Banking & Financial Services - Page 18

Great Eastern Deepens Commitment to Sustainability with over S$448,000 Contribution to two green charities


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 6 December 2021

Photo by Great Eastern Singapore

Leading regional insurer Great Eastern today announced it is donating over S$448,000 to support two charities as part of its commitment towards sustainability for life. The two charities are the Garden City Fund, in support of the National Parks Board’s (NParks) OneMillionTrees movement, and local NGO (non-governmental organisation) Zero Waste SG’s Sustainable Schools Programme. 

Senior executives also planted 30 trees at Great Eastern Centre at a ceremony officiated by Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State for Ministry of National Development, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to celebrate Great Eastern’s 113th anniversary in Singapore and the 10th anniversary of its Financial Advisory arm – Great Eastern Financial Advisers (GEFA).

Through contributions from Great Eastern’s employees and financial representatives, the Group raised a total of S$328,744 that will fund 1,429 trees to be planted around Singapore. Besides the surrounds of Great Eastern Centre, the company will also, in the coming months, be planting trees at East Coast Park and along the Rail Corridor. 

This supports NParks’ OneMillionTrees movement to bring nature back into the city, as part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030’s City in Nature pillar. Launched in April 2020, this nationwide effort to plant one million more trees across Singapore by 2030 will bring the total number of trees in Singapore to more than 8 million.

In addition, Great Eastern will be donating S$120,000 to Zero Waste SG to drive its Sustainable Schools Programme in 2022, a holistic initiative aimed at building advocacy and environmental awareness among secondary school students as Singapore moves towards a zero-waste future. Starting next January, Zero Waste SG and Great Eastern will engage multiple secondary schools in educational outreach activities as part of the Sustainable Schools Programme. Students will also be invited to join a Sustainable Schools Competition, which aims to generate innovative solutions and build sustainable habits for the long-term. 

Mr Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer of Great Eastern, presented the cheques to Professor Leo Tan, Chairman of Garden City Fund, and Ms Christine Amour-Levar, Vice-Chair of Zero Waste SG, in the presence of Guest-of-Honour, Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ms Sim Ann also joined Mr Khor and other executives from Great Eastern: Patrick Peck, Managing Director of Regional Agency/Financial Advisers and Bancassurance; Jesslyn Tan, Chief Executive Officer, Great Eastern Financial Advisers, at Great Eastern Centre for the tree-planting ceremony.

Mr Khor Hock Seng, Group Chief Executive Officer, Great Eastern said, “As we mark an important milestone in our history as Singapore’s leading insurance provider for the last 113 years, we are committed to making a difference in Singapore and for our customers. Climate change is a global challenge for all generations, and we are pleased to play our part in helping Singapore to build a sustainable future through our corporate effort”.

“Planting trees for a greener Singapore and raising environmental awareness among youths are just a start. These are just some of our initiatives anchored upon our three ESG sustainability pillars. With our donations to the Garden City Fund and Zero Waste SG, we hope to continue making a difference in the communities that we serve, together with these charities, and to encourage our customers, our staff & financial representatives to do their part to create a sustainable future for us all”, said Mr Khor.

Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development & Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “It is very encouraging to see the SG Green Plan gaining support from the private and people sectors. I am confident that Great Eastern’s contributions to the Garden City Fund and Zero Waste SG will inspire many other companies to make sustainability an integral part of their corporate social responsibility programmes. By planting trees, reducing waste, and inculcating good environmental stewardship in the future generation, we can create a sustainable future for Singapore and work towards a City in Nature together.”

Prof Leo Tan, Chairman of the Garden City Fund said: “It is wonderful that Great Eastern is celebrating its 113th anniversary by involving its staff and financial representatives to contribute to our natural heritage. With their funding, we are able to plant over 1,400 native trees to support our local biodiversity. This will translate to lasting benefits for future generations, such as reducing surface temperatures in Singapore for greater climate resilience. We are very encouraged by this gesture and thankful for their support.”

Ms Christine Amour-Levar, Vice-Chair of Zero Waste SG said: “We are grateful to Great Eastern for their generous contribution, which will allow us to continue our outreach to youths. Education is an essential factor in the ever more urgent global fight against climate change and knowledge regarding this phenomenon helps young people change their behaviour and adapt to what is already a global emergency. Our aim is to continue to galvanise our young to take positive action and drive a zero-waste strategy in the community.”

LexisNexis Risk Solutions Rises Six Places in Annual Chartis RiskTech100® Ranking; Award for Financial Crime


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 3 December 2021

LexisNexis® Risk Solutions announced that it ranks 11th in the 2022 Chartis Research RiskTech100®, rising six spots since last year in the most comprehensive independent study of the world’s major players in risk and compliance technology. LexisNexis Risk Solutions has also been selected by Chartis Research as the category winner for Financial Crime – Data for the fourth consecutive year.

“Change is constant and LexisNexis Risk Solutions continues to evolve and adapt its risk and compliance technology to meet the needs of its customers,” said Phil Mackenzie, Senior Research Specialist at Chartis Research. “Both its fourth category win in a row and its impressive rise in our annual rankings showcase the company’s commitment to innovation. We look forward to seeing what the future holds for its capabilities in financial crime compliance.”

LexisNexis Risk Solutions has pioneered the collection of expansive data sets across the global financial crime compliance space through its analytic linking and game-changing technology that leverages digital identity data to transform financial crime compliance workflows. In 2021, LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced a merger with Accuity, creating one of the largest global providers of risk and compliance solutions. The combination of businesses has enriched a product suite that now drives even greater customer value by enabling actionable decisions through effective customer portfolio monitoring.

