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BBVA Bank Selects Fujitsu’s Quantum-Inspired Digital Annealer to Explore Customers’ Investment Portfolios

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BBVA Bank Selects Fujitsu’s Quantum-Inspired Digital Annealer to Explore Customers’ Investment Portfolios 1

News facts:

–         BBVA, one of Spain’s largest financial institutions, has undertaken a proof of concept with Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer to explore new ways of optimising investment portfolios

–         Digital Annealer delivers more processing power than traditional computing, enabling it to rapidly evaluate possible combinations, based on historical data

–         Proof of concept is one of several BBVA projects to identify specific financial use cases where quantum technologies can deliver a greater advantage over traditional computing

Fujitsu today announces that it is collaborating with BBVA, Spain’s second largest bank, on a proof of concept (PoC) of its quantum-inspired optimisation solution Digital Annealer1. The bank wants to determine whether the Digital Annealer could outperform traditional computing techniques in optimising asset portfolios, helping minimise risk while maximising returns, based on a decade’s worth of historical data.

Underlining its efforts to be at the forefront of innovation in the financial sector, BBVA2 is conducting multiple studies to determine how quantum technologies could represent an advantage over traditional tools in different financial use cases. In support, BBVA launched a strategy that involves forging alliances, strengthening its internal capacity around this technology, evaluating different available tools, and developing proof of concepts in collaboration with research centers, traditional businesses and startups. In addition to portfolio optimisation, BBVA researchers are also exploring how the technology can be applied to areas such as the simulation of financial scenarios, currency arbitrage and credit scoring processes.

Regularly optimising portfolios is a typical challenge for financial institutions. But while creating projections for individual assets can be relatively easily, balancing an entire investment portfolio is incredibly complex. This is because there are countless possible combinations. For example, finding the optimal selection from just 20 stocks generates the equivalent of over one quintillion (1018) permutations. Because of this complexity, portfolio optimisation has traditionally been a manual task, guided more frequently by guesswork than empirical data – simply because the convoluted calculations far exceed the capabilities of regular computers. However, Fujitsu’s Digital Annealer has been designed to process exactly this sort of complex combinatorial problem in just minutes.

BBVA’s Research and Patents team wanted to explore how Digital Annealer could be deployed to optimise an investment portfolio by evaluating different assets based on information including historical market prices to determine the level of investment in each. The bank also intends to use Fujitsu Digital Annealer to also identify the best possible time to buy or sell assets, to maximise portfolio value.

The project is still in an exploratory phase, but early results point to a set of advantages for the Digital Annealer in comparison to tools currently used to resolve complex problems quickly, accurately, and efficiently. Specifically, the PoC between BBVA and Fujitsu has determined that better results can be obtained for large-scale calculations involving more than 100 assets or factors.

Carlos Cordero, Chief Technology Officer at Fujitsu in Spain comments: “All industries have multiple areas that would benefit from optimisation however generally the sheer complexity of the problems means that guesswork or trial and error are the most common methods. While true quantum computing as a technology is still in the laboratory testing phase, Digital Annealer represents a bridge to this future technology, thanks to its ability to evaluate multiple different combinations extremely rapidly. Bringing this optimisation to the financial industry, for example to identify the optimal portfolio and the ideal time to acquire or offload assets can make a huge difference to the returns it delivers.”

Carlos Kuchkovky, BBVA Global Head of Research and Patents, explained: “The quantum technologies ecosystem is evolving very quickly and we believe that the collaboration with various partners, public and private alike, is key in order to translate the benefits of the technology into tangible progress, for the banking sector and for society at large. Although this technology is still in an early stage of development, its potential to impact the sector is already a reality. Our research is helping us identify the areas where quantum computing could represent a greater competitive advantage, once the tools have sufficiently matured. At BBVA, we believe that quantum technology will be key to solving some of the major challenges facing society this decade. Addressing these challenges dovetails with BBVA’s strategic priorities, such as fostering the more efficient use of increasingly greater volumes of data for better decision-making as well as supporting the transition to a more sustainable future.”

Fujitsu has already deployed the Digital Annealer to solve multiple different problems for many industries, including identifying the optimal seam patterns for welding robots to follow on an automotive assembly line, determining the best routes for delivery trucks, finding the ideal parts placement and picking routes for distribution warehouses, maximising return on investment for utilities companies and, in the pharmaceutical sector, accelerating the discovery of new substances and development of new drugs.

