BlackRock's assets blow past $7T in milestone for investment giant

BlackRock Inc.'s assets scaled $7 trillion for the first time, putting the spotlight on the world's largest money manager's growing reach. The investment giant took in $128.8 billion in net new money in the fourth quarter of 2019, where exchange-traded funds drew big inflows. That is up from the $49.8 billion in net flows in the year-ago period. BlackRock's quarterly net profits rose 40 percent to $1.3 billion. The company's fourth-quarter earnings of $8.29 a share exceeded Wall Street forecasts. Analysts surveyed by Factset were expecting net profits of $1.2 billion, or $7.75 a share.

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Tax groups have a meaningful opportunity to enhance the value of their organization’s digital transformation effort. This priority, which involves migrating tax automation to the cloud in tandem with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud migrations is becoming even more time sensitive. This white paper examines leading


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Core Banking

MidFirst Bank Extends Western Expansion with Entrance into Nevada Market

MidFirst Bank | January 08, 2024

MidFirst Bank, the largest privately held bank in the nation, recently announced its expansion into the Southern Nevada market. This effort is led by Michael Pizzi, who will serve as Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive, and a team of bankers from Bank of Nevada who have extensive area expertise, deep regional relationships and a proven track record of delivering exceptional support to their customers and the communities they serve. This expansion extends MidFirst’s growth in the western United States, building upon the Bank’s recently announced entrance into the new Southern California markets of Santa Barbara, San Diego and South Bay. “We are pleased to continue executing MidFirst’s growth strategy with our entrance into the Southern Nevada market,” said Jeff Records, Chairman and CEO of MidFirst Bank. “Michael and his team have a strong foundation in Nevada and a reputation for excellence, and we’re confident they are the best team to develop our new market presence. Las Vegas has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, and MidFirst is ideally positioned to support this thriving community, providing robust banking service offerings and leading customer service.” “We look forward to bringing MidFirst Bank to Southern Nevada and growing our presence in the region,” said Michael Pizzi, Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive of MidFirst Bank. “We have a solid team of experienced bankers in place to lead our market development, and together we will deliver a unique brand of banking to this community with an emphasis on personal relationships, first class customer service, expert financial guidance, and community support. Over the next year, we will focus on expanding our team, so we can best serve the community with a comprehensive suite of banking products and services to include private banking, mortgage, SBA, and treasury management services.” Michael joins MidFirst Bank as Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive. His career spans 25 years with a focus on business banking and middle-market companies. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Bank of Nevada and prior to that served in various management positions at U.S. Bank for over 14 years. His clients are participants in a variety of industries, including medical, law, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and commercial real estate. Michael is an active member of the community and serves as a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. He is a past board member of both Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada and the Discovery Children’s Museum. Michael brings with him a team of experienced banking professionals from Bank of Nevada to serve the Southern Nevada Market, which includes Senior Vice President Joyce Smith and Senior Vice President Jeff Miracle. About MidFirst Bank With $36.6 billion in assets, Oklahoma City-based MidFirst Bank is the largest privately owned bank in the nation and provides commercial lending, wealth management, private banking and mortgage servicing nationally. MidFirst Bank has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. MidFirst Bank serves California through 1st Century Bank, a division of MidFirst Bank.

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Payments

Plooto Launches Enhanced All-In-One Payment Automation Solution for Scaling Businesses

