Banking & Financial Services

AIA Singapore Appoints Heung-min Son As Its First Brand Ambassador Promoting Holistic Wellness Amongst Singaporeans 

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17 January 2023

AIA Singapore appoints Tottenham Hotspur player, 
Heung-min Son, as its first Singapore brand ambassador.

AIA Singapore today announced Tottenham Hotspur player Heung-min Son, as its first Singapore brand ambassador. Heung-min Son is a seven time Asian  Footballer of the Year and last season became the first Asian player to win the Premier League Golden  Boot. His appointment comes as part of the AIA One Billion movement which aims to engage a billion  people across the region to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives by 2030. 

As AIA Singapore’s brand ambassador, Heung-min Son will inspire Singaporeans to live better every  day by promoting holistic wellness in 3 key aspects – physical health, motivation and mental health as  well as financial health – with the aim of championing AIA’s brand promise of enabling the Singapore  community to live Healthier, Longer, Better Lives.  

“Recognised as one of the greatest ever football players Asia has produced, Son is an icon and  inspiration for many. His journey with football highlights his talent and personal values of self improvement, grit, and determination. His values and current journey as a professional footballer to  never settle for status quo is parallel to AIA Singapore’s constant pursuit to better support customers to  live better by achieving holistic wellness. Together with Son, we look to create greater positive impact  in the lives of Singaporeans in 2023 and beyond”, said Melita Teo, Chief Customer and Digital  Officer, AIA Singapore. 

“Many of the values and my outlook on life is imparted to me from my parents. As a child, they always  inspired me to better myself in all I do, and if I wanted to be the best football player I could be, I would  have to outdo myself by being in the best physical and mental health while also respecting others. To this day, I hold these values dearly that a good frame of mind, a healthy lifestyle and being a team  player are important. I am honoured to be the first ambassador for AIA Singapore as we take steps to  motivate more people to achieve holistic wellness together,” said Heung-min Son. 

LONDON, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 23: Son Heung-Min of Tottenham Hotspur applauds the fans after their sides defeat during the Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on October 23, 2022 in London, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images)

With Heung-min Son’s appointment, AIA Singapore reaffirms its commitment in enabling Healthier,  Longer, Better Lives for Singaporeans by engaging communities in Singapore through active living,  conveying the values of teamwork, discipline, and sportsmanship as well as how people can care for  their physical health, mental health and financial health holistically, to positively impact lives. 

Heung-min Son will play a key role in championing AIA Singapore’s upcoming initiatives in the calendar  year, to demonstrate the importance of holistic wellness to achieving a Healthier, Longer, Better Life.  These will include activities for customers, AIA insurance representatives, corporate partners as well  as employees of AIA Singapore. 

AIA Singapore has been a long-standing partner of the Tottenham Hotspur as the Club’s Global Principal Partner. Last year, AIA Singapore and Tottenham Hotspur jointly launched the Grant-a-Wish  with AIA Better Lives Fund – a fundraising initiative to raise funds for children, youths and their families in need. Proceeds went towards supporting beneficiaries of the AIA Better Lives Fund through  Community Chest, which included AIA Singapore’s adopted charity partners – Children’s Wishing Well to provide nutritious meals for the young children, supporting their education and helping them to realise  dreams through professional qualifications in non-academic areas. For VIVA Foundation, the donations  funded cancer research projects to create advanced treatments to save lives of children with cancer,  curate programmes that offer holistic care for survivors to do well after treatment and enable better  medical facilities. The funds raised also went to the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation. 

AIA also brought back the popular AIA Kids’ Football Clinics in November 2022, after a two-year hiatus as an extension of the Grant-A-Wish campaign. With support of Tottenham Hotspur Development  Coaches – Shannon Moloney and Jerome Barker, and coaches from the Football Association of  Singapore (FAS), 500 children had real-time experiences on the pitch and underwent exciting rounds  of drills and mini tournaments. The football clinics encouraged children to lead active lifestyles and  instilling the important ethos of sportsmanship and determination, while also raising funds for the AIA  Better Lives Fund. 100% of the total proceeds raised through registrations went to the Children’s  Wishing Well. 

Border Reopening And Easing Travel Restrictions Bring A Real Sense Of Optimism To Hong Kong Banking Sector

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17 January 2023

The need to reduce cost amid a cooler economic outlook poses challenges for banks in 2023.

