CBILS loan were successful in securing it. The typical loan taken by these businesses was £211,667, though they applied for almost double this amount.

Most businesses (45%) anticipate only returning up to half of their furloughed staff to work in July and a quarter are likely to be kept on furlough as part of the extended scheme as the economic picture and business climate plays out. The future remains less certain for the remaining quarter of furloughed staff, who could well be made redundant.

Having faced a number of external shocks as a result of the pandemic, 85% of business owners have felt out of control in their business over the past three months. Given the impact of COVID-19, the lockdown, recession fears and a no-deal Brexit, 60% of business owners feel exposed to conditions beyond their control.

 

Aviva selects Fenergo for KYC, AML and due diligence processes

Fenergo, a provider of client lifecycle management (CLM) solutions for financial institutions has been selected by Aviva, to replace know your customer (KYC), customer due diligence (CDD) and anti-money laundering (AML) systems and services. Fenergo will work initially with Aviva Investors and later with Aviva UK Insurance, to onboard all legal entities associated with investors and clients across all jurisdictions, transforming the investor and client onboarding experience.

Aviva selected Fenergo to deliver an end-to-end solution to streamline the management of multi-jurisdictional KYC, CDD, and AML regulatory processes, while improving the customer journey and driving efficiencies by replacing manual processes. Fenergo will enable Aviva Investors to achieve a single client view through a central data repository which will also serve as a golden source for all KYC data. The centralisation of data will reduce the number of information outreach requests to new and existing customers and will allow resources to focus on more value-add and revenue generating tasks within the business.

 

Coutts sustainability report announces new ESG targets

Coutts, the wealth manager and private bank, has targeted a 25% reduction in carbon emissions in its funds and portfolios by the end of 2021, according to its newly launched 2020 Sustainability Report. The bank, which says it embeds ESG-thinking across the entire investment process - rather than offering specific products - launched the report to demonstrate that “inaction is not an option”.

Within the report, the bank also declared that it has achieved a 23% reduction in carbon emissions from its Coutts Invest funds this year already and is aiming to reduce carbon emissions by 50% across its overall holdings by 2030.

To help drive sustainable change, Coutts has also revealed that it has excluded the following four areas from its direct investments: 

  • Any company that derives more than 5% of its revenue from thermal coal extraction.
  • Any company that derives more than 25% of its revenue from thermal coal energy generation.
  • Any company that derives more than 5% of its revenue from involvement in tar sands.
  • Any company that derives more than 5% of its revenue from Arctic oil and gas exploration.

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