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OPEN BANKING LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD FOR SMES AND BRINGS HOPE OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

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OPEN BANKING LEVELS THE PLAYING FIELD FOR SMES AND BRINGS HOPE OF A BETTER FUTURE FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES

11 January 2018 – By Felicia Meyerowitz Singh, Co-founder & CEO, Akoni Hub

It’s been a long time coming but we are entering an era of greater access and better financial services that will finally put the needs of customers first.

Felicia Meyerowitz Singh

Felicia Meyerowitz Singh

The catalyst of achieving this much needed and long overdue result is the culmination of big debate, endless lobbying and necessary government legislation. All this hard work will bear fruit on January 13th when the law of Open Banking comes into force.

For years banks have sat on the most valuable asset to any business: the infinite transactional and financial data of customers that essentially define individual’s tastes, preferences, budgets and – crucially – their requirements for building and planning their lives.

High street banks – reluctant to share their oligarchy of power, held on tightly to this data – unwilling to share it with others – or use it to enrich their consumer experience and put them at the heart of their business model.

With open banking, this power will be wrestled from the big incumbents and data will be available to third parties, SMEs and new digital players. This will lead to a better future for financial services, one that increases competition and creates a greater consumer experience.  More businesses will finally have a shot at delivering services that are tailored and relevant to individual customers.

Open Banking will also strengthen the role and influence of FinTech companies that have the agility and open APIs to make data sharing possible and to disrupt the status quo. We have already seen new banks like Starling Bank taking the lead, by creating partnerships with other FinTechs to create a customer rich ‘Amazon of Banking’ experience.

Together with multiple significant other sources of data being made available with consent and through API format, this will finally deliver financial products in a simple and meaningful manner, with automated prompts as companies or market products change, resulting in data innovation and improved financial outcomes, as well as removing the hassle for enterprises, saving time and money.

Key to this is delivering analytics in an easily understandable form without overwhelming businesses – leveraging the rapidly advancing data science technologies, machine learning and AI, as well as outstanding design and user experience is part of the market change we are moving towards.  While the UK and EU lead the way, there are early sprigs of global growth for international solutions.

Incumbents are not resting on their laurels. Many banks and financial institutions that make up the global sector are making impressive strides to capitalise on open banking, while also exploring valuable collaborations with new innovators that can help them harness the immense value of their data.

A great example is BBVA, which has embraced the digital movement and has set itself apart from other global offerings and is putting the client front and centre. The Spanish bank has nurtured the development of impressive FinTech firms – such as the digital ID startup Covault- while also making some canny acquisitions to keep it at the forefront of innovation that resonates with a new generation of consumers and keeps them agile and technology focused.  This includes the purchase of digital bank Simple.

Open banking also presents some challenges. Exposing large quantities of personal consumer data could increase the risk of cyber-attacks, hacking and identify-theft. The possible reluctance of customers to share their personal data could also derail the initiative. Educating consumers and gaining their trust around data sharing will therefore be crucial to the success of this initiative. So too the need for businesses to share information within a secure platform and for online payment providers to be scrutinised by the rigorous laws in place.

If all goes well, the developments of open banking – and the opportunities they bring to consumers– cannot be overstated. Banks will get another chance at creating better value-added services, while SMEs will finally have the access they need to deliver what their customers truly want and ultimately transform their consumer experience.  Additionally, corporates are also now included in the scope of Open banking, increasing pressure on banks to deliver improved services to the neglected business market.

We only hope that customers will see the value of it all to willingly share their data and banks will leverage their relationships of trust to deliver solutions of value to their commercial client base. With their consent, the blueprint for a better future of finance can be mapped out for generations to come.

Felicia Meyerowitz Singh is the Co-founder and CEO of emerging fintech business Akoni Hub, a new, innovative and simple cash management tool for SMEs. She has significant experience in high-growth financial services businesses and start-ups operating in the UK FCA regulated environment – including, Alexander Forbes, Media Services, Primary Group and Howden – and she has launched a number of digital market platforms.

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery

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Lufthansa adds more summer holiday destinations in bet on recovery 1

BERLIN (Reuters) – Lufthansa is adding more holiday destinations to its summer flight schedule from Germany in anticipation of a strong rebound in bookings, it said on Thursday, betting COVID-19 vaccines and testing will soon make vacation travel possible.

Germany’s largest airline said it was planning to add around 20 new destinations from Frankfurt and 13 from Munich to locations such as the Caribbean, the Canary Islands and Greece.

