Month: August 2017

Issues

Wealth & Finance August 2017

Click the image below to read this months issue!

Welcome to this bumper edition of Wealth & Finance Magazine, providing you with the latest industry news across both traditional and alternative investment sectors.

In recent news, WhiteHorse Capital (“WhiteHorse”) announced the expansion of its direct lending team with the addition of Daniel Dubé as a Principal. WhiteHorse is the direct lending affiliate of H.I.G. Capital, a leading global private equity and alternative assets investment firm with $23 billion of equity capital under management.

Creative ITC works with some of the world’s largest brands defining and delivering IT infrastructure solutions. Taking time to discuss their fresh approach to delivering quality infrastructure, is Managing Director, Keith Ali. Highlighting the reason for their success as remaining grounded and honest, which has been part of the company’s DNA from day one, Keith shares with us Creative ITC’s mission and his expert insights on the wider IT industry today.

Elsewhere in this issue, we dive into the world of indulgence when we find out more about the most anticipated audio show of the year, The Indulgence Show. The show is a major new HiFi, portable audio and luxury living experience for London.

Here at Wealth & Finance Magazine, we truly hope you enjoy reading this insightful edition and look forward to hearing from you.

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal
Derivatives and Structured ProductsMarkets

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal

Why Bitcoin will not kill PayPal

To a casual observer, PayPal might seem like a dying payment program. It was once the main pioneer in online cash sharing, either for business or peer-to-peer transactions. But in a way, it’s been outstripped by some more modern competitors. In this sense, it seems like the AOL of the mobile payment industry. Services like Venmo and Square have become sexier, much like alternative email providers and browsers have largely eclipsed AOL.

But the tech that seems to pose the main threat is Bitcoin. The leading cryptocurrency is growing at an astonishing pace, and because it’s meant to facilitate easy digital payments, it can be viewed by some as a sort of death sentence not just for PayPal but for all of the payment services mentioned above. We recently learned that Bitcoin will soon beat PayPal’s market cap, which could only further the perception that it’s going to lay waste to conventional payment apps. But this outlook doesn’t really take all of the factors into consideration. A more thorough look at where things stand indicates that PayPal probably isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

For one thing, PayPal actually owns much of its competition—a lot of people just don’t realize it. The company acquired Venmo some time ago, and just recently bought Swift. It’s a massive company that has managed to foster a sense of competition between its own assets. Square is a legitimate alternative that seems to have gained some ground, largely by being more intuitive and more pleasant to handle than Venmo. But don’t let the advent of newer or easier payments systems fool you into thinking PayPal is a relic. It’s a big business that has mostly stayed ahead of the curve thanks to savvy management.

Another misconception is that Bitcoin is useful for secure transactions in ways that PayPal is not. While cryptocurrency does offer unparalleled anonymity, however, this is simply not the case. Online casinos offer perhaps the clearest picture as to why, given that Bitcoin has recently emerged as a payment method at some platforms. Players like the idea of security and anonymity when playing real money games. And yet, PayPal has long been favored on the same platforms precisely because bank account details and card information are not shared. There’s already a degree of security with these and other forms of payment that can be enjoyed without the need to buy and store Bitcoin.

Most of all, the reason for PayPal’s likely survival, even in the face of the growing influence of cryptocurrency, is that it’s still the most familiar service. This could change over time, but Bitcoin is still viewed as a complex and unnecessary option by many people. In today’s society, you more or less have to have a credit card, and thus you can easily open a PayPal account. You don’t need Bitcoin at all, you can have it if you want it. As long as this remains the status quo, PayPal is going to be doing just fine, and may still be our most reliable means of transferring funds electronically.

Press releases

The 2017 FinTech Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, August 2017– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 FinTech Awards.

According to the annual FinTech report, cumulative investment globally is expected to exceed over $150 billion in the months to come with key trends focusing on the security as well as the transition from offline to online. As in other financial-related industries, establishing trust in key for the investors to loosen the purse strings. 

With that in mind, Wealth & Finance International has launched the 2017 FinTech Awards in partnership with Acquisition International – the voice of corporate finance, to showcase the exceptional firms achieving true excellence in this dynamic sector.

