More than 40,000 people are expected to have downloaded deVere Vault, deVere E-Money’s global e-money app, by the end of 2017, reveal forecasts.
deVere Group, one of the world’s largest independent financial services organisations, bases the predictions on the “phenomenal interest” already shown in deVere Vault, its challenger bank, launched in April.
Nigel Green, the founder and CEO of deVere Group, comments: “Our extensive market research and our 15 years’ experience of offering cross—border financial advice to internationally-mobile individuals, globally-focused firms and expats informed us that there was a niche in the market and that there would be a demand for deVere Vault. We knew it would be popular. But the phenomenal interest already shown in this pioneering global e-money app has surprised even us.
“We expect the momentum of interest in coming months to further increase as more people travel internationally over the summer holidays and due to one of the biggest players in the market unexpectedly scrapping its similar product just before the main summer holiday period begins.
“Beyond and in addition to this, we’re confident of deVere Vault’s longer-term success for several important reasons. First, more and more individuals are living international lifestyles and businesses are becoming ever more internationally-minded. Indeed, it is a sector that is set to grow exponentially as the world becomes increasingly globalised.
“Second, money apps are growing in popularity due to their high level of convenience – no-one has the time or inclination to go to their branch these days.
“Third, the increased levels of security and protection now offered.
“And fourth, people are becoming increasingly tech-savvy – it’s the norm to do everything on your mobile or tablet these days, including day-to-day financial requirements.”
He continues: “We’ve started off with a soft launch by offering it to a small number of clients to ensure that this innovative product, and our entrance in to the fintech sector, was exactly right.
“83 per cent of clients offered deVere Vault have downloaded it – that’s almost 2,000 clients. 61 per cent of those are now using it.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re very happy with the app and the great value and service it is giving our clients. As we move past the stage of ‘soft launch’, our latest forecasts suggest that more than 40,000 people will have downloaded deVere Vault by the end of the year.”
At the launch of the e-money app, Mr Green said: “deVere Vault will provide global services in electronic money and a single card, multi-currency service. Focusing on those with an international lifestyle, we will also ensure that the best currency exchange ratios are given.
“You will be able to open a deVere Vault account in around five minutes, withdraw money from any cash machine worldwide, get real-time notifications with all your transactions, spend money on the card wherever Mastercard is accepted, and send and receive money in most major currencies instantly with other deVere Vault account holders.”
The deVere CEO concludes: “We’re hugely excited about this product which has been solely driven by demand as people increasingly seek to access, manage and use their money instantly and effortlessly wherever they are in the world – and at the best possible rates.”
Australia says no further Facebook, Google amendments as final vote nears
By Colin Packham
CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia will not alter legislation that would make Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google pay news outlets for content, a senior lawmaker said on Monday, as Canberra neared a final vote on whether to pass the bill into law.
Australia and the tech giants have been in a stand-off over the legislation widely seen as setting a global precedent.
Other countries including Canada and Britain have already expressed interest in taking some sort of similar action.
Facebook has protested the laws. Last week it blocked all news content and several state government and emergency department accounts, in a jolt to the global news industry, which has already seen its business model upended by the titans of the technological revolution.
Talks between Australia and Facebook over the weekend yielded no breakthrough.
As Australia’s senate began debating the legislation, the country’s most senior lawmaker in the upper house said there would be no further amendments.
“The bill as it stands … meets the right balance,” Simon Birmingham, Australia’s Minister for Finance, told Australian Broadcasting Corp Radio.
The bill in its present form ensures “Australian-generated news content by Australian-generated news organisations can and should be paid for and done so in a fair and legitimate way”.
The laws would give the government the right to appoint an arbitrator to set content licencing fees if private negotiations fail.
While both Google and Facebook have campaigned against the laws, Google last week inked deals with top Australian outlets, including a global deal with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.
“There’s no reason Facebook can’t do and achieve what Google already has,” Birmingham added.
A Facebook representative declined to comment on Monday on the legislation, which passed the lower house last week and has majority support in the Senate.