COVID-19 vaccines and testing, along with strict hygiene rules at airports and on planes, will be prerequisites for travel this summer, it said.

“We expect many countries to relax travel restrictions towards the summer as more and more people have been vaccinated,” Lufthansa board member Harry Hohmeister said in a statement.

Hohmeister said the airline, which secured a 9 billion euro ($11 billion) state bailout last year, expects a sharp increase in demand once restrictions are lifted.

Concerned about more transmissible coronavirus mutations, many European Union countries have reinstated border controls in what is normally a passport-free travel zone.

“There is a great yearning for travel and we believe that the summer months will reflect this,” Hohmeister added.

In Britain, holiday bookings soared this week after the government laid out plans to gradually relax coronavirus restrictions, giving battered airlines and tour operators hope that a bumper summer could come to their rescue.

Plans for relaxing coronavirus travel restrictions have not been announced yet in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel is due to discuss lockdown options with the head of the regional governments next Wednesday.

Lufthansa, which said in January it was losing a million euros every two hours, is due to publish its fourth quarter results on March 4.

($1 = 0.8187 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Ilona Wissenbach. Editing by Mark Potter)

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TRUiC Evaluates The Latest Additions to Registered Agents in the US

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TRUiC Evaluates The Latest Additions to Registered Agents in the US 2

The US is still the top choice for new businesses that have a global focus. That is not to say that they are all physically located there. Despite the pandemic creating challenges for startups seeking investment, many are still steaming ahead. More and more, companies from Europe and Asia dominate Amazon and other distribution chains in the US via a US registered entity that relies on a registered agent. What should you know about registered agents?

When forming an LLC, there are a few additions to registered agent services in 2021 that could be extremely helpful to ensure that you always maintain your privacy, never miss important mail, and make you aware of legal obligations that may occur without being too costly or complicated. When you are launching a startup as an entrepreneur, it is vital to decide which registered agent service as they act as a point of contact between a business and a state and will greatly benefit your small business in the long-term.

In short, a registered agent will primarily act as your business’s main channel of communication with your states’ government. A non-profit, corporation or LLC can appoint a registered agent service to receive government correspondence, compliance documents on behalf of the business, and service of process – which is arguably the most important role of a registered agent as this informs an entity or individual of an impending lawsuit against him/her or the company.

Suggested video – What is a Registered Agent by TRUiC:

Next will be a review and comparison between the features of the best online business services of 2021 to see which is the top registered agent service when forming an LLC:

Rocket Lawyer

Assisting in the formation of over 800,000 businesses, partnerships with experienced legal professionals like Rocket Lawyer makes for a great option to serve as your registered agent service, all thanks to their 100% satisfaction guarantee. Although their services cost slightly more, they can still provide a full year for free if you subscribe to their Accelerate legal service plan for $49.95/month. Additional benefits include:

  • The company is supported by Google Ventures
  • Norton Web Security Protection & Information website
  • Legal Services Pan which includes consultations with business attorneys

Incfile

Classified as high-quality registered agent services and boasting over 150,000 customers served since 200, Incfile offers lower prices and a free subscription for one year with any incorporation filing purchase. They also provide their clients with a user -friendly website, that is protected by Norton Web Security, and free information available in their Learning Centre.

Northwest Registered Agent

If industry experience and premium customer support are important to you then the following might be the best service for you. Established in 1998, Northwest Registered Agent has made a name for themselves and is one of TRUiCs’ top picks as they are known to being the most friendly LLC service available. Not only do they provide the best email/phone support, but they also locally scan every document you receive, ensuring that you will never miss paperwork and eradicating surprises.

Harbor Compliance

Whilst getting great customer support and a unique dashboard, Harbor Compliance’s registered agent services will also offer discounts to their customers who pay up-front for multiple years and service to those in multiple states. Plus:

  • Website protection by Norton and Trustwave
  • Free compliance guides and whitepapers
  • Document delivery and scanning on the same day

ZenBusiness

After careful consideration of many other registered agent services, ZenBusiness has been rated best. This small business formation service was founded in 2015 by a team of entrepreneurs who cracked the code to the barriers that others continue to face today and help their respective clients launch their businesses successfully.

Not only will the start of your enterprise go smoothly, but they will also help you stay compliant with government laws, accept service of process and other tax and legal documents, and provide you with an overall peace-of-mind so you can focus all your time and energy on running your business.