Commenting on the success of their deserving winners, Peter Rujgev, Awards Coordinator stated: “Overall, 2017 has so far proven to be a rather exciting for FinTech after the initial turbulence that hit the sector in early 2016, thanks to all of the firms and the individuals driving them that we are highlighting through this awards programme. I would like to wish them the very best of fortunes for the future, as well as congratulate them for their hard work so far.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York, purchasing one of the largest solar projects in the state from Invenergy

Duke Energy Renewables enters New York, purchasing one of the largest solar projects in the state from Invenergy

– The 24.9-megawatt solar site on Long Island is under construction

In its continuing efforts to bring affordable, renewable energy to customers across the United States, Duke Energy Renewables is acquiring the 24.9-megawatt (MW) Shoreham Solar Commons project on Long Island from Invenergy.

The project, currently under construction by Invenergy, is located in Brookhaven, New York, about 60 miles east of Manhattan. It is being built on the grounds of the former Tallgrass Golf Course and is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2018.

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) will purchase the power under a 20-year agreement.

“We are excited to enter New York with a renewables project that offers many benefits to the state and local community,” said Rob Caldwell, president, Duke Energy Renewables and Distributed Energy Technology. “The solar project will help meet the energy needs of LIPA’s customers while delivering tremendous economic and environmental benefits.”

The project is expected to create more than 175 local jobs during construction and generate between $700,000 and $900,000 in annual tax revenue for the local community.

The energy generated from this project is estimated to displace 29,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually and create nearly 1 million megawatt-hours of clean, renewable energy over its lifetime. Also, with the redevelopment, Invenergy is planting an additional 2,000 trees on the site.

“Duke Energy has a reputation of excellence and we are pleased to help them and their stakeholders meet the increasing demand for affordable, renewable energy,” said Invenergy’s EVP and Chief Development Officer Bryan Schueler. “Repurposing the former Tallgrass Golf Course into a solar site eliminates the use of pesticides and fertilizers on the property, protecting Long Island’s fresh water aquifer and providing environmental benefits in addition to the generation of renewable energy.”

Invenergy recently closed construction financing for the project with MUFG, the administrative agent and lead arranger.

Duke Energy Renewables will close on the transaction post-construction, pending federal and local approvals.

Duke Energy Renewables

Duke Energy Renewables primarily acquires, develops, builds and operates wind and solar renewable generation throughout the continental U.S. The portfolio includes nonregulated renewable energy and energy storage assets.

Duke Energy Renewables’ renewable energy includes utility-scale wind and solar generation assets which total 2,900 MW across 14 states from 20 commercial wind and 63 solar projects. The power produced from renewable generation is primarily sold through long-term contracts to utilities, electric cooperatives, municipalities and commercial and industrial customers. Learn more at https://www.duke-energy.com/renewable

Follow Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK) on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About Invenergy

Invenergy drives innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, Poland and Scotland.

Invenergy has developed more than 15,900 megawatts of projects that are in operation, construction or contracted, including wind, solar and natural gas power generation projects and energy storage facilities.

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board
BankingTransactional and Investment Banking

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board

Jasper Capital International Becomes Second China-Based Signatory to Hedge Fund Standards Board (HFSB)


Jasper Capital International (”Jasper”) has become the second China-based signatory to the Hedge Fund Standards Board (HFSB), an organization that brings hedge fund managers and investors together to set standards for the hedge fund industry. As prudent stewards of client capital and as part of a commitment to adhering to the highest international standards, Jasper welcomes the HFSB’s effort to enhance global industry standards and facilitate investors due diligence.

About HFSB

Established in 2008, the HFSB is a standard-setting body for the alternative investment industry and custodian of the Hedge Fund Standards. The HFSB provides a powerful mechanism for creating a framework of transparency, integrity and good governance which improves how the alternative investment industry operates, facilitates investor due diligence and complements public policy.

The HFSB and the Standards are supported by managers accounting for over US$ 1tn in AUM. In addition, the HFSB’s Investor Chapter includes over 60 major international investors, including pension and endowment funds, sovereign wealth funds and funds of funds.

About Jasper

Jasper Capital International is a diversified, systematic investment firm founded in 2013 in Shenzhen, China. The Co-Founders were partners at its predecessor firm, Jasper Asset Management, a U.S. hedge fund headquartered in New Jersey. Jasper’s logic-based investment approach deploys a successful discipline to capture opportunities in the Chinese equity markets. As an industry leader with extensive local and global investment and risk management experience, Jasper offers investors multiple strategies designed to capitalize on China’s domestic market inefficiencies and future Chinese growth.

Jasper currently manages US$1.5 billion across four strategies: long-only bias, long/short equity, market neutral and seasoned equity offerings. Each seeks to maximize risk-adjusted excess returns by applying a rigorous, scientific methodology to strategy identification and research, back-testing and implementation.

