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Vero can trace its origins back to 1833 in Australia. Since then we have successfully protected our customers’ personal and business assets. Vero aims to provide our customers with certainty and peace of mind, through innovative, specialised and expert insurance offerings. Why is this document impo

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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 What are the main obstacles to Exchange 4.0, whether they stem from outdated thinking or misaligned stakeholder incentives?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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Financial infrastructure: the FinTech way

Article | August 17, 2021

Financial infrastructure plays a critical role in a country’s economic development and stability. It determines how efficiently financial services can be provided. A high-quality infrastructure lends itself, among other benefits, to lower transactional costs and more accurate risk evaluations, improving lending and access to capital.

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Advancing our approach to digital currency

Article | August 17, 2021

As a global payment’s technology company, Visa is focused on delivering the greatest value to people, businesses and economies everywhere, regardless of currency, channel or form factor. We’re reshaping how money moves across the globe, and that means pursuing a broad array of technologies and partnerships. In that regard, digital currencies offer an exciting avenue for us to continue doing what we do best: expanding our network-of-networks to support new forms of commerce.

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How to Utilize Open Banking Opportunities in 2020

Article | August 17, 2021

Everyone wants to build a creamier, faster, and more efficient financial services journey — which in 2020 is not a point of controversy or friction. Today, customer demand is touching peaks. It is customer demand that forces businesses come out of their silos and collaborate with others to create products and services that are open-source, non-proprietary, and do not lock down users into an ecosystem. The launch of Open Banking is initiated to fundamentally change the way consumers, businesses, and banks pay and get paid, and how they maintain their data. The foundation of a unified Application Programming Interface, or API, across financial institutions, constitutes a foundation in which data can be seamlessly and securely shared right away. While open banking is in the initial stages of its evolution, many assume this trend to expedite and reshape the banking industry in significant ways. Thanks to open banking developments around the world, customers are becoming more informed of the essential value of their information and are increasingly seeking more command over their financial data. Table of Contents •Why is Open Banking Important? •How Does Open Banking Work? •Open banking in United States •The Wave of Change in Payment Arena •Cloud-based Processing Services •Conclusion Why is Open Banking Important? The most valuable asset in the 2020 world is data, and banking data is the finest of the crop, as it facilitates insight into how consumers and businesses are employing money, saving, and acquiring debt. The data has got value and the data that the bank holds and the customers, belongs to the customer and not to the bank, that’s a fundamental realism or premise that the government has is writ large in European legislation. You will be pestered by its called GDPR but fundamentally enshrines the fact that the data belongs to you, the consumer or to the SME, not to the financial institution. And if you as a consumer want to use that information to get access to better products and better services, it’s entirely your right to do so. That’s what open banking is trying to deliver. It holds the promise of making finance more convenient, better tailored and fundamentally smarter. From industry point of view, open banking promises to lower the barriers to entry to financial services and lower the barriers to innovation in financial services. That’s why it is so exciting for many of the fintechs. Open Banking delivers enormous opportunities in 2020, for the fintech ecosystem that goes beyond necessary to invigorate customer relationships and transform businesses. Through ecosystem partners, banks can enter customer journeys earlier than before and create added value to expertly serve enduring customers as well as attract new ones. Customers foresee seamless digital experiences, and platform-based business models, that are a quintessential element of the digital economy. When embracing the opportunities Open Banking brings, banks can leverage the ability, speed, effectiveness, and innovativeness of startups to enhance their product and service offerings. Banks also have access to other banks’ data. By genuinely performing multi-banking services, they can drag competitors’ customers and spread awareness of their brand. How Does Open Banking Work? Let’s put this into three: • What the banks do • How you get registered • What the customer sees The banks have put into places API’s, this means they have made huge technology decisions to expose customer data and access the data from other third parties. For open banking to work, you have to be governed by the OBIE rules. The OBIE is open banking implementation entity and you can either be an AISP or a PISP that sits under the OBIE. The AISP essentially means you are an account information services provider and PISP means you are payment initiation services provider. One means you can aggregate transaction data and customer data, the other means the payments that you can initiate from your third party, from your bank. The third element to this is TSP, a technology service provider. And they basically provide all the rails between the banks and between third parties to make sure that