Now that we’ve settled into the new year, which has certainly gotten off to a busy start, here at Finance Monthly we are thrilled to present our February issue – packed full of articles and interviews exploring the opportunities and challenges 2022 could present the financial world with. Here are some of our favourite stories from Finance Monthly’s February 2022 edition: All of this and so much more - I hope you enjoy the content in our February 2022 edition. For more financial news and commentary, please visit our website to stay up-to-date on industry news as it happens, join the conversation on our Twitter (@Finance_Monthly), like our Facebook page and follow us on LinkedIn and Instagram (@FinanceMonthly). Best wishes, Katina Hristova Editor firstname.lastname@example.org Copyright 2022 Published by Universal Media Ltd The views expressed in the articles within Finance Monthly are the contributors own, nothing within the announcements or articles should be construed as a profit forecast. All rights reserved. Material contained within this publication is not to be reproduced in whole or part without the prior permission of Finance Monthly. Circulation details can be found at www.finance-monthly.com Universal Media Ltd PO Box 17858, Tamworth, B77 9QG United Kingdom 0044 (0) 1543 255 537 Follow us on Instagram Financemonthly Find us on Facebook Finance Monthly Stay Connected www.linkedin.com/finance-monthly Tweet us @Finance_Monthly Monthly Finance Finance Monthly. Ed i t or ’ s No t e 3 Hello and welcome to the February 2022 issue of Finance Monthly Magazine! 16. What are the Key Market Themes for 2022? 40. Microsoft-Activision Deal: What Happens Next? Top Insurance Trends in 2022 26. 12. The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with NFT Trading
4 Finance Monthly. Con t en t s CONTENTS 12. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP News You Can’t Afford to Miss 8. The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with NFT Trading
5 Finance Monthly. Con t en t s 20. Sustainable Investing A Sign of What’s to Come in 2022 34. HowMentoring Can Help Women in Finance 44. INVESTMENT The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with NFT Trading What are the Key Market Themes for 2022? Sustainable Investing A Sign of What’s to Come in 2022 12. 16. 20. Sri Lanka How Does a Country Restructure its External Debt? FINANCIAL INNOVATION & FINTECH The Importance of Effective Financial & Operational Processes Interview with Oracle NetSuite Embedded Finance Experiences The Big Move in 2022 54. 58. BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES Top Insurance Trends in 2022 Transform or Lose Competitive Advantage: The Pressure on Financial Services How Mentoring Can Help Women in Finance 26. 30. 34. BUSINESS & ECONOMY Microsoft-Activision Deal: What Happens Next? Sri Lanka: How Does a Country Restructure its External Debt? Why Business Leaders Have an Even Bigger Part to Play as the Role of Technology Swells 44. 48. 40.
Finance Monthly. Con t en t s 6 Contact us today to find out more. Visit www.infotrack.co.uk/REVEAL or call 0207 186 8090 Analysing company information and identifying links with individuals is time consuming. REVEAL interprets data from trusted sources including Companies House Direct and Companies House Beta and turns it into an interactive workspace making it faster and simpler to analyse. At the touch of a button, REVEAL makes analysis beautifully simple, reducing the process by hours. REVEAL: corporate structures simplified, beautifully. Company Shareholder Director
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8 Finance Monthly. THE MONTHLY ROUND-UP News You Can’ t Af ford to Mi ss The Mon t h l y Round -Up Tech giant Microsoft is to pay close to $70 billion to buy Activision Blizzard, the publisher of games including Call of Duty, World of Warcraft, and Candy Crush. Microsoft said that the $68.7 billion deal, which is the biggest in tech history, will “provide the building blocks for the metaverse.” It will see Microsoft become the Microsoft to Buy Activision for Nearly $70 Billion world’s third-largest gaming company by revenue after China’s Tencent and Japan’s Sony. Following news of the Microsoft-Activision deal, Sony shares dropped 13%, while Activision shares skyrocketed. “Gaming is the most dynamic and exciting category in entertainment across all platforms today and will play a key role in the development of metaverse platforms,” commented Satya Nadella, chairman and CEO, Microsoft. “We’re investing deeply in world-class content, community and the cloud to usher in a new era of gaming that puts players and creators first and makes gaming safe, inclusive and accessible to all.” The deal follows a challenging period for Activision Blizzard, which has been impacted by a string of allegations of sexual misconduct and discrimination. Since July, the video game company has fired over three dozen employees and has disciplined another 40 to address such claims.