 

SWIFT Response To Cyber Attacks | International Business Payments
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

SWIFT Response To Cyber Attacks | International Business Payments

SWIFT Responds to Cyber Attacks on the World’s International Business Payments Infrastructure

By – Bill Camarda

When businesses make cross-border payments, settle a trade or perform many other common financial tasks, standardized messages are sent to make it happen. Six billion of those messages traveled over the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication’s (SWIFT’s) secure messaging platform last year: it is used by over 11,000 financial firms, markets and corporations in some 200 countries to make international business payments. So it’s no surprise that SWIFT has been under attack by global cybercriminals – or that it is now responding aggressively. Its response affects every SWIFT member and, indirectly, the businesses that trade across borders and that therefore make use of SWIFT’s network.

Background: Successful International Business Payments Fraud

One weekend this past February, hackers fed SWIFTNet an authentic-looking set of instructions to move nearly $1 billion from the Bangladesh Central Bank’s New York Federal Reserve Bank account to multiple banks throughout Asia. , Most of those requests were declined (though, in one case, a simple typo may have been all that saved the money from being lost). However, $81 million was transferred to a bank in the Philippines. After that, the money was evidently forwarded to a forex service, redeposited in the Philippines bank, withdrawn again and laundered into cash at local casinos. From there, it disappeared.

The public still doesn’t know many of the details of this crime – not least, who did it and whether “state actors” were involved, as has been suggested by some informed observers. But several aspects of the attack have been widely reported, and they raise significant concerns.

Cross-Border B2B Payments Fraud Was Carefully Planned and Exploited Widespread Vulnerabilities

Attacks against bank customers have unfortunately become familiar, but these attacks are different: they aim to victimize the banks themselves, through the global infrastructure they use to move money around the world to make international business payments.

It appears that the criminals spent at least a year planning their attack on the Bangladesh Central Bank. The accounts which received the stolen funds had lain dormant for quite some time, and investigators found evidence of smaller forays against other institutions in the months leading up to the attack. The criminals seem to have infected Bangladesh Central Bank’s computers with malware designed to prevent SWIFT’s software from printing the transaction copies that financial institutions expect and check. Since the heist took place on a weekend, nobody seems to have realized until Monday morning. SWIFT has also said that the criminals somehow used valid credentials to initiate the money transfers, though it isn’t known how these were acquired.

These reports show that the crime involved extremely careful planning, and the exploitation of vulnerabilities not dissimilar from those used in many other cyberattacks. While the malware involved was well-targeted and relatively sophisticated, it probably found its way into a network through familiar means: perhaps physically, through a USB stick, or electronically, via an email attachment.

Legitimate SWIFT credentials were stolen: perhaps by an insider, perhaps by “tricking” someone into sharing them, or perhaps by a garden-variety network security compromise caused by a vulnerability that could have been fixed in time. What’s more, cyberattacks on the infrastructure banks use for international business payments are ongoing. In October 2016, a cybersecurity firm announced that it detected malware that can be used to hide fraudulent SWIFT transactions within the networks of 10 to 20 financial institutions, mostly in the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ukraine.”

Based on what’s known, existing technical safeguards and greater human vigilance can help, and such measures may now be more crucial than ever. That’s where SWIFT’s latest response comes in.

SWIFT’s Response: Mandatory Controls and Greater Transparency In International Business Payments

To help understand why SWIFT responded as it has, it’s worth noting that SWIFT’s own network was not compromised. Member companies link to Swift in three ways: a few install a direct interface; some use a SWIFT-provided cloud solution and others use a service bureau, which typically assists with some aspects of SWIFT-related security.

So in September 2016 at its annual global conference, SWIFT announced that it will require members to significantly harden their own information infrastructures against attack – and, ultimately, to demonstrate that they’ve done so. Starting Spring 2017, “customers will be required to provide self-attestation against 16 mandatory controls on an annual basis … the standards will be made applicable to all customers connected to SWIFT, including those connected through service bureaus.”

Beginning in January 2018, a random selection of SWIFT customers will be required to show proof from internal or external auditors that they’ve actually met these requirements. If a customer proves non-compliant, SWIFT will inform both its regulators and its counterparts. At the same time, SWIFT will also add 11 more “advisory” (i.e., voluntary) controls.

SWIFT hasn’t formally announced which controls it will require or recommend: the preliminary list is promised by the end of October 2016, with community feedback to follow. However, The Wall Street Journal has reported that the standards will require the physical lockdown of equipment used to connect with SWIFT; better control over tokens containing SWIFT credentials; more security training and cyber incident response plans. Some of these measures are technical, but others – such as security training – involve all participants in the international business payments process and may indirectly involve outside business partners who aren’t SWIFT members.

