Digital Transformation Of Finance Team - Get Better Agility While Doing Business In Tough Times

Talha Tamboli | September 14, 2021 | 19 views

Digital transformation had a huge impact on every sector, and this includes finance. Digital disruption in finance can be defined as an event where new technologies replace traditional methods for financial transactions. This article will discuss how technology for finance has changed over time, why it's vital to stay current with digital trends, and what you need to do to make your company ready for the future!

Make plans for the coming age of Digital Transformation

The finance team has traditionally used tools like spreadsheets, reports, and presentations to managing its processes. However, digital disruption in finance is creating new challenges for the finance department because of these changes - they need to learn how to use technology effectively or risk getting left behind! Here are some examples demonstrating why digital transformation of your company's financial processes can be beneficial.
  • Digital transformation gives the finance team access to better systems to help them do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
  • Digital transformation gives the finance team access to better tools that will allow them to be more agile and deliver new services for their clients.
  • Digital transformation saves money for the company because new technology is cheaper than old technology like spreadsheets and presentations.
As such, if you want your company ready for the future, make sure your finance department is aware of digital trends and knows how it can integrate new technology into its workflows.

Prepare for a transaction revolution as automation and blockchain infiltrate further into the financial process:

While financial institutions have been working on transformation plans for many years, the recent cryptocurrency and blockchain revolution indicates that things are moving faster than ever before. As a result, banks are starting to understand that they need to be open to new technologies and ways of working to stay relevant in their industries and attract new clients. Financial institutions need to brainstorm new ideas and innovative ways of working that will allow them to be relevant in today's market while at the same time applying technology in ways that facilitate faster and safer processes.

Financial Institution's role in Digital Transformation:

Now that most finance processes are automated, the finance industry will provide more business insights and services. Of course, success is not a certainty, but digital marketing for financial services can get more focused and accurate.

In essence, FinTech technology will improve financial management and help production. It can do this by rethinking procedures, breaking formats (finance is a chaotic environment), streamlining reporting, and endorsing transactions with a better data set. As a result, businesses may find themselves better placed to make long-term decisions and do not require immediate cash flows. The key question is whether financial technology can deliver on these promises in a way that provides real benefits for customers and shareholders while being price-insensitive enough to be affordable for all.

The way for financial teams to be agile:

Although digital transformation is a competency within finance, most bankers still focus on software development and hopping from platform to platform. One of the biggest problems in overcoming this difficulty is the lack of a common language. An effective digital transformation strategy requires the sharing of data - including between departments. Sharing information enables agility because it allows each team to understand their strengths and weaknesses more clearly. It also enables cross-functional teams that can reach out to business partners outside their core business functions when necessary or to solve problems outside their domain of specialty. The transformation can also help in creating compelling promotions and creating persuasive advertisements for your financial services.

"As workplaces start to open, a hybrid model—seems to be a new norm that provides flexibility for people to operate both from their homes and offices, as we emerge out of the pandemic period."
-Vishal Srivastava,

Vice President (Model Validation) at Citi

A more adaptable future in digital transformation for FinTech

Several banks and financial institutions are making it a point to associate themselves with technological innovation. Recent data shows that nearly half of financial institutions worldwide have made some sort of digital transformation in the past five years – from transaction processing to customer relationship management. Increasingly, these institutions are looking to the future and thinking about using technology to transform how they do business. Digital transformation of finance is just one of the many buzzwords we're hearing from financial institutions right now. Financial institutions need to stay connected and relevant in an increasingly competitive marketplace by designing financial products and services that meet their changing demands.

Cloud computing for a more agile future

What's more, the shift means businesses can scale faster using the cloud--perhaps even more effectively--than before. The momentum behind the online collaboration, instant messaging, and Web browsing has only accelerated in the past few years -- threatening to upend the very foundations on which many large companies have built their business models. This shift means banks will need to find new ways to stay competitive and fast. Tech giants such as Amazon, Microsoft, and Google make significant inroads with cloud technology into innovative services and products into the bank space. We'll see if they also can help shake up the way work gets done -- either here or in offices around the world, as migrating infrastructure to the cloud enhances access, flexibility, and scalability for both FinTechs and banking giants.

Conclusion

The current financial crisis has led to a re-examination of traditional finance models and ways of working. One area that has gained particular attention is the digital transformation of finance teams. The potential impact of digital transformation on finance is intense. If well-timed, it may help finance organizations attract and retain talented employees while reducing operating costs and enhancing returns on investment in core operations.

FAQs:

What are the four main areas of digital transformation?