LegalZoom

Although LegalZoom is the costliest of these options, they had to be mentioned as this registered agent service has extensive experience and capabilities with an informative and North Secure Website and a broad range of business services. Boasting with a large platform of nearly 4 million customers, LegalZoom may be more convenient for you if you have other legal services operating through them as well.

Why should you designate a registered agent service for your business?

By appointing a suitable registered agent service you will be able to maintain your privacy, be alerted to legal obligations that may crop up without breaking the bank or complicating things, and these registered agent services will ensure that you never miss a beat when it comes to crucial paperwork and delivery of important documents. There really aren’t many downsides to working with an online registered agent service provider, and the penalties for not having a registered agent heavily outweigh the cost.

 

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Transatlantic startups 2021: How To Choose a US Incorporation Specialist

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Transatlantic startups 2021: How To Choose a US Incorporation Specialist 3
  • Start-ups created over 3 million jobs in the U.S. alone in the past 12 months.
  • The highest five-year survival rate for new businesses is mining, at 51.3%.

With the high rates of US startups and the pandemic-imposed inability to travel abroad to take care of business in person, company formation services have seen peak demand. Below we discuss the latest about this trend and how the market responded.

An Incorporation Specialist (which can often be referred to as a registered or statutory agent depending on your state), is a corporate entity or professional individual that voluntarily and overtly accepts to undertake personal responsibility over a plethora of legal documents and formalities on behalf of your business.

This is commonly carried out during the official filing of your business’s Articles of Organization and- as further analysed below, can provide a plethora of benefits for you and your business. Such benefits include ensuring that a sufficient level of corporate and legal compliance is always being carried out by your business’s practices, and can save you a significant amount of both time and effort. Consequently, choosing the right incorporation specialist is extremely important.

Suggested video – LLC Formation in the US:

US Start-ups: A Quick Overview

Most commonly, persons erroneously associate the word ‘start-up’ with businesses of a relatively small business size- operating with a team of maybe just 5 different employees and often involving a prolific amount of chaos and disorganisation. In fact, however, a corporation can go on to operate for several years before evolving into a larger-scale business type- a matter further analysed below.

The ‘definition’ of a start-up can encapsulate a surprisingly large number of corporation types, and businesses tend to predominantly ‘evolve’ into large-scale business modules by either: a) opening more than just one office, b) becoming acquired via an acquisition or a takeover, or c) encompassing a total revenue of over $20 million.

Despite the rather ‘loose’ definition of a start-up, the fact is that over 90% of such aforementioned companies end up going bankrupt within their first five years of operation. This is one of the key reasons that make choosing an effective incorporation specialist for your business a crucial task. A prolific, eminent incorporation specialist can provide a plethora of commercial and structural benefits, and undeniably bring in the best llc services for your business start-up.

Choosing the Right Incorporation Specialist

As briefly touched on above, choosing the right incorporation specialist can go a long way in securing both: a) peace of mind, and b) a sufficient level of legal compliance for you and your business.

In ensuring you pick the right incorporation agent for you and your business, always ensure you:

  1. a) Choose an eminent, nation-wide provider– this is particularly essential if your business operates in several states as working with a variety of different specialists can commonly yield inefficient results- due to an abundance of unnecessary paperwork and a significantly increased risk of a legal document or a potential annual renewal falling ‘through the cracks’ and being missed.
  2. b) Choose a professional service- this can go a long way in ensuring you do not have to constantly worry about having to file an update with a relevant government agency every time your contact information or office location changes- saving you a prolific amount of irreplaceable time. Additionally, by picking a professional service to represent your company, you are much more likely to see a consistent level of document filing and legal compliance and avert any legal crisis where your legal documents are not made available to you in time.
  3. c) Evaluate the service’s software– your incorporation specialist needs to offer a reliable operating software that can consistently ensure a timely and efficient transmission of your relevant legal documents is available in the format of your preference. This way, you are likely to see a holistic reduction in your business’s paperwork and significantly improve your company’s overall internal communication.

Final Take

As touched on above, your incorporation specialist can serve as a crucial part of your business. Picking the wrong service provider can lead to disastrous results- especially in relation to missed subpoenas or late annual renewals. Multiple US states should be considered and their respective benefits ought to be compared.  Given the potential risks, it is absolutely essential to ensure you accord an adequate amount of time and effort into choosing the best incorporation specialist for you and your business and consequently save a prolific amount of time and effort in the long run.

 

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