The reopening of the border and easing of Covid-19 restrictions were major steps on path towards normality in Hong Kong banking sector, while the Chinese Mainland’s ongoing financial reform will solidify Hong Kong’s role as a financial hub for the nation. However, the sector will continue to cope with challenges posed by the global economic environment, such as high interest rates, rising inflation, and the need to reduce costs, according to KPMG’s latest report.

The Hong Kong Banking Outlook 2023 provides thoughts and opinions from KPMG experts on some of the key issues for banks in the year ahead, including regulatory developments in Hong Kong and the Chinese Mainland, business transformation and digitalization, as well as the rapidly evolving areas of ESG and virtual assets.

Jianing Song, Head of Banking and Capital Markets Sector, Hong Kong, KPMG China, says:”The easing of certain Covid restrictions in the Chinese Mainland towards the end of 2022 was extremely welcome news. The lifting of quarantine for arrivals and an end to the ban on outbound travel were major steps on the path towards normality. In Hong Kong, the increasing relaxation of pandemic-related restrictions in the second half of 2022 has been a major boost. With the ending of virtually all travel and social-distancing measures in January, there is now a real sense of optimism that in 2023 we will truly be able to get back to business.”

While banks are benefiting from increased margins attributed to higher interest rates, there will still be an increasing focus on cost reduction in the year ahead to deliver a lower sustainable cost-income ratio, and enhanced profitability, amid a cooler economic outlook.

Paul McSheaffrey, Senior Banking Partner, Hong Kong, KPMG China, says: “The ending of the low-interest-rate environment has been a shock for many businesses and investors leading to increasing bad debts. The US Fed is very focused on bringing US inflation under control through interest rates and will continue to do so aggressively. Most obviously now that interest rates are rising after many years of low margins, we expect margins to widen, which will benefit banks. However, Hong Kong’s economic environment will impact the amount of fee income that banks earn from wealth management activities by their customers.”

Digital innovation is one way that traditional banks can stand out. The year ahead could provide opportunities for big financial players to acquire interesting assets on the fintech side, helping them improve their own digital offerings while also ensuring that the most exciting fintech innovations reach the market.

Banks will have to keep up with regulatory developments in 2023. A key regulatory development in Hong Kong this year will be the introduction of a licensing regime for virtual assets service providers. Alongside new regulations, a key trend in 2023 will be greater use of market surveillance. With the rise of SupTech, supervisory technology, regulators can use data in a sophisticated way to ensure that banks and other financial operators are avoiding exposure to risks.

Hong Kong banks will also experience increased regulation when it comes to climate risk management. Increased disclosure is becoming mandatory and hence, banks with net zero commitments are expected to pivot their focus from reducing their own emissions to also financing emission reduction in the real economy.

KPMG China believes, as a global financial centre with unique inherent advantages, Hong Kong has served as the gateway throughout the Chinese Mainland’s opening up over more than 40 years, and that role will continue. While the year ahead will be challenging for the banking sector, Hong Kong’s standing as an international financial hub will not diminish.

International banks are continuing to find new opportunities in the Chinese Mainland as regulatory changes to open the sector over the past few years take effect. The range of products that foreign banks in China can offer, such as local public custody licenses, has increased. In addition, many licensing procedures have been simplified. However, rising compliance costs associated with these and other new regulations will add to the challenges for foreign banks in maintaining profitability and growth momentum.

Looking At It Both Ways: How Climate Change Threaten Financial Systems?

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16 January 2023

It is inevitable that countries must aim for a greener economy but with the world having been reliant on carbon-sensitive assets, devaluing carbon will also pose danger to the economy.

Regulators should pay more attention to climate change and step up their efforts to mitigate it since it poses a systemic danger to the financial sector. Systemic risks in the financial system are dangers that could impair the system’s usual operation and have gravely detrimental effects on the real economy. The physical risks brought on by more frequent extreme weather events and long-lasting environmental changes, as well as the transition risks brought on by the necessary policy and technological changes to attain a greener economy, are at least two categories of climate-related risks that cross this threshold. These modifications might strand carbon-intensive assets and have an impact on other financial instruments’ values.

Physical and transition risks are expected to cause enormous losses, and given how quickly they could occur, those losses could be devastating for systemically significant financial institutions and larger financial markets. It’s important to note that financial institutions actively contribute to the physical and transition dangers of climate change by continuing to finance large amounts of activities that exacerbate the problem.

Physical Risks

Insurers, banks, and other financial intermediaries with direct and indirect exposure to various affected industries and assets may experience destabilizing losses as a result of the escalating intensity and magnitude of destructive floods, droughts, fires, and hurricanes as well as the impeding sea level rise. Stress could spread throughout the financial system if it occurs in a large, intricate, and interconnected financial institution—a corporation with significant systemic importance—or if it occurs in smaller, similarly vulnerable firms.

