Article | February 25, 2020
Fintech or Financial technology is the industry that delivers traditional financial services in a technical manner. The industry has been there for a long time but made significant growth in the previous few years. New cryptocurrencies and payment solutions are surfacing, and the industry is projected to make significant growth of $309.98 billion at an annual growth rate of 24.8% through 2022.
Article | February 25, 2020
Digital banking is not new – major banks began to offer internet banking services in the mid-1990s. However, the traditional banking industry is facing significant pressure from rapidly shifting consumer expectations, changing regulations and increasing competition from digital-native disruptors. Younger Gen Z customers are more apt to use alternative transaction methods such as mobile wallets or P2P payments (e.g., PayPal or the Dutch payment app Tikkie), and businesses are beginning to favor real-time digital payments to improve efficiency, reduce cost and better manage their cash flow. Moreover the ongoing global health crisis is accelerating the movement toward real-time contactless digital payments. Fifty-six countries are now live with real-time payments, and six countries more than doubled their volume of real-time payments in the past year. [i] Due to a joint implementation of the major banks led by the Dutch Payments Association (Betaalvereniging Nederland), the Netherlands is a European leader in terms of the adoption of real-time payments.
In the midst of this fast-changing landscape, new business models are arising as digital-natives, FinTechs and incumbent banks partner to offer new banking and payment services in the cloud. One example is Dutch Cobase – a subsidiary of ING Group that bundles business accounts – which recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Nordic bank Nordea and the French Crédit Agricole. Amsterdam-based banking platform Five Degrees supplies its technology to banks such as ABN Amro, Van Lanschot and Knab, among others. Collaboration like this is spurring further innovation as these digital ecosystems expand, attracting new participants. But successfully delivering these new digital services requires the direct and secure, low-latency, reliable exchange of data between partners that interconnection can provide.
BaaS needs FinTechs AND banks
FinTechs born in the cloud have the IT infrastructure, skills and agility to deliver digital banking and payment services on-demand. They can also offer these BaaS capabilities to any brand who wants to embed financial services in their customer experience. Sometimes referred to as “embedded finance,” BaaS enables businesses to create new products and services along the customer journey as the diagram below illustrates.
However, FinTechs typically lack the assets and regulatory license to fulfill financial transactions, and that’s where banks come in. To ensure that deposits and money transfers stay safe, banks are heavily regulated and often insured up to a certain dollar amount for each depositor. This combined with a longer history with customers means that banks have an advantage when it comes to perceptions of how safe and secure a financial transaction will be. As a result, there are a few collaboration paths that FinTechs and banks generally pursue to bring BaaS services to the market:
The FinTech buys a bank that already has a license such as Jiko purchasing Mid Central National Bank in the U.S. or Raisin GmbH buying MHG-Bank AG in Germany.
The FinTech partners with a bank to borrow their license such as Chime partnering with Stride Bank, N.A. and The Bancorp Bank.
The FinTech acquires its own license (a lengthy process that could take up to three years) such as Railsbank in the U.K. or Varo Money in the U.S.
The bank partners with a FinTech to launch BaaS services such as Deutsche Bank partnering with Traxpay to integrate supply chain financing technologies and solutions within its own offerings.
Regulations are shaping the partnering model
The regulatory environment may also impact the partnering model. For example, open banking laws in the European Union and the U.K. require banks to open APIs to third-party developers, making it easier for FinTechs to gain access to bank data. Regulations like these are helping to reduce uncertainty for startups and accelerate innovation in the European banking system. Challenger banks such as U.K.-based Revolut have also benefitted from special licenses that allow them to directly accept deposits, process payments or lend.
In the U.S., the Durbin Amendment is accelerating partnerships between small-medium banks and FinTechs in a different way. The Amendment, which has been in effect since 2011, aimed to lower prices for consumers by reducing the fees that retail stores pay to banks when customers use debit cards. In reality, banks just responded by increasing the fees that consumers pay to make up the lost revenue. However, the Durbin Amendment exempts financial institutions with less than $10 billion, making them ideal partnering candidates for FinTechs.
