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Singapore to ditch corporate cheques by end of 2025 - Industry roundup: 31 July

Singapore to ditch corporate cheques by the end of 2025

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that all corporate cheques will be eliminated by the end of 2025. Individuals will still be able to use cheques for a period after 2025. With cheque usage in Singapore falling steadily, the cost of processing each cheque has risen. To recover these cheque processing costs, banks will start charging for Singapore dollar (SGD)-denominated cheques by 1 November 2023. 

MAS is working with The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the financial industry and government agencies on a series of initiatives to transit cheque users to e-payment solutions. This will include a specific e-payment solution that can be an alternative to post-dated cheques. MAS says this will provide greater convenience to corporates and individuals. 

Annual cheque transaction volume has declined by almost 70% from 61 million in 2016 to less than 19 million in 2022, alongside the growing adoption of e-payments by both corporates and individuals. With the fixed cost incurred in cheque clearing, the average cost of clearing a cheque has quadrupled since 2016 to SGD0.40 in 2021.  Most banks have to-date been subsidising the cost of cheque processing. But if cheque volumes fall by a further 70% by 2025, the cost of clearing a cheque will increase to between SGD2.00 and SGD6.00 by 2025.  Banks will no longer be able to absorb these costs and will have to reflect the cost of cheque processing in their charges to their customers.

ABS will work with the domestic systematically important banks (D-SIBs) to build an electronic deferred payment (EDP) solution to allow users to make a deferred payment or issue a cashiers’ order without cheques. The EDP solution will leverage existing payment solutions like PayNow and GIRO and be ready by 2025. Banks will cease issuing new chequebooks to all corporates in 2025 after the launch of the EDP solution.

The D-SIBs in Singapore will commence charges for SGD-denominated cheques issued by corporates and individuals by 1 November 2023, while other banks will do so by 1 July 2024. Charges for SGD-denominated cheques deposited by corporates and individuals will be implemented in phases. The charges will vary among banks. 


Ben Bernanke to lead review into forecasting at Bank of England

The Court of the Bank of England (BoE) has announced that Dr Ben Bernanke has agreed to lead a review of the bank’s forecasting and related processes during times of significant uncertainty. Bernanke will be supported by the bank’s Independent Evaluation Office (IEO).

The review aims to develop and strengthen the bank’s support for the Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC’s) approach to forecasting and monetary policymaking in times of uncertainty. The review will consider the role of the forecast and how procedures and analysis support the MPC’s deliberations and decision-making.

The full terms of reference will be published in due course. The review will begin this summer and conclude next year with the findings to be published in the spring.

“The UK economy has faced a series of unprecedented and unpredictable shocks,” said Andrew Bailey, Governor of the BoE. “The review will allow us to take a step back and reflect on where our processes need to adapt to a world in which we increasingly face significant uncertainty.”


Deutsche Bank expands presence in South Korea

Deutsche Bank has announced its expansion of investment banking capabilities in South Korea and re-entry of the local debt capital market (DCM) by making strategic appointments to the business.

The bank has hired Adele Moon as Head of DCM for South Korea, signifying its re-entry to the space after five years. Based in Seoul, she will focus on expanding Deutsche Bank’s client footprint, complementing its advisory business. Moon will report regionally to Ed Tsui, Head of North Asia, DCM.

Deutsche Bank also recently hired Shinna Oh for its investment banking coverage team in Seoul to further develop relationships with corporates and global sponsors. Oh joined from Credit Suisse and has worked with Samsung Group, Hyundai Motor Group and Lotte Group. The bank has also appointed Samuel Kim as chairman of M&A for Asia Pacific, who will join from Morgan Stanley in Hong Kong. Kim has experience with South Korean financial sponsors and conglomerates and will bring relationships to the bank. He has worked with MBK Partners on several transactions and advised on the sale of Woowa Brothers and the acquisition of Hugel. He has also advised Carlyle on the sale of ADT Caps.


Worldpay ML-powered solution looks to maximise merchants’ e-commerce potential 

Worldpay from FIS has launched Revenue Boost, an ML-powered turnkey solution designed to help merchants process more card-not-present transactions while lowering the cost and risk of taking payments.

With merchants struggling to keep up with evolving network changes, multiple payment options and issuer preferences, failed and retried card-not-present transactions are becoming more frequent, increasing costs. To help enhance merchants’ payment authorisation, streamline costs, and approve all legitimate payment transactions, the solution aims to help maximise conversions, minimise costs and reduce fraud for merchants. Working with Worldpay’s payments team, the solutions’ features can be mapped to a merchants’ specific needs.