Because their primary business compels them to guarantee losses on physical goods and property, insurance companies are the financial intermediaries most immediately vulnerable to the physical risks of climate change, at least in the short term. Since historical datasets are proving to be less useful predictors of future underwriting losses, these companies are working to modify their loss models and underwriting procedures in response to a changing climate and severe weather patterns.

This makes the sector vulnerable to significant losses from a single or a combination of natural catastrophes that were either not anticipated or were assumed to be practically impossible. In order to raise enough money to cover potentially devastating losses or to otherwise satisfy the financial needs of creditors and counterparties wanting to lessen their risk to the distressed organization, insurers may be obliged to sell off illiquid assets at fire sale rates. This fire-sale dynamic may cause asset prices to decline, impacting financial institutions that hold related assets and increasing the cost of funding for businesses that depend on such markets.

The physical concerns of climate change also directly affect the basic banking system. Mortgage, commercial real estate, business, and agricultural loans, as well as derivative products linked to these markets, are liable for losses resulting from extreme weather conditions and other environmental changes in various regions of the country. For instance, the severity and frequency of hurricanes, droughts, floods, fires, and other environmental changes may increase, which might reduce the value of affected assets and make it harder for borrowers to pay back lenders, increasing the default rate and losses on these credit portfolios.

Thousands of homes which amount to billions of dollars would actually be submerged if sea levels rose by the projected 6 feet by the year 2100, which would have a negative financial impact on the country. Banks and other financial intermediaries may be even more exposed to physical dangers if insurance firms decide to leave certain regions and business sectors. Banks that are experiencing financial hardship due to greater-than-anticipated losses may be able to spread stress via both the asset liquidation and exposure transmission channels.

Despite the direct negative impact on the value of assets, severe weather events and environmental changes can cause second-order economic disruptions in local or regional economies. According to research, major natural disasters increase poverty rates in impacted towns, cause outmigration, and drop home prices. Additionally, some data suggests that economic output is often higher in colder years compared to hotter years, although recent years have, on average, been warmer. Increased than anticipated losses on the credit portfolios of banks and other financial intermediaries could result from the deteriorating economic conditions in the impacted areas.

Transition Risks

In addition to these direct hazards, the urgently required shift to a greener economy may result in quick losses to carbon-intensive assets, which could collapse the financial system. Carbon-sensitive assets connected to the electricity, energy, transportation, manufacturing, as well as other sectors may lose value if regulators take the necessary steps to decarbonize the economy and if technology advancements enables that move to be commercially appealing.

Such a course of action or innovation might sharply raise the price of carbon, leaving some fossil fuel assets stranded and lowering the value of other assets that are carbon price exposed. One estimate places the present worth of potential losses at $18 trillion – considering all stranded assets as well as those that are directly related to the fossil fuel industry. Up to one-third of all equities and fixed income assets are thought to be connected to carbon-sensitive businesses.

The investors and financial intermediaries who own these assets would suffer losses as a result of their revaluation. A price shock could have an impact on the entire financial system as firms and investors offload assets at fire sale prices, creditors flee from companies that are particularly vulnerable to revaluation pressures, and stressed companies default on their debt obligations or counterparties in derivative transactions. Stress can spread through both the asset liquidation and exposure transmission channels. 

The financial system might become unstable as a result of losses, which would have negative implications on the real economy. This will result in a scenario where asset prices suddenly fall due to the breakdown of the carbon price bubble, resulting in broader financial instability.

Financial institutions and investors may promote this by factoring in the effects of a change to a greener economy over time and modifying their risk management frameworks and models accordingly. This would allow the transition to happen gradually with very little disruption in the financial markets. They might incur some inescapable losses on some assets that are very vulnerable to changes in the price of carbon, but they might also take advantage of fresh chances to fund green businesses. Regulators shouldn’t, however, wager that this hopeful result will materialize without their involvement.

It is the responsibility of regulators to take precautions against the worst-case scenarios so that workers, families, and taxpayers are not made to pay for the regulators’ lack of creativity. In fact, the longer policymakers postpone taking action on climate change, the more possible it is that the economy will rapidly become green and that carbon-sensitive assets would be valued in an unruly manner. A smooth transition would be made possible, the likelihood of a climate-driven financial catastrophe would be reduced, and climate skeptics wouldn’t be able to exploit predicted financial disruptions as an argument against the strict measures required to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

Financial Regulators Must Act

Financial regulatory measures are intended to reduce the likelihood and severity of disruptive crises by enhancing the financial system’s resilience. Every country’s  financial system needs to be ready to securely address the physical and transition risks posed by climate change, therefore it’s essential for policymakers to take strong regulatory and supervisory action. It may be more likely that policymakers will take the required transitional action if the financial stability effects of a rapid transition are reduced.

