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Daniel Sandmeier

Over the last decade, FinTech has proven a gamechanger for multiple sectors in financial services, ushering in more efficient and cost-effective services in everything from banking to payments, loans and foreign exchange (FX).  While at a wholesale level, financial technology has proven revolutionary in areas such as trading technology, the world of institutional Money Markets has remained relatively untouched by new solutions. So how can a market which continues to rely so heavily on traditional voice brokerage benefit from the type of new technology already a fact of everyday life in many other parts of the financial system?

A structural problem

Unsecured MoneyMarket lending and borrowing is one of the least modernised or digitized parts of the financial system. It is a EUR 114 BN a day market in Europe that is critical to the day-to-day functioning of the economy, yet it has remained largely reliant on voice brokerage and bilateral trading.

What this means in real-terms is that banks, corporates, pension funds, insurance companies and asset managers that require unsecured funding or wish to put cash to work on a short-term basis still face difficulty finding the right counterparties and accessing liquidity.

 A lack of control over spreads and an ability to gain a comprehensive view of best execution compound the issue, concentrating risk and increasing trading costs for both borrowers and lenders.

Revealingly, Money Markets studies that have been undertaken by The Bank of England (BoE) and European Central Bank (ECB) have shown that participants think the market is not working efficiently enough, with half of banks responding to an ECB study saying the…

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New dawn rising on corporate banking: The increasing adoption of virtual accounts

The customer is always right, yet in the corporate banking space – where there’s a widening gap between service level and customer expectation – you’d be forgiven for thinking that this mantra had slipped down corporate banks’ priority list…

The banking industry has changed fundamentally at the hands of technology. Nowhere is this more evident than in the retail banking space, where disruptive fintechs and challenger banks like Revolut and Monzo have transformed the idea of what a bank can be. This dynamic and fast moving sector has forced traditional, larger banks with legacy infrastructure to innovate – all in order to survive.

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Corporates are calling the shots

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Global Banking & Finance Awards® 2018 Winner- Century Financial Brokers

Century Financial Brokers has been in operation for 29 years. How has the industry evolved over the years?

Just like many other industries, Technology has revolutionized the way the financial intermediary industry works. Century has witnessed a huge transformation from close quarters. Buying and selling of shares used to be a cumbersome process and sometimes even took more than a week through a communication medium called Telex which was very much prone to human errors. Today all transactions take place electronically with a high degree of transparency and settlement process is very fast. Financial markets have never been this good.

What trends do you see taking place currently in the Market?

Rising sovereign yields across the globe, strong US dollar precipitating FX volatility in emerging markets, political as well as economic concern around US/China trade war and Gold rallying around these concerns are the major themes dominating the market. The rising cost of money on account of a hawkish US Federal reserve has triggered a correction in equity markets across the world. Investors seem to be in a risk off mode.

What markets do you currently have available for traders?

We offer traders and investors over 10,000 instruments across equities, commodities, FX and treasury futures….

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Are share buybacks a key factor in the continued rise in US equities?

Share buybacks are one of this year’s red-hot topics in the US and regularly hit the headlines, amid claims that the bullish equity market is underpinned solely by this factor, or that it increases social inequalities. Without wishing to enter into this sterile debate, it transpires that the dominant belief on Wall Street is that US companies are buying-back their own shares in droves and thus contributing to the market advance. When a company buys back its own shares, it reduces the total number of shares in circulation and therefore increases earnings per share, thus remunerating remaining shareholders and theoretically triggering an increase in the share price. Given that three quarters of the S&P 500 component companies are currently implementing share buybacks, it would not be a great leap to conclude that these programmes have a major impact. Is this really the case?

Since the beginning of the current equity market cycle, share buyback programmes have been a recurrent theme in the US, chiefly on account of earnings growth, increased financial leverage and, more recently, tax reform. Over the past few years, the main source of equity demand in the US has stemmed from companies themselves, via share buyback programmes, which has exceeded demand from ETFs. According to JP Morgan. These colossal amounts are all the more significant as companies are expected to deploy the greatest proportion of their cash this year and in…

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