9 Finance Monthly. The Mon t h l y Round -Up JPMorgan’s asset management arm said it had created a new private equity team whose primary focus will be sustainable investments. Armed with an investment of up to $150 million, the newly formed team will target growth-stage private companies that create climate solutions related to resource efficiency and climate adaptation for numerous industries. Tanya Barnes, who previously led Blackstone Inc’s impact investing platform, has been hired by JPMorgan to jointly manage the new team alongside Osei Van Horne. Horne has served as managing partner of sustainable growth equity investing at the bank since May last year. “We believe environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors will increasingly affect the ability of companies to operate and generate returns, today and over the long term. ESG factors also represent opportunities that investors can capture as companies innovate to build a sustainable future,” says JPMorgan Asset Management’s website. As the pressure to mitigate the climate crisis intensifies, other major US financial institutions have also been making renewed efforts toward their environmental, social and governance (ESG) related activities. Recently Blackstone said it launched a platform for investments and lending to renewable energy companies. JPMorgan Asset Arm Creates Sustainable Investments Team “Buy now, pay later” giant Klarna has launched a card that can be used for in-store payments in the UK. Klarna announced the launch of Klarna Card — a Visa card that allows users to delay payments on their online and instore purchases. Users of the card can pay off their purchases up to 30 days after initially buying the items, with no interest or late fees. In the future, additional payment options will be added. Klarna plans to introduce the card gradually, aiming to open eligibility to all customers by early 2022. In the meantime, there is a waiting list that users can sign up to. Around 400,000 people have already signed up. In order to be eligible for the card, users must first undergo soft credit checks, must be 18 years old or above, and must have an income of at least £12,000 per annum. Users must also have made at least one purchase through Klarna which they paid off on time. The payment card is already available in Sweden and Germany where, according to Klarna, it is used by over 800,000 people. Klarna Launches New Payment Card in the UK
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Investment 12. The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with NFT Trading What are the Key Market Themes for 2022? Sustainable Investing A Sign of What’s to Come in 2022 16. 20.
The Ultimate Guide to Getting Started with NFT TRADING Brad Wilson CEO at NuPay Technologies Inve s tmen t 12 Finance Monthly.
Contrary to public belief, NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens) have been around since 2017, but it wasn’t until they were thrust into the spotlight in 2020 that momentum really began to build – and it’s not slowing down. In the first half of 2021, NFTs generated a whopping $2.5 billion sales and it’s no surprise considering digital artists such as Beeple jumped on the bandwagon, selling an NFT of his work for a massive $69 million. With the popularity of NFTs - and for that matter, the opportunities associated with NFT trading - showing no signs of decreasing, more and more people are looking to get involved. But, due to the complexity and newness of NFTs, many have no clue where to start. Brad Wilson, CEO of NuPay Technologies, talks to Finance Monthly to offer a complete guide for those looking to get started with NFT trading. Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t 13
Step One Educate Yourself Completely on What NFTs are The media hype around NFTs has got most of us excited – the thought of being able to bring in additional revenue following two years of economic uncertainty is music to our ears. But you shouldn’t let the attractiveness of NFTs cloud your vision. You need to commit time and energy to understand exactly what NFTs are or there’s little chance of success. What are NFTs? NFTs are basically digital collectables that have been transformed into verifiable assets so that they can be traded on the blockchain. They are tokens that people use to represent ownership of unique items and often involve intellectual property rights, though it’s important to note that this isn’t always the case. They are called non-fungible tokens because they represent things that have unique properties and therefore are not interchangeable for other items. For example, some of the most popular NFTs right now are: • Digital Artwork/Music • Items in online games shops • Domain names • Celebrity tweets • Essays • Domain names Whilst they can be used for almost anything with a unique property, they are most popular amongst those in the creative and entertainment sectors. Don’t worry if you’re not operating in those sectors though, it doesn’t mean NFT trading won’t work for you. Step Two Identify What Type of NFT Trading is for You NFTs have a huge gambit. The possibilities are endless and the NFT marketplace is adaptable to so many different mediums and contents of life – there really is no real limit. That being said, it’s not for everyone. Before you even begin ‘giving it a go’, you need to identify whether you can and want to commit to it, and in what way. There are three main types of NFT trading you can be involved with: 1. Buying and Selling NFTs This is realistically one of the simplest and easiest ways to get started with NFT trading. It requires little time from your end as you are trading already developed digital assets rather than developing your own. A point worth noting here is that you’ll need to be familiar with how cryptocurrency works. NFTs are purchased via specialised marketplaces online using funds from your digital wallet - there are a few marketplaces out there that allow flat purchases or credit cards, but they are few and far between. This means you’ll need to not only create a digital wallet that supports NFTs, but you’ll also need to be prepared to fill it with cryptocurrency ahead of your purchases. You can buy and sell NFTs online via specialist marketplaces or apps. There’s a new platform coming soon, PRISM, which is also a great marketplace for artists to trade and they accept cash - credit cards are on the horizon too. Remember, all transactions are recorded on the blockchain and only once the sale is verified will the NFT appear in your wallet. 