Additionally, policymakers should attempt to incorporate climate risk into other facets of the framework for supervision and regulation. Higher risk-weighted bank capital requirements for assets that are sensitive to the price of carbon are all worthy of regulators’ consideration, as are increased supervisory expectations for climate readiness.

Businesses Must Stay Vigilant Amid More Challenging Financial Conditions

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Fatihah Ramzi, DigitalCFO Newsroom | 25 November 2022

Companies that are vulnerable to shocks should improve their resilience as limiting the impact of present and potential hazards requires resilience.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) advises businesses and the financial sector in Singapore to remain cautious in the midst of more difficult circumstances despite the fact that they are still able to withstand disruptions to the financial system.

According to MAS’s annual financial stability study, businesses’ financial health improved throughout the COVID-19 pandemic recovery and citizens continued to see substantial job growth and salary increases. 

The government expects Singapore’s economy to expand between 0.5% and 2.5% next year, which is less than the 3.5% growth anticipated this year. A solid labor market and high import inflation are projected to keep inflation high, and continued tightening of financing conditions has increased the burden of debt servicing on borrowers, according to MAS.

For the fifth time in the year, MAS tightened monetary policy in October to assist in containing inflation. According to the most recent data, core inflation slightly decreased in October to 5.1%, but is still expected to remain high over the coming quarters.

The “unwinding of pandemic-induced precautionary buffers” has led to an increase in domestic measures of vulnerability for the business and financial sectors, according to MAS. MAS urged increased caution from businesses.

This will give them some protection against the anticipated further tightening of financial conditions in the upcoming quarters. According to MAS, businesses should continue to maintain proper buffers, including having enough liquid assets and effectively managing the debt’s maturity.

Global Risks Intensified

The MAS’s evaluation of Singapore’s financial system’s resilience, influenced by its examination of domestic and international risks and vulnerabilities, is presented in the annual financial stability review. The threats to the forecast for global financial stability have gotten worse as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.

It found a “worsening growth-inflation nexus,” with growth forecast to decline substantially over the coming year and inflation projected to stay well beyond many central banks’ goal ranges. The prognosis for commodities prices and supply chains remains uncertain due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict.

The most pressing concern is a potential breakdown in the fundamentals of global funding markets and cascading liquidity pressures on non-bank financial institutions that may soon spread to banks and corporations. In order to prevent a disorderly asset liquidation, tighter financial conditions and extremely volatile markets could result in liquidity imbalances that central banks and fiscal authorities would need to effectively handle.

According to MAS, the debt sustainability of weaker companies may become stressed, which would worsen the asset quality of banks. It also made clear that a rise in global risk aversion might lead to a further reduction in funding for emerging markets. However, banks are in a better position than they were during the global financial crisis of 2007–2008 to manage credit risks and absorb losses.

Companies Remaining Resilient

According to MAS, businesses in the corporate sector are coping with a dramatic slowdown in growth, a continuous increase in input costs, and more quickly tightening financing conditions. Due in part to the normalization of precautionary liquidity levels accumulated during the epidemic, companies’ risk has marginally increased.

According to MAS, notwithstanding a decrease, expected growth outcomes across sectors are likely to remain uneven. Corporate earnings have recovered broadly during the past year, with the exception of the hotel and restaurant and construction sectors; nonetheless, profit margins may begin to decrease in the near future.

However, should concerns materialize, the improvement of businesses’ financials over the previous year could offer some protection. According to the report, businesses typically have sufficient buffers to absorb shocks, but highly leveraged companies and smaller companies with less robust cash reserves would be particularly vulnerable if cost pressures persisted while revenue growth slowed.

Having said that, companies that are vulnerable to these shocks should improve their resilience. Limiting the impact of present and potential hazards requires resilience. Business executives will need to comprehend evolving patterns as well as adapt and develop resilience because disruptions are likely to continue.

83% of Developers in Financial Services are Under Pressure to Deliver Digital Transformation

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 25 November 2022

Research from Couchbase finds Developers at Banks, Insurers and other Financial Service Providers are Being Pushed Too Hard to Meet Digital Expectations 

With the pressure growing on financial service providers to accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver enhanced customer experiences in line with their digital-first competitors, industry research from Couchbase, Inc. (NASDAQ: BASE), the cloud database platform company, reveals the key challenges faced by the sector’s development teams.