Digital transformation is a broad term that generally refers to an increase in efficiency across many business functions using technologies such as software applications, data analysis techniques, networks, and infrastructure. To achieve digital transformation, the organization needs to rethink many core processes while integrating new technologies. In addition, there are challenges associated with changing from an existing model and overcoming internal resistance.

What is the future of finance?

The future of finance is in changing the way companies raise money for new ventures and how financiers themselves manage their portfolios. Fundamental changes include using technology that helps investors access data and choose more suitable investments, better deals, and structures for companies that now seek to raise money from multiple sources rather than just raising an individual round.

What are the top technologies for finance?

Technologies used in the financial services sector have become so integrated that it is difficult to understand their impact on a business or industry. Nevertheless, here are some of the emerging technologies that are in use right now:
Hybrid Cloud Servers
Blockchain
Artificial Intelligence
Robotic Process Automation
Data Analytics
Cybersecurity

Spotlight

GIB Capital

Established in April 2008, GIB Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gulf International Bank (GIB). With more than 10 years of experience in investment banking services, GIB through GIB Capital continues to offer a comprehensive range of investment banking products and services which are designed to provide innovative and customized financial and investment solutions for clients. GIB Capital provides a full spectrum of investment banking services to help corporates, family businesses, entrepreneurs, governments and quasi-government entities obtain financing through debt and equity offerings.

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How CFOs Can Reduce Hefty Business Costs

Article | April 29, 2022

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Claim management data controlled under blockchain technology is registered and administered by smart contacts in a particular network. The potential areas of claim management to benefit from blockchain services are: Interpreting incidents claimed in banks Soliciting excessive claims cover Uncovering the process of delayed pay-out Diminished profitability from excessive or lower pay-outs Due to these unfortunate instances in the claim management process, the FBI studies that over 700 insurance companies in the U.S. receive over $1 trillion annually in premiums. The estimate of the total cost of insurance falls under the heading of fraud, valued at more than $40 billion annually. This indicates how critical it is to promptly develop an intellectual capacity to recognize fraud in the banking system. Financial Institutions Blockchain in financial services eliminates untrusted parties in financial institutions and banks. 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It can be implemented in the financial cores by adding new services, transactions, accounting, and other features. It allows customers to do faster, more secure, and cost-effective transactions. How does blockchain benefit banking and financial systems? Blockchain technology improves payment transparency, trust, efficiency, and security and reduces costs for financial services firms and users. Now, payments from one bank to another can be made instantly.

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Operational Risks in Banks: Effective Strategies to Create a Secure Framework

