Europe’s Capital Markets Need a Jolt

| May 27, 2016

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As a banker for all of my professional life, my work has been focused in large part on how businesses finance themselves. How do they raise equity? When they need money for capital expenditures, what’s the most efficient way to get it? How do they manage their day-to-day working-capital needs?...

Spotlight

Brown & Brown Insurance

Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE: BRO) provides risk management solutions to protect what our customers value most. Our four business segments offer insurance products and services to businesses, corporations, governmental institutions, professional organizations, trade associations, families, and individuals. We craft insurance differently by using our experience, carrier relationships, and principled customer focus to deliver first-class service and solutions.

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The Post-pandemic Market Infrastructure Growth Opportunity

Article | August 17, 2021

The current global pandemic has changed our mindset and habits, as we are forced to revaluate the current ways we do things by thinking further outside the box. Over the last 12-18 months there has been a complete contrast of fortunes in the capital markets technology sector, with some firms flourishing, some struggling to survive, and others having to reinvent themselves to do so. Here at GMEX Group it has presented a substantial opportunity for innovation, which continues to accelerate on the back of the momentum already built. One such opportunity centres on digital market infrastructure-enabled digital assets which, despite near-term market-driven volatility, will continue to experience increasing demand for solutions and services from institutional capital markets firms. Market Infrastructure Evolution GMEX Group started as a FinTech company over 9 years ago and focused on supplying technology to traditional exchanges and post trade operators based on a partnership-driven approach. Over the last few years, as a growth-stage company, we have focused on both digital market infrastructure solutions (including issuance, exchange trading, clearing, settlement and digital custody for digital assets), as well as continuing with traditional market infrastructure enablement. Our hybrid market infrastructure approach has enabled us to deliver technologically advanced, institutional grade, future-proofed solutions that take advantage of the inherently positive characteristics of both traditional and digital market infrastructure. In today’s environment, exchange matching engines, digital trading platforms and post trade systems need to embrace a hybrid ecosystem approach. Bridging the gap between traditional and digital capital markets, whilst effectively mapping to evolving regulatory frameworks, is essential. This requires an approach which encompasses traditional and digital assets, digital currencies, security tokens and digital securitisation of traditional assets including derivatives and commodities. The increasing regulatory requirements for digital asset infrastructure and the resultant demand for solutions that are fit for purpose has played into our core strengths. We’ve worked to provide a complete hybrid market infrastructure product suite called GMEX Fusion, which is ideally suited for regulated exchanges, trading venues, custodians and banks focused on both traditional and digital assets of all kinds. Our solution set has been designed to support the latest technology and business challenges that are impacting the way traditional exchanges are looking to operate as they look to embrace digital transformation. GMEX Fusion also addresses the demands from the cryptocurrency exchanges, digital asset trading venues, Non Fungible Token (NFT) marketplaces and emerging markets looking to start-up or enhance their exchange ecosystem and support digital assets. GMEX is working with many of these entities across multiple jurisdictions as our footprint is very much global, with clients and partners all over the world. Exchange 4.0 The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is driving technological innovation in many spheres, and with it comes the need to move from analogue to digital - and embrace Exchange 4.0. The industry-changing network will see exchanges, trading venues, post trade operators, custodians, and other services interconnect more seamlessly, with the ability to swap services and assets across jurisdictions and across different types of users. This transformational solution will necessitate digital exchange trading systems, order matching engines and post trade platforms to transition from the legacy solutions that have been around for decades. We are now moving past the second and third generation of blockchain in financial services towards Exchange 4.0 at an accelerated pace. As an industry, we’re in a state of flux which has merely been exacerbated by the crisis. If we look at FinTech firms now, I would argue it’s the most exciting time ever because so many new technologies are emerging. With blockchain on the one hand, and AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and quantum computing on the other. From being nascent, many of these are now starting to grow as well as integrate. With all this technology around, the opportunity for innovation is immense. But that’s counter-balanced by the inertia of existing legacy platforms, processes and mindsets. We know how the smartphone revolutionised the way we communicate, online and in every other fashion. Even 10 years ago, we couldn’t have envisioned where we are now and the extent to which it’s developed. We are now in the same place in financial markets. We don’t necessarily see it and despite the innovation there are many silos which don’t talk to each other effectively. There is strong client demand for the full spectrum of digital and hybrid services. However interoperability and time to market remain a challenge, with traditional and multiple types of blockchain-enabled digital market infrastructure being severely fragmented. The team at GMEX group firmly believe that digital market infrastructure and related services need to integrate with existing market infrastructure and technologies to foster interoperability. By doing so there is an opportunity to interconnect the whole capital markets value chain of participants across international nodes (jurisdictions), to more easily trade, clear and settle traditional assets and digital assets and eradicate the age-old exchange silos. The immense opportunities As unfortunate as the current crisis is, it will end and immense opportunities will follow once normality resumes. There is expected to be exponential growth in digital assets over the next five years, with a continued uptick in institutional demand. This is not only a huge opportunity for FinTech firms, but also a big opportunity for financial markets firms and those that provide financial services. To GMEX, this presents an opportunity where the right answer isn’t the traditional status quo and it isn’t the decentralised Wild West. The right answer is somewhere in between, and that presents an opportunity to create new products, new asset classes and new revenue streams. The ability to harness hybrid market infrastructure will be essential in the capital markets sector, irrespective of whether the underlying asset class is traditional or digital. And to achieve the winning position, innovation now is key!

