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Metropolitan Waterworks Authority Conferred Asia’s Most Prominent CSR Awards under Health Promotion and Corporate Governance Category

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TAIPEI, TAIWAN – Media_OutReach – 10 June 2019 – A total of 64 projects and business leaders across 16 countries in Asia were selected as recipients of Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards (AREA) 2019, an increase of 19% from last year. Regarded as the top corporate social responsibility awards in Asia, this year’s ceremony was organized in Taipei, after being held in Macau, Singapore, Bangkok, and Manila previously.
Organized by Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for responsible entrepreneurship in Asia, the AREA aims to recognize and honor Asian businesses and leaders for championing sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The award categories are social empowerment, investment in people, health promotion, green leadership, corporate governance, and responsible business leadership. Some of the dignitaries who graced the event include Mr. Chang San-cheng, former premier of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and Mr. Hou Yu-Ih, mayor of New Taipei City.
Leading the list of winners was Metropolitan Waterworks Authority (MWA) who received two awards under the health promotion and corporate governance category. MWA is a state enterprise under the Ministry of Interior. It started its operations in 1967 under the Metropolitan Waterworks Act B.E. 2510 (AD 1967) with an aim to provide raw water sources for waterworks activities, including producing, distributing and selling treated water in Bangkok – Nonthaburi – Samuthprakan, as well as running other businesses related or beneficial to waterworks. The respective winning projects of MWA were “School Tap Water System Project” and “MWA Corporate Governance Council”.
School Tap Water System Project MWA initiated the School Tap Water System Project in 2016. The project was developed from Watershed Forest Conservation Project to honour His Majesty The King. The project consisted of three activities including reforestation, weir construction and school development. The goal of MWA was to develop and provide clean water to at least four schools in remote areas per year as well as to build good relationships between MWA and the communities by bringing out the expertise and knowledge in waterworks of the organization to help the community.
The School Tap Water System project brings out the expertise of MWA to help the Mae Klong River Basin Communities by developing and improving school tap water system via the development of groundwater system and mountain water system, providing high water storage, water filter and plumbing system by the volunteer team which consists of operational staff and MWA executives, reflecting the unity and cooperation of the Company.
From 2016-2018, MWA has provided clean water to 21 schools and plan to provide clean water to at least four schools per year. There was an increase in cooperation in the area of water conservation among governmental agencies, local authorities, private sectors and various civil societies. Furthermore, students, teachers and school personnel have equal access to sufficient clean water and this has helped reduce the expense in purchasing bottled waters. There has also been a decrease in hygiene and health problems of students, reduced sick leaves, and improved quality of life. The project has won Enterprises of the Year Award in 2017 for operations to include social and environmental excellence from State Enterprise Policy Office, Thailand’s Ministry of Finance in 2017.
The School Tap Water System Project is placed in the short-term and long-term plan of MWA allowing the distinct continuous of the operation in the future. This Project also supports the 6th goal of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all. In the fiscal year of 2019, the revision of Annual Operational Plan made the change of School Tap Water System Project into Development/ Improvement of Tap Water System Project to further expand the target groups to religious places together with expanding the area to Chao Phraya River Basin, another major area of MWA.
MWA Corporate Governance Council The MWA Corporate Governance Council was derived from “CG My Idol Project” which searched for leaders and role models in corporate governance among their employees since 2012-2015. It is the first state enterprise which founded the Corporate Governance Council.
In 2016, the board of directors provided Anti-Corruption Policy which focused on corruption prevention as following declaration “MWA with Transparency and Corruption Free” through adding more channels for reporting problems and fault clues within the organization. The MWA CG Council aims to build righteousness and strengthen morality, virtue and corporate governance within the organization. Staff within organization can share their opinions, concerns and problems with the management.
The MWA CG Council was founded in accordance to the National Strategy (2017- 2036), the National Anti-Corruption Strategy (2017-2021) and the 4th MWA’s Strategic Management Planning (2017-2021) that aims MWA to be a high- performance organization with excellent corporate governance, reaching international standards and responding to all stakeholders need. Currently, there are 101 people from election and 15 people are selected to be in MWA CG Council Commission.
The MWA CG Council established MWA CG Council Action Plans to build confidence, faith and solutions to corruption. Furthermore, it can drive operations of MWA to be more effective and efficient with sustainable growth which will lead to excellent service to customers and raise stakeholders’ trust and confidence. From the result of operations, the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA) score was more than 90% which shows that MWA is a well-managed organization with a high level of integrity and transparency.
There are many external organizations which are interested in MWA CG Council such as Anti-Corruption Center, Moral Center, Office of National Anti- Corruption Commission etc. In 2017, MWA received award from Office of National Anti-Corruption Commission; and in 2018, the score of ITA in part of internal stakeholders increased and achieved an overall score of 92.40% which was higher than the target.
In the future, MWA CG Council hopes to emphasize on the working standards as righteous and transparent practices, applying corporate governance principles in order to maximize stakeholder satisfactions and result in an increasing ITA score. The Council plans to act as the role model to other state enterprise organizations and companies; moreover, the council has the main liaison linking between executives and employees, encouraging better employee engagement and organization commitment as well as stakeholders’ trust. For this result, it shall be coordination mechanism from MWA policies to organizational practices, regarding three aspects which are ‘Personnel’ (Appointment/ Transfer / Welfare etc.), ‘Work’ (Proper Chain of Command / Administration / Input- Output Relation) and a problem of ‘Economy’ (Value for investment / Procurement). *** About Enterprise Asia *** Enterprise Asia is a non-governmental organization in pursuit of creating an Asia that is rich in entrepreneurship as an engine towards sustainable and progressive economic and social development within a world of economic equality. Its two pillars of existence are investment in people and responsible entrepreneurship. Enterprise Asia works with governments, NGOs and other organizations to promote competitiveness and entrepreneurial development, in uplifting the economic status of people across Asia and in ensuring a legacy of hope, innovation and courage for the future generation. For more information, visit: https://www.enterpriseasia.org/. *** About Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards *** The Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards recognizes and honors Asian businesses for championing sustainable and responsible entrepreneurship in the categories of Green Leadership, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Social Empowerment, Corporate Governance and Responsible Business Leadership. For more information, visit: https://enterpriseasia.org/area/.