A final vote after the so-called third reading of the bill is expected on Tuesday.
Lobby group DIGI, which represents Facebook, Google and other online platforms like Twitter Inc, meanwhile said on Monday that its members had agreed to adopt an industry-wide code of practice to reduce the spread of misinformation online.
Under the voluntary code, they commit to identifying and stopping unidentified accounts, or “bots”, disseminating content; informing users of the origins of content; and publishing an annual transparency report, among other measures.
(Reporting by Byron Kaye and Colin Packham; Editing by Sam Holmes and Hugh Lawson)
GSK and Sanofi start with new COVID-19 vaccine study after setback
By Pushkala Aripaka and Matthias Blamont
(Reuters) – GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi on Monday said they had started a new clinical trial of their protein-based COVID-19 vaccine candidate, reviving their efforts against the pandemic after a setback in December delayed the shot’s launch.
The British and French drugmakers aim to reach final testing in the second quarter, and if the results are conclusive, hope to see the vaccine approved by the fourth quarter after having initially targeted the first half of this year.
In December, the two groups stunned investors when they said their vaccine would be delayed towards the end of 2021 after clinical trials showed an insufficient immune response in older people.
Disappointing results were probably caused by an inadequate concentration of the antigen used in the vaccine, Sanofi and GSK said, adding that Sanofi has also started work against new coronavirus variants to help plan their next steps.
Global coronavirus infections have exceeded 110 million as highly transmissible variants of the virus are prompting vaccine developers and governments to tweak their testing and immunisation strategies.
GSK and Sanofi’s vaccine candidate uses the same recombinant protein-based technology as one of Sanofi’s seasonal influenza vaccines. It will be coupled with an adjuvant, a substance that acts as a booster to the shot, made by GSK.
“Over the past few weeks, our teams have worked to refine the antigen formulation of our recombinant-protein vaccine,” Thomas Triomphe, executive vice president and head of Sanofi Pasteur, said in a statement.
The new mid-stage trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and immune response of the vaccine in 720 healthy adults across the United States, Honduras and Panama and test two injections given 21 days apart.
Sanofi and GSK have secured deals to supply their vaccine to the European Union, Britain, Canada and the United States. It also plans to provide shots to the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.
To appease critics after the delay, Sanofi said earlier this year it had agreed to fill and pack millions of doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine from July.
Sanofi is also working with Translate Bio on another COVID-19 vaccine candidate based on mRNA technology.
(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru and Matthias Blamont in Paris; editing by Jason Neely and Barbara Lewis)
Don’t ignore “lockdown fatigue”, UK watchdog tells finance bosses
By Huw Jones
LONDON (Reuters) – Staff at financial firms in Britain are suffering from “lockdown fatigue” and their bosses are not always making sure all employees can speak up freely about their problems, the Financial Conduct Authority said on Monday.
Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
One year on, the challenges have evolved from adapting to working remotely to dealing with mental health issues, said David Blunt, the FCA’s head of conduct specialists.
“During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.”
Bosses should continually revisit how they lead remote teams, he said.
“The impact of COVID-19 is creating a huge workload for those considered to be high performers, while the remote environment potentially makes it much more challenging for those who were previously considered low performers to change that perception,” Blunt told a City & Financial online event.
Companies should consider “psychological safety” or ensuring that all employees feel confident about speaking out and challenging opinions.
“We’ve heard varying reports of how successful this has been,” Blunt said.
Pressures in the financial sector were highlighted this month when accountants KPMG said its UK chairman Bill Michael had stepped aside during a probe into comments he made to staff.
The Financial Times said Michael, who later apologised for his comments, had told staff to “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their work lives.
Blunt was speaking as the FCA next month completes the full rollout of rules that force senior managers at financial firms to be personally accountable for their decisions to improve conduct standards.
There have only been a “modest” number of breaches reported to regulators so far as firms worry about being “tainted” but more cases will become public as sanctions are revealed, Blunt said.
“Regulators won’t be impressed by lowballing the figures.”
(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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