Connect with us

Finance

A SUMMARY FROM SINGAPORE: TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FIRST MONEY 20/20 ASIA

Published

on

A SUMMARY FROM SINGAPORE: TAKEAWAYS FROM THE FIRST MONEY 20/20 ASIA

By Lina Andolf-Orup, Global Product Marketing Manager at Fingerprints

As something of a Money 20/20 series veteran, having attended the Europe and Vegas editions several times, it was with great curiosity and even greater expectations that I set off to the first Asian event.

Held in Singapore, the event had many of the same faces – the giant Techs, the payment schemes, the big payments vendors and banks. But the varied and nuanced nature of the countries which comprise the ‘Asian market’ was immediately obvious and made for some extremely interesting discussions. So, now back in my own time zone, here’s some of the key talking points that really stood out for me.

It’s all in the detail

Lina Andolf-Orup

Lina Andolf-Orup

A recurring keynote theme was the need to focus on the smaller points. Sure, buzz around transformative technology was rife (if I had a Singapore or Hong Kong dollar for every time I heard about Blockchain…), but it was refreshing to see renewed focus on how technology can be harnessed to remove the small frictions we experience in our daily financial lives, now.

DBS Bank, noted that we should consider what finance and banking enables – the much-needed holiday you want to book, or the loan to start your own business. Payments need to be a means rather than an end.

This was reflected in the tailored approach big players were adopting with each country. Whether empowering micro-merchants, supporting India’s rapid demonetization, or looking at the growth of credit in China – the larger payments ecosystem is scrutinizing how it needs to adapt to meet each market’s unique points of friction.

Consumers want more than mobile

Asia has long been the leader of the mobile revolution, but the event raised the importance of not narrowing the strategic vision too far. In fact, in one panel, the question was even asked whether mobile payments were dead, with slow adoption rates outside of China.

Customers like flexibility and options in their financial lives. The number of online giants now opening physical stores, such as Amazon, illustrates that. Not to mention the number of traditionally mobile-centric Fintechs, such as Uber, launching a loyalty-driven payments cards to work in tandem with their app offerings.

There is no one ‘better’ way to pay. Equally, there is no single way consumers want to pay for everything. Offering a multipronged approach must become central for retailers and banks looking to get ahead.

Cards are getting cooler

Cards are in vogue again and issuance figures are continuing to rise across Asia.

Premium, brand-driven payments cards were showcased at the event, with design and luxury at the heart of new offerings. The sleek metal card launched by Monaco was an especially interesting example of how the humble payment card is adapting to the modern age, incorporating its cryptocurrency wallet into a physical card and with a mobile app as companion.

Biometrics still has its finger on the pulse

Biometrics were prolific at the event. From ‘selfie pay’ solutions and voice recognition, to biometric smartcards, initiatives focused on how biometrics can be used to reduce fraud and improve user experience in payments.

Whilst biometrics technology has long been a conference discussion point, it was evident that biometrics have quickly become favored by consumers – a symbol of convenience, cool and security – and they are moving beyond smartphones.

It’s no surprise then that biometric smartcard demos and trials were a big feature at the event. Combining the familiarity and choice provided by the payment card, with the ease of use and security of biometrics, momentum is certainly gathering in the region and our consumer research shows that the demand is there.

Source: Fingerprints market research in collaboration with Kantar TNS, 4,000 online consumers in USA, UK, China, India

Source: Fingerprints market research in collaboration with Kantar TNS, 4,000 online consumers in USA, UK, China, India

To return to ‘the small stuff’, these solutions tackle the minor friction points consumers experience in their daily payments lives. To look at the bigger picture again, the market potential is huge and we look forward to seeing it take off.

What were your key takeaways from the first Money 20/20 Asia? Join the discussion on Twitter.

Finance

Sunak warns of bill to be paid to tackle Britain’s ‘exposed’ finances – FT

Published

on

Sunak warns of bill to be paid to tackle Britain's 'exposed' finances - FT 1

(Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will use the budget next week to level with the public over the “enormous strains” in the country’s finances, warning that a bill will have to be paid after further coronavirus support, according to an interview with the Financial Times.

Sunak told the newspaper there was an immediate need to spend more to protect jobs as the UK emerged from COVID-19, but warned that Britain’s finances were now “exposed.”

UK exposure to a rise of one percentage point across all interest rates was 25 billion pounds ($34.83 billion) a year to the government’s cost of servicing its debt, Sunak told FT.

“That (is) why I talk about leveling with people about the public finances (challenges) and our plans to address them,” he said.

The government has already spent more than 280 billion pounds in coronavirus relief and tax cuts this year, and his March 3 budget will likely include a new round of spending to prop up the economy during what he hopes will be the last phase of lockdown.

He is also expected to announce a new mortgage scheme targeted at people with small deposits, the UK’s Treasury announced late on Friday.

Additionally, the government will also announce a new 100 million pound task force to crack-down on COVID-19 fraudsters exploiting government support schemes, it said.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

Continue Reading

Finance

G20 promises no let-up in stimulus, sees tax deal by summer

Published

on

G20 promises no let-up in stimulus, sees tax deal by summer 2

By Gavin Jones and Jan Strupczewski

ROME/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The world’s financial leaders agreed on Friday to maintain expansionary policies to help economies survive the effects of COVID-19, and committed to a more multilateral approach to the twin coronavirus and economic crises.

The Italian presidency of the G20 group of the world’s top economies said the gathering of finance chiefs had pledged to work more closely to accelerate a still fragile and uneven recovery.

“We agreed that any premature withdrawal of fiscal and monetary support should be avoided,” Daniele Franco, Italy’s finance minister, told a news conference after the videolinked meeting held by the G20 finance ministers and central bankers.

