Reinforces the bank’s commitment to support the evolving payments needs of clients across the globe
Bank of America Merrill Lynch, a leader in global payments and transaction services, and Earthport (AIM:EPO), the cross-border payments service provider and existing key supplier for the bank, today announced a multi-year agreement to significantly expand Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s low value clearing capabilities globally, and to advance the efficiency of its high volume, low value payments. The agreement provides the bank’s global corporate client base with a greater number of solutions in more countries to help them process payments around the world.
Under the agreement, Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s corporate clients will have increased access to the cross-border payments capabilities needed to enhance their global competitiveness. The bank’s clients will benefit from an expanded set of countries as well as faster, more transparent and cost efficient payments that are deeply integrated with Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s robust FX solutions.
The strategic agreement continues Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s expansion of international capabilities, which is in keeping with the firm’s commitment to serve its clients wherever in the world they do business, and to ultimately support their long term goals.
“Our clients are asking us to help them quickly enter new markets across the globe. In many cases, a low-value international payment vehicle perfectly suits their needs. The situation reflects the increasing trend for clients to ask for financial products and services that support new models, rather than services designed for a different purpose, in a different era.” said Ather Williams III, Head of Global Payments for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “We are pleased that the agreement with Earthport will deepen our ability to provide clients with industry leading solutions.”
“Having signed an initial agreement with Bank of America Merrill Lynch in December 2012 for a specific payments service in North America, I am delighted today to announce the progression of this relationship, and the signing of a worldwide contract, said Hank Uberoi, Chief Executive Officer of Earthport. “The new contract with Bank of America Merrill Lynch marks a commitment to a long term strategic relationship, and represents a large and international strategic opportunity across several of Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s payments services. We look forward to continuing to work together to provide leading payment products to its corporate customers.”
With local clearing capabilities in more than 60 countries and an efficient and transparent cross-border payments service, Earthport is uniquely positioned to support Bank of America Merrill Lynch in advancing its share of the global low value payments market.
About Bank of America
Bank of America is one of the world’s largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small- and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. We serve approximately 51 million consumer and small business relationships with approximately 5,200 retail banking offices and approximately 16,200 ATMs and award-winning online banking with 30 million active users and more than 14 million mobile users. Bank of America is among the world’s leading wealth management companies and is a global leader in corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business owners through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations in more than 40 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives, and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation (“Investment Banking Affiliates”), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., all of which are registered broker-dealers and members of FINRA and SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp. are registered as futures commission merchants with the CFTC and are members of the NFA. Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates: Are Not FDIC Insured * May Lose Value * Are Not Bank Guaranteed.
Copyright 2013 Bank of America Corporation. All rights reserved. Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, Broadcort and their logos are trademarks of Bank of America Corporation and/or its affiliates.
Earthport plc, a regulated global financial services organisation, specialises in the provision of a white label cross-border payments service.
Through its innovative payments framework, specifically designed for high volumes of low value cross-border payments, Earthport provides a cost-effective and transparent service for secure international payments. Earthport’s clients include banks, foreign exchange businesses, money transfer organisations, payment aggregators and e-commerce businesses. Through Earthport’s well established payments infrastructure, clients can clear and settle payments directly to banked beneficiaries in over 60 countries.
The company is headquartered in London and is listed on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) on the London Stock Exchange. It operates globally with additional regional offices in Dubai and New York. Earthport plc is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Payment Service Regulations 2009 for the provision of payment services. To learn more, please visit www.earthport.com and follow us via RSS or on social channels, Twitter@Earthport, LinkedIn, Youtube and Slideshare.
UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending
By William Schomberg
LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more 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, who is due to announce a new budget plan on March 3, has already racked up more than 280 billion pounds ($397 billion) in coronavirus spending and tax cuts, pushing Britain’s borrowing to a peacetime record.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to lift England’s current lockdown entirely only in late June so Sunak is expected to rely heavily on the debt markets again.
His job retention scheme, paying 80% of employees’ wages, will probably be extended beyond a scheduled April 30 expiry date, further inflating its estimated cost of 70 billion pounds. Support for the self-employed looks set to stay too.
Businesses are demanding Sunak keep other lifelines, such as exempting the firms hardest hit by the lockdown from property taxes and giving them a value-added tax cut.
And calls are growing for an extension of a 20 pounds-a-week emergency welfare increase due to expire in April.
The Times newspaper said Sunak would prolong his stamp duty property tax break for three months until the end of June.
Sunak hopes that by then Britain will be emerging from its deep freeze thanks to Europe’s fastest vaccination programme.
Bank of England Chief Economist Andy Haldane likens the economy to a “coiled spring” primed with the savings that households have built up after being stuck at home.
A strong recovery would mean a jump in tax revenues, doing some of the Treasury’s job of fixing the public finances.
Rupert Harrison, an aide to former finance minister George Osborne, said Sunak should not try to slash Britain’s 2.1 trillion-pound debt mountain, equivalent to 98% of GDP – a ratio unthinkable for decades.
Instead he should write new budget rules tied to the cost of debt servicing, which is close to record lows.
“We can safely carry higher levels of debt than before,” Harrison told a webinar organised by Onward, a think-tank.
