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Industry roundup: 4 November

Verto and ClearBank unite on cross-border payments

Verto, the B2B payments platform and currency exchange marketplace that focuses on SMEs is partnering with ClearBank, the cloud-based clearing bank to create “seamless cross-border payments solutions” for UK and European smaller businesses, which they believe are currently underserved.

“SMEs are the backbone of the world’s economy, representing 99% of all businesses in the EU,” says the partners. “They employ around 100 million people, account for more than half of Europe’s GDP and play a key role in adding value in every sector of the economy. Despite this, SMEs face steep FX charges, high transaction costs, and a slow process when it comes to paying for goods and services internationally”.

The collaboration between ClearBank and Verto will connect UK and European SMEs with a multi-currency bank account and FX solutions, further eliminating barriers to cross-border payments. All Verto users can now accept and send payment all from one single and easy to use platform, benefiting from enhanced liquidity, faster payments capabilities, and instant local settlement times.

A release announcing the collaboration adds that Verto addresses FX and payments challenges faced by SMEs by providing an online marketplace to exchange currencies and make international payments to suppliers. The marketplace enables businesses to move money across borders seamlessly and instantly, solving important pain points in the B2B global payments industry, which is expected to grow to nearly US$ 200 trillion by 2028, over six times the size of the retail payments market.

Bank of America plans China securities arm

Bank of America Corp plans to file an application to set up a securities firm in China as part of its strategy to expand into the country’s growing financial services market Bloomberg News has reported, citing reliable sources.

According to their information, BoA intends to seek regulatory approval in early 2022, and also plans to submit applications for licenses that will allow it to trade and underwrite stocks and bonds, among other activities.

The bank’s move comes after China last year approved rules allowing investment banks to own 100% of their local operations for the first time. In December 2020 Goldman Sachs applied to take full control of its Goldman Sachs Gao Hua Securities and last month got permission from regulators to increase its stake from 51%. JP Morgan Chase followed in June, applying for full ownership of its 71% owned China securities joint venture and got the go-ahead only two months later.

Western banks are keen to expand their presence in China’s expanding capital markets, which offers attractive underwriting fees on equity and bond transactions. Full ownership of business units will allow banks to expand their operations in the multi-trillion-dollar Chinese financial sector.

In response, China announced in July it would continue to loosen rules for foreign banks and insurance companies to enter the market in a bid to attract more foreign investment and strengthen its economy.

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