In August of 2021, LexisNexis Risk Solutions bolstered its financial crime compliance portfolio with the acquisition of TruNarrative,

This year, LexisNexis Risk Solutions also announced the availability of its Financial Crime Digital Intelligence solution that leverages digital identity data to transform financial crime compliance workflows. The solution offers compliance teams the ability to keep pace with and mitigate escalating sanctions risks associated with accelerated digital transaction adoption.

“We’re honored that Chartis Research has once again recognized LexisNexis Risk Solutions as an industry leader in risk and compliance technology,” said Leslie Bailey, vice president of financial crime compliance strategy, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “2021 has been a transformative year for our business and we continue to develop new products that set the industry standard in financial crime compliance solutions for our customers.”

China Finance Online Reports First Half of 2021 Unaudited Financial Results


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 30 November 2021

China Finance Online Co. Limited (“China Finance Online”, or the “Company”, “we”, “us” or “our”) (NASDAQ GS: JRJC), a leading web-based financial services company that provides Chinese retail investors with fintech-powered online access to securities trading services, wealth management products, securities investment advisory services, as well as financial database and analytics services to institutional customers, today announced its unaudited financial results for the first half ended June 30, 2021.

First Half of 2021 Financial Highlights

  • Net revenues were $14.8 million
  • Revenues from the subscription service from institutional customers posted solid growth with an increase of 28.6% from the first half of 2020 and an increase of 13.8% from the second half of 2020
  • Net loss attributable to China Finance Online was $5.1 million, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million in the first half of 2020 and $7.1 million in the second half of 2020

Dr. Z. James Chen, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of China Finance Online, commented, “Since the senior management change in late May, we introduced sweeping restructuring measures to cut costs and boost efficiency and repositioned our focus on each business unit’s profitability. The Company has achieved operational stability over the past four months since July. Excluding the restructuring related non-recurring expenses, the Company is targeting to reach breakeven operating results for the second half of 2021.”

First Half of 2021 Financial Results

Net revenues were $14.8 million, compared with $19.6 million during the first half of 2020 and $20.5 million in the second half of 2020, respectively. In the first half of 2021, revenues from financial services, the financial information and advisory business, advertising business and enterprise value-added services contributed 35%, 36%, 19% and 10% of the net revenues, respectively, compared with 37%, 42%, 12% and 9%, respectively, for the corresponding period in 2020.

Revenues from financial services were $5.1 million, compared with $7.3 million in the first half of 2020 and $5.8 million in the second half of 2020, respectively, mainly due to reduced revenue from the equity brokerage business which was affected by the softer Hong Kong stock market.

Revenues from the financial information and advisory business were $5.3 million, compared with $8.1 million in the first half of 2020 and $9.3 million in the second half of 2020, respectively. Revenues from the financial information and advisory business were mainly comprised of subscription services from individual and institutional customers and financial advisory services. The decreases in revenues from the financial information and advisory business were mainly due to the slow-down of our advisory services for individual investors as dramatic policy changes and resurgent of COVID Delta cases dampened retail investors’ confidence. However, during the first half of 2021, subscription service from institutional customers posted solid growth with an increase of 28.6% from the first half of 2020 and an increase of 13.8% from the second half of 2020.

Revenues from the advertising business grew 19.3% to $2.8 million from $2.3 million in the first half of 2020 and compared with $3.2 million in the second half of 2020.

Revenues from enterprise value-added services were $1.6 million, compared with $1.7 million in the first half of 2020 and $2.0 million in the second half of 2020, mainly due to the weaker market condition which deterred corporates’ decision on marketing spending.

Gross profit was $8.3 million, compared with $12.1 million in the first half of 2020 and $13.6 million in the second half of 2020. Gross margin in the first half was 55.9%, compared with 61.7% in the first half of 2020 and 66.6% in the second half of 2020. The year-over-year decrease in gross margin was mainly due to lower advertising revenue and softer enterprise value-added services business.

General and administrative expenses were $4.1 million, compared with $4.5 million in the first half of 2020 and $6.9 million in the second half of 2020. The year-over-year decrease was mainly attributable to bad debt provision in our equity brokerage business.

Sales and marketing expenses were $6.3 million, compared with $7.5 million in the first half of 2020 and $10.0 million in the second half of 2020. The year-over-year decrease was mainly attributable to effective cost control measures we adopted.

Research and development expenses were $4.1 million, compared with $4.0 million in the first half of 2020 and $4.1 million in the second half of 2020. The year-over-year increase was mainly attributable to one-time non-recurring severance expenses associated with downsizing the R&D team. In the past few years, the Company has completed the development of its fintech capabilities and related products.

Total operating expenses were $14.5 million, compared with $15.9 million in the first half of 2020 and $21.0 million in the second half of 2020.

Loss from operations was $6.2 million, compared with a loss from operations of $3.8 million in the first half of 2020 and a loss from operations of $7.3 million in the second half of 2020.

Net loss attributable to China Finance Online was $5.1 million, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million in the first half of 2020 and $7.1 million in the second half of 2020.

Loss per American Depository Shares (“ADS”) attributable to China Finance Online was $2.19 for the first half of 2021, compared with loss per ADS of $1.41 for the first half of 2020 and loss per ADS of $3.11 for the second half of 2020. Basic and diluted weighted average numbers of ADSs for the first half of 2021 were 2.3 million, compared with basic and diluted weighted average number of ADSs of 2.4 million for the first half of 2020 and 2.3 million for the second half of 2020. Each ADS represents fifty ordinary shares of the Company.

