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AVOKA ADDS NEW EXECUTIVES IN RESPONSE TO GROWTH

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AVOKA ADDS NEW EXECUTIVES IN RESPONSE TO GROWTH

Strategic hires across global offices ahead of 2018 signal strong continued growth 

Avoka, the leader in digital customer acquisition for financial services, recently added key executives to its team as part of its global expansion. Jim Scott has joined as Senior Vice President for Global Human Resources, Colin Matthews joined as Senior Vice President for North American Sales and Account Management, and Nick Edwards as Director of Sales for Australia and New Zealand.  The additions are part of continued record business expansion that will add 50% global headcount to the company during the current fiscal year.

Jim Scott will have responsibility for leading and managing all aspects of HR functions at Avoka, particularly important in driving global expansion. Jim comes to Avoka with nearly 20 years’ experience in senior management roles and over 12 years as a Human Resources executive. Jim was the Vice President of Human Resources for Casey Industrial, and the Executive Director of Human Resources for Inflow, a Denver-based managed internet services company. He has experience managing business units in several U.S. markets, and spent two years living in London and leading the European operations for Frontier Videoconferencing. Jim is based in Broomfield (Denver) Colorado, Avoka’s North American headquarters.

Nick Edwards joins Avoka in the Manly (Sydney) Australia office, after following the business closely for some 18 months. He has partnered with Avoka in his most recent role as Head of Sales for Australia and New Zealand for Experian Decision Analytics. In that role, he was responsible for the distribution of product through the financial services and telecommunications verticals as well as managing ongoing client relationships.  As a member of the leadership team, he assisted in ensuring the overall health of the business, financially and culturally. As part of the APAC ‘Future Leaders’ program, he was invested in the success of the business regionally. Prior to Experian, Nick worked at before that he worked at First Data and BlackRock managing financial institution relationships.

With over 25 years in operational leadership roles, Colin Matthews brings a unique blend of go-to-market, business development and operational leadership experience to Avoka.  Colin has held a variety of executive sales leadership positions at several leading fintech companies – helping drive two successful IPOs at Yodlee and LifeLock (ID Analytics). As Chief Client Officer at ID Analytics, Colin led business strategy, client success, sales and revenue growth.  At Yodlee, he led top-line growth at top retail banks, online brokerages and financial portals. Prior to Yodlee, Colin led sales, strategic alliances and product management for FICO’s Scoring Division – spearheading distribution of their industry-leading FICO credit risk solutions to the top financial institutions in North America. Colin is based in the Broomfield Colorado office.

“One of our biggest accomplishments over the past year has been building our team with high quality, experienced individuals”, said Philip Copeland, Avoka CEO and Founder. “These latest executive additions reflect the momentum in our worldwide businesses and our ability to attract top talent.” Avoka is on track to increase the number of employees by 50% this fiscal year, with growth in all regions – Australia, North America and Europe.

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England

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Sunak to use budget to expand apprenticeships in England 1

LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will announce more funding for apprenticeships in England when he unveils his budget next week, the government said on Friday.

Employers taking part in the Apprenticeship Initiative Scheme will from April 1 receive 3,000 pounds ($4,179) for each apprentice hired, regardless of age – an increase on current grants of between 1,500 and 2,000 pounds depending on age.

The scheme will extended by six months until the end of September, the finance ministry said.

Sunak will also announce an extra 126 million pounds for traineeships for up to 43,000 placements.

Sunak’s 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, but he will also probably signal tax rises ahead to plug the huge hole in the public finances.

Sunak is also expected to announce a “flexi-job” apprenticeship scheme, whereby apprentices can join an agency and work for multiple employers in one sector, the finance ministry said.

“We know there’s more to do and it’s vital this continues throughout the next stage of our recovery, which is why I’m boosting support for these programmes, helping jobseekers and employers alike,” Sunak said in a statement.

(Reporting by Andy Bruce, editing by David Milliken)

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout

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UK seeks G7 consensus on digital competition after Facebook blackout 2

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain is seeking to build a consensus among G7 nations on how to stop large technology companies exploiting their dominance, warning that there can be no repeat of Facebook’s one-week media blackout in Australia.

