Friday, 29 July 2016

PSR announcement ushers in new era for payments innovation

The Payments Systems Regulator (PSR) has this week announced that the UK payments infrastructure will undergo a reform, in order to increase innovation, competition, and ultimately seek to better serve consumers.

This announcement seeks to break down the current payments status quo which has remained stagnant in this country for too long. The best case scenario is that we now see a flood of innovative competitors coming to the fray, where the needs of consumers, and not the needs of the major payment players, will drive the sector forward.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Optimal cash management: seeing the wider business benefits

When optimising cash management, it’s easy to get caught up in treasury-specific goals and advantages, such as improved visibility, accessibility and control. But revamping the way the company manages its cash has many benefits for C-suite decision-makers and the wider business too.

Today’s international business environment is characterised by uncertainty. Europe’s future is being called into question and market volatility is understandably high. As a result, treasurers, CFOs and CEOs alike are looking for ways to better manage turbulence, complexity, and minimise the impact of ‘unknowns’. Naturally they want greater certainty around corporate and financial strategy, and are seeking improved control of financial risks. Moreover, they want to bolster investor confidence, increase profitability, strengthen the balance sheet and ultimately make the right decisions for the company’s future.

One of the most practical ways that treasury can help deliver on these needs is by optimising the company’s cash management. After all, the benefits of improving visibility, accessibility and control over group-wide cash are by no means limited to the treasury function.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Gotta Catch ‘em All: Pokémon Go and the Banking Industry

If you had told us that you had never heard of Pokémon Go, especially after the month and a half the new application from Nintendo has had, we at IBS Journal wouldn’t believe you. The alternative reality game has had children and adults alike enraptured, following their phones around outside hoping to catch elusive Pokémon at local landmarks.

Explosive would be the right word to describe just how much of a phenomenon Pokémon Go has become overnight. Not only has it been downloaded in record numbers, but it is being used more often per day than the most popular apps of all time. The app almost has as many daily users as Twitter and the search term “Pokémon Go” and its derivatives have overtaken the most entrenched top Google searches, including those for pornography.

Friday, 15 July 2016

In a rising market, are banking outsourcers pulling their weight?

The Quarterly Outsourcing Index recently confirmed that outside the public sector, banks and financial institutions are by far the most prodigious users of business process and technology outsourcing. In the first quarter of 2016, the industry’s contracts totaled a whopping £324 million, up 6% on the same period last year. This comes as no surprise. Despite consumer lending continuing to rise (gross mortgage borrowing, for example, is up 64% year-on-year) many banks remain in jeopardy. In April, two of the High Street’s biggest banks reported that operating losses had more than doubled since the previous year.

Commentators are quick to point the finger at past malpractice. It’s true that some big banks are facing huge FCA-imposed fines and are burdened by high volumes of customer complaints as a result. But lenders are also being impacted by other significant factors. Changes in regulation, for example, the global economic slowdown, Brexit and the Eurozone crisis and increased competition from new players entering the market. Widespread restructuring is commonplace and, in a bid to reduce cost and enable banks to refocus internal resources on generating revenues, many are outsourcing the operational upkeep of non-core operations to third parties.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Iceberg ahead! How to steer clear of blockchain disaster

It’s funny how often even the most well-established organisations can underestimate the impact of potential change. Misjudging the effect of a potentially seismic event can prove problematic at best, and disastrous at worst in any industry. 

And yet, somewhat paradoxically, for such traditionally risk-averse institutions, financial services retailers are finding themselves in exactly this position, when it comes to their approach to what could be the most significant disruptor in financial services history over the next few years - blockchain.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Open letter to SWIFT


As a bank customer, I congratulate you on decades of smooth, high quality service. However, as a global body whose mission is to deliver funds between banks safely, the last few months have been, with respect, challenging.

Recent incidents in Bangladesh and elsewhere have damaged your credentials immensely. Your initial defence, that the breaches were largely the banks’ responsibilities, was quite remarkable. We’ve all thoroughly understood that the strength of the network is no greater than the strength of the weakest link. We just wish you had understood that before the rest of us.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

IFRS 9: The road to intelligent implementation

As the 2018 deadline approaches, the implementation of accounting standard IFRS 9 is revealing itself to be a transformational event instead of just one more item on a crowded to-do list. 

Banks are, accordingly, starting to understand that they will require system architectures and solutions that embody the models they are striving for internally – ones that seamlessly integrate multiple functions, create areas of common ground and feature the efficiency and flexibility to embrace the many changes yet to come. Here Jeroen Van Doorsselaere, vice president, Risk and Finance, at Wolters Kluwer, provides IBS with his thoughts on how to intelligently approach implementation.