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Digital collaboration: Shaping the Future of Finance

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By Ryan Lester, Senior Director of Customer Experience Technologies at LogMeIn

With heightened economic uncertainty and increased customer expectation becoming the norm in the banking industry, it is understandable that the sector is struggling to keep afloat. Due to its precarious nature, banking institutions are trying their best to ensure they remain relevant in the competitive landscape and guarantee that their customers continue to be a priority.

When it comes to the first half of this year, the pandemic has shown how easy it is for industries to fail. Customers and companies alike had to get used to the new normal, as physical locations started to close. The banking industry felt this first hand, as banks were made to restructure how their business ran, with restricted opening hours and a wider push to motivate people to use online banking.

While some had already embraced digital options prior to the pandemic, this proved to be a stark contrast to the elderly population, who frequently visited branches to access their finances. Moving forward, banks have to adopt new methods to ensure customers get the most out of our their accounts, without their experience suffering.

Heightened Customer Expectations

When the pandemic reached its peak, people were encouraged to use online banking, as telephone contact was under strain with long waiting times and pressure mounting on contact centre agents. According to Fidelity National Information Services (FIS), which works with 50 of the world’s largest banks, there was a 200% jump in new mobile banking registrations in early April, while mobile banking traffic rose 85%.

With branches remaining closed, customers were continuously being urged to limit the amount of calls they made to the most urgent cases and consider whether they could solve their answers through mobile online banking or checking the company website. Although already being adopted in pockets of the industry, this was a real catalyst that spurred banks to up their game on digital channels and with self-service tools.

