Dollar costs plunge in FX swap markets, still elevated onshore

The cost of swapping euros and sterling for dollars in FX swap markets fell on Monday to the lowest in over a decade in a sign of success for central banks' operations, though some other indicators imply money market stress has not wholly dissipated. The swap moves follow a series of policy efforts to squelch the strains in dollar funding markets, including the U.S. Federal Reserve's dollar swap lines for many foreign central banks and offer of temporary 'repo' facilities for others who lack access to such lines. These actions reversed the surge in dollar borrowing costs overseas. Three-month euro-dollar FX swaps touched a 12-year low of minus 65 bps, having swung two weeks back to a 2011 European crisis-era high of more than 150 bps.

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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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Investment Management

Jefferies Establishes Full Service Investment Banking and Capital Markets Capabilities in Canada

Jefferies | December 04, 2023

Jefferies Financial Group (NYSE: JEF) today announced it has established full service investment banking and capital markets capabilities in Canada to serve the evolving needs of corporate, institutional and government clients across Canada. With this expansion, Jefferies will now provide clients in depth expertise in advisory, M&A advisory, equity and debt capital markets, risk solutions, equity research, and sales and trading across all sectors in Canada. The Investment Banking team in Canada will be led by Bruce Rothney as CEO, along with the Honourable John Manley as Chairman, Ron Lloyd as Deputy Chairman, and Trond Lossius as Deputy Chairman and Head of M&A, Erik Charbonneau as Head of Investment Banking, Jacquelyn Titus as Head of the Financial Institutions Group and James McKenna as Head of TMT and Diversified Industrials. Canada is one of the largest and fastest growing economies in the world, and as we enter 2024, we will have critical mass serving Canada, with more than 40 people joining across investment banking, equity research, and sales and trading. In partnership with Jefferies' existing global platform, our team in Canada will deliver our full suite of advisory and capital markets capabilities. We are fortunate to have a leadership team that brings such a deep and distinguished track record in the Canadian market, and we anticipate continuing to expand our capabilities and talent in the region to ensure we can best serve our clients. Rich Handler, CEO, and Brian Friedman, President, of Jefferies Today, Jefferies has 44 offices in more than 20 countries around the world, including having recently expanded further in France, Spain, Australia, Brazil and the Middle East. Earlier this year, Jefferies also announced a significant enlargement of its partnership with SMBC, which broadened the two firm’s scope of collaboration in M&A advisory services and across each firms’ equities and debt capital markets businesses. “Jefferies’ culture has always been and continues to be that of a pure Wall Street partnership solely focused on providing the best advice to clients,” said Bruce Rothney, CEO of Jefferies Canada. “Its proven long-term leadership, investment in talent and exceptional work for clients has positioned Jefferies as one of the few leading global investment banking firms. Canada is emerging as one of the largest and fastest growing economies and its standout sectors – technology, healthcare, financial services, energy and power, telecom and media, and consumer – align perfectly with Jefferies. Our new Canadian team is excited to bring clients Jefferies’ deep industry perspectives, M&A and capital markets solutions and geographical insights.” About Jefferies Jefferies (NYSE: JEF) is a leading global, full-service investment banking and capital markets firm that provides advisory, sales and trading, research, wealth, and asset management services. With more than 40 offices around the world, we offer insights and expertise to investors, companies and governments. For more information: www.jefferies.com.

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Core Banking

Backbase Enters Into an Agreement With Danske Bank to Enhance Its Digital Customer Experience

