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India’s largest commercial bank establishes an office in Australia

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India's largest commercial bank establishes an office in Australia

State Bank of India is the nation’s leading commercial bank with the maximum number of customers. Serving over 450 million customers and claiming virtually 1/4th of the market share for deposits and advances, India’s largest depository financial institution heads to Victoria, Australia.

Victoria is already the hub for several Indian businesses including HCL, Infosys, TCS, Tech Mahindra, Wipro, Zomato, Zoonga and others. And with SBI’s entry, the nation’s bond with Victoria only deepens. The financial sector in Victoria is one of the primary sources of employment and income generation.

SBI Managing Director Dinesh Kumar Khara was thrilled at the establishment of the bank in the vibrant city of Melbourne. The presence of the bank in the business-centric city will help establish an unprecedented relationship and will be an enormous economic booster, especially for India.

The State of Victoria hires over one lakh candidates annually and generates over 40 billion Australian dollars every year.Steve Dimopoulos, Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer and a Labour Party member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly extended a warm welcome during the opening of the bank’s first branch in Australia. He is delighted by the fact that SBI is India’s first Indian bank to establish its operations in the State of Victoria.The grand inauguration was set to mark the bank’s first ever establishment on Australian soil.

This first-of-its-kind establishment is inspired by the breath-taking success of the two-way merchandise trade between India and Victoria. The year 2018 alone saw a net worth of $1.76 billion in merchandise trade. State Bank of India’s first setup in Victoria will power the trade and investment relationships between the two nations, strengthening the bond further.

SBI’s Melbourne office is entrusted with the responsibility of overlooking the trade and investment relations between the two nations. It is expected to run its operations with the exclusive need to assist the growing trade and investment activities with the mission to achieve future shared goals and expand the business.

The 10-year Indian strategy will benefit immensely from the bank, concentrating its activities on education, health, sports and technology. The strategy is attracting investments from India in the technology sector with a couple of Southern States of India joining the movement.

The fact that Australia’s global banks, ANZ and NAB are headquartered in Melbourne gives the financial sector in Victoria a competitive edge over others.The Commonwealth Bank of Australia also has significant operations in Melbourne and will benefit the State Bank of India located in the region.

Melbourne has a vibrant and thriving atmosphere with robust financial services. The highly skilled workforce brings diverse tools and techniques into the financial sector and,the launch of the State Bank of India for the first time is the feather in the cap for the financial domain in Australia.

Both the Governments and its representatives are looking forward to long-lasting relationships that also strengthen trade relations between the two nations.This will set the platform to explore lucrative opportunities for future expansion plans and build a model to derive maximum returns.

Banking

Britain to review surcharge on bank profits

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Britain to review surcharge on bank profits 1

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s finance minister Rishi Sunak has said the government will review the surcharge levied on bank profits, in a bid to keep the UK competitive with rival financial centres in the United States and the European Union.

Sunak said in his Budget statement on Wednesday he was launching the review so that the combined tax burden on banks did not rise significantly after planned increases to corporation tax.

Leaving the surcharge unchanged would make UK taxation of banks “uncompetitive and damage one of the UK’s key exports”, the government said in its Budget document.

Changes will be laid out in the autumn and legislated for in the forthcoming Finance Bill 2021-22, the document said.

The surcharge on bank profits raised 1.5 billion pounds for the government in 2020, the document showed.

It is separate to the more lucrative bank levy on bank balance sheets, which raised 2.5 billion pounds.

(Reporting by Iain Withers, Editing by Huw Jones)

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Banking

Nedbank private wealth celebrates its tenth anniversary in Dubai

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Nedbank private wealth celebrates its tenth anniversary in Dubai 2

After ten years operating in Dubai, Nedbank Private Wealth is looking forward to continuing to support its client base and further build its business as the region expands its welcome to expatriates.

International wealth manager, Nedbank Private Wealth, today (Monday) kicked off the celebrations for its tenth anniversary of operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), having originally opened its representative office in Dubai in 2011.

Andrew Bates, head of private banking for the Middle East, stated: “While we clearly identified multiple opportunities in the region from the outset, we have been surprised by the development of the financial sector and particularly recently. In addition, there is an increased scope for growth emerging as the region seeks to rotate away from oil as its predominant source of wealth.