The findings show that 83 percent of IT leaders from banks, insurers and other financial services providers confirm there are challenges facing their development teams, including having to do too much in too little time (54 percent); and that deadlines and agility requirements were difficult to meet (30 percent). To compound this, over three-quarters (77 percent) of IT decision makers report obstacles in supporting their development teams.

“Amid the race to complete digital transformation projects in the sector, where developers must balance the security of sensitive customer data alongside expectations for remote access and seamless digital experiences, these barriers impacting developers jeopardize businesses’ progress,” said Perry Krug, Director Shared Services, Couchbase. “Firms need to recognize their reliance on developers at this time, and work to give them the right resources and support. After all, without successful digitization projects, financial services firms will fall behind the competition.”

The global survey of 650 senior IT decision makers found that despite development teams’ extensive contributions to digital transformation and innovation initiatives, a lack of resources and communication with IT leaders in the financial services sector is creating barriers for them.

Additional findings include:

  • FS struggles to support development teams: The key issues IT leaders face in supporting development teams include making sure they always have the right technology (33 percent); redeploying development teams rapidly to work on new projects when needed (29 percent); and investing in new technology to make developers’ jobs easier (29%). Additionally, almost one third (30%) of respondents did not know for certain whether their development teams were behind or ahead of schedule. 
  • Staff commitments and project engagement: Developer teams in the sector have grown by an average of 26 percent in the last year. Bigger teams will aid some development challenges, but firms must focus on keeping their developers motivated and passionate about their projects to achieve success. This is a current challenge, as almost a quarter of IT leaders (22 percent) find it difficult to gauge whether development teams are engaged in and enthusiastic about their work, signaling waning enthusiasm or fatigue.
  • Learnings from the pandemic: In a positive step, 35 percent of respondents say that the pandemic has taught them how to empower development teams. For digital transformation projects to succeed at pace, it’s crucial that financial services IT leaders continue to focus on empowering these professionals.

Without the right support, development teams in the financial services sector cannot complete digital transformation as quickly as the business may need them to. Their positive impact is demonstrated by 29 percent of respondents confirming that pressure from developers to support agile development and innovation was a driver for digital transformation projects.

“Digital ambition will fall flat for financial services providers unless they can support development teams to build great applications,” said Krug. “And in the fast-paced financial services market, firms must be proactive in addressing these challenges to ensure success in a time of product-led growth.”


World’s First Banking-as-a-Service Open Source License

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 24 November 2022

Open Finance technology leader Brankas has developed a first-of-its-kind open source license for the next generation of Banking-as-a-Service and Open Finance software.

Open Finance technology leader Brankas has developed “Brankas Open”, a first-of-its-kind open source license for the next generation of Banking-as-a-Service and Open Finance software.

The “Brankas Open” license is meant to encourage digital banking and fintech innovation and lower the cost barriers for startups, neobanks, and even traditional institutions to quickly prototype and launch new solutions, while retaining their own source code. Customers will benefit from more choice and better user experience, as companies have open access to use, modify, redistribute, and collaborate on the publicly available Brankas Open code.

The inspiration for Brankas Open came when Brankas received a grant from the Monetary Authority of Singapore in November 2021 to develop Brankas APIX Open Core, a proof of concept open source core banking system.

Recognizing the need for a modernized Open Source framework to address new Open Finance technology, Brankas looked to existing open-source licensing frameworks in order to develop Brankas Open. Brankas felt that this framework was necessary to protect community contributions, ensure open access, and comply with financial institutions’ data protection and security requirements.

“Brankas’ Open license allows our teams to build and contribute in a way that is fair, equitable, and open to independent developers, FIs, and to our partners. With this license, Brankas is able to continue to invest in the greater open source community, and to share our code freely with the world,” stated Brankas co-founder and CTO, Kenneth Shaw.

Brankas has been advised by Ren Jun Lim, Alex Toh and Darren Leong from Baker McKenzie’s Singapore-based Intellectual Property and Technology (IPTech) practice group.

NETS Launches NETS Prepaid Card: Its First ‘Smart’ Stored-value Card For Retail And Transit

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 22 November 2022

Using NETS App, users can top up on-the-go, track and manage their household expenses with peace of mind as stored value on a NETS prepaid card can be retrieved even if the card is lost.