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Coinlager – Non-custodial crypto exchange, like the history have taught us

Article | October 26, 2020

If the history have taught us anything it’s to never trust anyone else with your digital money. That is why when dealing with digital money such as cryptocurrency or tokens you should always store it at another place from where you bought it. Coinlager is doing exactly this, focusing on what its primarily feature is – to allow customers to buy cryptocurrencies in a quick, transparent and safe manner. Ever since Satoshi mined the first Bitcoin crypto has been on the rise. In the beginning it was more of a subculture rather than a respected currency, something which has definitely changed over the past decade. There was one company for those of you who remembers called MT Gox that was the number 1 choice for any cryptocurrency trader between 2010 – 2013, at most the covered 70% of the Bitcoin tradable market. In February 2014 it however came to an abrupt stop since MT Gox announced that approximately 850,000 Bitcoins had been stolen from their Hot Wallet, valued at $450 million at that time. Even though the MT Gox hack is by far the biggest almost all of the larger exchanges have at some stage been targeted by hackers and in some cases succeeded in stealing cryptocurrencies. “We were actually one of the early adapters to crypto back in 2011, using MT Gox as a day-trading solution to increase our assets of Bitcoin. Everything were going smoothly until the crash in 2014 where we also lost all our Bitcoins. We haven’t really spent too much time dwelling on it, but when we see that people are still relying too much on using the same company for both thee crypto and the wallet service we thought we had to do something about it. The problem has always been that seperatiing the two services have not been user-friendly – this is what we are changing, giving the customers a super easy and quick way to buy their crypto and send it over to their desired wallet.” Krzysztof Mysiak So what is it that Coinlager essentially does? It’s simple, we sell cryptocurrencies to the customers. Customers can register over at Coinlager in seconds and be able to purchase their favourite cryptocurrency immediately. Relying on modernised technologies we can verify the customers in real-time, giving them the chance to not have to wait for hours or even days when their account becomes activated. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated where customers do not understand what they are buying or how much it costs. With Coinlager we show the customers A) What they are buying B) What our fees are C) Where the crypto will be sent to (customer’s choice). If you are interested in buying crypto, come check us out here: https://coinlager.com/ If you have a question, feel free to email us at hello@coinlager.com

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The 2020 Trends Defining the Banking and Payments Industry

Article | March 2, 2020

A number of key benefits pertaining to banking in the cloud are now widely acknowledged – from scalability, agility and security to future proofing and (perhaps the most significant of all) cost efficiency. So, while the debate around whether cloud needs to be a part of a payments players’ future strategy is well settled now, it does not mean that when it comes to cloud payments “one-size-fits-all”. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

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How to Boost Digital Banking Amid Coronavirus

