AI bankability: 10 ways artificial intelligence is transforming banking

STEPHEN GOSSETT | March 11, 2020

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With plenty of post-recession anti-banking sentiment still lingering, it’s common to see fintech and traditional banks framed in oppositional terms. There’s some truth to that, especially with disruption-minded digital-only banks, but technological innovations have transformed banking of all stripes — and nowhere is that clearer than with artificial intelligence.

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Lumni Inc

We are global pioneers in raising private funds for the education of talented young people that may have their futures at risk by not having the means to finance their higher education. For over 10 years, we have helped thousands of young people from Chile, Colombia, USA, Mexico and Peru, investing in their talent with USD 40 million in private capital, managed through our investment funds. Lumni designs, markets and manages "Income Share Agreements", an innovative investment vehicle for financing education. Students agree to pay a fixed percentage of their individual incomes for a predetermined number of months after graduation. The arrangement traspases part of the risk of investing in education from the student to the investor, who is in a better position to diversify it. To date, Lumni has provided higher education financing to over 8,000 students and mobilized more than US$40M in capital from over 200 investors. Lumni has received awards from the World Economic Forum, Endeavor, As

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How Exchange 4.0 will Digitally Transform Financial Market Infrastructure

Article | August 17, 2021

Powered by Ledgers: Leading Market Experts Predict How Exchange 4.0 will Digitally Transform Financial Market Infrastructure The move to Exchange 4.0 is well underway, with profound implications for financial markets. Forward-thinking firms are already positioning themselves for a DLT-fuelled future. But behind the buzzwords, there are lingering questions. What benefits will digitalisation bring, both to trading venues and the market participants they serve? What are the main obstacles to Exchange 4.0, whether they stem from outdated thinking or misaligned stakeholder incentives? And what sort of step-changes can we expect as digitalisation takes off? In a recent report, Hirander Misra, Chairman and CEO of GMEX Group, and the Realization Group interviewed experts at firms pioneering the new world of crypto asset trading Alokik Advani, Managing Partner, Fidelity International Strategic Ventures Charles Kerrigan, Partner, CMS London Jessica Naga, Director Responsible for Legal and Compliance, SECDEX Anoop Nannra, Global Blockchain Segment Leader, Amazon Web Services Nicholas Philpott, Director, Zodia Duncan Trenholme, Head of Digital Assets, TP ICAP. We summarise the key highlights and perspectives from virtually every stakeholder group involved in the trend towards digitalisation. Introducing Exchange 4.0 Just as the world is experiencing a fourth industrial revolution, sometimes called 4IR, financial exchanges are beginning their own technological revolution. The 4IR concept is the driving force behind the Internet of Things, where AI and web technology combine to create smart products. A similar idea is taking hold in the world of financial market infrastructure enabled exchange trading, as DLT, smart contracts and tokenisation make it possible to facilitate true asset portability while linking far-flung liquidity centers. But there is a great deal of confusion as to how distributed technology will change financial market infrastructure so that it can make the transition, be fit for purpose and what benefits it will bring. There are also significant roadblocks, either in terms of old-fashioned thinking or stakeholders defending their turf. Experts say it is only a matter of time before these obstacles are overcome. The first step, they say, will involve trading venues and participants developing a new mindset, one that embraces open-source practices. As Exchange 4.0 becomes better understood, and as firms move from proof of concept to bottom-line benefits, we can expect a rash of major changes. New trading centers, new products, new ways of doing business and new ways of enabling post trade are all on the way. Creating the network effect A growing number of exchanges and trading firms are embracing distributed ledger technology (DLT) and tokenisation, recognising a surge of interest in crypto asset trading from both retail and institutional investors. But many of the venues are replicating silo-based models and missing out on the most important lessons from the digital revolution. DLT, tokenisation and crypto asset trading offer a chance to create much larger market ecosystems by enabling participants to transact across borders more easily and by facilitating asset portability. Rather than divvying up the pie, it’s all about making the pie much larger. “The key thing about this is asset portability,” says Hirander Misra. “If you look at marketplaces in this