Network for Electronic Transfers (NETS), Singapore’s leading payment services group, today announced the launch of the NETS Prepaid Card, its first ‘smart’ stored-value card for retail and transit.  Consumers can use the card at over 120,000 acceptance points, making NETS Prepaid Card the stored value card with the largest number of acceptance points locally.

The wide acceptance together with smart features enabled by NETS App, makes the NETS Prepaid Card an ideal choice for families looking to better track and manage their household expenses, and the perfect gift card that can be tailored to consumers’ preferred value and design.  Commuters can also link their NETS Prepaid Card to TransitLink SimplyGo app, an initiative to introduce contactless payments on trains and buses through the partnership with various payment schemes, to see their trip details.

Smart and secure contactless payment, with budget tracking capabilities for the family

Up to 10 cards can be linked to one NETS account through the NETS App, to access features such as topping up on-the-go, locking and requesting refund for remaining stored value for misplaced cards, setting daily spending limits, and monitoring transactions made on each card.

Users can easily top up their NETS Prepaid card via the NETS App through various means, which include NETS bank cards. The user’s preferred payment card can also be stored on-file to speed up the process. Once a NETS Prepaid Card has been linked to a NETS account, users can review the transaction history via NETS App and also configure auto top-up whenever the card balance dips below a certain amount.

Daily spending limits of up to S$1000 can be set for each card, which takes effect immediately and can be changed on the fly, making it an ideal stored value card to help family members and domestic helpers to pay digitally while ensuring that they stay within budget.

To help minimise possible fraud or abuse of the NETS Prepaid Card if it is misplaced, users can lock the card with the simple tap of a button on the NETS App. Locking and unlocking the card takes effect immediately and there is also an option to permanently terminate the NETS Prepaid Card to refund the stored value.  

Lawrence Chan, Group CEO of NETS said, “The NETS Prepaid Card is part of our continued effort to connect communities and empower lives. Families will be empowered to take control of daily expenses as they can provide their dependents and domestic helper with contactless payment options that can be easily tracked. Additionally, this card can be quickly disabled if it is lost. This card is most valuable as it can be used at all NETS acceptance points and mass transit.”

The perfect card for retail and as a gift for friends and family

The NETS Prepaid Card is also an excellent gifting card as consumers can spend at any NETS accepting merchants for shopping or for public transport. Users are also not limited to fixed denominations in their gift cards and can top up auspicious numbers like $88, up to a cap of $100 per top-up.

Whether it be a nice cup of coffee at a café, some additional groceries at the supermarket, or a shopping spree at a nearby mall, the ubiquitous acceptance means that recipients of the NETS Prepaid gift card can spend it on their preferred options. From S$5, users can also customise the card face of their NETS Prepaid Cards at www.customcards.com.sg/nets-prepaid-card/

Hassle-free purchase, smooth public transport travel

Additionally, the NETS Prepaid Card can be used for public transport, allowing commuters to top up the card on-the-go instead of spending time queuing at physical top-up machines. The NETS Prepaid Card can also be topped up and managed via the NETS App, available on both Google Play and Apple App Store. Through the NETS App, users can also set up automatic top-ups for the card to ensure that there are always sufficient funds for their daily commute.

There is no minimum age or income requirement, no annual subscription fees and no credit checks for the purchase of the NETS Prepaid Card. Consumers can purchase the NETS Prepaid Card at 7-Eleven convenience stores, Buzz, Japan Home, Mustafa, Sir Handphone, TransitLink Ticket Offices at MRT stations and bus interchanges, NETS Customer Service Centre as well as Lazada and Shopee. The card will also be sold at Sunshine Star and J.B.I Trading from December onwards.

Lacework Appoints Andrew Casey as Chief Financial Officer

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 21 November 2022

Former WalkMe CFO brings deep financial expertise and successful track record to Lacework as CFOs take on new role in cybersecurity.

 Lacework®, the data-driven cloud security company, today announced the appointment of industry veteran Andrew Casey as Chief Financial Officer.  Casey brings over 25 years of industry experience, most recently serving as the CFO of no-code digital adoption platform WalkMe and leading it through IPO. In joining the executive team, Casey leverages his deep enterprise tech finance expertise as Lacework continues to deliver new innovative capabilities to its patented Polygraph® Data Platform so customers can innovate with confidence. 

“Lacework truly understands the security needs of modern businesses, and its approach to cloud security as a leading cloud-native application protection platform (CNAPP) sets it apart in a rapidly changing market,” said Casey. “CFOs are taking an increasingly large role in influencing and prioritising cybersecurity decisions, and I look forward to using my experience to not only build Lacework for long-term success, but also to create enduring partnerships with our customers who are responsible for the financial security of their organisations.” 

