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US to limit chip sales in China and Russia – Industry roundup: 2 September

“Robin Banks” PHaaS platform targets financial institutions

A recent research study by IronNet reported that a phishing-as-a-service (PHaaS) platform dubbed “Robin Banks” has recently targeted financial institutions in multiple countries, specifically aimed at texts and emails.

IronNet researchers determined that the cybercrime organization, Robin Banks, is selling pre-made phishing kits primarily aimed at financial institutions in the US as well as various businesses in the UK, Canada and Australia. Banks such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Capital One and Citigroup have been targeted by this attack type since March 2022, when malicious cyber attackers became more proactive with Robin Banks, according to reports.

The process is said to start with threat actors, known as initial access brokers (IABs), selling access to legitimate corporate networks through stolen credentials or other access tools. With the assistance of these IABs, IronNet revealed that a growing amount of cybercrime rings are marketing "phishing kits" and network access in order to phish financial employees or clients.

Reports indicate that it is currently difficult to estimate the number of customers and accounts affected by Robin Banks because many of them may not realize they have been affected until they check their accounts, according to Erich Kron, Security Awareness Advocate, KnowBe4. Additionally, Kron stated that while Robin Banks' offering is not unique, it is quite advanced and appears to be professionally developed with sophisticated metrics and dashboards comparable to authentic business software service vendors. Kron predicts that this will become widespread due to competitive price and characteristics.

US to limit chip sales in China and Russia, causing stock to decline in Nvidia and others chip companies

Nvidia Corp., a graphics-chip specialist, disclosed that the US government has attempted to impose restrictions on its data-centre business in China. Subsequently, the company's shares declined by 6.6% in after-hours trading after falling 2.4% to close at US $150.94 this week. The news, according to analysts, could pose a "structural risk" to the entire industry.

Reports indicate that the stock has fallen 48.7% so far this year, while the S&P 500 index has dropped 16.4%. Furthermore, Nvidia is reported to be the business most impacted by the regulation, although shares of other US-based manufacturers of server chips also falling during after-hours trading: AMD's stock fell about 4%, while Intel stock fell about 1.5%.

The US SEC has reportedly implemented new license requirements for Nvidia’s highest-performance products (A100 and H100 integrated circuits) for servers pertaining to sales to China and Russia. According to the filing details, Nvidia’s forecast for the current quarter includes an anticipated US $400 million in data-centre sales to China that could be impacted by the change. Reports state that Nvidia does not currently sell goods in Russia.

A representative from Nvidia commented that they are fulfilling their clients’ current and future product needs in China and expect to pursue licenses in cases where replacements are insufficient. The only current products affected by the new licensing requirement are A100, H100 and systems like DGX that incorporate them.

According to FactSet, Nvidia’s data-centre revenue has increased to $10.6 billion in 2021 from $6.7 billion in 2020, and analysts expect server sales to reach $15.79 billion this year.

The federal government's new license requirements are intended to address the risk that the covered products may be used or diverted to a military end use/user in China or Russia. Reports have indicated that the US has taken preventative measures to deter China's military from acquiring high-performance semiconductor technology, such as blocking proposed acquisitions by Chinese parent companies and restricting sales.

Thunes and Alipay+ to link European merchants with a large customer base in Asia

Thunes, a global cross-border payments company, has partnered with Alipay+, Ant Group's suite of cross-border payments and marketing solutions. Thunes' customers and merchants in Europe can expect to accept Asia's most popular mobile wallets as a result of this collaboration, such as Alipay from China, Touch 'n Go and Boost from Malaysia, Philippines' GCash, KakaoPay from South Korea, and Rabbit LINE Pay and TrueMoney from Thailand.

Businesses that partner with Thunes can expect to cater to online consumers and accept payments from mobile wallets at the point of sale in the Asian markets. Additionally, customers will be able to make in-store purchases in Europe using their corresponding mobile wallets with a specialized Point of Sale mobile application that accepts QR-code payments.

The partnership will increase the geographic coverage of the local payment methods made available via Thunes. According to reports, Thunes already offers a variety of alternative payment methods (APMs) that are widely used by customers in Europe, Latin America, Africa and currently Asia.

Thunes Collections' Managing Director, Christophe Bourbier, stated that the partnership with Alipay+ creates a globalized shopping experience for buyers and represents another significant step forward in efforts to make payments accessible worldwide. Additionally, mobile wallets are quickly becoming the primary payment method for Asian consumers, with potential growth from the current 100,000 merchants.

MyCompanero, a European retailer that sells fashion brands such as Givenchy, Versace and Prada through a network of offline boutiques and an e-commerce website, was said to be one of the first Thunes customers to integrate the new payment experience. The partnership between Thunes and Alipay+ provides MyCompanero access to new markets in Asia via their preferred payment methods.