Meanwhile, SWIFT is more actively encouraging financial institutions to share information about indications of compromise and modus operandi when they discover they are being attacked, whether successfully or not. This has been described as a step towards a gradual change in culture, as large institutions increasingly recognize that it is extremely difficult to fend off sophisticated cyberattacks alone.

To support SWIFT’s request for cooperation, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt revealed that at least three more attacks were foiled this summer. He also made it clear that he expects such attacks to continue, and to grow in sophistication. For SWIFT member organizations, scrupulously following SWIFT’s forthcoming rules will likely be an important part of the solution, but only part. As SWIFT Chairman Yawar Shah put it, “this will be a long haul, and will require industry-wide effort and investment, as well as active engagement with regulators … a concerted, community-wide response.”

The Takeaway

Companies that make cross-border B2B payments via wire transfer are, of course, aware of the growing prevalence of hackers attempting to perpetrate fraud in their midst. Businesses may wish to familiarize themselves with SWIFT’s mandatory security requirements as they are announced, and as they evolve over time. Even though the requirements may not apply to a company just because it makes international business payments via wire, following the recommendations are likely to enable better security than not following them.

The Author

Bill Camarda is a professional writer with more than 30 years’ experience focusing on business and technology. He is author or co-author of 19 books on information technology and has written for clients including American Express Private Bank, Ernst & Young, Financial Times Knowledge and IBM.

International Payments: Remittances From Migrants
Corporate Finance and M&A/DealsFinance

International Payments: Remittances From Migrants

Migrants’ International Payments May Mean Developing Countries Are Better Markets than they Appear

The last three decades have seen a large increase in the number of people living and working outside their countries of origin. The World Bank estimates that between 1990 and 2015, the number of migrants worldwide rose from 152 million to 250 million, and now make up about 3.4 percent of the global population. Many migrants send money back via international payments methods to families and friends in their countries of origin – in amounts substantial enough to turn some developing countries into better markets for international businesses than they may at first appear.

As the proportion of migrants in the world population has grown, the dollar value of these international payments, known as “remittances,” has also risen. In April 2016, a World Bank report forecasted that 2016 migrant remittance payments would total $603 billion, of which $431 billion would go to developing countries. These estimates are for remittances made using official international payment methods – the report suggested that unrecorded/unofficial payments could be much larger.

Remittances Drive Substantial International Payments

By far the largest source of remittance payments is the United States: in 2015, international payments worth over $133.5 billion were made by migrants working in the U.S. Of this, nearly $24 billion went to Mexico, $16.25 billion went to China, and nearly $11 billion to India. Other developed countries also remit funds, though on a smaller scale. In 2015, migrants in the United Kingdom sent global payments totaling nearly $25 billion back to their families; the largest recipients were Nigeria ($3.7 billion) and India ($3.6 billion). Migrants in Australia also remitted over $16.5 billion, much of it to China and India.

Remittances thus represent a substantial transfer of funds from the developed world to developing countries, significantly exceeding official development aid. In 2015, India was the largest remittance-receiving country with an estimated $69 billion, followed by China ($64 billion), and the Philippines ($28 billion). But although remittances to China and India are large in money terms, they are not large in relation to the size of their economies. In contrast, remittances make up over 25 percent of GDP for some smaller developing countries: in 2014, over 40 percent of the economy of the central Asian republic of Tajikistan relied on international payments from migrants.

International Payments by Migrants are Important Drivers of International Trade

These large inflows to developing countries create opportunities for international businesses. Families with access to funds from overseas may purchase more imported goods and services: for example, in 2014 remittances financed around 25 percent of imports in Nigeria and about 20 percent in Senegal. Remittances also support the development of local businesses, creating opportunities for international B2B sales. In Vietnam, for example, money sent by overseas Vietnamese has boosted local businesses and real estate markets: the World Bank says “about 70 percent of remittance inflows to Ho Chi Minh City (HCM) went into production and business, and some 22 percent to the real estate sector.” In Vietnam, also, the central bank uses remittance income to stabilize the banking sector, which helps to encourage trade finance for export and import businesses.

For many developing countries, remittances are an important source of foreign currency, enabling them to build up FX reserves. Strong FX reserve buffers reassure international businesses that their local business partners will be able to obtain the foreign currency needed to meet their obligations. Strong FX reserve buffers also encourage the development of local branches, subsidiaries and franchises, since businesses can be confident that the profits earned from local business can be repatriated when needed.