Backbase | January 12, 2024

Backbase, the global leader in Engagement Banking, has made an agreement with Danske Bank, a leading Nordic bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This agreement provides Danske Bank with access to Backbase's Engagement Banking Platform, which will progressively be implemented across our digital channels in the coming years. This will enable Danske Bank to offer its customers a continuously improved digital customer experience, as the enhanced flexibility allows it to tailor its business operations around customer journeys. Frans Woelders, Chief Operating Officer at Danske Bank, highlights: “This engagement is a testament to our customer focus and our commitment to ensuring the best digital banking experience for the future. A new platform that works across the web, mobile apps, and our adviser tools is one of the ambitions in Danske Bank’s Forward ’28 strategy, and the agreement with Backbase is the next step towards achieving that ambition.” Our Engagement Banking Platform plays a pivotal role in achieving Modernization and simplification of the existing IT landscape by reducing the number of silo-ed channel applications. Mobile-first engagement model, establishing a customer-centric approach, seamlessly guiding customers between automated and expert advice. Unified platform, consolidating data, business logic, and workflows into a single, customer-centric platform for efficient journey orchestration, benefiting both customers and bank employees. Agility and freedom, enhancing flexibility to swiftly implement business capabilities and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Christian Bornfeld, Head of Personal Customers and Financial Crime Risk and Prevention at Danske Bank, says: “This platform will allow us to take our interaction with customers through our digital solutions to the next level and to introduce enhancements at greater speed than ever before. It will thus enable us to provide market-leading convenience and personalization for our customers with great insights, increased proactivity, and easy access to assistance and advice.” Jouk Pleiter, Founder and CEO of Backbase, shares, “We are thrilled to announce the engagement with Danske Bank, a visionary collaboration set to redefine the future of banking. Together, we will execute a bank-wide, digital transformation program and elevate Danske Bank's customer experience to new heights.” About Backbase Backbase is on a mission to re-architect banking around the customer. Backbase created the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform – a unified platform with the customer at the center, empowering banks to accelerate their digital transformation. From customer onboarding to servicing, loyalty, and loan origination, our single platform — open and frictionless, with ready-to-go apps — improves every aspect of the customer experience. Built from the ground up with the customer at the heart, our Engagement Banking Platform easily plugs into existing core banking systems and comes pre-integrated with the latest fintechs so financial institutions can innovate at scale. Industry analysts Forrester, Gartner, Celent, Omdia, and IDC continuously recognize Backbase’s category leadership. Over 120 financials around the world have embraced the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform - including AIB, Banorte, Barclays, BIAT, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO, Banque Saudi Fransi, BRD, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Discovery Bank, First National Bank, HDFC, Ila Bank, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Navy Federal Credit Union, OTP Group, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, RBC, Standard Bank, Saudi National Bank, Société Générale, Truist, and TPBank.

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Investment Management

AffiniPay Launches AffiniPay IQ, Generative AI for Legal Tech Industry

AffiniPay | January 24, 2024

AffiniPay, the leader in online payments and software solutions for professionals, announced the launch of generative AI embedded in its leading legal technology products, MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “At AffiniPay, we believe generative AI can drive the type of efficiencies and insights that will result in better outcomes for our customers and their clients,” said Dru Armstrong, Chief Executive Officer of AffiniPay, parent company of MyCase, CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise. “As a trusted technology partner, we have big plans to empower our customers with AI, and are excited to announce the launch of AffiniPay IQ.” According to the newly released 2024 LawPay and MyCase Legal Industry Report, productivity is a key driver for generative AI investment, with 75% of law firms citing it as the top reason for their interest in AI. To meet this demand, AffiniPay is investing in generative AI and plans to roll out new solutions in a phased manner across the legal product suite. Starting with a MyCase beta, AffiniPay plans to extend various AI solutions to CASEpeer, LawPay, and Docketwise in the coming months. The company’s vision is that customers will be able to utilize AI-powered conversational interface that will enable users to access their data and generate insights using natural language, directly within the interface. These future features will include Case and firm search: Attorneys and staff can quickly get answers to their questions around a specific case or client, saving time in their day Intelligent insights: Law firms can receive customized recommendations to optimize intake, productivity, cash flow, and more Automation: Firms can create workflows, send payments, and open files - all by interacting with the platforms in a conversational way, just like they would with a trusted assistant The first beta release of AffiniPay IQ features include document summarization and text editing, both of which will be woven seamlessly into the suite of AffiniPay’s legal products. Starting with MyCase and CASEpeer, the following AI features will be built into daily workflows Document summarization: Empowers law firms to review case documents quickly using AI-generated summaries of their contents Text editing: AI-powered text editing embedded into the product to allow style updating, tone changes, and summarization “We are committed to our responsible approach to innovation, and are excited to launch generative AI functionality into our software that serves our customers and their needs, and no one else,” said Bryan Thompson, Chief Technology Officer of AffiniPay. “This is the first of many thoughtful generative AI features that our team will be weaving into our product suite over the coming months.” The second release of AffiniPay IQ features will include Communication drafts: Attorneys and staff can quickly generate first drafts of client communications or invoice reminders Translations: Users can translate text into different languages instantly Task & event generation: Law firms can select and analyze text in notes, documents, or emails, and receive suggestions for tasks or events, saving time at every step Data population: Docketwise-specific AI feature that instantly extracts key information from copies of passports, drivers’ licenses, and birth certificates, to automatically populate immigration SmartForms AffiniPay invites legal professionals to experience AffiniPay IQ from Jan. 29 - Feb. 2, during Legalweek in New York, where both LawPay and MyCase are sponsors. About AffiniPay AffiniPay is a market leader in practice management software and online payments for professionals serving legal, accounting, architectural, engineering, and construction firms. AffiniPay has been recognized as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing companies for 12 years in a row. Each of its brands leads the market it serves with solutions purpose-built by industry including LawPay, MyCase, CASEpeer, Docketwise, CPACharge, and AffiniPay for Associations. AffiniPay’s solutions are trusted by more than 245,000 legal & accounting professionals with more than 150 strategic partnerships and endorsements, including the American Bar Association and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