Banks are challenged with precariously balancing customer needs with the cost of personalised support. With the demographic of customers changing over the last few years, customers are becoming increasingly younger and more comfortable with technology. Influenced by the “Amazon Effect”, their expectations have raised to an all-time high, placing record strain on the sector

Customer experience isn’t just about support anymore, it’s about serving your customer at every point in the journey. Companies have an opportunity to elevate the experience they provide by moving beyond one-and-done interactions to create continuous engagements with their customers. It is starting to become a primary competitive differentiator in the market and one that doesn’t have a lot of variation. Deploying AI chatbot technology will be able to strategically help banks improve customer experience and raise the level of support that agents provide.

Digital collaboration: Working around the Clock

The benefits of adopting digital channels and self-service tools are second to none. By implementing chatbots, fuelled by conversational AI, banks will be able to help serve a wide range of customer queries and ensure they are protected from fraud and scams.

Ryan Lester

Ryan Lester

Conversational AI is exactly what it sounds like: a computer programme that engages in a conversation with a human. When it comes to service delivery, conversational AI can be deployed across multiple channels to engage with customers in ways that effectively address evolving customer needs. At a time defined by COVID-19, self-service tools such a conversational chatbots can work around the clock to solve customer queries in a concise and timely way. Of course, self-service tools won’t completely replace human agents in the banking industry, but they will help companies re-distribute customer traffic and workflows in ways that enhance customer experience. Self-service tools fuelled by conversational AI can also improve employee experience because service employees can handle fewer, but higher-level service tasks that chatbots might escalate to them.

Adopting new tools to help facilitate consistent and concise answers and help maintain customer experience is on the forefront of many industry minds. Banks such as the Natwest Group have seen this first-hand and are testament to the benefits that a good digital experience can provide. Simon Johnson, Capability Consultant, Digital at NatWest Group highlights NatWest’s use of digital tools during lockdown, “Over the last few months, we’ve learnt how to use digital tools to help our employees remotely. From a banking perspective, there have been a lot of changes including base rates, waive fees and the best ways of contacting our vulnerable customers, ensuring we keep them protected from frauds and scams.

“By introducing our Bold360 chatbot interface, Ella, we’ve been able to get relevant information out quickly, apply the best practice and ensure that our customer journeys are being developed correctly. Due to the volume of questions, some of our customers were finding themselves waiting longer than usual. So digital channels become essential to helping reduce the wait time. Using Bold360, we were able to mitigate issues and answer questions in a more timely way through our chatbot.

“Moving forward, as we open more digital services, we are analysing our data to see if customer will return back to their usual way of banking, now that they’ve seen what a good digital experience can provide. Either way, with Ella, we are ready.”

Chatbots and Humans: The Best Option for Customer Service

Over the last year, banking institutions have recognised the power that digital collaboration can have to their success. Delivering exceptional customer service and support is key for any business wanting to stay competitive in today’s market and banks are especially challenged with precariously balancing customer needs with the cost of personalised support. Leveraging the right technology, such as AI-powered chatbots, will enable the banking industry to provide better support and a more robust customer experience in the long term. Other institutions must follow suit, or risk becoming obsolete.

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The 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report Finds Growing Email Volumes and Stressed Employees are Causing Rising Breach Risk   

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Research by Egress reveals organisations suffer outbound email data breaches approximately every 12 working hours 

Egressthe leading provider of human layer data security solutions, today released their 2020 Outbound Email Data Breach Report, which highlights the true scale of data security risks related to email use. 93% of IT leaders surveyed said that their organisation had suffered data breaches through outbound email in the last 12 months. On average, the survey found, an email data breach happens approximately every 12 working hours.* 

Rising outbound email volumes due to COVID-19-related remote working and the digitisation of manual processes are also contributing to escalating risk. 94% of respondents reported an increase in email traffic since the onset of COVID-19 and 70% believe that working remotely increases the risk of sensitive data being put at risk from outbound email data breaches. 

The study, independently conducted by Arlington Research on behalf of Egress, interviewed 538 senior managers responsible for IT security in the UK and US across vertical sectors including financial services, healthcare, banking and legal. 