Plooto | January 16, 2024

Plooto, a leading payment automation solution for small-to-midsized businesses (SMBs), has launched a payment orchestration offering that is custom-designed to support the complex workflows and security requirements of rapidly scaling businesses. As the size and operational complexity of businesses increase, the risk of fraud and human error grows. This leads businesses to implement more rigorous security and control policies to keep the management of cash flow secure and reliable, placing additional burdens on finance teams including time, effort, and resources spent upgrading or building in-house solutions. Similar challenges extend to accounting and bookkeeping firms, as their robust compliance processes and corresponding reputation are critical drivers of growth. Firms' ability to retain and expand client accounts hinges not only on strong relationships but also on their adherence to rigorous compliance standards, especially when it comes to financial data protection. With this launch, Plooto brings to market the first solution in Canada to address these unique cash management challenges faced by midsize enterprises. This offering is priced at a competitive rate as organizations often cite cost as a barrier to adoption of cash management solutions. As volume and complexity of operations increase, businesses can trust Plooto to scale their needs seamlessly without straining their resources. Coupling end-to-end payment automation with stringent security controls and seamless connection to enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, Plooto is now capable of helping even more businesses scale efficiently within their ecosystem. Building upon Plooto’s core offering of simplified, all-in-one payables and receivables automation, new capabilities include Dual Controls: Limits human error and protects against fraud through comprehensive approvals on changes to sensitive financial information Single Sign-On: Enterprise-level safeguards that enable security personnel to manage both user access to sensitive data and removal from a centralized hub as teams scale Integration with Oracle Netsuite: Seamless two-way sync automates reconciliation protecting against costly human error, reducing billable hours, and helping finance teams save time "Our new offering enables finance teams to easily scale their workflows and gain the visibility they crucially need into their cash flow,” says Hamed Abbasi, Co-Founder and CEO of Plooto. “I’m thrilled that Plooto is expanding how we support growing SMBs, and that we are the first company to fill this critical gap for Canadian businesses.” Having recently been awarded with Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500™ and Technology Fast 50™ designations for a staggering 3-year 433% growth rate, Plooto continues to provide industry-leading support for SMBs with a platform that enhances cash management through its all-in-one payment automation. Plooto has also recently expanded its leadership team, bringing extensive experience from major financial services companies such as Varo Bank, Xero, and PayPal. About Plooto Plooto partners with growing small-to-midsize businesses to give them complete control over their cash management. The all-in-one payment automation platform securely automates all payable and receivable workflows, offers extensive payment capabilities, and seamless integration with accounting software to automatically reconcile invoices. Founded in 2015 and headquartered in Toronto, Plooto serves over 10,000 North American businesses, and integrates with top accounting software platforms Quickbooks, Xero, and NetSuite. Simplifying complex processes at scale, Plooto is the financial engine businesses rely on to achieve their growth potential.

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Fintech

VoPay Unveils Instant Micro-Transaction Service for Bank Account Verification, Marking a First in Canada and the US

VoPay | January 11, 2024

VoPay, a leading provider of embedded financial technology solutions, has launched VoPay Verify, an Instant Bank Account Verification solution via microtransactions - pioneering the first-of-its-kind service in Canada and the United States. Recognizing the escalating adoption of bank account payments as a credit card and paper cheque alternative, the demand for a steadfast bank account verification method has become imperative for businesses. VoPay’s innovative solution empowers enterprises to rapidly authenticate and confirm any US or Canadian bank account, eliminating the protracted waiting times of up to 24 hours or more for micro-transactions to finalize. Micro-transactions, a stalwart tool for confirming bank account ownership over the years, entail crediting or debiting a nominal amount into the account. They offer several advantages for businesses, encompassing heightened security, improved user experience, regulatory compliance, and reduced chargebacks. However, the current process is notoriously slow and disruptive to users' experience, with transactions typically spanning at least a day to complete. By leveraging VoPay's real-time transaction capabilities, companies will reduce the risk of reversals, NSFs, and transaction failures, ultimately improving their bottom line. VoPay Verify offers a fully managed account verification experience by providing a pre-built user experience and intellectual logic that determines the transaction amount considering many different risk criteria. “This initiative gives our clients an out-of-the-box method for account verification. It means that they don't have to stitch together a solution and can utilize an optimized set of endpoints for micro-transaction verification,” says Hamed Arbabi, VoPay Founder & CEO. “Fast and easy account validation has become a crucial component in customer onboarding, and enterprises are struggling to find a fast, reliable, and cost-effective way to validate new accounts. VoPay's new Instant Micro-Transaction Verification tool does just that.” VoPay's latest offering further strengthens the company's position as the leading provider of Fintech-as-a-Service tools and a go-to provider for businesses looking to integrate embedded financial services into their offerings. VoPay Verify will be available to new and existing customers from February 1st. Sign up here for early access. About VoPay At the core of VoPay's offering is a multi-tenancy architecture, seamlessly integrated with a comprehensive payment engine and financial services solutions, epitomizing the concept of Fintech-as-a-Service. For software enterprises seeking to accelerate growth, expedite time to market, reduce operational costs, and enhance efficiency within their core platform, VoPay provides an embedded payment solution.