At WalkMe, Casey helped the company create a strong go-to-market focus on the enterprise and large enterprise market and execute a successful IPO in June 2021. Casey’s understanding of the cloud technology industry runs deep, serving as SVP of Finance and Business Operations of ServiceNow as well as previous endeavors spearheading financial management for renowned software companies Oracle and Symantec. Additionally, he led Finance for Hewlett-Packard’s Americas Enterprise Services division, managing more than $9B in annual revenue. Casey brings this experience to Lacework, where he will focus on leading the company toward continued growth and profitability. 

“Andrew brings deep financial and operational understanding as he has helped build multiple outstanding companies through high growth,” said Jay Parikh, CEO, Lacework. “This breadth of experience will be critical not only for helping to lead Lacework through our next phase of growth, but also in building strong partnerships with our customers who are increasingly viewing cybersecurity as a board-level financial imperative.”  

Lacework realised significant momentum under this experienced leadership team in 2022, including being named to CNBC’s Disruptor 50 list, the Forbes Cloud 100, and ranked sixth in Forbes’ America’s Best Startup Employers 2022 list. The company was also recently recognised as a leader in innovation and growth by Frost & Sullivan in the analyst firm’s recent Global CNAPP Radar Report.  


Indonesia 2023 GDP Growth May Slow To 4.4%

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 21 November 2022

Indonesia’s annual economic growth may slow to 4.37 per cent next year partly due to the impact of domestic monetary tightening.

Indonesia’s annual economic growth may slow to 4.37 per cent next year partly due to the impact of domestic monetary tightening, the country’s central bank (BI) governor told a parliamentary hearing on Monday. In last week’s policy meeting, BI maintained 2022 GDP growth forecast biased toward the upper end of 4.5 per cent to 5.3 per cent.

BI Governor Perry Warjiyo gave the GDP forecast as part of a discussion with parliament on the central bank’s 2023 budget. Warjiyo said predicting economic indicators was difficult due to volatility in the global economy, adding that the numbers could be discussed further with lawmakers. The governor also gave a headline inflation forecast of 6.11 per cent for end-2022 and 3.61 per cent for end-2023 at the hearing. His presentation showed the figure for 2022’s inflation were BI’s forecast as of Nov. 3.

Warjiyo last week said BI expected a headline inflation rate of 5.6 per cent at the end of the year. He did not explain why the figures were different and BI’s spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Last week, BI raised its key policy rate for a fourth consecutive monthly meeting in a move aimed at anchoring inflation expectations, which the governor said was “too high”. In total BI has lifted interest rates by 175 basis points since August.

Indonesia’s annual headline inflation rate cooled to 5.71 per cent in October, but remained near a seven-year high of 5.95 per cent in September. BI’s inflation target is at range of 2 per cent to 4 per cent. BI’s deputy governor Dody Budi Waluyo said on Friday inflation may decelerate further this month to 5.5 per cent. Warjiyo is expected to lay out BI’s policy guidance for 2023 at an annual gathering with financial stakeholders on Nov. 30.

Source: Reuters


Hong Leong Bank Cards Amongst One of the First in Malaysia that Can Now be Added to Google Wallet

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 15 November 2022

With Google Wallet, close to 65% of HLB customers who are Android users will enjoy simple, secure and seamless contactless payment experience.

Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic Bank cardholders can enjoy a simple, secure and seamless contactless payment experience with Google Wallet starting today.

Google Wallet is a mobile app that offers a simple way to make contactless payments with Android phones or Wear OS devices. The move to enable HLB credit and debit cards and HLISB debit cards (collectively known as HLB Cards) customers to add their payment cards to the Android platform is part of the Bank’s efforts to implement another convenient way to enable mobile payments.

Domenic Fuda, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HLB said, “Aligning with our Bank’s “Digital at the Core” ethos, we are very excited to be one of the first banks in the market to support Google Wallet for our cards. With the rapid adoption of DuitNow QR codes, mobile banking apps and mobile wallets, mobile payments have seamlessly integrated into the digital lifestyles of Malaysians and are one of the preferred transaction methods today. Working together with Google is part of our continuous efforts to offer simple and frictionless payment services to our customers.”

With Google Wallet, HLB cardholders are able to make contactless payments leveraging on near-field-communication (“NFC”) via supported Android devices by adding their HLB Cards to the Google Wallet app. Cardholders can then tap to pay wherever contactless payments are accepted.