Article | May 5, 2022

Risk events in the banking sector and financial institutions can trigger huge losses. Risk events can be managerial, technological, security, and operational. With these operational hazards, the need for protection rises in banks simultaneously. Banks need to function seamlessly, faster, and more accurately in such circumstances. According to a report by Barclays, prominent banks worldwide have suffered nearly $210 billion in losses from operational risk from 2011 to 2019. Most of these losses were caused by unavoidable errors made by employees and systems when interacting with clients, transactional flaws, and fraud. Since the global financial crisis, including the pandemic, banks and other financial institutions have become highly observant of their efficient risk management needs. As a result, banks can use techniques to anticipate and fix risk events before or at the right time. However, some strategic risks or challenges still prevail. Let’s understand what those are first! Strategic Challenges in ORM Risk management in banks and financial institutions has always been a complex function. Out of which strategic risks are mostly recorded. What are the most prominent strategic risks that banks usually suffer from? Large & Complex Data Processing The processing of large and complex data risks puts banks under pressure to monitor exponentially. Most banks still face the challenge of collating extensive customer data, data inputs, processing, and unreliable and dysfunctional tools, which results in the loss of potential clients and fees. Inefficient Risk Identification Parameters Most banks do not have risk management tools like KRIs, KCIs, and KPIs. As a result, they are inefficient and do not have a holistic view of the data, which leads to inappropriate risk identification. Further, most banks also do not have consistent risk management protocols across their business, which poses a significant risk to the operational infrastructure of those banks. Loss of Data Management Loss of data is also an essential risk that banks face several times. Data management is an integral part of the banking operation, which means it needs core risk management strategies to keep it secure. Data management includes several functions, but the most essential is maintaining data records securely. This is one of the prime risks that banks, even today, keep a close eye on. The Current State While banks have been aware of operational risks, they need to be prompt in adapting risk management capabilities and tools to eradicate the complexities and introduce smoothness in the workflow. Currently, banks have developed taxonomies on risk-identification and risk-assessment processes, extensive controls through cloud support, and cyber and control-testing procedures. While the banking industry practically succeeded in reducing the industry-wide regulatory system, there are now fewer losses from operational risks in banks. "In financial services, if you want to be the best in the industry, you first have to be the best in risk management. It's the foundation for every other measure of success. There's almost no room for error." John Stumpf, chairman and CEO of Wells Fargo Integration of ORM Strategies Evaluate Risk Profile Every financial institution and bank should assess their risk profile to reduce operational risks and improve information security. It should also evaluate the resilience of its business processes, map them to associated risks and controls, and build a database of potential operational risk events. To facilitate this under operational risk management, deploy analytics into the process and evaluate potential threats at a particular time. In this way, banks can minimize risk factors in the future. Introduce Risk Indicators Most banks examine their sales-operating models meticulously because of regulatory concerns about sales practices, such as product features, incentives, sales procedures, frontline-management routines, and customer-complaint processes. Risk management in the banking sector can now be possible as banks can enhance their operational risk coverage with the help of the ‘three lines of defense” model. This model is widely used to define and manage operational risks. It is a solution framework that functions at a granular level to help identify and control risks. The target framework should include sources of risk that most banks lack, such as: A clear definition of accountability at each level of the risk plan Established levels of communication and feedback from various levels of management Uniform monitoring of all potential risk exposure sources, such as portfolio management, employee tracking, or even disaster management The key objective for banks is to move beyond legal risks and focus on all business processes to ensure they are covered fully for the future. Initiate Training for Employees Employees play an integral role in managing operations in banks and financial institutions. Therefore, to ensure the effectiveness of the same, employees can be given training on operational risk management programs and functions of management programs to make them aware of the potential risks and ways to overcome them. This is extremely important for those banks and financial institutions looking to launch a new customer interface, roll out new products or services, or adapt new business processes with technology implementation. Asset Management Asset management is one of the essential parts of operational risk management in banks and financial institutions. So, for asset management, bank managers should be concerned about two major things—the role of asset management and how to develop a good plan for managing assets. Asset management identifies and manages risks that arise when certain assets are used. To exclude risks in bank operations, a fundamental strategic asset management plan will include the following six phases: Acquisitions (including leases or rentals) Operations Maintenance Funding Risk assessment and management After these phases have been covered, banks must count their assets. Here is the following inventory of assets that need to be included. They are: Total count of assets Allocated assets The value of each asset Details of acquired assets The expected life cycles of the assets Banks can easily implement a robust risk management plan for future safety by accessing all of them. A Comprehensive Approach to ORM Banks taking a comprehensive approach toward building an ORM (operational risk management) framework can bolster business growth rapidly. The first step to creating a productive ORM capability is to access the existing risk potential in banks. This would help banks create a base out of all internal and external risk events. Then, to deal with the different types of risks, the development of key risk indicators (KRI) will serve as early warning signals to potential risks. Once the banks successfully identify it, they can decide on mitigation options. Next, the question arises, how can financial businesses and institutions establish a robust ORM for risk management in the banking sector? The key to establishing an effective ORM is training employees to anticipate future risks, especially during the launch of products, changes in customer interface, outsourcing services, or shifting the core of a business module. As banks and other financial institutions have embraced agile work modes, ORM experts have become an integral part of the operation. Like, JPMorgan Chase, ORM lies at the heart of all its processes. It is where the bank develops and tests new business offerings and practices to check the potential risks in the following. In addition, other U.S. banks have built a dedicated cyber-risk team that simulates attacks and takes action to prevent potential operational risks. However, identifying and alleviating operational risk is a significant and crucial task that needs to be left only to the ORM experts. A Move Forward with the Operational Risk Management Framework The components of risk management in banks examined above have proved beneficial for the operational risk management function. Operational risk management in the banking sector should ensure that an institution's operational risk framework is reliably implemented and performs well. The institution should ensure that the framework provides thorough coverage across the various operational risk event types and conduct ongoing support for individual components and the overall operational risk framework. Businesses and financial institutions should leverage the operational risk management framework as part of a broader effort to improve sustainability, including estimation of forecasting efforts. Therefore, the operational-risk discipline can create a more secure and profitable institution in the future. "The art of banking is always to balance the risk to run with the reward of a profit” Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase Frequently Asked Question What are the most prominent operational risks in banks? Process risk, systems risk, external event risk, and legal and compliance risks are the significant operational risks in banks. What is the primary function of operational risk management? The primary function of operational risk management is to reduce risks through risk identification, measurement and mitigation, risk assessment, monitoring and reporting. How to identify operational risks in banks? Banks must assess and manage operational risk using various tools and strategies. Banks identify potential operational risks in the following ways: Business disruptions and systems failures Accounting or data entry errors Inaccurate client records

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How Can Banks Use Hyper-Personalization as a Strategy to Drive Growth?