How BaaS actually works
A hybrid digital architecture for BaaS with a mix of on-premises, colocation and public/private cloud elements. In this example, the bank is the license holder partnering with the FinTech BaaS provider to deliver embedded financial services to a Brand (such as a retailer or transportation business). The bank has also partnered with other FinTechs for real-time and cross-border payments, although it handles any card transactions in-house. Interconnection will be critical for ensuring secure, low latency data flows between the partners and digital infrastructure across the regions where the BaaS is offered.
Partnerships like these are steadily growing into ecosystems of digital exchange around financial services that include clouds, networks, banks, FinTechs, payment rails, fraud detection and other service providers. By placing their digital infrastructure close to these ecosystems, leveraging an interconnection approach, banks and FinTechs alike can maximize their competitive advantage. Interconnection provides a more scalable, reliable, secure approach to moving data between members of the value chain than the public internet. With an interconnection strategy, banks and FinTechs can deploy a digital core, extend across edge locations and enhance their capabilities through digital exchange to create new BaaS markets for any brand.
Article | February 25, 2020
The world began its course to become a digital open book after the internet came into existence. With almost everything available for purchase, the internet has brought the world to the buyer's doorstep. With the purchase, comes the data, and with effective use of the data collected within a period, any industry can speculate the buyer’s journey and take compelling steps to attract the buyer.
Looking at the facts, around 93% of purchases start with internet research. Intent data is the name of the collection of the behavioral signals that a user shows while purchasing anything. This data helps businesses be available at the right time and the right place to pitch their product to the customer who is already interested in buying what they are selling.
Businesses can analyze these signals, accurately understand where the prospect is in its buying journey and can give a solution to the problem. With intent data, even financial institutions can up their game and generate greater ROI while accurately predicting the buyer’s position in its purchase journey, and provide the best value to attract him/her. With over terabytes of intent data available for use, financial institutions can use it to flourish in this pandemic hit economy, using fewer resources and marketing their services to ready to buy consumers.
Since its inception, intent data is on the top priority of every marketer’s to-do list, with its usage in advertising campaigns, outreach campaigns, content creation, SEO, etc. This article covers how financial institutions can use intent data to their advantage, provide value to the user, and draw massive attention to their platform to reach their ultimate goal and generate more revenue.
Before going further, let’s understand the basic concept of intent data and its type that comes into the use for financial institutions.
WHAT IS INTENT DATA?
Intent data refers to collecting information on online behavioral insights of internet users or prospects, allowing you to better focus on the audience that has more chances of buying your products or services.
To put it simply, intent data will help you display your product or services to those already searching for it. For example, your financial department is facing challenges to keep the accounting on track, checking the organization’s financial status, etc.
While, you look for the solutions online, you Google “best financial tool for in-house accounting.” Out of millions of search results, your search concludes with some of the top tools like Robotic Press Automation (RPA) in accounting kept aside. Now, your search would be more specific and according to the selected tools.
Now, for comparing and selecting the best tools, you may Google-
“How RPA keeps track on accounting?”
“What is the ROI of RPA in accounting for small enterprises?”
“What is the role of RPA in accounting?”
And so on. Notice how your search query got specified after some informative searches. Imagine having the power of intent data of your customers and satisfying them with your content. Intent data helps you nurture a highly targeted audience and eventually convert them into your clients.
When prospects face challenges, they search for the solution online. While providing the solution for any specific query, websites ask the prospects to accept their cookies. These cookies monitor their intent of searching and this data is then pushed to the marketers to mold their campaigns suited better for these targeted customers.
Let’s look at how financial institutions can focus their campaigns on highly targeted prospects with types of intent data.
TYPES/SOURCES OF INTENT DATA
The types of intent data divide the vast information of intent into three types - first party, second party, and third party.
The data you now gather on known contacts and anonymous visitors is first-party intent data. It can also involve prospective website connections, newsletters, emails, and social media. You can use the first-party intent data to segment messages, build workflows, and get more leads. You can assist your marketing and sales team in determining how to approach and convert a prospect.