Recent Developments 

  • Private Placement

On September 14th, the Company announced that it had raised an aggregate of $1,174,020 for additional working capital from management and a private investor in August and September. The Company, in a private placement, entered into securities purchase agreements with Mr. Zheng James Chen, Mr. Frank J. Mitsch and Ms. Ying Zhu, each a director of the Company, and several senior Company management persons (the “Management SPA”). Pursuant to the Management SPA, the Company will issue 3,940,050 ordinary shares (exchangeable to 78,801 ADSs) for an aggregate purchase price of $400,320 and warrants with a purchase price of $0.10 per warrant. The warrants are exercisable for five years to purchase up to 78,801 ADSs, of which half are exercisable at $5.98 per ADS and half are exercisable at $6,98 per ADS. The per share purchase price equals the closing trading price of the Company’s ADS ($4.98 per ADS) on Nasdaq on September 10, 2021 (the date immediately preceding the signing of the Management SPA). Each ADS represents 50 ordinary shares of the Company. The Company’s independent directors have approved the transactions contemplated under the management SPA. The Company also entered into a securities purchase agreement with an accredited investor for the sale of ordinary shares and warrants (the “Investor SPA”). The Investor SPA replaces the securities purchase agreement previously announced on August 16, 2021. Pursuant to the Investor SPA, the Company will issue 7,615,150 ordinary shares (exchangeable to 152,303 ADSs) for an aggregate purchase price of $773,700. The per share purchase price equals the closing trading price of the Company’s ADS ($4.98 per ADS) on Nasdaq on September 10, 2021 (the date immediately preceding the signing of the Investor SPA), plus warrants with a purchase price of $0.10 per warrant. The warrants are exercisable for five years to purchase up to 152,303 ADSs, of which half are exercisable at $5.98 per ADS and half are exercisable at $6.98 per ADS. These transactions are subject to customary closing conditions and the closings are expected to take place in the near future.

  • Board of Directors Change

Ms. Xin Yue Jasmine Geffner has resigned as an independent director and chairman of Audit Committee of the board of directors of the Company (the “Board”) for personal reasons, effective as of November 14, 2021. The resignation of Ms. Geffner did not result from any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to the Company’s operations, policies or practices. The Board would like to take this opportunity to express its gratitude to Ms. Geffner for her contributions to the Company.

GoPay and Jago collaboration enables Indonesians to open a bank account via the Gojek app


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 26 November 2021

As the first integration between an on-demand platform and digital bank in Indonesia, the collaboration will increase access to banking services and accelerate financial inclusion for the nation’s unbanked

GoPay, a digital wallet and payment solutions platform under GoTo Financial, and Bank Jago, an Indonesia-listed technology-based bank, today announced a new service integration that will enable the Indonesian public to open a Jago bank account directly from the Gojek application. This integration between an on-demand platform and a digital bank is the first of its kind in Indonesia, and will provide convenient access to digital banking for the millions of unbanked and underbanked consumers in the country.

The service is available to all consumers in Indonesia with a verified GoPay account and the Gojek application, with no fees or minimum balance required to open a Jago bank account. Once their accounts are opened, GoPay Jago users will not have to pay any top-up fees when moving funds between GoPay and Jago, giving them greater benefits and convenience in managing their finances.

With only 61.7% of Indonesians having a bank account, GoPay and Jago’s latest integration represents a significant opportunity for both companies to bring digital banking to more people and grow financial inclusion. This is supported by a recent study by the Demographic Institute of the University of Indonesia (LDUI), which showed that 1 in 5 GoPay users currently do not have or use a bank account actively. At the same time, consumers are increasingly ready to use financial services, with 1 in 4 GoPay users interested in opening a bank account through GoPay, based on the same study.

The integration complements a feature launched earlier this year, which allows Jago users to connect their Jago pockets to the Gojek app and make cashless payments for Gojek services such as transport, food, bill payments and more. Together, this means that GoPay Jago users can now enjoy a fully seamless experience in payments and financial management.

Hans Patuwo, CEO of GoPay, said: “Accelerating financial inclusion in Indonesia has been GoPay’s mission from day one, so today’s integration with Jago is a true game changer for us. It marks a new phase in our efforts to bring digital financial services to more people, as we provide convenient access to banking for millions across the country and help them kickstart their financial planning journeys. We will continue to work with Jago and other financial institutions, leveraging our respective strengths to deliver a truly unique, frictionless financial management experience for consumers from all levels of society.”

Kharim Siregar, President Director of Bank Jago, said: “Jago aims to enhance the growth of millions through life-centric digital financial services, and our collaboration with GoPay is tangible proof of this commitment. By linking our app – which makes money management simple, innovative, and collaborative – with GoPay’s wide reach, we can provide new benefits and an improved experience for consumers, enabling them to transact quickly, easily and safely in the Gojek ecosystem. With this integration between GoPay and Jago, consumers can now open a Jago account via the Gojek application as well as use their Jago pockets as a source of funds to pay for various daily necessities.”