Key insights from respondents include: 

·         93% had experienced data breaches via outbound email in the past 12 months 

·         Organisations reported at least an average of 180 incidents per year when sensitive data was put at risk, equating to approximately one every 12 working hours 

·         The most common breach types were replying to spear-phishing emails (80%); emails sent to the wrong recipients (80%); incorrect file attachments (80%) 

·         62% rely on people-led reporting to identify outbound email data breaches 

·         94% of surveyed organisations have seen outbound email volume increase during COVID-19. 68% say they have seen increases of between 26 and 75% 

·         70% believe that remote working raises the risk of sensitive data being put at risk from outbound email data breaches 

When asked to identify the root cause of their organisation’s most serious breach incident in the past year, the most common factor was “an employee being tired or stressed”. The second most cited factor was “remote working”. In terms of the impact of the most serious breach incident, on an individual-level, employees received a formal warning in 46% of incidents, were fired in 27% and legal action was brought against them in 28%. At an organisational-level, 33% said it had caused financial damage and more than one-quarter said it had led to an investigation by a regulatory body. 

Traditional email security tools are not solving this problem  

The research also found that 16% of those surveyed had no technology in place to protect data shared by outbound email. Where technology was deployed, its adoption was patchy: 38% have Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools in place, while 44% have message level encryption and 45% have password protection for sensitive documents. However, the study also found that, in one-third of the most serious breaches suffered, employees had not made use of the technology provided to prevent the breach. 

Egress CEO Tony Pepper comments: “Unfortunately, legacy email security tools and the native controls within email environments, such as Outlook for Microsoft 365, are unable to mitigate the outbound email security risks that modern organisations face today. They rely on static rules or user-led decisions and are unable to learn from individual employees’ behaviour patterns. This means they can’t detect any abnormal changes that put data at risk – such as Outlook autocomplete suggesting the wrong recipient and a tired employee adding them to an email.”  

“This problem is only going to get worse with increased remote working and higher email volumes creating prime conditions for outbound email data breaches of a type that traditional DLP tools simply cannot handle. Instead, organisations need intelligent technologies, like machine learning, to create a contextual understanding of individual users that spots errors such as wrong recipients, incorrect file attachments or responses to phishing emails, and alerts the user before they make a mistake.” 

Organisations still cannot paint a full picture of the risks, relying on people-led reporting to identify email breaches, despite severe repercussions 

When an outbound email data breach happens, IT leaders were most likely to find out about it from employees. 20% said they would be alerted by the email recipient, 18% felt another employee would report it, while 24% said the employee who sent the email would disclose their error. However, given the penalties that respondents said were in place for employees who cause a breach, it is not guaranteed that they will be keen to own up, especially if the incident is serious. 46% said that the employee who caused a breach was given a formal warning, while legal action was taken in 28% of cases. In 27% of serious breach cases, respondents said the employee responsible was fired. 

Tony Pepper comments: “Relying on tired, stressed employees to notice a mistake and then report themselves or a colleague when a breach happens is unrealistic, especially given the repercussions they will face. With all the factors at play in people-led data breach reporting, we often find organisations are experiencing 10 times the number of incidents than their aware of. It’s imperative that we build a culture where workers are supported and protected against outbound email breach risk with technology that adapts to the pressures they face and stops them from making simple mistakes in the first place. As workers get used to more regular remote working and reliance on email continues to grow, organisations need to step up to safeguard both employees and data from rising breach risk.” 

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Regulating innovation: the biggest challenge in payments

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By Fady Abdel-Nour, Global Head of M&A and Investments, PayU

Over the course of the last six months, the payments industry has been lauded as one of the most impressive in its agility responding to Covid-19. Consumers and merchants have flocked online and safety has been a significant driver of the move to digital as entire countries discourage the use of cash – but what of financial and data security?

As digital payments adoption accelerates, there’s no time to waste. The pressure is on for governments and regulators to not only ensure security keeps pace with new consumer demand, but to look ahead and clear the road for future innovation.