Second-party data refers to data collected by another company. It is like gaining insights into your prospects from the shops they have visited earlier. The second-party intent data includes review websites and publishing networks. And all this information is voluntarily provided by the user. Sometimes, the user may also share the contact details and their business email id.
While some systems only track a network of pages, third-party intent data is gathered from all across the web. In several cases, this intent data is extracted using one of 3 techniques: reverse IP lookup, Bidstream data from ad networks and widgets, and media exchange/publishing participants. Third-party intent data can show the user’s intent that is relevant to your campaign.
STEPS TO BUILD GREATER ROI FROM INTENT DATA
How can a financial institution decide whether a particular lead is worth its investment? Answer: By lead qualification.
By segregating each lead into three types, you can decide whether the prospect is an active buyer or someone who wants some information over the web. It allows the marketing team to use their time efficiently and target the leads which are likely to convert. For significant ROI from intent data, financial institutions should gather intent data and segregate it into three types of B2B data- Fit data, Intent data, and Opportunity data.
Fit data shows how well your product or services fit the need of the customers. Imagine if a financial institution provides loans on a low credit score, and a user searches for loans on a low credit score, we can call this collection of information as fit data. With this information, you can efficiently use your time and investment to target a specific prospect. This information collection may include the prospect’s age, sex, job level, job function, and the residing location. Fit data is generally the data that won’t change quickly. It may give you a right fit of prospects for your campaign but cannot tell you the right time or context of search intent.
Opportunity data is event-based data on particular prospects. Suppose, you are a financial institution providing a car loan on reduced interest rates, and you come to know that a specific company is crediting bonus salary to its employees. If you market your car loan services to their employees, you can have more leads as you know they have a bonus salary in their account. This is called an opportunity data, which sometimes is also referred to as data scoops that give you information about favorable conditions for sale. As the name suggests, the opportunity data gives you the data of a perfect opportunity to market your services to targeted prospects.
Intent data indicates that the time has come to engage with folks who actively express a desire to acquire a solution. When the intent data is integrated with other signals and a solid fit, the chances of conversion increase dramatically.
It's helpful to know when there's movement at a company, but if you don't know who to connect with and don't have a phone number or email address for them, it's only informative. You need actionable data along with intent data to perform a perfect marketing campaign.
COMMON USE OF INTENT DATA
A Segment to sort out active prospects
With the use of intent data, B2B marketers find companies actively looking for products or services they are serving. Intent data solutions provide segmentation tools that you can utilize to sort out active prospects that fit perfectly with your services.
This segmentation tool can help you filter your prospect with an unlimited combination of the type of company, contact details, location, industry, and technology they use.
Intent data for Account-Based Marketing
Leading B2B marketers use intent data to drive their ABM campaigns as it naturally fits these campaigns. ABM and intent data are the two sides of the same coin, as ABM delivers results through specific account’s interest and intent data provides timely opportunities to initiate the contact. Integrating both helps you elevate your marketing reach.
Intent Data for marketing campaign Optimization
Integrated marketing strategies help financial institutions because marketers can pump useful insights to drive effective and relevant demands. The sales team of financial institutions get into the conversation with the buyer while having more information on their pain points and what solutions they are looking for, giving them an upper hand in exchange.
SIGNIFICANT FINANCIAL MARKETING TREND
With the help of effective machine learning and artificial intelligence, insight-driven marketing helps financial institutions to offer financial assistance to the right fit of customers. Marketers can further collect the right type of customers that fits the services and not the other way around. Prospects with other financial needs can be routed to more appropriate services you offer.
Awareness of the customer journey
Intent data helps financial institutions optimize and understand the customer journey and correctly map customer interactions. It enables to influence the end-to-end experience of the customer. By having a perfect understanding of where the customer stands in the customer journey, financial institutions can market their services according to their needs.
Intent data allows the marketers to look further into the minds of their prospects. It enables them to read the customers as an open book while segmenting them on their thought process. For example, which customer is more savings-oriented? Which one is planning for their retirement? With these insights, marketers can match the right customers to their services with the relevant type of marketing to compel the audience.