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Financial Management

Finastra showcases strategies for lending growth and compliance at its User Connect series

Finastra | December 05, 2023

Finastra, a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, brought together leaders from community banks and credit unions across the United States to discuss innovation in lending technology, operational and strategic initiatives, and trends in mortgage and retail lending. The series, open to current Finastra lending customers, was hosted in Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, and Scottsdale from September through mid-November. With presentations from Lending business unit product and compliance experts, various financial institutions, and industry partners, User Connect explores how financial institutions can maximize their fintech solutions, offering strategies for achieving increased growth, productivity, and compliance readiness. User Connect is a unique opportunity to come together with customers and ecosystem partners to share ideas and best practices. Insights from the event are invaluable, and we look forward to conversations like this throughout the year so that we can enable more seamless customer journeys and more productive time to revenue for lending teams across the US. Mitch Lucas, head of retail lending at Finastra Throughout the series, several significant takeaways were highlighted: Optimization of tech stack is key: To generate leads more quickly and easily, nurture these leads, and increase chances to convert them to being a customer, a modern end-to-end tech stack is crucial. If a borrower encounters any technical obstacles from application through the onboarding process, the risk of losing the lead to a competitor increases significantly. Automation and streamlined processes address operational challenges: To process loans quickly and underwrite more efficiently, leveraging integrated services, embracing workflow automation, and utilizing document management for a paperless loan file eliminates many operational challenges. Systems that migrate borrower information from the point-of-sale to the loan origination system automatically reduce human error, decrease incidences of regulatory compliance issues, and speeds up prequalification, approvals, and processing times. Research from Finastra and East & Partners supports this takeaway, noting that lending process automation remains a major area for improvement, with significant room for growth in approvals, closing, origination, and servicing. 11% of respondents said they utilize automated approvals, while just 10% offer automated loan closing processes. Even fewer respondents have succeeded with origination and servicing automation, at 7% and 6% respectively. Importance of readiness for increased loan applications: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the mortgage origination market is expected to improve by 19% to $1.95T in 2024, a rebound after the estimated 30% drop from 2022 to 2023 and 50% fall from 2021 to 2022. While volume has significantly slowed, lenders must be ready for an uptick in applications, so they do not lose leads to competitors. Financial institutions can prepare by investing in scalable technologies, setting up parameters for automatic prequalification, focusing on personalized experiences, and building self-service portals for document management. Section 1071 is looming, and financial institutions need to be ready: Although Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act is currently wrapped up in ongoing litigation, borrowers and compliance experts agree preparation is important. Users throughout the series were polled and noted that banks and credit unions are paying close attention in order to train staff and align processes. Attendees agreed that since commercial lending practices are often challenging to implement, preparing early is critical should the litigation fail. Supporting younger generations on their homebuying journey: According to a presentation from David Lykken, chief transformational officer at Transformational Mortgage Solutions, the typical American dream of home ownership has not gone away, but younger buyers are struggling to break into the market, noting that people aged 28-38 have only a 28.87% rate of home ownership. When rates decrease, an increase in this number is expected, but planning is important. Brian Bone, president and CEO at American Partners Federal Credit Union stated during a panel discussion, "My kids are very concerned about their ability to buy a home. We as an industry need to do everything we can to help them, whether that means credit coaching, down payment assistance, or other programs. This also includes ensuring we offer the best of both worlds – the human touch of financial services with a technology stack suitable for their needs." Brian Bone added, "The User Connect series in Orlando was a valuable experience for me and my credit union. I learned a lot from Finastra's experts and partners. I also appreciated the opportunity to network with other financial institutions and share best practices. Finastra's User Connect series is a great event for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the curve in the lending industry." About Finastra Finastra is a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and launched the leading open platform for innovation, FusionFabric.cloud, in 2017. It serves institutions of all sizes, providing award-winning software solutions and services across Lending, Payments, Treasury & Capital Markets and Universal Banking (Retail, Digital and Commercial Banking) for banks to support direct banking relationships and grow through indirect channels, such as embedded finance and Banking as a Service. Its pioneering approach and commitment to open finance and collaboration is why it is trusted by more than 8,000 institutions, including 45 of the world's top 50 banks. For more information, visit finastra.com

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Spotlight

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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