Banking

Study of 50,000+ UK banking app reviews reveals customer ‘frictions’ among prominent retail banks

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Study of 50,000+ UK banking app reviews reveals customer ‘frictions’ among prominent retail banks 2

o   Login and user authentication: Nearly a third (30%) of digital banking app customers had issues with logging into the app through their devices, and 1 in 5 (20%) cited problems with username and password or passcode authentication

o   Customer service:

§  Nearly a quarter (24%) of customers felt like they were waiting too long for customer support

§  Over 1 in 5 (22%) were unhappy with the customer resolution

§  Over 1 in 10 (16%) customers cited that the support over chat was unavailable or not useful

o   Notifications: Almost a quarter (24%) cited that the wrong operation – or none at all – was performed when they clicked on the notification icon. 23% didn’t receive notifications for payments while 1 in 5 (20%) received too many notifications

 Today Mobiquity, a full-service digital transformation enabler, launches a ‘Friction Report to benchmark UK & NL mobile banking apps,’ identifying ‘frictions’ within the UK digital banking app customer experience.

The study of 50,000+ UK customer banking app reviews within the Google Play Store and the App store shows the main ‘frictions’ across prominent UK retail banks.

One of the key issues was with login and password authentication. Nearly a third (30%) of digital banking app customers had issues logging into the app through their devices and 1 in 5 (20%) cited problems with username and password or password authentication.

Another ‘friction’ was customer service; nearly a quarter (24%) of users felt like they were waiting too long for customer support.

Almost a quarter (24%) cited problems with notifications. Either the wrong operation was performed, or no operation was performed at all when they clicked on the notification icon. 23% didn’t receive notifications for payments while 1 in 5 (20%) received too many notifications.

Meanwhile, over 1 in 5 (22%) were unhappy with the customer resolution, and over 1 in 10 (16%) customers cited that the support over chat was unavailable or not useful.

Commenting on the report, Matthew Williamson, Vice President of Global Financial Services, Mobiquity said: “As the use of digital payments increases during the pandemic, so has mobile banking usage. The launch of Mobiquity’s Banking Friction Report helps banks to identify the ‘business frictions’ in their mobile banking experience to help align with evolving customer expectations.”

“An interesting observation that can be made is that most of the banking apps in the Google Play and App store score highly, but when you only account for reviews where people actually leave comments regarding an app feature, i.e. feature ratings, scores are quite low. This can be attributed to users no longer having to proactively go to the Google Play or App store to rate an app, but now are prompted to review an app while they are using it.”

“Nowadays, banks cannot risk treating their customers as passive observers, building products and features that do not take their feedback into consideration. Looping customer feedback into the decision-making process is key as banks get real-time information regarding which aspect of the app customers value the most, and where they find the most friction while interacting with the app.”

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Banking

The future of offshore banking

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The future of offshore banking 3

By Granville Turner, Director at Turner Little.

Despite its misconceptions, the popularity of offshore banking is growing. Not only is it a perfectly legal way of holding your money, but with the right professional advice, it is also reassuringly simple to open an account.

This ease-of-use is prompting many offshore banks to change their offering to compete and make overseas banking even more accessible. No longer is it limited to just the super-rich.

So, what does the future look like for offshore banks? We’ve compiled a list of the top fundamental changes happening in the realm of offshore banking.

Catering to niche markets is the future

Rather than managing account holder’s money in general, offshore banks are tapping into how they can best serve different demographics. Essentially, it is about taking a more bespoke approach to managing money at various stages of life.

But catering to a variety of markets doesn’t just stop there. Many overseas banks are now accepting crypto as a form of currency to appeal to digital, tech-savvy generations.

Cryptocurrency is also attractive for those who see the security benefits it can offer.

Paper chains are fast becoming a thing of the past

As banks move away from paper in favour of digital, security is on everyone’s minds. This is because information is an important asset to many businesses, so protecting it is vital. As such, banks are securing data with the most vigorous encryption security standards.

For account holders, this means digital bank transfers and communication become less of a risk and the smarter thing to do. Paper chains are fast becoming a thing of the past.

Instant access, day or night

In today’s digital world, you don’t need to travel overseas to open an offshore bank account; everything can be done online or over the phone. And like most UK standard current accounts, many offshore accounts now offer online and mobile banking features. So account holders can manage their offshore finances and investments while transferring funds with ease.