TYPES OF MARKETING SIGNAL AVAILABLE
Signals are the hints prospects resonate, showing financial institutions they are ready for being potential customers. These signals are everyday actions like Googling stuff they need orLike hard searching online, clicking on financial institution ads, applying for any loans, and paying off debts. Financial institutions can use these signals to run highly specific marketing campaigns.
Let’s look into these marketing signals further.
Most marketing signal falls into three major categories, such as:
The behavior-based marketing signal includes hard searching like credit inquiries and online searches that signal intent to look for services. It may also include some minor changes that indicate future requirements like a change of residence or buying intent of large purchases like automobiles and real estate.
Event-based marketing signals include automobile lease expiring, mortgage rate settings, or child passing the high school. These are the hints that indicate the prospect is going to have a requirement for your services. These signs show that the customer is about to have a significant financial shift, and financial institutions can use this opportunity to market their services.
Predictive signals are passive hints that prospects show. It may not be as obvious as behavior-based, but it can set a boundary to your targeted customers. Some of the predictive marketing signals could have data of savings, debit consolidation, and mortgage refining. Predictive marketing signal can give low fidelity and can assure you the maximum coverage of your marketing campaign.
Using signals to attract and retain consumers is an effective component of a well-thought-out marketing strategy. Moving to a signals-based strategy, on the other hand, does not have to be a huge overhaul of your current procedures. Continue to use your tried-and-true strategy, but experiment with new ways of analyzing and responding to signals.
Worried about how much money you'll need to set aside to fund the signal-based marketing strategies?
You can assess the ROI of the marketing strategy before expanding your program if you start with a scalable service with no commitments.
Traditional signals continue to be relevant and form the basis for customer-focused marketing. Combining them with potentially powerful signals that indicate purchase intent will enable proactive communication and elevate financial marketing initiatives to the next level.
BITCOIN AND CRYPTO
Article | February 25, 2020
Coin Conundrums: Expert vets 3 popular ‘flight to safety’ coin assets amid forecasted financial strife
As the financial markets strive to rebound from what has been a hugely trying and tumultuous period, courtesy of a deadly global pandemic, we may need to brace ourselves for yet more trouble ahead. This as an ongoing Harvard Business School study predicts a 40% probability of a financial crisis in the next three years, which is largely based on unprecedented growth in credit coupled with the reality that interest rates will eventually rise, making debt service unbearable.
“Now factor in over $10 trillion in global economic stimulus, as well as increases of 26% in the M2 money supply and 78% in the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet over the last year, and the lack of sustainability becomes readily apparent,” says alternative investment pundit Thomas Neptune, Esq. “As the economy artificially recovers and we inch toward full employment over the next few years, the reality is that the Federal Reserve is trapped. It only seems logical that the Fed will, at some point, be forced to raise interest rates to combat inflation, while doing so could put a giant pin in several asset price bubbles.”
When financial markets collapse, it’s known that non-correlated “flight to safety” assets generally perform very well. Due to the heightened level state of uncertainty in the current climate, many investors are already increasing allocations to alterative investment vehicles like Cryptocurrency, U.S. rare coins and gold bullion coins while prices are relatively modest (depending, of course, on whom you ask).
The question then becomes, which of these distinctive “coins” is right for you relative to your situational needs for downside protection, upside opportunity, inflation hedging and overall utility?
Below, Neptune offers his analysis of all three.
In simple terms, Bitcoin is a decentralized peer-to-peer payment system that utilizes an accounting ledger called the blockchain. Bitcoin is the unit of accounting. It can be used as a medium of exchange for some goods and services, but there has not been universal acceptance of Bitcoin as a form of payment. It has recently garnered attention as an asset class as the price has skyrocketed. Almost anyone can own a tiny fraction of a Bitcoin through sites such as Coinbase.