But the scale of Britain’s borrowing is raising questions about how long Sunak and Johnson can stick to their promises not to raise key taxes, made to voters before the 2019 election.
The huge costs of tackling the worst of the coronavirus pandemic are likely to ease in the months ahead, meaning this year’s 400 billion pound budget deficit should narrow.
But Britain is probably on course to be stuck with a gap of 60 billion pounds between revenues and day-to-day spending by the mid-2020s, the Institute for Fiscal Studies think-tank says.
In a nod to that, Sunak is expected to start raising Britain’s low corporation tax rate.
The Sunday Times said the rate would rise steadily to bring in an extra 12 billion pounds a year by the time of the next election, due in 2024.
Other options include ending a freeze on fuel duty increases which has been in place since 2012 and looks at odds with Britain’s plans to be carbon net zero by 2050.
But higher fuel prices now would hurt the haulage industry, already struggling with Brexit-related disruption, and could alienate working-class voters who backed Johnson in 2019.
Higher capital gains tax or lower pension incentives would anger lawmakers in Johnson’s Conservative Party.
David Gauke, a former deputy finance minister, said the only big revenue-raising options were the ones that Johnson has promised not to touch – income tax, VAT and national insurance contributions.
“In the end, they are going to have to say, sorry we just can’t responsibly maintain that manifesto commitment,” Gauke told the Onward webinar.
($1 = 0.7046 pounds)
(Writing by William Schomberg; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says
By Sonia Elks
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.
Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.
“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.
“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.
While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.
Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.
But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.
The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.
The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.
“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.
“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”
(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says
By Sarah Young
LONDON (Reuters) – Digital health checks will be vital to a recovery in foreign travel from the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s Heathrow airport said on Wednesday, after a collapse in passenger numbers saw it plunge to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) loss last year.
The UK government said on Monday trips abroad could restart in mid-May as its vaccination campaign kicks in, sparking a surge in holiday bookings.
It is also looking into a digital health passport or app to help ease restrictions, while conceding the benefits have to be weighed against potential risks to civil liberties.
But Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said digital technology, and international agreements, would be vital to reviving a travel industry on its knees.
“It’s absolutely critical and that’s one of the main things that government needs to work on,” he said, when asked about a digital health app.
At present, paper checks on COVID-19 test results and passenger locator forms take 20 minutes per traveller at Heathrow, making travel near impossible should passenger numbers rise from current low levels.
Britain’s biggest airport said it was “very likely” people would be able to go on their summer holidays, but expects passenger numbers will take time to recover.
The airport, west of London, is forecasting 25 million passengers in the second half of the year, meaning it would be operating at about 50% capacity.
Heathrow, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority, China Investment Corp and others, last year lost its title as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris after its flight schedules shrank more than those of its rivals.
Passenger numbers plunged 73% to 22 million people last year, with half of those travelling during January and February, before the pandemic shut down global travel in March.
Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity, giving it sufficient resources to keep going with low levels of traffic until 2023, despite the 2 billion loss before tax for 2020.
The airport urged the government to provide business tax breaks for big airports, something only available to smaller airports so far, and to extend the furlough job support scheme to help it financially before the recovery takes off.
($1 = 0.7044 pounds)
(Reporting by Sarah Young. Editing by James Davey and Mark Potter)
Reasons Why You Should Be Opening an Offshore Savings Account Today
No one has to convince you that savings accounts are a bad idea. As a safe investment, this approach is...
Vodafone’s towers arm plans biggest European IPO of 2021 so far
By Paul Sandle and Arno Schuetze LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Vantage Towers, the mobile masts company spun out of Vodafone Group,...
UK’s Sunak to build bridge to recovery with more spending
By William Schomberg LONDON (Reuters) – British finance minister Rishi Sunak will next week promise yet more spending to prop...
Oil rises despite surprise U.S. stock build weighs
By Ahmad Ghaddar LONDON (Reuters) – Oil prices firmed on Wednesday amid continued outages in the United States and a...
Sterling touches $1.42, hits highest vs euro in a year
By Ritvik Carvalho LONDON (Reuters) – Sterling hit $1.42 on Wednesday, coming within touching distance of $1.43, while also reaching...
Strong German data helps European shares recover; Wall Street futures subdued
By Elizabeth Howcroft LONDON (Reuters) – European shares rose but U.S. stocks futures pointed to a further tech sell-off in...
EasyJet to raise up to 1.2 billion euros from bond issue
By Yoruk Bahceli and Abhinav Ramnarayan AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – EasyJet will raise 1-1.2 billion euros from a seven-year bond sale...
ExxonMobil to sell some UK, North Sea assets to HitecVision for over $1 billion
(Reuters) – Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it would sell its non-operating interest in its UK and North Sea...
JPMorgan’s blockchain payments test is literally out of this world
By Anna Irrera LONDON (Reuters) – Stuck in space with bills to pay? Don’t worry, the satellites could take care...
Aussie, pound soar on reflation bets; dollar struggles
By Saikat Chatterjee LONDON (Reuters) – The dollar struggled at multi-year lows against the Antipodean currencies and held near a...