Lioner launch ceremony attended by finance industry partners; new managing director appointed focusing on business growth


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 25 November 2021

(From left to right: Joseph Lin, Responsible Officer of Lioner; Katrina Chuk, Managing Director of Lioner; Dixon Wong, Head of Financial Services and Global Head of Family Office at InvestHK; Raymond Cheng, President of Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Tony Chan, Partner of Lioner; Andrew Chan, Partner of Lioner; Kelvin Fung, Group Chief Operations Officer of Lioner)
  • Over a hundred executives from the financial industry joined Lioner’s launch ceremony, endorsing the company’s unique all-in-one solutions across insurance, trust and family office 
  • Katrina Chuk appointed Managing Director to strengthen Lioner’s capability in serving clients in Greater China

Lioner International Group Ltd. (Lioner), a pioneering financial service provider offering unique 3-in-1 solutions for wealth planning, today announces its official launch ceremony in Hong Kong, with over one hundred key executives from the financial industry in attendance, and at the same time announced the appointment of Katrina Chuk as Managing Director to drive business growth primarily in Greater China.  

Charles Ng, Associate Director-General of Investment Promotion (Sector Specialists) of Invest Hong Kong (InvestHK), supported the ceremony. InvestHK set up a dedicated FamilyOfficeHK team earlier in the year, coinciding with the establishment of Lioner. InvestHK has reinforced Hong Kong’s unique advantages as a prime family office hub in Asia. InvestHK’s new team aims to promote family office business and offer one-stop services to family offices in Hong Kong. Lioner shares the same vision and is committed to leveraging Hong Kong’s unique position and InvestHK’s support to accelerate its growth in the region.

Ms Chuk is based in Hong Kong and she will focus on growing the business in Greater China, particularly mainland China, to take advantage of the gap in the market identified by Lioner for a truly holistic financial service for high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs).  

Ms Chuk is an industry veteran with more than 15 years’ experience across insurance brokerage, banking and securities industries. She specialises in handling complicated multi-party contracts and premium financing deals. Prior to Lioner, Ms Chuk was Senior Vice President of International Planning Group (IPG).

Joseph Lin, Responsible Officer at Lioner, said: “We welcome Katrina. She is a native Chinese speaker with a deep understanding of Chinese culture. She has extensive experience and proven track record in understanding mainland Chinese client’s unique requirements, addressing their diverse needs and delivering results. She brings rich expertise to the business, so it’s tremendous to have her join the team. Chinese entrepreneurs have been very successful in creating and accumulating wealth over the past few decades. As their businesses mature, they are looking for ways to preserve that wealth and plan for succession. The Greater China region poses remarkable opportunities for Lioner. Katrina will be instrumental in finding, taking and building on those opportunities.”

Katrina Chuk, Managing Director of Lioner said: “I am honoured to be part of Lioner’s team. Together with other talents, I am keen to leverage my industry knowledge and experience with Chinese clients to expand the unique services Lioner offers to broaden our reach in Greater China. I am particularly excited about Lioner’s integrated, 360-degree solution approach that enables me to help clients tackle various challenges in the journey of wealth planning and succession planning.”

Commenting on the ceremony, Mr. Lin said: “We are excited to see many industry partners joining our launch ceremony and showing their keen support. Our integrated solutions for HNWIs are unique in the market. Through our flexible business model, we aim to foster strong relationships with our partners, complementing their offerings and benefitting each other in the long-run.”

Lioner adopts a flexible business model that complements partners from private banking, asset management, insurance, and other professional services. The company tailors comprehensive solutions to complete partners’ offerings for HNWIs and fulfill their unique needs. The results are greater client satisfaction due to greater efficiency, better financial returns, smooth succession and harmonious family relationships.

Lioner have recently established an internationally recognized information security management system, ISO/IEC 27001:2013, and obtained the certification by LRQA, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance Limited, marking a milestone in the continuing growth and success of our insurance broker services organization. The certification demonstrates our commitment to providing the highest levels of information security care to our customers, and the same high level of conduct in our business practices.

Financial Services Industry leads in offering digital experiences in Singapore


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 16 November 2021

Mobile Banking being the most preferred mode of interaction: Survey

  • 83% of Singaporeans prefer online interactions when it comes to banking
  • Singaporeans have completed an average 6.94 online activities in past 3 months
  • 49% of Singaporeans have a bank account with a digital bank

Publicis Sapient, a digital business transformation company, announced the launch of the third edition of its Digital Life Index which reveals that the Financial Services Industry ranks tops in Singapore when it comes to offering digital experiences. This is followed by Retail as well as Government and Public Services, rounding up the top three industries to be recognised for their digital transformation efforts.

The Days of the Bricks and Mortar Bank Branch may be numbered

Digital experiences must remain a priority for the financial services industry above four in five (83%) Singaporean respondents* indicated preferring online interactions over in-person interactions with banking. More specifically, mobile banking is revealed to be the most frequent mode of interaction with a bank among Singaporeans.

  • Latest research shows that 1 in 2 (50%) Singaporeans turn to bank mobile apps for banking interactions while 33% rely on bank websites.
  • The behaviour changes with offline channels; just 12% of Singaporeans choose bank branches as their primary mode of communication with their bank and 4% concentrate their banking activities at an ATM. 

This is no surprise as consumers are spending more time online amid a time of restricted movement and tightened COVID-19 measures worldwide.

  • Three in four (74%) Singaporean respondents are spending more time online in the past year, while 17% are spending the same amount of time online.
  • Just 9% indicated that they are spending less time online in the past year.
  • Singaporeans have completed an average of 6.94 online activities in the past 3 months, slightly below the global average of 7.05 online activities.

With online banking services, research from Publicis Sapient’s Digital Life Index unveils that dissatisfaction typically occurs when a certain activity is too difficult to navigate or requires too many steps to complete, signalling a need for more seamless digital experiences across channels.