Facebook’s row with the Australian government over payment for local news, although now resolved, has increased international focus on the power wielded by tech corporations.

“We will hold these companies to account and bridge the gap between what they say they do and what happens in practice,” Britain’s digital minister Oliver Dowden said on Friday.

“We will prevent these firms from exploiting their dominance to the detriment of people and the businesses that rely on them.”

Dowden said recent events had strengthened his view that digital markets did not currently function properly.

He spoke after a meeting with Facebook’s Vice-President for Global Affairs, Nick Clegg, a former British deputy prime minister.

“I put these concerns to Facebook and set out our interest in levelling the playing field to enable proper commercial relationships to be formed. We must avoid such nuclear options being taken again,” Dowden said in a statement.

Facebook said in a statement that the call had been constructive, and that it had already struck commercial deals with most major publishers in Britain.

“Nick strongly agreed with the Secretary of State’s (Dowden’s) assertion that the government’s general preference is for companies to enter freely into proper commercial relationships with each other,” a Facebook spokesman said.

Britain will host a meeting of G7 leaders in June.

It is seeking to build consensus there for coordinated action toward “promoting competitive, innovative digital markets while protecting the free speech and journalism that underpin our democracy and precious liberties,” Dowden said.

The G7 comprises the United States, Japan, Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Canada, but Australia has also been invited.

Britain is working on a new competition regime aimed at giving consumers more control over their data, and introducing legislation that could regulate social media platforms to prevent the spread of illegal or extremist content and bullying.

(Reporting by William James; Editing by Gareth Jones and John Stonestreet)

 

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit

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Britain to offer fast-track visas to bolster fintechs after Brexit 3

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain said on Friday it would offer a fast-track visa scheme for jobs at high-growth companies after a government-backed review warned that financial technology firms will struggle with Brexit and tougher competition for global talent.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak said that now Britain has left the European Union, it wants to make sure its immigration system helps businesses attract the best hires.

“This new fast-track scale-up stream will make it easier for fintech firms to recruit innovators and job creators, who will help them grow,” Sunak said in a statement.

Over 40% of fintech staff in Britain come from overseas, and the new visa scheme, open to migrants with job offers at high-growth firms that are scaling up, will start in March 2022.

Brexit cut fintechs’ access to the EU single market and made it far harder to employ staff from the bloc, leaving Britain less attractive for the industry.

The review published on Friday and headed by Ron Kalifa, former CEO of payments fintech Worldpay, set out a “strategy and delivery model” that also includes a new 1 billion pound ($1.39 billion) start-up fund.

“It’s about underpinning financial services and our place in the world, and bringing innovation into mainstream banking,” Kalifa told Reuters.

Britain has a 10% share of the global fintech market, generating 11 billion pounds ($15.6 billion) in revenue.

The review said Brexit, heavy investment in fintech by Australia, Canada and Singapore, and the need to be nimbler as COVID-19 accelerates digitalisation of finance, all mean the sector’s future in Britain is not assured.

It also recommends more flexible listing rules for fintechs to catch up with New York.

“We recognise the need to make the UK attractive a more attractive location for IPOs,” said Britain’s financial services minister John Glen, adding that a separate review on listings rules would be published shortly.

“Those findings, along with Ron’s report today, should provide an excellent evidence base for further reform.”

SCALING UP

Britain pioneered “sandboxes” to allow fintechs to test products on real consumers under supervision, and the review says regulators should move to the next stage and set up “scale-boxes” to help fintechs navigate red tape to grow.

“It’s a question of knowing who to call when there’s a problem,” said Kay Swinburne, vice chair of financial services at consultants KPMG and a contributor to the review.

A UK fintech wanting to serve EU clients would have to open a hub in the bloc, an expensive undertaking for a start-up.

“Leaving the EU and access to the single market going away is a big deal, so the UK has to do something significant to make fintechs stay here,” Swinburne said.

The review seeks to join the dots on fintech policy across government departments and regulators, and marshal private sector efforts under a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT).

“There is no framework but bits of individual policies, and nowhere does it come together,” said Rachel Kent, a lawyer at Hogan Lovells and contributor to the review.

($1 = 0.7064 pounds)

(Reporting by Huw Jones; editing by Jane Merriman and John Stonestreet)

 

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