“The UAE authorities are clearly thinking strategically about the future sustainability of the country’s appeal and Dubai’s as a financial hub. This was clear from the introduction of five and ten-year long-term residency visas in 2019, as well as the more recent ‘right to retire’ initiative, and the extension of citizenship on an invitation-only basis, provided appropriate capital criteria is met. We may already be seeing these impact property prices, which, particularly for family villas, have started to buck the recent trend that saw values soften.”

Foreign residents account for more than 80% of the population of the UAE’s seven sheikhdoms and, while they have been a mainstay of the economy for decades, the requirement for employment-led visas has remained consistent. In 2019, the UAE authorities approved the issuance of five and ten-year residency visas, which are automatically renewed. In 2020, the Dubai government offered individuals over the age of 55 the chance to ‘Retire in Dubai’ through a structured scheme. In January 2021, the UAE announced plans to extend citizenship to named individuals to attract talent and boost economic growth.

Meanwhile, the recent decision by Oman to progress with an income tax may mark the start of other GCC countries considering new taxes, following a similar pattern to the introduction of VAT. The boutique British-Isles-headquartered provider sees taxation supporting the growth of the wealth management sector, as the need for planning, to help clients achieve better long-term outcomes for their wealth, increases as individuals’ finances become more complex.

The anniversary comes at a time when Nedbank Private Wealth sees opportunities expanding in the UAE due to its handling of the pandemic. The country is ahead of all developed nations, bar Israel, in its inoculation programme, and is on track to have vaccinated half its population by the end of March 2021.

In August 2020, the UAE normalised relations with Israel, which will ease the lives of Jewish expatriates in the UAE, as well as the Israelis with dual citizenship who live, visit and work in the UAE. Immediate changes followed the announcement, including the UAE allowing people to direct dial Israel’s +972 country code, while both countries are planning regular commercial flights, following the first such flight from Israel to the UAE at the end of the same month.

Nedbank Private Wealth’s licence allows the business to offer wealth management, lending and private banking solutions to clients, as well as the opportunity for them to access wealth structuring vehicles. The celebrations will be concentrated on online activity, given the pandemic and the desire by Nedbank Private Wealth to protect its clients and its employees.

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Banking

Transforming the corporate WAN: a network to bank on

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Transforming the corporate WAN: a network to bank on 3

By Johan Ottosson, VP Strategy at Telia Carrier, looks at current opinions in the banking and finance sector on corporate WANs and new ways of doing things.

 

The banking and financial services industries have fully embraced the digital revolution. They rely on their ability to make transactions safely —at speed and at scale — and they want cutting-edge solutions that maximise efficiency and minimise carbon footprint. However, recent global research from Telia Carrier on the evolution of the corporate WAN and cloud, reveals dissatisfaction with current WAN providers and uncertainty about better solutions. Put simply, leaders in the banking and financial services industries know what they want, but they face significant challenges as they try to develop the corporate WAN for the 2020s.

Our research looked at the evolution of the corporate WAN and cloud adoption in four of the world’s biggest markets — the US, the UK, Germany and France. The research, based on a survey of senior decision-makers, reveals dissatisfaction with current WAN providers and uncertainty about better solutions from key stakeholders. Broadly, the conclusion was that leaders in the banking and financial services industries know what they want but not necessarily how to achieve it. 

The digital opportunity

In the world of banking and financial services, leveraging the public Internet and enabling cloud-based services dominate the WAN landscape (93% and 96% respectively in our survey).  Industry leaders rely heavily on connectivity – both for their core processes and new digital customer interaction – and are hungry for new tools that improve speed and efficiency, but are also mindful of environmental concerns, with significant numbers associating good technology with green technology.  Institutions understand the importance of evolving their technology, and can see how transforming their corporate WANs can have a positive impact on the business:

  • 85% in the banking industry and 90% in financial services want more automation to enhance their network services and connectivity experience
  • Network visibility plays an important role in managing reliability and the end-customer experience.  46% in banking and 39% in financial services make use of application programming interfaces (APIs) to gain real-time visibility of their WAN performance
  • 41% say a corporate WAN outage would have a high impact on their businesses, so appreciate the significance of building in resilience, and working with the right providers
  • Significant numbers associate good technology with green technology:  28% of banks and a sizeable 44% of financial services companies say they only shortlist companies with a strong commitment to environmental responsibility. 