According to Andrew Jong, Managing Director of HLB Personal Financial Services, “As Malaysians increasingly embrace a digital, mobile-led lifestyle, we remain agile in meeting the ever-changing customer needs. Smartphone penetration in Malaysia is close to 95% and many daily activities are already facilitated digitally. With Google Wallet as a new feature, close to 65% of our customers who are on the Android platform will enjoy an easy, safe and secure usage and payment experience.”

Similar to contactless transactions performed using the physical card, payments through Google Wallet also share the same daily maximum amount for contactless transactions. Transactions amounting up to RM250 do not require PIN verification.


Mobilewalla’s Latest Launch To Improve Financial Inclusion In Emerging Markets

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 3 November 2022

LendBetter is an Innovative Solution Helping Fintechs Maximize Loan Approval at Lower Default Risk.

Mobilewalla, a global leader in consumer intelligence solutions, is pleased to announce the launch of its newest offering for digital lenders, LendBetter, at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022. 

Leveraging the industry’s most comprehensive repository of global consumer information, LendBetter is uniquely positioned to provide digital lenders with high-quality, AI driven predictive data and features at scale, helping them improve their credit assessment and customer acquisition process. LendBetter also offers financial institutions easy to integrate risk scores powered by sophisticated machine learning, which are highly predictive of creditworthiness for new-to-credit borrowers. This enables digital lenders to extend loans to thin-file consumers, significantly increasing access-to-credit and positively impacting financial inclusion in emerging markets. 

Working closely with various financial technology companies in Southeast and South Asia during the past year, LendBetter has generated positive outcomes for these early customers improving acquisition quality with the usage of AI driven features as part of the credit assessment process.

“LendBetter’s deep insights into consumer behaviour have helped us improve our quality of acquisition by reducing fraud, allowing us extend credit with more confidence” said, Paramananda Setyawan, Chief Data Office with FinAccel, a leading financial technology company focused on reinventing financial services in Southeast Asia. “Our partnership with Mobilewalla complements our growth ambitions. We are very pleased to work with them to help more people get easier access to credit.”

“With our industry first offering LendBetter, Mobilewalla is excited to work with digital lenders across emerging markets to enable financial inclusion for the new-to-credit” said Anindya Datta, CEO and Founder of Mobilewalla. “Lendbetter provides access to AI driven, privacy compliant consumer data at scale, enabling them to approve more credit at a reduced default risk. Our partners find our future-proof features and scores to be highly predictive of consumer behavior, and easily integrable for a variety of use cases spanning customer acquisition, risk management, and fraud prevention.” 


Airwallex Enables Buy Now Pay Later Payment Option Through Partnership With Atome

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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 2 November 2022

BNPL is becoming a more common payment choice, and is expected to grow by 52.6% to reach US$733.9 million by the end of this year in Singapore alone.

Leading global fintech platform Airwallex today announced a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) functionality in partnership with Atome, Asia’s leading BNPL brand. Announced at this year’s Singapore Fintech Festival, the collaboration will enable Airwallex merchants[1] to offer BNPL as a payment option to shoppers across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

The partnership is Airwallex’s first tie-up with a BNPL provider, giving merchants an opportunity to increase their revenues while allowing them to diversify their payment options through flexible deferred payment options. In addition to BNPL, Airwallex also offers its merchants multi-currency card-based payment solutions with Visa, Mastercard and UnionPay, as well as over 20+ local payment methods across Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore.

“We are pleased to be partnering with Atome as we continue to find ways to better support businesses across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong,” said Arnold Chan, General Manager, Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Airwallex. “We want to give businesses access to all the benefits of BNPL, which will not only help them increase revenues, but also create a more seamless customer experience for the longer term that will enable them to unlock new market opportunities.”

“BNPL is becoming an increasingly popular payment choice among shoppers today, particularly among the fast-growing Gen Z and millennial customer segment. With this partnership, millions of customers across the region can now shop and pay through flexible deferred payments at Airwallex merchants. This will help Airwallex merchants grow conversion rates and basket sizes, while increasing customer payment choice and flexibility,” said Jeremy Wong, Head of Strategic Partnerships, Atome.

Airwallex will expand its collaboration with Atome and soon enable its merchants1 to offer BNPL as a payment option to shoppers in Japan, the Philippines, and Thailand. This partnership follows Airwallex’s official launch in Singapore earlier in January and subsequent roll out of key offerings in its global payments suite. The company also raised US$100 million in its recent Series E2 fundraising round, and will continue to scale its reach and product offering globally.

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