PayExpo Europe, the UK’s largest payments conference and exhibition, will return to ExCeL London on 4 and 5 October 2017.
As new developments drive continual change in the vital area of payments, the event is an essential source of news and insight for anyone involved in making financial transactions faster, easier and more secure.
Celebrating its fifth year and taking place in the FinTech capital of the world, PayExpo Europe attracts over 2200 payments professionals from retailers, banks, mobile network operators, gaming operators, government and local authorities, transport operators, FinTech start-ups, investors and solution providers.
Among the organisations already registered to attend this year are Apple, Sainsburys, HSBC, RBS Group, Thomas Cook, Shell, Wyevale Garden Centres, Centrica, B&Q, Arcadia Group, Bank of Ireland, Post Office Ltd, Santander, Investec Private Bank, Marks and Spencer, Nationwide Building Society, Dixons Carphone and BNP Paribas Personal Finance.
Delegates will take away valuable insights and advice on best practice and innovation in payments and learn about its impact on global commerce.
The comprehensive two-day conference will feature expert speakers from leading organisations including Barclays, IKEA, Microsoft, Royal Bank of Scotland, Fitbit,John Lewis and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA)as well as innovators such as Starling Bank, Monzo, Tandem,Kerv,Wirecard, Global Processing Services (GPS) and Eve Sleep.
The event will feature multiple conference streams encompassing the entire payments spectrum – Connected Commerce, Market Regulation and Security, FinTech and Landscape Evolution, the Future of Banking and The Cash-lite Society.
Topics to be explored include utilising crowdfunding to build a smart bank; updates on payment regulation for 2018 and beyond; strategies to better understand consumer behaviour for seamless customer transactions; the rise of mobile banking and how Blockchain can transform businesses.
There is a particular focus this year on providing payment technology insight valuable to independent retailers as well as multiples. PayExpo Europe has partnered with the British Independent Retail Association (bira). Robert Jarrett, Marketing Director at the British Independent Retailers Association commented ‘We’re delighted to be supporting PayExpo Europe 2017. Events like this are vital in providing a forum for merchants to help sustain a thriving independent retailer community for the future.’
New this year, the PayTech Pavilion, powered by Global Processing Services, will showcase six of the latest PayTech solutions and applications, including the latest in wearable and mobile technologies. Suresh Vaghjiani, Managing Director of Global Processing Services, says“The GPS Apex™ platform has always been known in the payments industry as the ‘proverbial sweet shop’ for FinTechs and we are looking forward to unveiling a variety of revolutionary, cutting-edge companies using our system at the PayTechPavillion”.
A new feature for 2017 is The Minicorn Club, sponsored by AG Elevate, which will showcase up and coming FinTech companies competing to reach the coveted billion-dollar valuation. The onsite hub will also provide invaluable opportunities for promising new start-ups to seek expert advice, attract new investment and receive feedback on product development.
Delegates will also have access to a wide-ranging exhibition featuring market leaders such as Feedzai, FIS, Paysafe, W2 Global Data, Wavecrest, AEVI, Neopay and Sappaya. They can take part in practical implementation workshops, hear industry leaders debate key issues in the Payments Punch-Up and watch competitors pitch in the Payments Dragons’ Den (in partnership with StartupbootcampFinTech).
A full two-day conference pass is £999+VAT for those that book before 2 September and £1299 + VAT for those that book thereafter. Full details are available at https://paymentsworldseries.circdata-solutions.co.uk/RFG/publish/PEE17/simplereg.aspx
Complimentary passes are available for CEOs andrepresentatives from:retail banks, retailers, mobile network operators, gaming operators, investors and venture capitalists, transport operators, hotel and leisure executives, start-ups and government authorities.
Find out more and register your place at www.payexpo.com/europe
Wirecard is a Platinum Sponsor and Global Processing Services are the PayTech Pavilion Sponsor.
Gold Sponsors are FIS, Sappayaand and IDT Financial Services Ltd who are also the Lanyard Sponsor.
Bronze Sponsors include Contis Group, Decta, Feedzai, FSS Technologies, M2M Group and Web Shield Limited.
Addleshaw Goddard is the Minicorn Club Sponsor and Legal Clinic Sponsor.
OPEC+ to weigh modest oil output boost at meeting – sources
By Ahmad Ghaddar, Alex Lawler and Olesya Astakhova
LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – OPEC+ oil producers will discuss a modest easing of oil supply curbs from April given a recovery in prices, OPEC+ sources said, although some suggest holding steady for now given the risk of new setbacks in the battle against the pandemic.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and allies, known as OPEC+, cut output by a record 9.7 million bpd last year as demand collapsed due to the pandemic. As of February, it is still withholding 7.125 million bpd, about 7% of world demand.
In January OPEC+ slowed the pace of a planned output increase to match weaker-than-expected demand due to continued coronavirus lockdowns. Saudi Arabia made extra voluntary cuts for February and March.
Three OPEC+ sources said an output increase of 500,000 barrels per day from April looked possible without building up inventories, although updated supply and demand balances that ministers will consider at their March 4 meeting will determine their decision.
“The oil price is definitely high and the market needs more oil to cool the prices down,” one of the OPEC+ sources said. “A 500,000 bpd increase from April is an option – looks like a good one.”
A rally in prices towards $67 a barrel, the highest since January 2020, the rollout of vaccines and economic recovery hopes have boosted confidence the market could take more oil. India, the world’s third biggest oil importer, has urged OPEC+ to ease production cuts.
Saudi Arabia’s voluntary cut of 1 million barrels per day (bpd) ends next month. While Riyadh hasn’t shared its plans beyond March, expectations in the group are growing that Saudi Arabia will bring back the supply from April, perhaps gradually.
Some OPEC+ members also anticipate that the Saudis will be willing to ease cuts further, but it was not clear if they had had direct communication with Riyadh.
Saudi Arabia has warned producers to be “extremely cautious” and some OPEC members are wary of renewed demand setbacks. One OPEC country source said a full return of the Saudi barrels in April would mean the rest of OPEC+ should not pump more yet.
“The Saudi voluntary cut will be back to the market,” the source said. “I’m personally with no more relaxation, not until June.”
Russia, one of the OPEC+ countries which was allowed to boost output in February, is keen to raise supply and a source last week said Moscow would propose adding more oil if nothing changed before the March 4 virtual meeting.
(Additional reporting by Rania El Gamal and Nidhi Verma; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)
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)
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