Some of Alipay+'s technology benefits for merchants include the ability to serve a vast majority of digital-first customers, the reduction of costs by simplifying implementation and providing a one-stop integration option, and leverage marketing solutions to reach users directly.

Deutsche Bank to provide loans to help SMEs cope with the energy crisis

Deutsche Bank has launched a new loan program for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) to aid them in counteracting the rapidly increasing energy costs. With the energy crisis in Europe and the skyrocketing prices imposed after Russia cut the flow of gas, Germany’s economic sector has reportedly been gearing up for a potential shutdown of Russian supplies if Moscow ramps up its use of gas as an economic tool against the West.

Reports indicate that Deutsche Bank’s new energy credit offers loans of up to 250,000 euros (US $251,025) with repayment terms of up to 180 months for businesses looking to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels. According to Germany's largest bank, businesses could use the financing towards investing in energy-efficient machinery or repurposing a heating system. Hauke Burkhardt, the Head of the corporate lending division, Deutsche Bank, commented that companies are under significant pressure to revamp their business models in order to cope with high energy costs and require assistance in transitioning to a green future.

Canadian-based fintech TMX utilizes AI technology to address fragmented corporate bond liquidity

TMX Group (TMX), a large Toronto-based financial services company, has joined forces with Overbond, a Canadian-based AI quantitative analytics provider for institutional fixed income capital markets, to integrate settlement-layer Canadian bond data from the clearing and depository services (CDS) and fixed income price Information (FIPS) into their fixed income trading platforms and data analysis services.

The TMX Group is said to operate the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX), TSX Venture Exchange, Montreal Exchange and TSX Alpha Exchange, providing trading, clearing, depository and settlement services for derivatives, equity and fixed income trades. By incorporating CDS FIPS into Overbond's AI models, asset managers can expect to gain access to Canadian fixed income trade data as well as pre- and post-trade analytics.

The addition of over-the-counter (OTC) trade volumes is said to enable more precise competitive pricing and liquidity for Canadian bonds. A complete daily volume report on Canadian fixed income trades is provided by CDS FIPS, which is said to combine the executed trade settlement date and custody date from electronic and OTC trades. Over 40,000 Canadian government and corporate bonds are reportedly included in the data.

According to Overbond CEO Vuk Magdelinic, the next step in data aggregation is to include settlement layer data in Overbond AI models in order to find the most advantageous pricing and liquidity in the Canadian corporate bond market. Michelle Tran, President, TMX Datalinx, commented that the collaboration between TMX and Overbond will enable additional AI-driven data and analytics tools for use by asset managers, buy-side and sell-side traders, analysts, compliance departments and back offices across various asset classes.

New payments infrastructure to boost the UK economy by US $3.8 billion despite slow G7 growth

The United Kingdom’s economy could grow by US $3.8 billion (11% of formal GDP) over the next four years with a new platform replacing its outdated payments infrastructure along with the widespread adoption of real-time payments.

Studies published by ACI Worldwide, Global Data and the Centre for Economics and Business Research indicate that the UK’s "untapped potential" market of real-time payments has become more recognizable, and if all payments were made in real-time, the UK's economy would increase by up to an estimated US $98.0 billion (or 2.7% annually) in 2026.

The study highlights the importance of the UK’s 'New Payments Architecture (NPA)' program, which is expected to make significant changes to the UK's payments infrastructure over the next five years in order to encourage competition and increase innovation among UK financial services providers. Furthermore, NPA, led by Pay.UK, aims to modernize the UK's legacy payment infrastructure by offering real-time account-to-account payments, providing customers with additional cutting-edge payment options, unlike the conventional payment types like cards.

The most recent UK GDP data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and recent IMF predictions indicate that the UK is also expected to experience the weakest growth in the G7 next year. The data also showed that growth rates for real-time transactions are higher in many other countries, despite the UK's real-time account-to-account payments that reportedly continue to grow (the number of payments processed by Faster Payments increased by 23% to 3.6 billion in 2021). This difference is primarily due to the widespread acceptance among consumers and businesses on the new digital overlay services based on real-time. As a result, many emerging and developing countries are catching up to the UK in reaping the full economic benefits of real-time account-to-account payments.

The UK, according to the Prime Time for Real-Time report by ACI and Global Data, documented 3.4 billion real-time transactions in 2021, a cost saving of approximately $950 million to businesses and consumers. As a result, $3.2 billion in additional economic output was generated, accounting for 10% of UK GDP.

Real-time payments are expected to unleash an overall transaction value of $40.8 billion per day based on the 2026 real-time adoption rates (growth to 12.3% of all payments). Additionally, this working capital is expected to generate approximately $861 million in business output.

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