“People are shifting many of their activities from the physical to the digital world, a behavioural change that is reflected in our research,” said Emma Scales, Managing Director APAC at Publicis Sapient. “Since consumers today have easier access and exposure to a large and diverse set of digital services, they’re no longer satisfied with just getting what they want. Today’s consumer demands flexibility in how and where they engage financial services to get what they want. Banks that take advantage of this shift will stand to outpace consumers and attract a new generation of customers. On the contrary, banks that fail to adapt to the digital age and the rising demand for convenient, fuss-free online experiences risk extinction.”

Traditionally White Gloved services Now preferred as Online Interactions

Research from Publicis Sapient shows that account opening and management services that traditionally required higher levels of white glove service are now preferred as online interactions by Singaporeans. 

  • 64% of Singapore respondents prefer to apply for a new credit card online
  • 57% prefer managing their investments online
  • 52% prefer opening a bank account online
  • 52% prefer applying or getting approved for a loan online

The future of physical bank branches could reside in its ability to serve advisory needs.

  • 47% of Singapore respondents prefer speaking with a financial advisor in-person at bank with just 33% leaning towards an online interaction.
  • Only 13% used bank mobile apps to seek financial advice or chat with an advisor in the past 3 months.

Opportunities for Digital Banks in Singapore

The market for digital-first banks is growing in Singapore, with adoption here surpassing that of the global average of 44% of all respondents.1 in 2 Singapore (49%) respondents stated that they have a bank account with a digital bank.

However, digital-only banks still have some way to go to capture Singapore’s growing pool of digital-first consumers. Comparatively, a whopping 83% of respondents in neighbouring country Thailand have a bank account with digital banks.

Opportunities-wise, digital banks can stand to benefit from Singaporeans who are on the hunt for new banking providers. Digital Life Index research unveils that 34% of Singapore respondents have already decided to change or are considering changing their banks or financial institutions in the next year.

“The clear preference for digital channels to execute most finance-related actions reflect the success of the Financial Services Industry’s digital transformation efforts in Singapore, a country with a flourishing FinTech sector with over 1,000 FinTech firms and upwards of 40 innovation labs. However, all hope is not lost for physical bank branches. Our research has shown that consumers in Singapore still prefer that trusted in-person connection for their advisory needs. At the end of the day, good investments still need the human touch.

“Meanwhile, the adoption of digital-only banks is growing in Southeast Asia. Digital banks are attracting consumers by offering better digital experiences and attractive features like competitive rates. With the nation’s ongoing FinTech revolution and changing financial ecosystem, Singapore presents market opportunities for digital banks or traditional financial institutions looking to venture into the digital bank playing field,” concluded Scales.

*704 Singaporeans aged 18+, June 2021

To view the full report, please visit

MAS and Industry to Pilot Digital Platforms for Better Data to Support Green Finance


DigitalCFO Newsroom | 11 November 2021

Photo from MAS

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced today that it will partner the industry to pilot four digital platforms under Project Greenprint, to address the financial sector’s needs for good data on sustainability. Project Greenprint was launched in December 2020 to harness innovation and technology to promote a green finance ecosystem through helping to mobilise capital, monitor sustainability commitments, and measure impact. [1]  

2  One of the key challenges faced in sustainability financing is the difficulty in accessing high quality, consistent and granular sustainability data. Addressing these data gaps will enable financial institutions to direct capital towards sustainability projects in a more scalable way, effectively monitor their sustainability commitments, and quantify the risks and real-world impact of their portfolios. 

3  Since the announcement of Project Greenprint last December, MAS has engaged the financial industry and other industry sectors to identify potential digital enablers to address the data challenges. These include interoperable data platforms that can aggregate new and existing sustainability data across multiple sectoral platforms and industry players; and enable sharing of the data across different stakeholders.

4  MAS will work with the industry to pilot four common utility platforms, with the pilots expected to be completed in the second half of 2022.

a) Greenprint Common Disclosure Portal, developed in partnership with the Singapore Exchange. The portal aims to simplify the Environment, Social & Governance (ESG) disclosure process by converting data inputs into different reporting frameworks as required under different jurisdictions and purposes. This makes company and project disclosures more easily accessible by international investors and financial institutions. Companies can also use the portal as an internal ESG monitoring and management tool.

b) Greenprint Data Orchestrator, which will aggregate sustainability data from multiple data sources, including major ESG data providers, utilities providers, and the Common Disclosure Portal, as well as other sectoral platforms such as GreenON [2] , Olam International [3] and SGTraDex [4] and provide access to these key data sources. The platform will also enable new data insights to be generated through data analytics services to better support investment and financing decisions. 

c) Greenprint ESG Registry, in partnership with Hashstacs Pte Ltd, will record and maintain the provenance of ESG certifications accorded by certification bodies in different sectors as well as data and metrics that are verified by qualified third party auditors. The blockchain-based registry will provide financial institutions, corporates, and regulatory authorities with a single point of access to these certified data, and facilitate trusted data flows. 

d) Greenprint Marketplace, in partnership with API Exchange [5] (APIX), will connect green technology providers in Singapore and the region to a community of investors, venture capital firms, financial institutions, and corporates to facilitate partnership, innovation and investments in green technology.

5  Using data from the Greenprint Data Orchestrator and ESG Registry, MAS will work on two use case projects to facilitate green and sustainability-linked trade finance in the building and construction, and palm oil sectors. This will allow banks to digitalise their trade finance transactions and attain greater assurance that these transactions meet the criteria set out in their green and sustainability financing frameworks. Qualified supply chain players from these sectors can benefit from more seamless and timely access to green trade financing from banks. The projects will be led by United Overseas Bank, in partnership with DBS Bank, OCBC Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.

