New study reveals possibilities of using social media identity beyond credit risk assessment-
Visa Europe Collab and advanced big data and analytics company Hello Soda, have launched a new study assessing the value of social media data to financial services. The research reveals how online social footprints can be used to boost financial inclusion, detect fraud, enhance contactless and e-commerce and enable more targeted marketing.
The ‘Convergence of social media and financial data’ study, conducted by Hello Soda, Visa Europe Collab and Consult Hyperion, looked to identify the possibilities of utilising social media data to benefit both the consumer and business on a consent-only basis and explored the possibilities of how it could be used beyond validating a person’s identity.
By applying advanced data analytics, natural language processing, the big five personality traits and other psycholinguistic profiling techniques to people’s social media interactions, the study identified that these methods could create a new, effective way to verify consumer identity and widen access to financial products. ID verification through pioneering social data analytics is particularly revolutionary for some developing countries where large portions of the population have been excluded from traditional financial services or may not have official identity documents.
According to the study, social data driven services could also increase addressable markets for lenders through the introduction of alternative methods of risk assessment for individual borrowers. Implementation of this type of analysis could enable individuals who are not able to provide adequate assurance to lenders through traditional data sources such as credit checks. Individuals who could benefit include young people without a long-standing credit history who are struggling to buy their first home and foreign immigrants unable to transfer credit history between countries. These customers could now be able to access credit – potentially for the first time.
And when it comes to debt, the study found that by combining social data and financial history, consumers could actually be protected from over-spending. Information around planned expenditure, trends in financial consumption and upcoming expensive events such as birthdays or weddings are all available through the convergence of social and financial data and by integrating analysis of this information into banking and payment applications, real time preventative measures which protect consumer credit ratings and lower lending risks for banks could become a reality.
For a student with a loan that is due to last an academic term, social and financial data could combine to provide individuals with accurate real time monthly expenditure projections intervening with warning messages when spending behaviour is likely to be unsustainable.
The research also highlighted the possibility of preventing fraudulent financial transactions before they take place. For banks and e-commerce merchants the challenge is to accept as many good payments while avoiding fraudulent ones and with the use of social identity verification it’s possible they can authenticate transactions more accurately and enhance their existing fraud detection capabilities by tapping into social data.
In addition, the possibilities for greater and more accurate personalisation and targeted marketing campaigns were also identified in the research paper and, with the intelligent application of big data analytics, this could potentially increase engagement and up-take in financial services products and services. Currently, due to the vast amount of unwanted and irrelevant offers, the average click-through rate in the industry globally is just 3% but personalised and relevant targeting could see this significantly rise.
Commenting on the release of the study, Hello Soda CEO James Blake said: “We are excited to have conducted this ground-breaking study with VISA Europe Collab which reveals the far-reaching possibilities of big data in financial services and how it can positively impact both the consumer and businesses. The FinTech revolution is creating opportunities for the industry to innovate and take major steps forward when it comes to financial inclusion, ID verification, tackling fraud, debt management and more accurately targeting consumers with personalised offers instead of bombarding them with irrelevant ones.”
“An important role we play at Collab is providing thought leadership to our member banks and the wider payments ecosystem by examining emerging technologies and concepts” says Mike Philpotts, Innovation Partner at Visa Europe Collab. “Exploring the potential that social data has for making the payments world more inclusive, safer and better for consumers is very much aligned with Visa’s core values, and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to work together in order to articulate a vision of what the future could hold in this area.”
Hello Soda has proven expertise in the sector and work with 50 clients all over the world as far afield as Asia in sectors including financial services, recruitment, tenant vetting and marketing.
Robinhood plans confidential IPO filing as soon as March – Bloomberg News
(Reuters) – Online brokerage Robinhood, at the centre of this year’s retail trading frenzy, is planning to file confidentially for an initial public offering as soon as March, Bloomberg News reported late on Friday, citing sources.
The California-based brokerage has held talks in the past week with underwriters about moving forward with a filing within weeks, Bloomberg said.
Robinhood did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Reuters reported last year that Robinhood has picked Goldman Sachs Group Inc to lead preparations for an initial public offering which could value it at more than $20 billion.
Robinhood was at the heart of a mania that gripped retail investors in late January following calls on Reddit thread WallStreetBets to trade certain stocks that were being heavily shorted by hedge funds.
The online brokerage tapped around $3.4 billion in funding after its finances were strained due to the massive trading in shares of companies such as GameStop Corp.
(Reporting by Ann Maria Shibu in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin)
Analysis: How idled car factories super-charged a push for U.S. chip subsidies
By Stephen Nellis
(Reuters) – When President Joe Biden on Wednesday stood at a lectern holding a microchip and pledged to support $37 billion in federal subsidies for American semiconductor manufacturing, it marked a political breakthrough that happened much more quickly than industry insiders had expected.
For years, chip industry executives and U.S. government officials have been concerned about the slow drift of costly chip factories to Taiwan and Korea. While major American companies such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp dominate their fields, they depend on factories abroad to build the chips they design.
As tensions with China heated up last year, U.S. lawmakers authorized manufacturing subsidies as part of an annual military spending bill due to concerns that depending on foreign factories for advanced chips posed national security risks. Yet funding for the subsidies was not guaranteed.
Then came the auto-chip crunch. Ford Motor Co said a lack of chips could slash a fifth of its first-quarter production and General Motors Co cut output across North America.
