FinTech Futures: Top five stories of the week – 17 November 2023
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
RTGS.global signs pilot agreements for settlement service
The cross-border settlement fintech has partnered with three banks this week, namely Tajikistan-based Alif Bank and Bank Arvand and Montenegro’s Universal Capital Bank, which will leverage its network to streamline “traditionally cumbersome” cross-border processes.
The news follows the launch of similar pilots with MDO Humo in Tajikistan and Credo Bank in Georgia earlier this year.
RTGS.global says it will “work closely” with the three banks to “overcome the historic and emerging challenges” relating to payments and liquidity management.
The partnerships come amid “considerable interest” in settlement services from Central Asia, with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) reportedly seeing 39% of the world’s cross-border payment traffic go through the region.
FinTech Wales seeks new CEO as Sarah Williams-Gardener transitions to chair
Williams-Gardener has served as the member association’s CEO since 2020, but starting in January 2024, she will succeed former Confused CEO Louise O’Shea as its new chair.
As chair, she will be tasked with developing the association’s strategic direction and “robust governance structure”, under the overarching goal of attracting more start-ups to launch and scale their business in Wales.
With the move now confirmed, FinTech Wales has put out a call for a new CEO to execute the final year of its four-year strategy, which promotes a focus on skills and talent; ecosystem and community; funding and investment; and the promotion of Wales as “a place for fintech and financial organisations to thrive”.
Innovation takes centre stage at Fintech Talents Festival
Hosted at The Brewery in the heart of the UK capital this week, with the FinTech Futures team in attendance, the two-day festival brought together leaders and innovators from across the industry to discuss technology applications ranging from variable recurring payments (VRPs), digital identity, and of course, artificial intelligence (AI).
Notable panel discussions from day one included ‘AI in financial services: the current state of play’, which was hosted by FinTech Futures reporter Tyler Pathe, as well as NatWest Boxed CEO Andrew Ellis’ keynote exploring how companies can “unbox the next generation of embedded finance”.
Day two provided an equally as compelling agenda, most notably when executives from Wise, Plaid, NatWest and Secure Trust Bank took to the stage to discuss VRPs’ increasing position within payments.
In highlighting the current and future use cases of the technology, all panellists shared that they were either already working on business use cases or were planning to work on them in the future.
Germany’s Commerzbank receives crypto custody licence
With the new licence, the Frankfurt-based full-service bank says it aims to build up a range of digital asset services, with a particular focus on crypto assets.
Its next move will be to establish a “secure and reliable” platform to provide its institutional clients with access to custody for crypto assets based on blockchain technology.
Commerzbank has centred itself on serving the German Mittelstand, extending its suite of financial services to 26,000 corporate client groups and almost 11 million private and small-business customers in Germany.
COO Jörg Oliveri del Castillo-Schulz says the licensing “forms the foundation for supporting our customers in the areas of digital assets”.
FCA places embattled Metro Bank on financial crime watchlist as rescue deal continues
Recently published documents outlining its plans for survival after its shares tumbled over 20% last month reveal that Metro Bank has been on the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) financial crime watchlist since 6 June.
The action reportedly relates to the “ongoing management of financial crime risk” within the bank’s back book and provision of online accounts.
The regulator is expected to instate monitors within the bank to test the effectiveness of its financial crime controls and to report back on progress.
The rescue deal has raised $396.5 million in capital and $725 million in debt financing, and hands Spaldy Investments – which is owned by Colombian billionaire Jaime Gilinski Bacal – 52.88% of the bank’s shares.