Article | April 29, 2022

Digitalization is a high-priority initiative that has uplifted the banking industry by exploring new profitable areas. However, the strategies for becoming digital must rely on efforts to focus on making a bank’s administration and internal operations more efficient. Digitalization refers to a wide range of tools that can create personalized and hyper-personalized experiences for people. How Banks Have Evolved with Technology Implementation The banking industry has been consistently embracing technological advancements. Since 2020, banks globally are making heavy investments in digitalization and are focusing on efficient banking operations. With the help of digitalization, the banking and financial sectors are going through a paradigm shift and are progressively offering personal touches to their operations, services, and products. Most banks now offer digital features that allow customers to conduct basic banking activities remotely using a browser or a mobile app. This development has resulted in less traffic at bank branches and has assisted banks in optimizing costs and capital expenditures fairly. Hyper-personalization in banking is becoming increasingly important. As a result, the use of technology in banks has equally surged, mainly in operations and customer services. Hyper-personalization has become an essential part of banks and other financial services providers. With this, banks are now focusing on core customer experiences to provide unique services to their customers. Today, new-age customers need hyper-personalization in banking. In 2020 ‘The Future of Retail Banking,’ A Deloitte report has stressed that hyper-personalization is crucial for banks and enables them to respond to customers’ basic needs. While this approach is widely accepted in the banking system, let’s understand a brief difference between hyper-personalization and personalization and which method is more enticing to customers. Personalization vs. Hyper-Personalization Personalization focuses on promoting a customer’s name, location, purchase history, buying behavior, and others. The most common example is including the first name of a customer in an email or promotion asset. The hyper-personalization approach uses a customer’s browsing habits and then reveals real-time behavioral data to determine customer needs. The entire activity builds contextualized communication and encourages more incredible conversions driven by AI and aligned data. For example, they send push notifications to customers, adding high-engagement sections on the website—chatbots. Therefore, it is evident that personalization banking will be further enhanced and become more personal with hyper-personalization. According to a study by Deloitte, banks are ready to embrace digital opportunities, which would be advantageous for over a trillion dollars. The movement will continue until 2025 and beyond. Growing Expectations from Customers Since 2020, banks worldwide have been striving to improve their customer experience and business operations. The digital transformation of the banking sector has changed consumer banking trends. This gives rise to one of the main concerns — what are the top priorities for customers regarding banking services? According to a survey by Wipro, 80% of customers expect their banks to provide upgraded services with improved products and easily accessible apps and websites. At the same time, 20% of customers hope banks have valuable services to benefit them. In addition, 5% of them expect improved communication channels for distributing products and services. On the other hand, according to a recent Salesforce survey, two-thirds of today's customers expect their banks to understand their unique needs and expectations. Moreover, up until 2021, 52% of customers found hyper-personalized offerings from their banks. Therefore, banks must extensively use customer data to anticipate customers’ banking needs. Gartner estimated that approximately 48% of customers want value-added services, making hyper-personalization engagements of strategic relevance. This was followed by personalization in banking with products and services. When it comes to using hyper-personalization in banking, Capital One, a U.S.-based company, stands out. It is one of the finest examples of digital marketing. It usually sends notifications to clients, assists them with simple tasks, sends new offers, and efficiently manages personal finances. In addition, they are currently using geolocation technology by partnering with several retailers. With this, they can reach customers and provide them with purchasing offers. The Marketers’ Complications What were the practical problems or challenges for marketers approaching their customers right away? Markets face several roadblocks to achieving the desired level of personalized customer engagement. Some of these challenges include: Profile: Marketers usually face challenges in categorizing, compiling, and saving online and offline customers’ data. Identity: Marketers must deal with the fragmentation of customers' identities and how they see them across devices and channels. Relevant Communication: Marketers often fail to reach people at scale across different channels with relevant information. Measurement: Marketers often complicate the accuracy of measuring customer behavior, buying habits, and needs. Therefore, marketers need to sort out these parameters and then proceed strategically to deliver