Risks to International Migration and Remittance Flows

There is a popular view in many developed countries that migrants are a burden, draining money from the country while making demands on services such as healthcare and competing with native-born workers for jobs. But the full picture is more complex. Many international businesses rely on migrant workers, both skilled and unskilled, to enable them to deliver value for money to their customers. Migrants pay taxes and contribute to the local economy where they live and work.

Research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the World Bank and the International Labor Organization shows that overall, migrants contribute more to the economies of their host countries than they take out.

However, the international payments landscape may be growing more challenging for countries that rely on remittances. This is for two reasons. Firstly, banks under pressure to comply with tighter anti-money laundering (AML) legislation in developed countries are closing the accounts of international payment solutions providers in developing countries. The Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) observes that in some countries in the Pacific area, these account closures potentially deprive people in rural areas of access to funds, which could cause severe economic problems. In 2016, Australia’s four big banks exited from the country’s remittance business, raising concerns that unregulated money transfer providers would spring up to serve migrant needs, making AML control more difficult.

Secondly, exchange rate movements affect the value of international payments. In the last two years, the strong dollar has benefited recipients of funds from the U.S., but adversely affected countries receiving remittances in euros or sterling. The oil price also affects migration patterns in oil-producing countries: migration from Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries to Russia, for example, has declined in the last two years due to the ruble’s weakness and Russia’s recession. Falling migration inevitably reduces remittance flows. The World Bank identifies the prospect of the oil price remaining low as a key risk to the growth of remittances in 2016-17.

For many migrant workers, being able to make international payments to friends and family in their countries of origin is a key driver of their decision to work overseas. Businesses looking to attract migrant workers may wish to consider ways of mitigating adverse developments in the international payments landscape, for example by partnering with a trusted international payment solutions provider to help workers make international payments and manage their FX risk effectively.

The Takeaway

Historically, remittances via international payment solutions have provided a strong, stable flow of income for many countries, which can offer rich opportunities for international businesses. However, tighter regulation of banks and adverse exchange rate movements also threaten remittance flows for some countries.

The Author

With 17 years experience in the financial industry, Frances is a highly regarded writer and speaker on banking, finance and economics. She writes regularly for the Financial Times, Forbes and a range of financial industry publications. Her writing has featured in The Economist, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. She is a frequent commentator on TV, radio and online news media including the BBC and RT TV.

Press releases

The 2017 Fund Awards Press Release

The success of the international fund industry can be seen as an indicator of global economic recovery, and as the world is still slowly improving following the recent economic crisis, the fund industry is increasingly having to innovate and adapt in order to grow and thrive.

The 2017 Fund Awards is looking to reward and recognise the forward thinking and intuitive professionals from around the world who have worked tirelessly over the last twelve months to provide their investors with strong returns and reduced exposure to volatility.

Rachel Davenport, Awards Coordinator commented: “I am truly proud of the hard work and commitment of every single one of my deserving winners, and would like to offer them my congratulations and best wishes for the future.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.

Press releases

The 2017 Wealth & Money Management Awards Press Release

United Kingdom, 2017– Wealth & Finance magazine have announced the winners of the 2017 Wealth & Money Management Awards.

Finance management can be a daunting and complicated task, and therefore many individuals, business people and families look to advisors to support and guide them through the complex process of managing their money.

The 2017 Wealth & Money Management Awards are dedicated to rewarding and recognising the hard work and dedication of everyone working in this vast industry, from including asset managers, financial planners, HNWI services and specialist banking providers.

Steve Simpson, Awards Coordinator, commented: “From ensuring all relevant fees and taxes are paid to supporting clients through monumental life changes, those working in the wealth management industry often become much more than just advisors, developing strong relationships with clients and supporting them through thick and thin. As such it is my honour to be able to showcase the very best from across this vital market, and I would like to wish each of my winners the very best of luck going forward.”

To learn more about our deserving award winners and to gain insight into the working practices of the “best of the best”, please visit the Wealth & Finance website (http://www.wealthandfinance-news.com/) where you can access the winners supplement.

ENDS

Notes to editors.

About Wealth & Finance International

Wealth & Finance International is a monthly publication dedicated to delivering high quality informative and up-to-the-minute global business content. It is published by AI Global Media Ltd, a publishing house that has reinvigorated corporate finance news and reporting.

Developed by a highly skilled team of writers, editors, business insiders and regional industry experts, Wealth & Finance International reports from every corner of the globe to give readers the inside track on the need-to-know news and issues affecting banking, finance, regulation, risk and wealth management in their region.