space, there are lots of exchanges across the world and there’s tumbleweed growing through most of them. How do you create that network effect? But then also, how do you focus on what you’re really good at?” Misra says the problem starts with exchanges adopting a silo mentality, where they seek to service clients exclusively rather than building a more collaborative model. Trading, clearing and settlement end up being offered in a closed-in environment. “Essentially these exchanges are just pockets of their own liquidity.” But the future could soon look very different. “You’re going to see exchanges, custodians and other services interconnect more seamlessly, with the ability to swap services and assets across jurisdictions and across different types of users to get that network effect. This is a construct that I have labelled Exchange 4.0,” Misra says. What the Experts Expect Provided that network effect can be created, what sort of benefits can firms look forward to? The list is long and varied. Alokik Advani:“You have to try this in pockets of smaller assets, where it can be really efficient – private markets, alternative assets, private equity, venture capital, real estate, private debt. All of these things are obscenely inefficient. They trade like bulletin boards today. If you wanted to bring that to some level of an exchange-like infrastructure with a DLT backing and speed of clearing and settlement, it’s a revolution.” Charles Kerrigan: “You are seeing the move towards digitalisation as a prime example of capitalism forcing change. You are talking about another wave of creative destruction. We have digitalised the front office of financial institutions – what you see as a customer – but the real benefits will come from digitalising the market infrastructure. Crypto shows how this can be done. Payments have learnt from that. Securities issuance is following. We are simply following the logic of the information economy. This is a big one.” Hirander Misra: “With Exchange 4.0, say you’re an existing exchange and you have existing infrastructure. You may want to set up a digital exchange, but you may not want to replicate everything you have. You may not need another matching engine, you may need digital custody or you may need issuance. The thing about Exchange 4.0 is that you can combine the services you have with services others have or augment what you already have. So, you’re not beholden to creating yet another siloed infrastructure.” Jessica Naga: “There is something to be said for the countries that take the jump and do this now fast. They will have first movers’ advantage, if they build the necessary legal framework and infrastructural ecosystem in a sustainable way. The clear advantage of technology and FinTech companies is that their business is cross border and therefore from one centre, they can service the world.” Anoop Nannra: “We look at Exchange 4.0 and the opportunities in terms of creating digital assets on virtually any aspect of our business. I think it’s really exciting, being able to create a futures index based on real-time solar energy production. Right down to the second. You create new patterns and opportunities for liquidity to occur. Capital historically will move to the environments where liquidity is most easily had.” Nicholas Philpott,: “The locations and the cities that succeed in the future may no longer be the same as the ones at present. It’s a much more even competition now. If you can spin up a virtual exchange with none of that physical infrastructure that opens up the possibility of some very interesting developments as far as the new trading centres of the future are concerned. You’re broadening the market across a bigger spectrum of participants. More people can have access.” Duncan Trenholme: “It’s possible that some of the private permissioned blockchains get traction in certain areas and solve certain use cases, but over time we believe the open permission-less blockchains will eat market share. The idea of running your own distributed ledger, in a centralised manner, just misses the point of what this technology can do. It’s repeating the limitations of vertical silo’s all over again. As people do connect, they’ll increasingly experience the benefits of transacting on an open, interoperable, and programmable financial system.” A way forward All of this leaves traditional venues and market participants having to prepare for a wholesale change in the way they operate while still conducting business in the here and now. At the same time, scores of new exchanges have sprouted up with DLT technology and digital assets that can only be traded on one platform. By forging the DLT-based world of the future while still servicing traditional assets in traditional ways, we will see a hybrid model which bridges the gap between digital and traditional financial market infrastructure. This will serve to eradicate the current silos and fragmentation to facilitate better portability of assets by interconnecting the whole capital markets value chain of participants, across international nodes (jurisdictions), to more easily trade, clear and settle.