hyper-personalized engagement to customers. Now let’s find out how to do it. Solutions Emerging technologies, mainly AI, data analysis, automation, and blockchain, give an insight into customers’ needs, behavior, and activities like transactions, money transfers, deposits, availing insurance, and other banking activities. Marketers can leverage these technologies, crack code, use hyper-personalization in strategies, and work to meet customers’ needs. There are a series of interconnected strategies following technology in banking that will enhance the use of hyper-personalization in banking in the future. It will enable customers' digital requirements according to products and services and identify intent-based customers in the banking system. Series of Interconnected Strategies Customer Segmentation Having an accurate identification of customer profiles and details determines how to proceed with hyper-personalization. First, you must build a digital identity solution that links customer data across devices and locations. After this, study and get profound customer insights with the help of a third-party customer database to obtain accurate customer information such as: Demographics Online and offline purchases Digital consumption Online interactions Cross-device information according to the usage of personal devices By identifying these parameters, marketers can effortlessly create a community for their highly engaged customers. In this way, marketers can include value-proof hyper-personalization methods to reach out to customers and fulfil their expectations in banking. Lead Generation & Nurturing For lead generation and nurturing, marketers should activate paid search, paid/owned social media, and affiliate sites using intelligent and real-time customer data. This will help understand the effectiveness of the platforms in generating potential leads and nurturing them in the best ways. A Data-Driven Path Banks using customer data can monetize it by differentiating between actionable and non-actionable customers. Even so, they can conduct data-driven optimization (DDO), a measurable approach when banks interact with their customers. This approach includes monetizing and identifying customers’ behavior patterns and optimizing their decision-making processes faster and more accurately. In addition, data-driven optimizations range in different types and sizes—for example, new features, CTAs, pricing, page flow, navigation, and templates. With the help of these, marketers can get a lot of data and use hyper-personalization strategies accordingly. A Hybrid Environment Given the current situation, banks should prioritize intelligence by implementing a security-rich hybrid cloud for their hyper-personalization in their banking processes. With this in place, banks can efficiently, inexpensively, and rapidly deliver hyper-personalized services to customers under a hybrid setup. For this, banks should have a robust data analytic infrastructure that can filter the most operational customer data. Prominent Examples of Hyper-Personalization in Banking American Express Sends Videos to Increase Engagement American Express’s business model includes hyper-personalization of its customers globally. We’re delegating much deeper hyper-personalization at a company level.” Harry Mole, Director of Marketing at American Express American Express demonstrates its commitment to hyper-personalization by creating videos for its customers. For example, it makes videos accompanying a customer's monthly credit card statements. The video helps customers explore and learn new ways of managing their credit shares. It also helps them learn about account creation for new customers, share financial tips and tricks, and introduce new rewards. These activities further help consumers maximize the benefits of their American Express account. Since using a hyper-personalization strategy, American Express has seen a threefold increase in marketing conversations and a considerable decrease in the cost of acquiring new customers. Edward Jones Uses Personalization to Increase App Downloads Edward Jones, a financial services firm, offers a mobile app that allows customers to easily access their accounts and investment options. The app effectively conveys the benefits of security and convenience and is equally friendly. Edward Jones initiated an email campaign to encourage customers to download and engage with the entire app. It added a messaging section for app users and highlighted services such as tracking investments, depositing checks, transferring funds, and more without visiting a branch. Frequently Asked Question What do customers expect from their bank? Customers need assistance and want their needs to be understood by their banks. They do not prefer a generic approach to services. They prefer a more customized and solution-driven approach. How is the hyper-personalization approach implemented in banks? Hyper-personalization in banks can be implemented in the following ways: Compile essential customer data and utilize it to create strategies Create hyper-personalized content according to the customer base Distribute the content across channels to reach customers Why is personalization important in banking? According to a study by Gartner, 67% of customers are unaware of the services and products their banks offer. So, with the help of personalization, they can easily connect to banks’ offers, benefits, and services. This is where personalization comes into play.