The supply of Bitcoin is capped at $21 million, with approximately $18.5 million currently in circulation. The annual supply increases similar to that of gold, unlike monetary and fiscal policies that promote unlimited growth through the printing press. With 78% of the circulating Bitcoin classified as illiquid and not changing hands, there is not a high likelihood of sellers flooding the market. That being said, the price has been historically volatile as demand varies and competitor cryptocurrencies enter the market. Theoretically, the price could plummet to near-zero if demand shifts elsewhere or regulators step in with force, although Bitcoin has institutional traction and its loyal following is most likely here to stay.
It is no secret that the price of Bitcoin has unlimited upside opportunity based on its supply and demand dynamics. Now almost everyone is getting in on the action. What might have been shocking news only a few years ago, even college endowments like Harvard, Yale, Brown and others have been placing bets on Bitcoin as have influential business leaders such as Elon Musk. It will be interesting to see whether Bitcoin can sustain its meteoric rise.
As an inflation hedge, Bitcoin does not have a long track record, as it was created in 2009 just prior to a market expansion where we saw little inflation for the last decade. Although the supply may increase now at a rate consistent with inflation, its demand and the ensuing price history have been extremely volatile. As such, buyers are placing a bet that, regardless of their entry price, the performance of Bitcoin will outpace inflation over the long-term, despite high volatility.
The technology around how Bitcoin is stored, sent and received is rapidly advancing. For example, the Bitpay wallet can now be added to Apple Pay to use Bitcoin as payment anywhere that accepts this type of monetary exchange. This is a significant development as there are over one billion active iPhones and these crypto-wallets can automatically settle transactions in the users’ currencies, potentially eliminating the risk of price volatility for transactions. Two other major benefits include portable wealth and instant liquidity for retail buyers.
** U.S. Rare Coins
Collecting financial artifacts of various civilizations has been in high demand for over 2,000 years, from when wealthy Romans were collecting Greek coins up to the present day. Representing the birth of the United States economy, its sovereignty on the world stage and notable events throughout the nation’s history, the U.S. rare coins that have survived in spectacular condition have been in high demand from wealthy global collectors and investors since the birth of this young nation.
There is a finite supply of high-end U.S. rare coins, which can be publicly verified on the census reports of the two major authentication companies: Professional Coin Grading Service and Numismatic Guaranty Corporation. These historical artifacts are not known to flood the market, as wealthy individuals with holding power generally do not need to liquidate them for less than their purchase price. Further, there is immense passion and competition to own the best trophies—why this market is known as the Hobby of Kings—which has evolved to sport for the affluent to locate and own these elusive artifacts in a private market. This passion-driven market with an extremely long track record has attracted investors to hold these highly sought-after assets as a long-term wealth protection strategy. As such, the market has demonstrated long term stability and steady price appreciation for well over a century based on these driven collectors and investors.
The U.S. rare coin market has benefited from numerous advances in technology and other innovations, most recently the introduction of the two major certification companies in the 1980s, followed by the ubiquity of the Internet in the 2000s. Although the market has largely flown under the radar from institutional investors, there has been a massive increase in demand for U.S. rare coins over the last decade, which has ramped up during the pandemic, as wealthy individuals have more time to pursue their interests and compete (via a publicly available points system) to own the finest rare coin portfolios. According to Michael Contursi, Partner at Contursi Rare Coin Investments, “The high end of this market is currently dominated by ultra-wealthy, sophisticated collectors and investors who can afford to own multi-million dollar portfolios. Imagine if these assets could be fractionally owned by the masses. We are already currently seeing this in collectibles such as fine art and baseball cards. The upside for U.S. rare coins is astronomical when you consider the potential for an exponential increase in demand.”
With unprecedented fiscal and monetary stimulus, coupled with a finite supply of U.S. rare coins with intrinsic value, these assets have proven to be an excellent hedge against inflation due to this disequilibrium of supply and demand. As the least volatile of the three “coin” markets here, the high end value of the U.S. rare coin market can be a safe diversification tool for those seeking an inflation hedge, largely based on historical price appreciation data from the last 125 years.