Article | April 4, 2020

Banks have an Essential Role to Play as Systemic Stabilizers. COVID 19 has created disruptive economic fallout within human society across all religions/races/geographies/countries/continents. The path ahead is hence a dangerous one, driven by epidemiological uncertainty. While this situation is occurring for the first time in human history, this has also been an eye-opener to have a more comprehensive look at the way we operate. The footfalls of branch banking have decreased to a large extent, and banks have urged customers to use digital channels. Table of Contents • COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation • How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption - Start with a comprehensive plan - Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground - Leverage digital and traditional channels - Enable Seamless Customer Experience • Conclusion COVID 19- An Accelerant to Digital Transformation The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is indirectly promoting digital transformation, as many service providers, including banks, have significantly decreased or even closed their offline services, asking their customers to adopt the digital banking for any assistance. This trend is resulting in speeding up digital transformation. But, the question here is, are customers ready for this drastic change? Yes, slowly yet firmly, Banks are witnessing customers picking up services that have distinguished digital capabilities. The mechanics of customer interaction has quickly shifted from physical handshakes to virtual communication over personal & extensive digital channels. Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/6-digital-banking-best-practices-during-the-covid-19-outbreak/8287 Consultant McKinsey & Co, in an article titled Leadership in the time of coronavirus: COVID-19 response and implications for the banks, reports that Banks have already taken a series of actions in reaction to the spread of COVID-19. Common steps we’ve seen include establishing a central task force, curtailing travel, suspending large-scale gatherings, segregating teams, making arrangements for teleworking, and refreshing external-vendor-interaction policies. It also highlights some of the fundamental changes banking organizations are going to need to make in the way they do business. Workplace dynamics and talent management, already evolving in a digitizing world, maybe durably changed after an extended period of remote working,” it says. “Likewise, customer routines and expectations may also shift further in meaningful proportions, both in terms of digital adaptation and the expectation for proactive communication and care. How to Increase Digital Banking Adoption Digital is not a destination but it's a journey with more and more innovations and discoveries happening across multiple industries. But with COVID 19, it is a forced change for human society to adapt to a digital and contactless mechanism for business transactions between individuals or companies across the border (B2B, B2C, B2G, G2G, etc). The countries which are adopting this methodology are more likely to succeed in the new digital paradigm post-Covid 19. Below are some simple steps you can use to increase customer engagement with digital banking: Start with a comprehensive plan To increase awareness of your digital banking platform, it is always essential, to begin with, a first cut action plan. In the current crisis, there are immediate actions banks can take to help retail and small business customers, support the use of digital channels so that customers can bank from home. In the United States, many banks struggle to increase digital adoption among their customers; for example, nearly half of banking customers either never use their mobile app or do so infrequently. According to McKinsey& Company, In the United States, the most satisfied customers use digital multiple times per week, the second-most satisfied customers do not use digital at all. The least satisfied banking customers are those who use digital tools infrequently, less than once per month. This is because customers go through a learning curve as they adopt digital tools, and most banks under-support their customers in the adoption journey. In the current environment, banks should redouble their efforts to smooth customers’ transition to digital. Here’s how: • Easy-to-find and clear communication • segment-specific campaigns • remote coaching and advice, • And unified experiences across each journey, such as written and video explanations for how to accomplish specific digital tasks, along with ways to try them out. Banking services that involve branch interaction, digital tools can still play an important role by providing information on adjusted hours, essential services, reduced staff numbers, heightened safety precautions, social-distancing measures, and digitally-enabled queuing. Keep employees morale up to get back on solid ground One of the first things that can go for a toss in such challenging times is the morale of employees. It is natural for employees to feel frustrated. The uncertainty of the company's future, the fear of recession, and uncertainty around jobs can damage motivation, productivity, and can create a lot of fear among employees. This entails bank managers to set precise directions for remote teams that are pursuing common goals. Bank managers should also take this opportunity to delegate and empower their employees for decision making. Both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation through rewards, clear spans of control, and meaningful appreciation can go a long way in supporting employee morale. A vital portion of the employees is working from home facing operational challenges, such as internet-bandwidth issues, network connectivity, technology glitches, and childcare priorities. Following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment: According to McKinsey &Company, following practices could help these banks perform a more effective distributed-work environment: • Enable technology setup and infrastructure for remote work. • Supporting remote-work technology and infrastructure • Assisting employees with home-office setup • Ensuring adequate VPN bandwidth • Providing remote application access • Adopting a suite of digital tools that facilitate effective communication, and decision making, such as videoconferencing, file sharing, real-time communication, coediting, and task management, and • Ensuring that agents have the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards. With all these features, it is also critical to ensure that agents are well-equipped with the necessary tools and resources to handle calls from home while maintaining customer-data-confidentiality standards. Leverage digital and traditional channels The more frequently a person sees a message, and in more places, the more likely they are to engage and take action. Banks need to maximize awareness by promoting their message across channels. Promote it in their branch and online, on ATM screens and in the call center. Banks can also find ways to cross-promote digital banking. For example, during the new account opening process, it should encourage consumers to enroll in online banking. Or, if a bank or credit union is doing a credit card promotion, they can use it as an opportunity to cross-promote its mobile app. Enable Seamless Customer Experience For banks, spending on customer experience was essential before the current crisis, both from a “good business” perspective and a “good bank” perspective. Now, these aspects are even more relevant. It is highly important for banks to make their genuine concern for their customers clear and to make customer interactions with the bank as easy as possible. COVID-19 has brought customers already under health and financial stress. They will need ready access to bank products and services. It is now more important, then, to reach customers through digital channels, stay connected through innovative communication channels, meet the needs of vulnerable populations, and stabilize critical infrastructure. • Banks should encourage more customers to use remote channels and digital products whenever possible. • Enhancing current digital offerings, identifying key functionalities, that can be improved quickly • Speeding up the procedure to increase limits on online transactions and simplifying password reset. • Keeping clients involved via SMS, mobile apps, and digital media • Minimize disagreeable surprises to customers (such as potential branch lockdowns) • Encourage fraud-prevention measures, clarify the availability of solutions on digital channels, and • Define preventive measures to ensure the health and safety of clients and employees in branches. According to McKinsey & Company, some financial institutions will need to address such technology gaps in order to offer a seamless digital customer experience. This will require planning ahead by scaling infrastructure capacity and network bandwidth, stress testing and scenario planning, managing near-term patches, and identifying urgent weaknesses in architecture. Learn more: https://capital.report/blogs/9-best-fintech-apps-to-use-while-at-home-during-the-coronavirus-lockdown/8273 All in All Coronavirus difficulties provide an opportunity for new businesses to thrive based on a new digital reality – completely digital and contactless. Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach newer areas. The world is thinking about implementing ways to lessen the disruption caused to humanity. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it.

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Spotlight

Brown & Brown Insurance

Brown & Brown, Inc. (NYSE: BRO) provides risk management solutions to protect what our customers value most. Our four business segments offer insurance products and services to businesses, corporations, governmental institutions, professional organizations, trade associations, families, and individuals. We craft insurance differently by using our experience, carrier relationships, and principled customer focus to deliver first-class service and solutions.

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