6  Mr Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief FinTech Officer, MAS said, “Technology is a key enabler for the financial industry to meet the challenges of green transition and achieving net-zero emissions. Project Greenprint provides foundational digital infrastructure that aggregates new and existing ESG data from ground-up across multiple sectoral platforms and solutions to facilitate trusted ESG data flows between the financial sector and the real economy – both within Singapore and globally.”

3 in 4 financial services firms want clearer AI ethics, governance standards: Temasek report


Article by Nisha Ramchandani from The Business Times | 24 August 2021

Seventy-five percent of financial services companies would value clearer regulation and standards on the use of artificial intelligence (AI), said a report on AI ethics and governance issued by Temasek.

While various AI ethics and governance guidelines exist, just 50 percent of organizations are familiar with such guidelines, suggesting there is room for improvement.

Global spending on AI is expected to hit US$110 billion by 2024, according to estimates by the International Data Corporation, with financial services singled out as among the biggest spenders. AI solutions are seen as beneficial for the world’s banks and insurance firms, with a McKinsey study estimating that tapping such solutions could tack on an additional US$2 trillion of annual value.

In compiling the report, Temasek conducted a survey with 39 decision markets from the United States, Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong in March this year, focusing on AI adoption and governance among banks and insurance firms. Industry experts were also polled on how AI ethics and governance could speed up the use of transformative AI solutions in financial services.

The report also showed that trust ranks high on the agenda. The vast majority, or 93 percent, of firms want AI solutions that are trustworthy.

While companies in financial services use AI in their processes in some form or another, not all firms make use of AI to the same degree. Only 13 per cent fall into the category of “AI leaders”, or companies which are effectively using responsible AI in most of their processes to create value, the report highlighted.

Financial services is a major sector for Temasek, comprising nearly a quarter of its S$381 billion net portfolio value as at March 31, 2021. “As a generational investor, Temasek is building AI capabilities to not only drive better business outcomes in our ecosystem but also shape a better world,” it said in the report. “To do so, AI solutions have to be responsibly designed, developed, and deployed.”

Read the full article here.

Rising AML Breaches for APAC in 2020


According to a recent Fenergo Report, financial institutions and people around the world were penalized a total of USD$10.6 billion in 2020 for noncompliance, with anti-money laundering (AML) violations accounting for 99 percent of those fines.

Qinthara Fasya | 16 August 2021

All policies and pieces of law requiring financial institutions to monitor their clients in order to prevent money laundering are referred to as anti-money laundering (AML). Financial institutions must report any financial crime they detect to relevant agencies under AML legislation.

Money laundering has become an increasingly common problem over the last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic . Financial institutions and governments are always looking for innovative ways to combat money launderers, and numerous anti-money laundering regulations have been implemented to aid in this endeavour.

The Goal of AML

Anti-money laundering (AML) aims to prevent criminals from transferring their illegal monies into the financial system. Money laundering is a technique used by criminals to conceal the true source of money obtained through criminal activity.

Soon after the Financial Action Task Force was established, anti-money laundering regulations were enacted around the world. Most anti-money laundering rules were developed by the FATF, which established a framework for countries to follow. Following the implementation of this framework, the FATF began systematically identifying nations that lacked adequate anti-money laundering legislation. This “name and shame” strategy aided in motivating governments to change their legislation and begin properly implementing existing policies. The FATF now has 37 countries as members.

According to Comply Advantage, financial institutions are required to observe anti-money laundering legislation, but that does not mean they agree with them. Many banks have recently expressed their distaste for anti-money laundering rules, believing that they are both costly and ineffectual. Millions of dollars are spent each year in Europe and America alone to try to control and stop money laundering. However, many people are beginning to conclude that the current anti-money laundering systems are mainly ineffective, and that the money spent on them is not worth the doubtful results.

AML in the Asia Pacific 

A recent Fenergo report on global financial institution fines concluded that the APAC region saw the single biggest regional increase of financial institution fines in 2020. Banks engaged in the 1MBD scam and an Australian bank entangled in a high-profile money laundering case were among those receiving the worst enforcement actions from regulators in APAC, including the Malaysia Securities Commission and AUSTRAC in Australia.

Countries that issued the most fines by value: 

  • Malaysia $ 3,900,000,000  
  • Australia $ 921,587,910   
  • Singapore $123,075,897 
  • Hong Kong $107,806,257   
  • China $100,104,187 
  • India $15,689,920  
  • Pakistan $11,713,330 

In July 2019, the FATF released its most recent Terrorist Financing Risk Assessment Guidance. In January 2020, the EU’s Fifth Money Laundering Directive went into effect. The sixth order will be issued in December, just on the heels of the fifth.

Many CFOs will be directly affected by these developments. Money laundering laws will apply to all organizations that provide financial services, regardless of size, according to Elaine Smyth, CIMA’s assistant director–Professional Standards.

Senior oversight of AML/CTF processes is the responsibility of each business. This is a role that does not always fall to the CFO. When it occurs, though, finance chiefs must ensure that they are aware of the dangers and have processes in place to mitigate them.