“It brings home very clearly the message that the semiconductor is really a critical component in a lot of the end products we take for granted,” said Mike Rosa, head of strategic and technical marketing for a group within semiconductor manufacturing toolmaker Applied Materials Inc that sells tools to automotive chip factories.
Within weeks, automakers joined chip companies calling for chip factory subsidies, and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and President Biden both pledged to fight for funding.
Industry backers now aim to be part of a package of legislation to counter China that Schumer hopes to bring to the Senate floor this spring. Still, all agree it will do little to solve the immediate auto-chip problem.
Headlines about idled car plants resonated with the public that had shrugged off abstract warnings in the past, said Jim Lewis, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Lawmakers, already worried that a promised infrastructure bill will not materialize this year, decided to push for quick solution.
“Nobody wants to be seen as soft on China. No one wants to tell the Ford workers in their district, ‘Sorry, can’t help,'” Lewis said. “It was one of those moments where everything aligned.”
The package includes matching funds for state and local chip-plant subsidies, a provision likely to heat up competition among states including Texas and Arizona to host big new chip plants that can cost as much as $20 billion.
The subsidies could benefit a factory in Arizona proposed by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co and one in Texas eyed by Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, even though those factories would be geared toward high-end chips for smartphones and laptops, rather than simpler auto chips. And those factories would not come on line until 2023 or 2024, according to plans disclosed by the companies, the world’s two largest chip manufacturers.
In the longer term, a raft of U.S. companies are also poised to benefit. Any chipmakers that build factories will source many tools from American companies such as Applied, Lam Research Corp and KLA Corp.
Intel Corp, Micron Technology Inc and GlobalFoundries – which already have U.S. factory networks – will also likely benefit.
Smaller, specialty chip factories also could benefit.
“The recent chip shortage in the automotive industry has highlighted the need to strengthen the microelectronics supply chain in the U.S.,” said Thomas Sonderman, chief executive of SkyWater Technology, a Minnesota-based chipmaker that makes automotive and defense chips. “We believe that SkyWater is uniquely positioned due to our differentiated business model and status as a U.S.- owned and U.S.- operated pure play semiconductor contract manufacturer.”
Even with subsidies, the U.S. companies still must compete with low-cost Asian vendors over the long run, and the immediate auto chip troubles will probably persist.
Surya Iyer, a vice president at Minnesota-based Polar Semiconductor, which makes chips for automakers, said his factory is booked beyond capacity and has started to speed some orders up while slowing others down, to meet automakers’ needs as best it can.
“We are expecting this level of demand to continue at least for the next 12 months, maybe even longer,” he said.
(This story has been refiled to add attribution to quote in paragraph 9, add dropped words in paragraphs 10 and 17)
(Reporting by Stephen Nellis and Hyunjoo Jin in San Francisco and Alexandra Alper in Washington. Editing by Jonathan Weber and David Gregorio)
Atlantia disappointed with CDP bid for unit, continues talks
By Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes
MILAN (Reuters) – Italy’s Atlantia said on Friday an offer by a consortium of investors led by state lender CDP for its 88% stake in Autostrade per l’Italia fell short of the mark and asked its top managers to see if the bid could be sweetened.
“The offer falls below expectations,” the Italian infrastructure group said in a statement, adding it had mandated the chief executive and the chairman to assess “the potential for the necessary substantial improvements” to the bid.
Italian state lender CDP, together with co-investors Macquarie and Blackstone, has presented a proposal valuing all of Autostrade per l’Italia at 9.1 billion euros ($11 billion).
The consortium also requested Atlantia guarantee up to 700 million euros in potential damage claims and another roughly 800 million euros for a pending legal case, making the bid less attractive than previously expected.
One source said the consortium estimated overall pending legal claims against Autostrade at 3 billion to 4 billion euros, adding the 700 million euro cap did not mean the amount would be detracted from the offer price from the start.
Earlier on Friday Atlantia’s minority investors TCI and Spinecap had called on Atlantia’s board to reject the offer, saying it undervalued the asset.
“No deal is better than a bad deal, especially a bad deal and a wrong price,” TCI Advisory Services partner Jonathan Amouyal said in a emailed comment to Reuters.
TCI, which holds an indirect stake of around 10% in Atlantia, repeated that the value for 100% of Autostrade should be no less than 12.5 billion euros.
The board will hold a further meeting in order to take a final decision on the offer in due time, Atlantia said.
The negotiations between Atlantia and the CDP-led consortium are part of an effort to end a political dispute over Autostrade’s motorway concession triggered by the collapse of a motorway bridge run by the unit.
(GRAPHIC – Atlantia share performance: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/qzjpqggjdpx/image-1614331237501.png)
The bid expires on March 16, but the deadline could be extended in case Atlantia calls an extraordinary shareholders meeting (EGM) on the issue, according to one source with knowledge of the matter.
Shares in the group ended down 0,7%, after recovering some losses, as investors waited for the decision of the board.
Atlantia, which is controlled by the Benetton family, owns 88% of Autostrade, with Germany’s Allianz and funds DIF, EDF Invest and China’s Silk Road Fund holding the rest.
The group also kept open an alternative plan to demerge and sell its stake in Autostrade per l’Italia unit and called an EGM on March 29 to extend to end-July a deadline for offers for the demerged stake.
(Additional reporting by Stefano Bernabei, editing by Louise Heavens and Steve Orlofsky)
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