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Spotlight

GIB Capital

Established in April 2008, GIB Capital is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gulf International Bank (GIB). With more than 10 years of experience in investment banking services, GIB through GIB Capital continues to offer a comprehensive range of investment banking products and services which are designed to provide innovative and customized financial and investment solutions for clients. GIB Capital provides a full spectrum of investment banking services to help corporates, family businesses, entrepreneurs, governments and quasi-government entities obtain financing through debt and equity offerings.

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SGH to Acquire Stratus Technologies

SGH | June 30, 2022

SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (“SGH” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: SGH) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with affiliates of Siris Capital Group, LLC, to acquire Stratus Technologies (“Stratus”), a global leader in simplified, protected, and autonomous computing solutions in the data center and at the Edge. Under the terms of the agreement, SGH will pay $225 million in cash at closing and an earn-out payment of up to $50 million, based on the gross profit performance of the Stratus business during the first full 12 fiscal months of Stratus following the closing. Consistent with the Company’s existing lines of business, Stratus delivers differentiated technology solutions to specialty end markets. In particular, the addition of Stratus’ high-availability, fault-tolerant computing platforms, software, and services will expand the Company’s Intelligent Platform Solutions (“IPS”) business to better serve Stratus and IPS customers worldwide. This transaction builds upon our successful track record of M&A at SGH, The high-availability and fault-tolerant capabilities of Stratus will expand our IPS offerings in Edge, Core, and Cloud, and will enable us to more comprehensively address our combined customers’ needs. We look forward to welcoming the Stratus team to SGH.” Mark Adams, CEO of SGH. About Stratus For leaders digitally transforming their operations to drive predictable, peak performance with minimal risk, Stratus ensures the continuous availability of business-critical applications by delivering zero-touch Edge Computing platforms that are simple to deploy and maintain, protected from interruptions and threats, and autonomous. For 40 years, we have provided reliable and redundant zero-touch computing, enabling global Fortune 500 companies and small-to-medium sized businesses to securely and remotely turn data into actionable intelligence at the Edge, Cloud and Data Center – driving uptime and efficiency. About SGH At SGH, our companies are united by a drive to raise the bar, execute with discipline and focus on what’s next for the technologies that support and advance the world. Across computing, memory, and LED lighting solutions, we build long-term strategic partnerships with our customers. Backed by a proven leadership team, we operate with excellence around the globe while unlocking new avenues of growth for our business and industry. About Siris Siris is a leading private equity firm that invests primarily in mature technology and telecommunications companies with mission-critical products and services, facing industry changes or other significant transitions. Siris' development of proprietary research to identify opportunities and its extensive collaboration with its Executive Partners and Advisors are integral to its approach. Siris' Executive Partners and Advisors are experienced senior operating executives that actively participate in key aspects of the transaction lifecycle to help identify opportunities and drive strategic and operational value. Siris is based in New York, Silicon Valley and West Palm Beach, and has raised nearly $6 billion in cumulative capital commitments.

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BITCOIN AND CRYPTO

KuCoin and Pyth Network Collaborate to Introduce the Crypto Market Price On-Chain

KuCoin | May 31, 2022

KuCoin leading global currency exchange, announced a strategic partnership with Pyth network, a cutting-edge Oracle solution developed on the Solana blockchain. Following the partnership, thePyth network will receive prices for trading pairs from KuCoin in real-time. This will bring crypto market prices on chain. As the People‘s Exchange, KuCoin is committed to providing users with a better crypto experience while also joining forces with more organizations to bring crypto to the masses. Bringing real-world data on-chain is one of the infrastructures of the DeFi world. We look forward to building a more transparent on-chain data marketplace in the blockchain industry through Pyth network as a key partner, which will help to create a new DeFi world that is more collaborative and open and accelerates crypto to mass adoption." Johnny Lyu, KuCoin CEO Pyth network is a front runner in the DeFi ecosystem. The organization built one of the most reliable oracle networks that comes from price data being contributed by 60 premier crypto and finance institutions. Consistently amongst the top five exchanges globally for all crypto trading with over 18 million users worldwide, KuCoin has clearly established itself as a leading player in the digital asset ecosystem. This market position in parallel with their ability to extract high-quality data makes them natural data provider partners for Pyth. KuCoin’s increased recent focus on DeFi and Web3 is also directly in line with the Pyth mission to support on-chain projects and protocols.” Stephen Kaminsky, Special Projects at Jump Crypto

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White Oak Buys Finacity in Flagship Acquisition