Acceleration in digital payments

At PayU, we operate in 20 markets across the globe. Since the start of the pandemic, every single one of these markets has seen a seismic shift in consumer habits. In Poland, for example, the number of new onboarded e-shops was three times higher between March and May than in previous months. And in Colombia, e-commerce activity was 282% higher than pre-lockdown levels. Some merchants across our markets saw year-on-year revenue growth of a staggering 500-1000% during April and May.

New merchants are seeing this potential, moving online to increase their customer base and keep economies ticking. But with great innovation comes corresponding regulations. How can regulators keep up?

Innovation vs. regulation: an incompatible duo?

New ideas and technologies are undeniably critical to ensure services keep up with consumer behaviour. However, for this to happen safely, there needs to be collaboration between our industry’s innovators and regulators. Progress requires us to challenge and expand existing boundaries, holding our shared goal in mind.

Important as this concept is, it is by no means revolutionary. The widely pedalled narrative that innovators and regulators are at loggerheads is, quite frankly, outdated. It is not true that innovation in financial services has to disrupt existing systems and infrastructure. We have already seen countless examples of regulators working with the fintech ecosystem to enable and support innovation.

Across the emerging markets that PayU operates in, innovation initiatives are in place to educate entrepreneurs on the regulatory environment in which they operate. In Brazil, the central bank has established a sandbox, the Laboratory of Financial and Technological Innovation, to help fintech startups work more closely with regulators and government and accelerate the development of their ideas. The aim is to create a more efficient financial system, increase financial inclusion and reduce the cost of credit through better regulation. As the country rolls out Open Banking, acknowledging fintech’s potential to drive better socio-economic inclusion is incredibly encouraging.

It would be remiss of me not to mention The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) here. To date, it has excelled in driving positive change by ensuring new players and services can operate within regulatory constraints. If they are unable to do so, the MAS reviews its framework and, where appropriate, adjusts it to safely progress innovation rather than stifle it. In 2019, for example, it issued five new digital bank licenses. Later in the year, it launched the Sandbox Express to help create a faster option for testing innovative financial services in the market.

The open-minded and collaborative approach of these regulatory models marks the future of financial regulation to me. The world is changing quickly and the parameters that keep us secure have to adapt and morph more than ever before. The job is not simple, but it can boost innovation and build a safe and sustainable financial environment, where pioneers are empowered to set the pace for change.

Consumer demand is only one side of the (digital) coin

The other trend creating complexity for regulators is the move towards embedded finance and Big Tech’s involvement in this.

Fady Abdel-Nour

Fady Abdel-Nour

Broadly, embedded finance means that fintech services are expanding beyond the walls of banks and becoming part of other business models rather than a standalone entity. This is a challenge in itself, as regulators will need to be vigilant to ensure that payments, credit and other financial services remain secure and customers are protected.

Across Europe, the US, Latin America, Asia and Africa, governments have also been grappling with how to regulate Big Tech. Facebook, for example, has launched ‘Facebook Financial’ to pursue opportunities in digital payments and e-commerce. Similarly, regulators in Brazil and India have been trying to navigate WhatsApp’s attempts to establish its new payments feature in both markets. These features were suspended by Brazil’s central bank and have been in testing in India for over two years.

The good news is that regulators are paying attention. The pushback we’re seeing is not simply aversion to change, but industry experts exploring how these developments can keep consumer needs at the heart and enhance the current payment ecosystem. New business models and new players are important to keeping us all at the top of our game.

Regulating a changing financial ecosystem

We’re in a truly remarkable age, where the role of regulation is being tested again and again. I believe that regulators have a more vital role to play than ever. Covid-19 has been a powerful catalyst in the financial sector and there is some positive change to be harnessed from the disruption.

If navigated shrewdly, regulators will succeed in capitalising on new trends to retain their core purpose: to ensure the safety and security of the customer and support positive change. The whole industry will need to work together closely to build a regulatory framework that is fertile for innovation and allows us to realise the enormous potential of payments in this new decade. So, what are we waiting for?

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