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Fintech, Investments

KSL Capital Partners Announces Promotions, Including Four New Partners

KSL Capital Partners | December 15, 2023

KSL Capital Partners, LLC ("KSL"), a leading investor in travel and leisure businesses, today announced its 2024 promotions, including the addition of four individuals to the firm's partnership. The following individuals have been promoted to Partner effective January 1, 2024. Kirk Adamson Martin Edsinger Kevin Rohnstock Tina Yu "Our people are our single most important asset, and we could not be more pleased to welcome four new Partners who reflect the strength of our firm and global team," said Eric Resnick, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of KSL. "On behalf of the entire KSL team, I want to congratulate Kirk, Martin, Kevin and Tina on their well-deserved promotions to Partner and thank them for their unique strengths and exceptional leadership, which have been instrumental to KSL's success to date. Each will support our continued growth in the years to come." KSL also announced Michael Acierno and Harris Levinson have been promoted to Principal, effective January 1, 2024. "KSL is committed to building the next generation of private equity leaders and promoting from within our firm, and we are thrilled to see the continued progression of our team," said Peter McDermott, Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of KSL. "Mike and Harris both joined us as associates and are now key leaders in our tactical opportunities and credit fund strategies, and we thank them for their hard work and commitment. We look forward to their continued growth at KSL." Mr. Acierno, who focuses on tactical opportunities, and Mr. Levinson, who focuses on credit investments, are also members of the firm's Investment Committee. About Kirk Adamson Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Kirk was a Principal in Blackstone's Real Estate Debt Strategies team (BREDS) based in London. Prior to Blackstone, Kirk was an Associate in Deutsche Bank's Commercial Real Estate Group from 2010 to 2012. Earlier in his career, Kirk worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank, based in both New York and London. Kirk holds a B.S. in Accounting & Business Administration from Washington & Lee University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Kirk focuses on North American investments. About Martin Edsinger Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Martin worked as an Investment Manager with ARLE Capital Partners. Prior to ARLE Capital Partners, Martin worked as an Experienced Associate Consultant with Bain & Company and an Economic Analyst with NERA Economic Consulting. Martin graduated from The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), where he holds a degree in Accounting and Financial Management and an MSc in Economics and Business. Martin focuses on European investments. About Kevin Rohnstock Kevin serves as the firm's General Counsel. Prior to joining KSL in 2011 as Chief Compliance Officer, Kevin served as Associate General Counsel of Royal Gold, Inc. from 2009 to 2011 and as Senior Corporate Counsel for Newmont Mining Corporation from 2005 to 2009. Kevin began his legal career in 2002 as an Associate in the Corporate and Securities Department of Brownstein Hyatt & Farber, P.C. Kevin is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. Kevin holds a B.A. from Holy Cross and a J.D. from the University of Denver. About Tina Yu Prior to joining KSL in 2011, Tina was an Investment Banking Analyst at Citigroup in the Real Estate group. Tina was awarded in 2018 The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) and The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) Young Leader Award and featured as one of the Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Magazine in 2018. Tina graduated magna cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania, where she holds a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate from the Wharton School and a B.A. in International Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. Tina focuses on European investments. About KSL Capital Partners KSL Capital Partners, LLC is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado; Stamford, Connecticut; New York, New York; and London, England. KSL invests across three primary strategies through its equity, credit and tactical opportunities funds. KSL's current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure.

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Tax groups have a meaningful opportunity to enhance the value of their organization’s digital transformation effort. This priority, which involves migrating tax automation to the cloud in tandem with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud migrations is becoming even more time sensitive. This white paper examines leading

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