The United States is readying $1.9 trillion in fiscal stimulus and the European Union has already put together more than 3 trillion euros ($3.63 trillion) to keep its economies through lockdowns.

But despite the large sums, problems with the global rollout of vaccines and the emergence of new coronavirus variants mean the future path of the recovery remains uncertain.

The G20 is “committed to scaling up international coordination to tackle current global challenges by adopting a stronger multilateral approach and focusing on a set of core priorities,” the Italian presidency said in a statement.

The meeting was the first since Joe Biden – who pledged to rebuild U.S. cooperation in international bodies – U.S. president, and significant progress appeared to have been made on the thorny issue of taxation of multinational companies, particularly web giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told the G20 Washington had dropped the Trump administration’s proposal to let some companies opt out of new global digital tax rules, raising hopes for an agreement by summer.

“GIANT STEP FORWARD”

The move was hailed as a major breakthrough by Germany’s Finance Minister Olaf Scholz and his French counterpart Bruno Le Maire.

Scholz said Yellen told the G20 officials that Washington also planned to reform U.S. minimum tax regulations in line with an OECD proposal for a global effective minimum tax.

“This is a giant step forward,” Scholz said.

Italy’s Franco said the new U.S. stance should pave the way to an overarching deal on taxation of multinationals at a G20 meeting of finance chiefs in Venice in July.

The G20 also discussed how to help the world’s poorest countries, whose economies are being disproportionately hit by the crisis.

On this front there was broad support for boosting the capital of the International Monetary Fund to help it provide more loans, but no concrete numbers were proposed.

To give itself more firepower, the Fund proposed last year to increase its war chest by $500 billion in the IMF’s own currency called the Special Drawing Rights (SDR), but the idea was blocked by Trump.

“There was no discussion on specific amounts of SDRs,” Franco said, adding that the issue would be looked at again on the basis of a proposal prepared by the IMF for April.

While the IMF sees the U.S. economy returning to pre-crisis levels at the end of this year, it may take Europe until the middle of 2022 to reach that point.

The recovery is fragile elsewhere too. Factory activity in China grew at the slowest pace in five months in January, and in Japan fourth quarter growth slowed from the previous quarter.

Some countries had expressed hopes the G20 may extend a suspension of debt servicing costs for the poorest countries beyond June, but no decision was taken.

The issue will be discussed at the next meeting, Franco said.

(Additional reporting by Andrea Shalal in Washington Michael Nienaber in Berlin and Crispian Balmer in Rome; editing by John Stonestreet)

Continue Reading

Finance

Bank of England’s Haldane says inflation “tiger” is prowling

Published

on

Bank of England's Haldane says inflation "tiger" is prowling 3

By Andy Bruce and David Milliken

LONDON (Reuters) – Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane warned on Friday that an inflationary “tiger” had woken up and could prove difficult to tame as the economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially requiring the BoE to take action.

In a clear break from other members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) who are more relaxed about the outlook for consumer prices, Haldane called inflation a “tiger (that) has been stirred by the extraordinary events and policy actions of the past 12 months”.

“People are right to caution about the risks of central banks acting too conservatively by tightening policy prematurely,” Haldane said in a speech published online. “But, for me, the greater risk at present is of central bank complacency allowing the inflationary (big) cat out of the bag.”

Haldane’s comments prompted British government bond prices to fall to their lowest level in almost a year and sterling to rise as he warned that investors may not be adequately positioned for the risk of higher inflation or BoE rates.

“There is a tangible risk inflation proves more difficult to tame, requiring monetary policymakers to act more assertively than is currently priced into financial markets,” Haldane said.

He pointed to the BoE’s latest estimate of slack in Britain’s economy, which was much smaller and likely to be less persistent than after the 2008 financial crisis, leaving less room for the economy to grow before generating price pressures.

Haldane also cited a glut of savings built by businesses and households during the pandemic that could be unleashed in the form of higher spending, as well as the government’s extensive fiscal response to the pandemic and other factors.

Disinflationary forces could return if risks from COVID-19 or other sources proved more persistent than expected, he said.

But in Haldane’s judgement, inflation risked overshooting the BoE’s 2% target for a sustained period – in contrast to its official forecasts published early this month that showed only a very small overshoot in 2022 and early 2023.

Haldane’s comments put him at the most hawkish end among the nine members of the MPC.

Deputy Governor Dave Ramsden on Friday said risks to UK inflation were broadly balanced.

“I see inflation expectations – whatever measure you look at – well anchored,” Ramsden said following a speech given online, echoing comments from fellow deputy governor Ben Broadbent on Wednesday.

(Editing by Larry King and John Stonestreet)

 

Continue Reading
Editorial & Advertiser disclosureOur website provides you with information, news, press releases, Opinion and advertorials on various financial products and services. This is not to be considered as financial advice and should be considered only for information purposes. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of any information provided with respect to your individual or personal circumstances. Please seek Professional advice from a qualified professional before making any financial decisions. We link to various third party websites, affiliate sales networks, and may link to our advertising partners websites. Though we are tied up with various advertising and affiliate networks, this does not affect our analysis or opinion. When you view or click on certain links available on our articles, our partners may compensate us for displaying the content to you, or make a purchase or fill a form. This will not incur any additional charges to you. To make things simpler for you to identity or distinguish sponsored articles or links, you may consider all articles or links hosted on our site as a partner endorsed link.

Call For Entries

Global Banking and Finance Review Awards Nominations 2021
2021 Awards now open. Click Here to Nominate

Latest Articles

Newsletters with Secrets & Analysis. Subscribe Now