Pandemic spurs banks’ AI adoption for AML, SAS study shows


Amid a COVID-driven surge in fraud and financial crime, more than half of financial institutions have either already deployed AI in their anti-money laundering compliance processes

DigitalCFO Asia Newsroom | 11 August 2021

A third of financial institutions are accelerating their AI and machine learning (ML) adoption for anti-money laundering (AML) technology in response to COVID-19. Meanwhile, another 39% of compliance professionals said their AI/ML adoption plans will continue unabated, despite the pandemic’s disruption. These industry trends and others are explored in a new AML technology study by SAS, KPMG and the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (ACAMS).

The report, Acceleration Through Adversity: The State of AI and Machine Learning Adoption in Anti-Money Laundering Compliance, and a complementing survey data dashboard examine insights provided by more than 850 ACAMS members worldwide. ACAMS surveyed each about their employer organizations’ use of technology to detect money laundering, estimated in the range of 2% to 5% of global GDP – or US$800 billion to US$2 trillion – annually.

AI and ML have emerged as key technologies for compliance professionals as they look to streamline their AML compliance processes to fight financial crime and money laundering. More than half (57%) of respondents have either deployed AI/ML into their AML compliance processes, are piloting AI solutions or plan to implement them in the next 12-18 months.

“As regulators across the world increasingly judge financial institutions’ compliance efforts based on the effectiveness of the intelligence they provide to law enforcement, it’s no surprise 66% of respondents believe regulators want their institutions to leverage AI and machine learning,” said Kieran Beer, Chief Analyst and Director of Editorial Content at ACAMS. “While many in the anti-financial crime world – the regulators and financial institutions alike – are just coming up to speed on these advanced analytic technologies, there’s clearly shared hope that these tools will produce truly effective financial intelligence that catches the bad guys.”

It’s not just the largest financial institutions leading the charge on technology adoption either. Twenty-eight percent of large financial institutions, those with assets greater than $1 billion, consider themselves innovators and fast adopters of AI technology. However, encouragingly, 16% of smaller financial institutions (those valued below $1 billion) also view themselves as industry leaders in AI adoption.

“Seeing a strong percentage of smaller financial organizations label themselves industry leaders debunks the myth that advanced technological solutions beyond the reach of smaller financial organizations,” said Tom Keegan, Principal U.S. Solution Leader for Financial Crimes and America Forensic Technology Services, KPMG. “With both smaller and larger organizations subject to the same level of regulatory scrutiny, it’s important that these numbers continue to rise.”

Regardless of institution size, the pressure on banks to meet COVID-19’s disruption head on, while boosting accuracy and productivity, is the likely impetus to the industry’s accelerating use of advanced analytics for AML. The two primary drivers of AI and ML adoption, according to respondents, are to:

  1. Improve the quality of investigations and regulatory filings (40%).
  2. Reduce false positives and resulting operational costs (38%).

“The radical shift in consumer behavior sparked by the pandemic has forced many financial institutions to see that static, rules-based monitoring strategies simply aren’t as accurate or adaptive as behavioral decisioning systems,” said David Stewart, Director of Financial Crimes and Compliance at SAS. “AI and ML technologies are dynamic by nature, able to intelligently adapt to market changes and emerging risks – and they can be integrated into existing compliance programs quickly, with minimal disruption. Early adopters are gaining significant efficiencies while helping their institutions comply with rising regulatory expectations.”

For more insight into the state of AI and ML adoption in AML compliance, check out the on-demand AML webinarThe Truth Revealed: Global Insights on the Adoption of AI in the Fight Against Money Laundering and Financial Crime.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

APAC Financial Institution Fines for AML and Data Privacy increase by $5.1 billion in 2020


APAC region saw single biggest regional increase in 2020

Qinthara Fasya | 17 June 2021

Photo by @executium on Unsplash

Fenergo, the leading provider of digital transformation, customer journey and client lifecycle management (CLM) solutions, today released its findings on global financial institution fines which show that in 2020, penalties have totaled $10.6 billion for non-compliance with Anti-Money Laundering (AML), Know your Customer (KYC), data privacy and MiFID (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) regulations. In APAC, the total of enforcement actions aimed at financial institutions and individuals increased from $6,621,692 in 2019 to $5,180,199,367 in 2020.

Notable findings of the annual report: 

  • Landmark action against Goldman Sachs totalling $6.8 billion (from multiple regulators) for its  involvement in 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MBD) scandal – including the second  biggest enforcement action imposed against one bank since 2015 
  • Major Australian bank fined almost $1bn for its money laundering scandal with links to serious crimes 
  • People’s Bank of China issued 733 fines at $97 million for AML failings – APAC data privacy fines amounted to $6.9 million.  

“2015 was a record year for enforcement actions but 2020 has the potential to match or top that year’s total if significant investigations are concluded by the end of the calendar year. There have been two notable shifts, APAC has overtaken the US in terms of the value of enforcement actions for the first time since 2015 – driven by recent FATF activity and the repercussions of the 1MDB scandal, and there has been an increased focus on individuals being penalised than we have seen in previous years. In addition to imposing penalties on financial institutions, regulators and authorities in China, the UK and the US have held individuals accountable for compliance failings. While banks may hold reserves explicitly to settle enforcement actions, individuals will suffer a far greater personal impact. This along with greater whistleblowing protection and incentives will make a difference in tackling the industry-wide issue of financial crime.”

Rachel Woolley, Global Director of Financial Crime at Fenergo 

Regulators in APAC, including the Malaysia Securities Commission and AUSTRAC in Australia, were  among those handing out the biggest enforcement actions to banks involved in the 1MBD scandal  and the Australian bank embroiled in a high-profile money laundering scandal. However, the U.S.  Department of Justice was also more punitive this year, issuing enforcement actions totalling  $1,924,071,850 to Goldman Sachs, Bank Hapoalim and Union Bancaire Privée. 