White Oak Global Advisors | September 21, 2021

White Oak Global Advisors has completed the acquisition of Finacity Corporation a global leader in working capital and trade finance funding solutions to global businesses. Finacity originates, structures and places over USD$100 billion in trade finance receivables yearly with over 50 leading financial institutions in asset-backed security structures. Finacity has facilitated transactions for receivables denominated in 58 currencies with obligors in more than 175 countries making it the largest non-bank trade finance platform globally. The deal will see Adrian Katz remain as Finacity CEO and substantive equity holder, working closely with the leadership of White Oak Global Advisors. With this acquisition White Oak and its affiliates will have over 215 professionals focused on asset-based lending offering trade receivables securitization and a variety of ABL products including invoice discounting, factoring, trade finance, supply chain finance, lender finance and import-export finance. The acquisition will accelerate White Oak’s drive into the $30 trillion market for asset-based working capital solutions. Finacity will operate as a standalone business but will work closely with White Oak in a number of areas where there are synergies – including White Oak deploying institutional capital on Finacity’s platform. White Oak is an SEC-registered investment advisor and has over $10 billion in balance sheet assets. It offers over 20 lending products including SME business lending, commercial finance, equipment leasing, structured finance and other specialty lending solutions for the benefit of borrowers. Finacity is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut and will be rebranded as White Oak Finacity. White Oak’s interest in acquiring Finacity has been long-standing – dating from before the business’ original sale in 2018. Andre Hakkak, CEO of White Oak Global Advisors, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Finacity to the White Oak family. Finacity is a market leader and there are significant synergies between their work and the work we are already doing at White Oak. “This acquisition further demonstrates White Oak’s commitment to being a leading global player in asset-backed capital solutions which is integral to the functioning of the global economy. In particular, Finacity’s experience in making securitization of accounts receivable and consumer assets less complex and more cost-effective will provide significant advantage to our clients. “We look forward to working closely with Adrian and the team at Finacity as we embark on this new partnership.” Adrian Katz, CEO of Finacity Corporation, said: “Everyone at Finacity is excited to be starting this new chapter of our story as part of White Oak. We have known the leadership at White Oak for a long time and are convinced that this move is absolutely the right one to enable Finacity to thrive. About White Oak White Oak Global Advisors, LLC is a leading global alternative asset manager specializing in originating and providing financing solutions to facilitate the growth, refinancing and recapitalization of small and medium enterprises. Since its inception in 2007, White Oak Global Advisors’ disciplined investment process focuses on delivering risk-adjusted investment returns and establishing long term partnerships with our borrowers. About Finacity Finacity specializes in the structuring and provision of efficient capital markets receivables funding programs, supplier and payables finance, back-up servicing, and program administration. Finacity currently facilitates the financing and administration of an annual receivables volume of approximately US $100 billion. With resources in the USA, Europe, Latin America and Asia, Finacity conducts business throughout the world with obligors in more than 175 countries.

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PAYMENTS,BLOCKCHAIN

SGH to Acquire Stratus Technologies

SGH | June 30, 2022

SMART Global Holdings, Inc. (“SGH” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: SGH) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with affiliates of Siris Capital Group, LLC, to acquire Stratus Technologies (“Stratus”), a global leader in simplified, protected, and autonomous computing solutions in the data center and at the Edge. Under the terms of the agreement, SGH will pay $225 million in cash at closing and an earn-out payment of up to $50 million, based on the gross profit performance of the Stratus business during the first full 12 fiscal months of Stratus following the closing. Consistent with the Company’s existing lines of business, Stratus delivers differentiated technology solutions to specialty end markets. In particular, the addition of Stratus’ high-availability, fault-tolerant computing platforms, software, and services will expand the Company’s Intelligent Platform Solutions (“IPS”) business to better serve Stratus and IPS customers worldwide. This transaction builds upon our successful track record of M&A at SGH, The high-availability and fault-tolerant capabilities of Stratus will expand our IPS offerings in Edge, Core, and Cloud, and will enable us to more comprehensively address our combined customers’ needs. We look forward to welcoming the Stratus team to SGH.” Mark Adams, CEO of SGH. About Stratus For leaders digitally transforming their operations to drive predictable, peak performance with minimal risk, Stratus ensures the continuous availability of business-critical applications by delivering zero-touch Edge Computing platforms that are simple to deploy and maintain, protected from interruptions and threats, and autonomous. For 40 years, we have provided reliable and redundant zero-touch computing, enabling global Fortune 500 companies and small-to-medium sized businesses to securely and remotely turn data into actionable intelligence at the Edge, Cloud and Data Center – driving uptime and efficiency. About SGH At SGH, our companies are united by a drive to raise the bar, execute with discipline and focus on what’s next for the technologies that support and advance the world. Across computing, memory, and LED lighting solutions, we build long-term strategic partnerships with our customers. Backed by a proven leadership team, we operate with excellence around the globe while unlocking new avenues of growth for our business and industry. About Siris Siris is a leading private equity firm that invests primarily in mature technology and telecommunications companies with mission-critical products and services, facing industry changes or other significant transitions. Siris' development of proprietary research to identify opportunities and its extensive collaboration with its Executive Partners and Advisors are integral to its approach. Siris' Executive Partners and Advisors are experienced senior operating executives that actively participate in key aspects of the transaction lifecycle to help identify opportunities and drive strategic and operational value. Siris is based in New York, Silicon Valley and West Palm Beach, and has raised nearly $6 billion in cumulative capital commitments.

