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Fidor Group has been recognised for its innovative and differentiating customer experience, as one of the pioneers in the use of open APIs in banking

There’s an app for nearly everything…except, it seems business and middle market lending. Banks are falling short at many points across the borrowing experience, but thankfully there are some tried and true technologies that can make the borrower experience much better.

WHY THE BORROWER EXPERIENCE MATTERS

For many financial institutions across the country, time stands still and borrowers and bankers are forced through a clumsy process for loan applications. For the longest time, that was regrettable, but it never seemed to be the most urgent problem at a bank. Until now.

Now many banks are facing competition with others who are improving the borrower experience, and borrowers have been shown how it could be done by the fintechs and alternative lenders who have moved into the market. Taking into account the average small business borrower might make applications to three different places, the slowest or least convenient bank won’t win the business.

On top of that, expectations for speed, convenience and transparency are higher than ever, thanks to the digital transformation of the rest of our modern lives. Consider:

  • Amazon – at a push a very few buttons, consumers can shop for a great price, read reviews, get recommendations, buy and expect delivery the next day. (Not many lenders can boast about an Amazon-like digital lending experience.)
  • Airbnb – Users can tap into alternative providers of great properties. They can read reviews, correspond with the host and get a great deal. (That level of service and intimacy is found primarily with…

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Investors Recover Millions Of Euro In First Few Months Of New Withholding Tax Reclaiming Platform, Protocol

Protocol is helping pension fund investors save millions in withholding tax in its first few months of operation, after being launched by Taxology

Rotterdam, the Netherlands, Wednesday – Pension fund investors have recovered more than EUR three million in the first few months of a new automated withholding tax (WHT) recovery platform, Protocol, following its North American launch earlier this year.

The web-based platform is the brainchild of fintech start-up Taxology, and is being rolled out in phases around the globe, geared primarily at pension funds and pension asset managers to help them reclaim millions in recoverable withholding tax.

In Europe alone, investors lose out on an estimated EUR 8.4 billion per year in recoverable withholding tax, partly due to complex compliance procedures and high costs, according to a 2017 report by the European Commission.

“Annual investment performance could be boosted by as much as 50 basis points from withholding tax claims, but many investors believe the labour-intensive, complicated, and costly process behind it is simply not worth the benefit,” said Jeroen van der Wal, Managing Director and Founder of Taxology, the developers behind Protocol.

“In Europe, this is further aggravated by the fact that no two withholding tax relief procedures are the same; each country has its own procedure, relief forms, statute of limitations, and its own take on what supporting documentation should be submitted.”

Van der Wal added that there have been many efforts to rectify this problem, but to date “little has been resolved and investors continue to lose out on billions each year, due to the strictness and complicated nature of reclaiming WHT”.

Some of these efforts to harmonise withholding tax recovery procedures were from bodies such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Commission’s Tax Barriers Business Advisory Group (TBAG).

Van der Wal added, “We launched…

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Skills shortage top fear for UK financial services
  • New research shows issues that are keeping financial services directors awake at night
  • Tightened regulatory controls, new business processes and employee training are key worries, say financial services directors

Half (49%) of senior leaders in the financial services sector see finding skilled candidates as the biggest worry over the next twelve months, new research from Robert Half Financial Services has revealed. The survey highlighted the key concerns – both external and internal – facing the industry, including the impact of tightened regulation controls, new business processes, and training and development for employees.

The financial services industry faces a number of unique challenges, from the rise of challenger banks and the need to improve customer service, to digital transformation and impact of new regulations such as MiFID II and GDPR.

In the face of these challenges, financial services leaders have identified the skills shortage as their greatest fear, demonstrating the importance of attracting and retaining talented employees.

Rank Top 10 concerns in financial services* %
1 Finding the necessary talent/skills 49%
2 Tightened regulatory controls 42%
3 Implementation new business processes 35%
4 Training and development of existing employees 32%
4 Bank recapitalisation 32%
4 Market instability 32%
7 Finding growth opportunities 30%
8 Cyber-security 28%
9 Staff retention 27%
10 Fintech/new technologies 26%

*Responses do not total 100 per cent as multiple answers were permitted.

“Process, regulatory and geopolitical change are creating the perfect storm for the financial services sector to develop and grow,” said Matt Weston, UK Managing…

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