this whole system runs right. From the consumer perspective, at the end, it gives them the ability to share their data with third parties but crucially have the permissioning power to be able to do that. An AISP can condense reams of bank account statement data and pass it to the customer in a single interface, making it ideal for treasurers of multi-banked organizations. Payment service users – whether they are individuals or businesses, can guide their banks or payment service providers to share their bank balance and transaction data with regulated AISPs. To display this information on a user-friendly dashboard, the AISP can convert all this transaction data into the expected format and send it to the customer’s ERP or Treasury Management System. Before the initiation of Open Banking, businesses and consumers were logging into each bank individually to initiate payments, using various workflows and security etiquettes. With the arrival of Open Banking, individuals or businesses are now equipped to mandate their multiple banks or payment service providers to receive payment instructions via their PISP’s app. Learn more: Open banking in the same language Open banking in United States According to Deloitte Insights, The open data revolution is most obvious in Australia, the United Kingdom, and other countries in the European Union. Each has distinct regulations that require banks to share customer data with third-party providers as per customers’ instructions. Other countries, such as Canada, Japan, and Singapore, are also considering similar regulations. Australia, however, has taken it a step further: It has gone beyond the financial services sector, applying an expansive set of rules on consumer data rights and data-sharing to other industries as well. We do not know yet whether this will be a model for other countries, although, in the United Kingdom, similar efforts are underway. While the open banking model in the United States may take a different path, US banks can learn valuable lessons by looking at how it has been implemented in more regulatory-driven environments. Bank leaders may find it particularly helpful to review how different regions set technical and customer experience standards for data-sharing. To date, there are no signs that new open banking regulations are being developed in the United States. Learn more: Open banking model strategy The Wave of Change in Payment Arena One interesting example of the innovation encouraged by Open Banking is HSBC’s Connect Money application. This application enables customers to view all their accounts within single application-even if those accounts are scattered across different banks. According to an article by Accenture "How Open Banking is Catalyzing Payments Change" Connect Money demonstrates one of the most fascinating features of Open Banking. Many Open Banking products and services are subject to “network effects”—they become more valuable as more banks participate. If Connect Money allowed customers to track only HSBC accounts, it might have been somewhat useful. The fact that the app connects across many banks is what makes it powerful. This aspect of Open Banking can also make it easier for new entrants to grow and gain purchase in the market since more access to data means more opportunities to create value for customers. In the payments platform, Open Banking is advantageous to small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). This is because it facilitates account aggregation, better financial management, easier credit checking of customers, and the unification of lending and accounting applications. With Open Banking, SMEs can receive and make payments using different platforms with better clarity and best momentum. Open Banking payments are validated instantly between consumers and their banks. This means the chargebacks that merchants must pay because of fraud or rejected payments becomes zero. This offers plentiful savings for all merchants. Payments powered by Open Banking also give real-time credit transfers, confirming the payment and empowering merchants to ship the product immediately. Cloud-based Processing Services Open Banking also maintains cloud-based processing services- a compelling alternative for decentralizing processing and encouraging payments innovation. The benefit includes: • More economical costs • More regular compliance maintenance • Advanced enterprise agility • The capacity to flex volumes quickly The new payment option, called IATA Pay, provides customers more extensive selection of payment methods when buying airline tickets. The most popular services that are being worked in 2020 covers Request to Pay and P2P payments services. We can anticipate seeing many more in the following years. Conclusion Open Banking scales to opportunities preferably, then threats. Done perfectly, banks can flourish, encouraging their customer franchises and brand, securing a defined culture, and fostering business through open collaboration with the world beyond financial services. We are witnessing the initial stages of a seismic industry migration that will come into full power over the next five years. The evolution of innovations with the potential to force simplicity and enhance flexibility is turning a once complicated web of financial institutions into centralized tools to maximize value creation. Open Banking scales to opportunities preferably, then threats. Done perfectly, banks can flourish, encouraging their customer franchises and brand, securing a defined culture, and fostering business through open collaboration with the world beyond financial services. Consequently, any bank that needs to stay consistent in 2030 must begin to design their Open Banking strategy immediately.

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Mara Group is a pan-African multi-sector business with extensive operating experience in both African and international markets...

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