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BITCOIN AND CRYPTO

KuCoin and Pyth Network Collaborate to Introduce the Crypto Market Price On-Chain

KuCoin | May 31, 2022

KuCoin leading global currency exchange, announced a strategic partnership with Pyth network, a cutting-edge Oracle solution developed on the Solana blockchain. Following the partnership, thePyth network will receive prices for trading pairs from KuCoin in real-time. This will bring crypto market prices on chain. As the People‘s Exchange, KuCoin is committed to providing users with a better crypto experience while also joining forces with more organizations to bring crypto to the masses. Bringing real-world data on-chain is one of the infrastructures of the DeFi world. We look forward to building a more transparent on-chain data marketplace in the blockchain industry through Pyth network as a key partner, which will help to create a new DeFi world that is more collaborative and open and accelerates crypto to mass adoption." Johnny Lyu, KuCoin CEO Pyth network is a front runner in the DeFi ecosystem. The organization built one of the most reliable oracle networks that comes from price data being contributed by 60 premier crypto and finance institutions. Consistently amongst the top five exchanges globally for all crypto trading with over 18 million users worldwide, KuCoin has clearly established itself as a leading player in the digital asset ecosystem. This market position in parallel with their ability to extract high-quality data makes them natural data provider partners for Pyth. KuCoin’s increased recent focus on DeFi and Web3 is also directly in line with the Pyth mission to support on-chain projects and protocols.” Stephen Kaminsky, Special Projects at Jump Crypto

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TRADING SYSTEMS

White Oak Buys Finacity in Flagship Acquisition

White Oak Global Advisors | September 21, 2021

White Oak Global Advisors has completed the acquisition of Finacity Corporation a global leader in working capital and trade finance funding solutions to global businesses. Finacity originates, structures and places over USD$100 billion in trade finance receivables yearly with over 50 leading financial institutions in asset-backed security structures. Finacity has facilitated transactions for receivables denominated in 58 currencies with obligors in more than 175 countries making it the largest non-bank trade finance platform globally. The deal will see Adrian Katz remain as Finacity CEO and substantive equity holder, working closely with the leadership of White Oak Global Advisors. With this acquisition White Oak and its affiliates will have over 215 professionals focused on asset-based lending offering trade receivables securitization and a variety of ABL products including invoice discounting, factoring, trade finance, supply chain finance, lender finance and import-export finance. The acquisition will accelerate White Oak’s drive into the $30 trillion market for asset-based working capital solutions. Finacity will operate as a standalone business but will work closely with White Oak in a number of areas where there are synergies – including White Oak deploying institutional capital on Finacity’s platform. White Oak is an SEC-registered investment advisor and has over $10 billion in balance sheet assets. It offers over 20 lending products including SME business lending, commercial finance, equipment leasing, structured finance and other specialty lending solutions for the benefit of borrowers. Finacity is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut and will be rebranded as White Oak Finacity. White Oak’s interest in acquiring Finacity has been long-standing – dating from before the business’ original sale in 2018. Andre Hakkak, CEO of White Oak Global Advisors, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Finacity to the White Oak family. Finacity is a market leader and there are significant synergies between their work and the work we are already doing at White Oak. “This acquisition further demonstrates White Oak’s commitment to being a leading global player in asset-backed capital solutions which is integral to the functioning of the global economy. In particular, Finacity’s experience in making securitization of accounts receivable and consumer assets less complex and more cost-effective will provide significant advantage to our clients. “We look forward to working closely with Adrian and the team at Finacity as we embark on this new partnership.” Adrian Katz, CEO of Finacity Corporation, said: “Everyone at Finacity is excited to be starting this new chapter of our story as part of White Oak. We have known the leadership at White Oak for a long time and are convinced that this move is absolutely the right one to enable Finacity to thrive. About White Oak White Oak Global Advisors, LLC is a leading global alternative asset manager specializing in originating and providing financing solutions to facilitate the growth, refinancing and recapitalization of small and medium enterprises. Since its inception in 2007, White Oak Global Advisors’ disciplined investment process focuses on delivering risk-adjusted investment returns and establishing long term partnerships with our borrowers. About Finacity Finacity specializes in the structuring and provision of efficient capital markets receivables funding programs, supplier and payables finance, back-up servicing, and program administration. Finacity currently facilitates the financing and administration of an annual receivables volume of approximately US $100 billion. With resources in the USA, Europe, Latin America and Asia, Finacity conducts business throughout the world with obligors in more than 175 countries.

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