The two major certification companies secure these little treasures in sonically-welded holders with a certification number, barcode and other methods for protecting against counterfeit threats. Due to the weight and size of these items, owners can transport large amounts of wealth with extreme ease. Further, there are no reporting requirements for owning these assets, which makes them extremely private and can be a great way to retain wealth outside of the banking system in case of a financial meltdown or digital economy.
** Gold Bullion Coins
There are many ways to participate in the gold (and silver) bullion markets, some of which include owning mining company stocks, futures contracts on the commodities exchanges, ETFs, or physical control. To this extent, gold bullion can be owned as both a digital asset (like Bitcoin) or a physical asset (like U.S. rare coins).
Many people forget that from 1933 to 1975 it was illegal for Americans to own gold in the United States. Since then, investors have been making small allocations to gold as a diversified investment. It is globally-accepted that gold is a non-correlated, flight-to-safety asset during times of great uncertainty, such as The Great Recession of 2007-09 or the current global coronavirus pandemic. However, the spot price of gold is also extremely volatile, similar to Bitcoin, and the price could move significantly lower depending on one’s entry level to the market.
The value of the U.S. dollar, as well as virtually every other major fiat currency, has drastically declined in its purchasing power over the last century. Since the gold market is currently transacted in U.S. dollars, it becomes cheaper for international buyers (mainly governments or large institutions) to own gold as an alternative to holding dollars or their own currencies as the currency continues to decline. For the retail investor, it is clearer than ever that fiat currencies will continue to decline as governments print an unlimited supply of money to monetize their debts. Similar to the masses that have already entered the Bitcoin frenzy, and those poised to enter the various collectibles markets such as U.S. rare coins, the upside opportunity for gold has already been demonstrated by the Reddit black swan event last month that caused silver spot prices to soar. The same could happen for gold, perhaps in a more sustained trajectory.
Gold is known as an inflation hedge, which to some extent creates a self-fulfilling prophesy—as inflation expectations increase, institutions purchase gold and the increasing spot price protects their purchasing power. In addition, only approximately 2,500 to 3,000 tons of above ground gold are added to the global supply each year, with the majority used for jewelry. These relatively small increases to supply (similar to Bitcoin and finite rare coins) are a significant benefit when compared to printing binges for fiat currencies, thus helping protect against inflation.
The utility of owning physical gold is primarily as a store of value where the owner maintains direct control and access to a tangible asset. Many believe they can use their gold to transact during a doomsday scenario, as these are uniform products owned globally. The downside is that gold is very heavy, making it difficult to store or transport. Nonetheless, it is highly liquid and easy to turn into cash during times of need, like an insurance policy.
Which Coin is Right for You?
All three of these “coins” have either a finite or slowly increasing supply, making them very attractive during times of economic uncertainty, as even relatively small increases in demand can move prices higher. Depending on needs, there is a case to be made to own any of these assets, including small positions in all three.
According to Neptune, “Many of the families who invest with us side by side in the U.S. rare coin space also own small positions in cryptocurrencies and precious metals. Bitcoin is fun and people are speculating on its tremendous upside, whereas gold bullion is highly liquid and has a long track record as an inflation hedge. People have preconceived notions of all three markets, but I think with education and more transparency you will find more portfolios containing small allocations to all three of these assets.”
As investors become more comfortable with the idea that they do not have to be renowned experts to own these tangible assets—similar to the idea that they do not need a Ph.D. in mechanical physics to drive a car—investors can utilize all three markets for various needs in a diversified portfolio.
Since many financial advisors don’t yet know how to access or offer these types of alternative assets, they simply aren’t included in the investment mix and, thus, clients can’t reap the benefits—ostensibly suffering opportunity loss. Therefore, the prudent entrée to owning one (or all) of these “coins” is engaging with reputable companies or trusted experts. They will certainly help wealth-seekers make heads or tails of the burgeoning coin category.
Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist, futurist and marketplace trends pundit who reports on industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all B2C and B2B categories. Connect with her at www.TheLuxeList.com / Instagram, Twitter & Facebook @LuxeListReports