“It’s time to rethink the narrative on payments – they are a strategic lever that can accelerate growth for ambitious merchants,” said Gabriel de Montessus, Head of Global Enterprise, Worldpay from FIS. “Worldpay’s solution combines our extensive payment expertise with the scale of our payments data to help optimise how merchants take payments. By lowering costs and lifting approval rates we can unlock the true value of payments for our customers.”


Verdantix Green Quadrant reveals leading ESG reporting and data management solutions

The recently released Verdantix Green Quadrant report on ESG reporting and data management software assesses 20 of the most prominent ESG reporting and data management software vendors and their capabilities. Vendors included in the study were APLANET, Benchmark Gensuite, Clarity AI, Cority, Diligent, FigBytes, IBM, Intelex, Nasdaq, NAVEX, Novisto, OneTrust, Position Green, Quentic, Sphera, UL Solutions, VelocityEHS, WayCarbon, Wolters Kluwer and Workiva. 

The research finds intense competition in the ESG reporting and data management software market. There are hundreds of software vendors in the market with capabilities to report on some ESG metrics, and a large subset of these vendors have the functionality to help corporates report across a full suite of these metrics. The highly competitive nature of this market placed 11 vendors – Benchmark Gensuite, Cority, Diligent, IBM, Intelex, Nasdaq, Sphera, UL Solutions, VelocityEHS, Wolters Kluwer and Workiva – in the leader’s quadrant. With so many firms offering solid capabilities in this area, customers must consider critical factors – such as industry-specific experience, ease of deployment, cost, and regional expertise – when selecting a software vendor.

Vendors also integrate core reporting capabilities while adapting to evolving demands and regulations. All 20 vendors in the Green Quadrant incorporate specific core capabilities into their solutions, such as aggregating data from various sources, creating records for auditing and assurance of disclosures, and reporting to multiple voluntary frameworks. Vendors must keep pace as corporates increasingly need ESG reporting and data management software to be deployed enterprise-wide and incorporate more forward-looking capabilities to comply with the EU’s upcoming CSRD. The ESG reporting and data management software market has evolved rapidly over the past three years, driven primarily by increased regulations and pressure from various internal and external stakeholders. Reporting on ESG and sustainability metrics is no longer a ‘nice to have’: it’s a ‘must have’ for many corporations.

Another insight from the research is that software providers must meet the needs of firms with a wide range of maturity levels. With an increase in regulatory and business strategy drivers, many corporates will look to software to help them with data management and reporting requirements – including firms collecting and reporting on sustainability-related metrics for the first time. As such, vendors must adapt and scale their solutions to meet growing demand while delivering advanced functionality for more mature customers. To effectively scale their solutions, vendors may offer starter packages with basic functionality that can be expanded on to meet customers’ growing needs or complement their software solution with services to help with customer setup and onboarding.


Capgemini launches set of generative AI offerings

Capgemini has launched a generative AI portfolio of services, spanning from strategy definition through to practical development and implementation of generative AI at scale.“Generative AI strategy” enables CXOs to define and prioritise the most relevant generative AI use cases for their business, demonstrate the tangible value that can be achieved, and lay the right foundations in terms of people, process and technology for scaling their generative AI investments while mitigating the risks.

“Generative AI for Customer Experience” is designed to enhance customer experience with four dedicated generative AI assistants. It allows hyper-personalised customer experience with a synthetic design assistant, elevates customer self-service with personalised chatbots, augments customer care services with a content and knowledge assistant and boosts sales teams' performance with a product and offers knowledge assistant.

“Generative AI for Software Engineering” aims to help improve efficiency and quality across the whole software life cycle (from design and coding to documentation, testing, deployment, and operations), accelerate the time to market for new software, and reduce the technical debt of enterprises by facilitating large modernisation programs of legacy software. It also enables increased security with a reduced attack surface by automatically identifying bugs or vulnerabilities and proposing adjustments to software development teams.

“Custom generative AI for Enterprise” enables enterprises who have sensitive data to have custom generative AI assistants fine-tuned with their key proprietary data, in order to get maximum business value impact. The Group has designed a platform to combine the power of pre-trained open large foundation models (LFMs) with enterprise proprietary data to fine-tune LFMs to the needs of each client. These customised models, building from company know-how, can create unique and reliable outputs and help organisations accelerate on many fronts – from customer experience to R&D, or assisting support and business functions to increase performance.

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