Getting over the challenges

In today’s world, banks and financial services institutes need the bandwidth, scalability and network footprint to adapt to changes in traffic volumes as they grow and expand across diverse geographies.  They also need bandwidth flexibility during spikes in traffic, optimal levels of data security throughout the ecosystem of providers, low latency that minimises lag and delay, and a combination of self-provisioning tools and personalised, human-touch service and support.  That is a lot of things to try and get right! 

For too many, however, this is a WAN ideal that is out of reach. 

The problem stems partly from the legacy of a different era, where connectivity needs where equal to a static, internal-facing WAN, and the supplier base mainly limited to incumbent telco providers. Internet connectivity – equal to the local ISP – was a minor concern with limited applicability for the WAN. This tendency to think of the public Internet as a commodity that doesn’t vary significantly in quality seems to persist – 48% of those surveyed in banks, and 63% in Financial Services firms believed this – but this couldn’t be further from the truth.  This outdated view, and the lack of knowledge of alternative providers, can mean that leaders are not always making informed decisions about their network development strategies.  As a potential option more in line with today’s requirements, the global Tier 1 network providers of 2021 have long outpaced the old Postal Telegraph and Telecommunications (PTT) of 20 years ago, and offer direct, high-bandwidth connectivity to the Internet and cloud but are often overlooked. 

Speed, bandwidth and consistency are not the only factors either.  Security and customer experience matter immensely for any business, but understandably banking and financial services are particularly sensitive to both.  Here, a worrying 41% of banks and 38% of financial services companies say simple problems take providers too long to resolve with their existing provider.  Often, this is not just about the level of technical resource available, but where it sits in the network. In an Internet-centric network, the further down the supply chain, and away from the backbone that a network provider sits, the more likely it is to suffer congestion, and the more complicated it can be to discover a root cause and get it fixed.

The biggest pain point for respondents was security, which is so critical to banks and financial services companies (33% and 20% respectively highlighted this). Yet, despite attacks such as BGP hijacks (also known as route or IP hijacks), affecting large brands, many companies are unaware of how to keep traffic safe in an Internet-based delivery model. Whether it is ensuring customer data remains protected in transit or having the resilience to defend against DDoS attacks designed to try and taking financial institutions offline – a network provider should be the first point of defence for its customers. 

Moving forward

Banking and financial services industries may need to review their IT strategies and look more deeply into the infrastructure underpinning their mission-critical networks. Top-ranked Tier 1 backbone networks can promise high bandwidth and low latency and, thanks to their close relationships to the tech companies that have built their business on the Internet, also explore transformative tools and technologies.  But there are questions that should be asked of every network provider to evaluate for your connectivity needs, and these broadly fit into five areas:

    • Scalability and reach – Does it have the capacity, footprint and peering ecosystem to adapt to rapid changes in the volume of data traffic, regardless of where or for which digital service? 
    • Reliability – Is the supplier able to resolve issues quickly, or better yet, prevent them from happening by re-routing traffic easily to avoid congestion and service outages? 
    • Security – Can it keep customer and business-critical data safe; does it offer the right mix of public Internet and private connectivity, with full network control, down to the fibre layer? How will it help keep your Internet-facing attack surfaces shielded?
    • Innovation – Is it a leader in fibre optics, APIs, SD-WAN and other emerging technologies?
  • Sustainability – Does it have a good track record on sustainability; does it deploy new technology in the most environmentally responsible way; do its data centres prioritise green energy? 

The banking and financial services sectors rely on their ability to make transactions safely —at speed and at scale – so strong corporate networks are core to the business model.  Corporate network providers are mission critical partners, so the choice of network provider has a critical role to play in any brands future, especially in an increasingly digitalised world. 

Building a scorecard for each supplier around each of the key areas outlined above can help in making more informed choices that will be aligned with your connectivity goals.  For banks and financial services organisations that really want to create the networks that will transform their businesses, whilst controlling costs and reducing their carbon footprint, it will be essential to review their network strategies for the next three to five years.  Network providers can be strategic partners supporting growth and innovation — the trick is choosing one that is aligned with your needs.

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