“It is estimated that fewer than 1% of criminal funds laundered through the financial system gets confiscated by authorities. The recent FinCEN files have proven that the industry must work better together to address this growing problem. We must establish a common best practice and replace  onerous manual Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) risk assessment and  compliance processes with technology and tools that enable financial institutions, authorities and non-financial firms to better detect and prevent financial crime.” 

Marc Murphy, CEO, Fenergo 

Countries that issued the most fines by value: 

  • Malaysia $ 3,900,000,000  
  • Australia $ 921,587,910  
  • Singapore $123,075,897 
  • Hong Kong $107,806,257  
  • China $100,104,187 
  • India $15,689,920  
  • Pakistan $11,713,330 

The number of data privacy fines issued in the APAC region increased significantly with a large  $529,027 fine issued in India and seven fines issued in China totaling $6,338,969. 

Join our experts discussing global financial institutions and individual enforcement actions for 2020 here. To view global fines since 2008 click on this infographic and click here to watch Fenergo’s recent webinar on the FinCEN files scandal. 

About Fenergo 

Fenergo is the leading provider of digital transformation, customer journey and client lifecycle management (CLM) solutions for financial institutions. Its software digitally transforms and streamlines end-to-end CLM processes – from regulatory onboarding, data integration, client and counterparty data management, client lifecycle reviews and remediation, all the way to client offboarding. Fenergo is recognised for its in-depth financial services and regulatory expertise (from a team of over 30 global regulatory specialists), community-based approach to product development. The CLM solutions and out-of-the-box rules engine ensure financial institutions are future-proofed against evolving Know  Your Customer (KYC), Anti-Money-Laundering (AML), tax and OTC derivatives-based regulations across 100 jurisdictions. Fenergo recently expanded into new markets including asset and wealth management, private, retail, business and commercial banking and has over 80 global clients. 

CFO Perspective: The Future Corporate Banking Experience is Open

Image: Finastra

Digitalization. Innovation. Collaboration. That pretty much sums up the expectations of corporate banking customers.

According to IDC, 65% of GDP is set to be digitalized by 2022, while 75% of organisations will have comprehensive digital transformation roadmaps by 2023 – up from only 27% today. More importantly, they also predicted that 75% of business leaders will leverage digital platforms and ecosystem capabilities to adapt their value chains to new markets, industries, and ecosystems by 2025.

This paints a picture of businesses searching for better ways to leverage technology, and their relationships with partners and ecosystems, to build better business models where they are able to build more value for themselves and for their customers. For some, this means looking to their banking partners for help.

Take for example, Gulf Oil Marine. In a conversation with Michael Walker, Finastra’s Head of Working Capital Finance, Gulf Oil Marine CFO, David Richard, outlined their company’s pain points when it came to banking.

Gulf Oil delivers shipments 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Customers are invoiced daily, to help manage revolving credit, with the bulk of payments arriving via TT. Customers are also sent updated statements of account on a daily basis. The challenge for Gulf Oil is the need to ensure that incoming payments are reconciled with the corresponding invoices and accounts. This process is incredibly time intensive, not just because of the sheer volume, but also because the remittances or notices which are received from the banks do not contain all the necessary detail.

Enter the dream banking partner:

With a strong online platform that Gulf Marine is connected to all the time, finance staff are able to review payments and reconcile invoices more rapidly, instead of relying on emails for payment updates which can cause delays in the process as they go unread, sometimes for up to 24 hours.

Better yet, a platform allowing Gulf Oil to access, at any time, a summarized report of payments, for a specific time frame, that have been received, that are on route or that have been delayed. These summary reports also contain the necessary details that indicate which invoice has actually been paid. And perhaps, these reports are just a formality, as the information has already been fed directly into Gulf Oil’s ERP, which then only flags exceptions for checking.

Systems like these not only make the reconciliation process easier for Gulf Oil, but it has the added benefit of allowing Gulf Oil to provide better customer service to their customers. With information being more readily available, Gulf Oil can provide more detailed and timely updates to their customers, advising which invoices have been paid, which ones have payments incoming, and which ones will need to be paid in the next week.

By 2022, we can expect 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies to transform existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.

Companies such as Gulf Oil are looking for ways to boost employee productivity, while simultaneously providing a better experience for their customers by leveraging the technology platforms and ecosystems that they share with their banking partners. They, and other organisations, are looking for the value-added services that their banks can provide, and in the current climate, they are looking for these services in an accelerated way.

And this brings us to the idea of the open platform approach for corporate banking.

An open platform approach allows banks to be agile and quick to market, delivering innovation at hyperspeed. The heart of the open collaboration, and the kind of collaboration where tools built by others can be deployed internally to deliver a solution to banking customers more rapidly, or where your banking customers can use APIs to access the data that they need, when they need it, in the way that they need it.

So, it needs some repeating:

By 2022, 70% of all organizations will have accelerated use of digital technologies to transform existing business processes to drive customer engagement, employee productivity, and business resiliency.

By 2025, 75% of business leaders will leverage digital platforms and ecosystem capabilities to adapt their value chains to new markets, industries, and ecosystems.

Corporate customers want it, and it is time for the banks to build it.

This article covers a discussion between Michael Walker – Head of Working Capital Finance at Finastra, and David Richard, CFO at Gulf Oil Marine CFO during Finastra Universe 2021. You can watch this sessions and others on demand at

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