Branchless banking

Offshore banks are following the same route of challenging onshore banks by going branchless. This offers substantial benefits for account holders, as branchless offshore banks don’t pass on as much overhead costs to the customer. Ultimately, this means customers can earn better interest rates and other returns on their investments.

Happy to help

At Turner Little, we work closely with offshore banks to provide you with quality service tailored to your needs. With over 20 years of international banking experience and specialist expert knowledge, we will assist you with your enquiries, no matter how complex. And every account we arrange comes with internet banking, card facilities and the ability to transact internationally.

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Banking

Hong Kong’s First Multi-Cloud Challenger Bank Goes Live with Temenos

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Hong Kong’s First Multi-Cloud Challenger Bank Goes Live with Temenos 4
  • WeLab Bank designed, built and launched using cloud-native Temenos Transact in less than 10 months
  • WeLab offers next generational digital services for the 7.5m people in Hong Kong to access from their mobile phones
  • Customers can open accounts remotely in just 5 minutes with bank reporting 10,000 account openings within 10 days of launch

Temenos (SIX: TEMN), the banking software company, today announced that WeLab Bank, Hong Kong’s first homegrown virtual bank, has publicly launched using cloud-native Temenos Transact to provide a range of next generation digital services for customers to enjoy 24/7 from their mobile phones. Designed, built and launched in less than 10 months, the fully digital bank has seen rapid take up with a reported 10,000 account openings within the first 10 days of launch.

WeLab Bank is powered by cloud agnostic Temenos Transact for core banking along with Temenos Analytics and Financial Crime Mitigation. Implemented on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud, WeLab is the first multi cloud digital bank in Hong Kong. Operating on multiple clouds at the same time gives WeLab increased operational resilience and disaster recovery capability and is a regulatory requirement of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority for new digital banks. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit 2020 report for Temenos, 81% of global banking executives surveyed believe a multi-cloud strategy will become a regulatory prerequisite.

Developing a cost-effective and scalable core banking solution was paramount for WeLab. Temenos cloud native software is built for the digital age using API-first and DevOps principles and engineered to deploy in containers and microservices. This makes it easy for WeLab to scale for future business growth efficiently and eliminates the need to provision for peak processing volumes so that the bank only pays for its actual usage, yielding significant cost savings.

Critically, with NuoDB the solution delivers a cloud-agnostic, distributed relational database that enables WeLab to deploy an active-active on-demand database across multiple cloud providers with near zero downtime failover.

Temenos Transact is a preconfigured system and so requires very little coding and with Temenos model bank to address local practices and regulations, WeLab was able to bring its service to market faster and extend its innovation with more than 400 out-of-the-box APIs.

With Temenos, WeLab bank is set to transform banking in Hong Kong. In as fast as 5 minutes, customers can remotely open a WeLab Bank account with $0 monthly fees and start enjoying differentiated services such as time deposits with competitive rates, an interest-bearing deposit account with an instant virtual Debit Card, and real-time payments powered by Faster Payment System (FPS). Everything can be done on a mobile phone, simply and effortlessly.

Adrian Tse, CEO at WeLab Bank, commented: “WeLab Bank was born from an initiative to reimagine the banking experience for the 7.5 million people of Hong Kong. From the start, we knew this vision needed the most advanced cloud native technology and a partner that shared our vision for digital transformation. With Temenos we have efficiently built WeLab Bank from scratch, free from any legacies, with innovative features that proactively help customers to take control of their money and their financial journey.”

Max Chuard, Chief Executive Officer, Temenos, said: “Congratulations to WeLab Bank on the launch of their trailblazing new digital bank. Building and launching a licensed bank in such a rapid timeframe is a fantastic achievement and we are proud to have supported them in becoming the first multi-cloud digital bank in Hong Kong. Temenos cloud-native, cloud-agnostic strategy means we can satisfy the needs of the most innovative and ambitious neobanks like WeLab Bank to run on multiple cloud providers. We know this is just the beginning for WeLab and we are excited to be part of their story as they revolutionize banking for people in Hong Kong.”

Bob Walmsley, CEO of NuoDB said: “We are excited to be partnering with Temenos to help WeLab Bank achieve their aggressive launch timelines and deliver innovative banking services to its customers. We were inspired by the technical vision of WeLab and knew that executing an on-demand, multi-cloud strategy was a perfect fit for NuoDB. Our enterprise-class, distributed SQL database combined with Temenos’ cloud-native technology helps banks of all sizes around the globe migrate to the cloud to improve agility and reduce costs.”

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