TDB Digest – What’s Cooking in the FinTech and Banking Industry (Issue 15)

TDB Digest

DIGITAL CURRENCY

Reserve Bank of Australia to test central bank digital currency (CBDC) in collaboration with NAB, CBA and Perpetual and ConsenSys Software

The Reserve Bank of Australia recently partnered with Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank, Perpetual and ConsenSys Software – a blockchain technology company to collaborate for a central bank digital currency (CBDC) using distributed ledger technology (DLT). This collaborative effort will explore the potential application and implication “of a wholesale form” of CBDC. Further a proof-of-concept (POC) will be developed for the issuance of a tokenised form of CBDC for funding, settlement and repayment of a syndicated loan. Assistant Governor (Financial System) Michele Bullock said, “With this project we are aiming to explore the implications of a CBDC for efficiency, risk management and innovation in wholesale financial market transactions.”

STRATEGIC COLLABORATIONS

UBS and Partners Group collaborate to launch bespoke initiative to expand access to private markets

UBS – a the leading Swiss bank, and Partners Group – a global private markets investment manager, announced a bespoke long-term initiative which will allow wealth management clients of the Swiss banking giant to expand access to private markets. With this collaboration, UBS’ clients based in Switzerland and select European and Asian markets  will now have access to Partners Group’s private equity buyouts as well as co-investments in certain Partners Group assets, pre-selected by UBS. In the press release, UBS’ executives said, “By teaming up with Partners Group and leveraging the scale and expertise of our two firms, we will give UBS clients unique access to some of the best private markets opportunities delivered in an efficient vehicle.”

Icon Solutions, a British payment solutions and consultancy company, announced a strategic investment from J.P. Morgan

Icon Solutions, a British payment solutions and consultancy company, recently announced a strategic investment from J.P. Morgan. This investment will help Icon grow its technological capabilities and geographic reach thereby helping new and existing customers realise the potential of payments in the real-time, 24/7, open, data-driven world. Tom Kelleher, Co-Founder and Commercial Director at Icon Solutions said, “We will benefit greatly from the scale and insight of a global banking leader and one of the most visionary technology companies in the world, with the flexibility and independence to pursue our innovation and growth roadmap.”

FINTECH FUNDING

UBS launches UBS Next , a USD 200 million strong portfolio, to engage with Fintechs

UBS – a Swiss banking giant launched UBS Next – a USD 200 million strong portfolio which targets investments in the fintech and broader tech ecosystem. With this investment vehicle, UBS is keen to drive existing strategic partnerships, new collaborations within the Fintech ecosystem. UBS Next will primarily pursues direct investments into early stage fintechs and other relevant tech companies. It will also pursue strategic collaboration with Anthemis – a global venture capital fund with expertise in fintech investing. This strategic collaboration will help accelerate investment opportunity identification and deal flow for UBS.

DriveWealth raises $56.7 million Series C funding

DriveWealth, a U.S.-based global digital trading company, announced a $56.7 million Series C round. This round was led by existing investor – Point72 Ventures with participating investors – Raptor Group, SBI Holdings, Inc. and Route 66 Ventures. Two new investors — Mouro Capital and Fidelity International Strategic Ventures also joined the Series C round. With this round, DriveWealth aims to strengthen its current technology stack, focus on strategic acquisitions, and scale its business. DriveWealth Founder and CEO Bob Cortright said, “The new funding from our great investors will only help us improve our technology capabilities to democratize investing.”

RETAL BANKING

Emirates NBD launches flexi credit card

Emirates NBD, a leading bank in Middle East region, recently announced the launch of the Visa Flexi Credit Card. A first-to-market, Visa Flexi Credit Card allows cardholders to customize their credit cards with benefits of their choice. Cardholders can pick and choose features they want thereby complementing their lifestyle and preferences. Flexibility and customization of services is available across subscription offers, concierge services as well as travel related services. Suvo Sarkar, Senior EVP & Group Head, Retail Banking and Wealth Management, Emirates NBD commented: “This innovative program is being launched for the first time globally by Emirates NBD and complements our extensive range of card offerings that cater to customers from all walks of life.”

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