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4 Things that Automatically Disqualify You for a PPP Loan

Article | April 9, 2020

As millions of small business owners are applying for low-interest loans associated with the Paycheck Protection Plan, I can’t help but think of all the small business owners I personally spoke with over Facebook last weekend as the PPP got off to a rather bumpy start as lenders tried to absorb the new regulations associated with the SBA’s disaster relief loans. With that in mind, it seemed like a good time to share 4 things that automatically disqualify you for a PPP loan and talk about an option or two for next steps.

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A bank account - A concept of the past

Article | March 23, 2020

Almost every recent article written about banking starts with the statement that the banking industry is being disrupted by new competitors, new innovations and new technologies. Although this statement is definitely true, the extend of the disruption can still be debated. Even the most innovative neo-banks still work with bank (current, saving, term and investment) accounts, cards (credit and debit), traditional credits, existing payment infrastructure… The user experience surrounding the origination and servicing of these products has dramatically improved (and will continue to evolve), but the underlying banking products are not really disrupted.

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Technological Innovation and Everyday Lifestyle

Article | July 7, 2021

Technological innovation over the recent decades has attracted increased interest of researchers and industry experts thereby becoming an integral part of everyday lifestyle. The challenge lies in resolving the dispute between a forward-looking innovative structure promoting innovation, and a proportionately meticulous schema that is capable of winning faith of consumer. Information technology is fast turning to be a key instrument in the lives of consumer across generations. In current global economy, customers across industries have been pampered and the credit goes to “Bigtechs ” like Ali Baba, Apple, Amazon, E-bay, the list being exhaustive along with “Fintech ” and “Incumbent banks ” as a result, consumers expect swift product delivery with flawless service. A review of available literature is suggestive that further expositions tend to focus on fintech and its integration in banking arena investigating the factors that underpin the choice of external partners to collaborate, design, develop and implement fintech capability while addressing the gap between research and industry evolution. Recent developments in technology have refurbished global economies at an immensely fast pace, making the business environment extremely challenging with continued margin pressure. Digital technologies are intrusive to not only the competition but also to the role of payments in businesses impacting the ultimate consumers. Investigating digital transformation has been of continuing interest across industries. Digitization might abolish some vital job roles, threatening the human workforce reluctant to digital changes. However, observations are indicative of focus towards higher-value tasks and creating unprecedented opportunities. For instance, adoption of digitization in financial industry, provides considerable opportunity to relationship managers to spend minimal time in operational activities and maximum towards advising customers. Amongst many ideas laying the foundation of fintech adoption, a growing body of literature recognizes two vital causes for the evolution of fintech companies that can be routed back to a decade. Firstly, the global economic financial crisis also called economic recession that has distinctly exhibited to consumers the flaws of the traditional system. Second, the evolution of new technologies that boosted mobility, easy flow of information, speeding up the service delivery and lowering the costs. The way banks engage the customer today has gained fresh prominence, with a movement from branch banking to digital systems, benefitting from customer insights. Aiming to enhance consumer engagement and gain competitive advantage, debates continue about the best strategies banks adopt to engage with customers that has resulted in adding capabilities and complex technology on top of systems and processes to meet dynamic customers’ expectations to gain real time personalization. Much debated question is whether organizations with traditional framework are able to come up to such expectations becoming capable of disrupting industry by prompt digital delivery using advanced algorithms and digital platforms to successfully provide unrestricted access to information bits. Promising superior experience to users, however, if industry experts hit the bulls-eye and tend to offer more competitive prices, enhanced operational controls may entitle lesser risk and probability of higher revenues. Such developments bring along advantages and disadvantages at the same time. Whereas advantage lies in reduced transaction processing times, service excellence and global integration the disadvantages lie in the fact that not many users are keen to shift to the fintech modes as far as their financial transactions are concerned since they are apprehensive of the risks associated with such adoption, witnessing this paradigm shift in the pace at which industry is developing focussing on much saturated red ocean of retail banking and gradually making a shift towards payment systems, which seems to be an untapped blue ocean of opportunities. The underpinning factors that govern the financial industry are KYC / AML and CFT together forming the basis for regulatory controls. Ethical transparent business knit together with service excellence, minimal risk, a strong regulatory framework in the competitive industry has given the incumbent banks an opportunity to partner, collaborate and codevelop with technology and consulting firms for collaborative innovation. Technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain are capable of providing effective product suite to clients resulting in scalability of business.. On the other hand, robots replacing front end customer interface causes threat of redundancy to human capital and increase the training costs. As a result, many times an informal approach to collaboration tends to delay the outcome since the senior management looks at digitization in transaction banking as a profitable step and the middle management is hesitant of human redundancy, training etc which might cause delay. Taken together, a probable explanation advocates that common goals of digitization in financial institutions are regulatory control, risk mitigation, increase in revenue and to meet dynamic customer expectations by co-developing with external partners to gain competitive advantage. This adoption may further lead to higher cohesiveness in departments, improved value chain and reduced turnaround time with higher resolution quality. The digital transformation is capable of reducing the operational costs and overheads leading to increased profits, improved efficiency, better regulatory controls with less risks and collaborative opportunities for partners taking benefit of its tech talent to reach desired results. References: Anikina, I.D., Gukova, V.A., Golodova, A.A. and Chekalkina, A.A. 2016. Methodological Aspects of Prioritization of Financial Tools for Stimulation of Innovative Activities. European Research Studies Journal, 19(2), 100-112. Boston Consulting Group 2018, Three Keys to successful digitization in Transaction Banking, Boston Consulting Group, pp1-2 Botta, et.al.,2016. Technology innovations driving change in transaction banking. [Online] Accessed on March 11, 2018 Available at:https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/financial-services/our-insights/technology-innovations-driving-change-in-transaction-banking Capegemini & LinkedIn, 2018, World Fintech Report, p. 9-10 Hammond, Alex, August 2017, How banks are getting the digitization of core banking wrong, pp 1-8, [Online] [Accessed on April 02, 2018] Available at:https://www.bobsguide.com/guide/news/2017/Aug/23/how-banks-are-getting-the-digitisation-of-core-banking-wrong/ Johnson. et. al., 2017, Exploring Strategy chapter 3 Industry and sector analysis, pp. 62-91 Markovitch, Shahar & Wilcott, Paul, May 2014, Accelerating the digitization of business processes, Digital McKinsey, McKinsey & Company, pp 1-5 Mehrotra, Mohit, 2014, Digital Transaction Banking: Opportunities & Challenges, Deloitte Consulting Pte Ltd., pp 1-22 Olanrewaju, Tunde, July 2014, The rise of the digital bank, Digital McKinsey, McKinsey & Company, pp 1-5 Puschmann, Thomas, 2 February 2017, Fintech, Bus Inf Syst Eng 59(1): 69-76, Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017 Saksonova, Svetlana, Kuzmina-Merlino, Irina, 2017, Fintech as Financial Innovation – The Possibilities and Problems of Implementation, European Research Studies Journal, Volume XX, Issue 3A, pp 1-14

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Spotlight

Lumni Inc

We are global pioneers in raising private funds for the education of talented young people that may have their futures at risk by not having the means to finance their higher education. For over 10 years, we have helped thousands of young people from Chile, Colombia, USA, Mexico and Peru, investing in their talent with USD 40 million in private capital, managed through our investment funds. Lumni designs, markets and manages "Income Share Agreements", an innovative investment vehicle for financing education. Students agree to pay a fixed percentage of their individual incomes for a predetermined number of months after graduation. The arrangement traspases part of the risk of investing in education from the student to the investor, who is in a better position to diversify it. To date, Lumni has provided higher education financing to over 8,000 students and mobilized more than US$40M in capital from over 200 investors. Lumni has received awards from the World Economic Forum, Endeavor, As

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