2. Purchasing NFTs as an investment Though purchasing NFTs without the intention to sell isn’t necessarily a direct form of trading, it’s still an option for building up a digital asset portfolio - and one which might be more suitable for those who want to dip their toes into the market before going full steam ahead. Although no one knows what value an NFT will have over a period of time, there are a few research methods available to the investor which can help decide which NFT to buy. Community is a big factor for some. You may want to consider whether the community is organic and whether they care about the project. Another consideration is who created the NFT. Is it an anonymous individual or organisation? Is it a reputable brand or a famous artist? Do the developers have transparent and realistic plans for the project? Conducting due diligence is crucial to avoid scams and rugpulls. A few other things to consider when purchasing NFTs with no intention to immediately sell are: • Is it a 1/1 piece of art by a world famous artist? • Are you buying the rights and royalties to a famous musician’s song? • Are you buying virtual land which enables passive income streams? • Is it one edition out of a million NFTs distributed free by a globally recognised brand? • Does the NFT come with exclusive perks such as entry to private events or access to future NFT sales? 3. Creating and Selling NFTs Creating and selling NFTs isn’t one to approach lightly. Yes, it can be very profitable, but it doesn’t come without understanding the market and knowing exactly what to expect. You’ve heard the saying “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” right? Well, it’s even more true in the world of NFT trading. The first place to start with planning is documenting Inve s tmen t 14 Finance Monthly.
the type of NFTs you are able to and want to create and sell. From here, you’ll be able to identify what capacity you have to create them and how many, on average, you can create and sell each month. Next, goal setting. Everyone loves goals and science has proven they are effective in helping us stay motivated. Just remember, it’s likely that if you’re a sole creator, you’ll need to be involved in the creative process, delivery and bookkeeping, so you’ll need to keep your goals to a manageable standard. Lastly, research your audience and which NFTs are selling well at the moment. Just like with any business, having an audience and market research to hand will aid your business’ development. 4. Choosing the right software for NFTs Depending on your goals, it could be worth investing in some software. If you do plan on creating more ‘classic’ style art, for example, looking into software that allows for photoshopping, animations, and graphic design could benefit you. However, if you are looking at working in the metaverse or creating video game assets you would be better off looking at different software. Many current software providers are expanding their services to include the NFT space, for example, Adobe, who are launching new NFT functions within photoshop. If this is something you are unsure about, there are learning platforms everywhere. Taking a Masterclass, or simply watching some YouTube videos can help you disseminate what will work best, and it will also help you broaden your knowledge. In terms of trading NFTs, you shouldn’t need any pieces of software to successfully do this. The same goes for creation of NFTs - you don’t need additional software to be successful. Step Three Understand Your Tax Responsibilities When it comes to tax responsibilities surrounding NFTs, many fail to understand exactly what they need to declare. As a result, taxes are largely unrecorded. Though in the US, officials are slowly working towards keeping track of all of this, it’s still heavily reliant on the individual person to keep close records on their dealings. The bottom line is, digital currency is still money that you possess. And as NFTs use cryptocurrencies and are recorded via the blockchain, they are reportable transactions that need to be declared. The best way to get a grip of the situation is to manage the record-keeping and organisation of trading from the very start. You have to be organised and you have to have a plan in place to keep track of your incoming funds and outgoing funds. It’s critical to note all the income you’re generating, costs that you’re incurring - from minting fees to listings to logistics - and also wider development costs that you may have internally. NFT tax payments are part of a new landscape. The good thing is that NFT marketplaces are taking steps to assist, offering solutions that support tax filing and providing information on what’s required for tax filing. You see, NFT marketplaces are trying to be as compliant as possible with government regulations, contrary to popular belief. Be Prepared for Challenges It’s vital when first starting out that you manage your expectations and prepare yourself for the challenges ahead. About the Author Brad Wilson is the Founder and CEO of NuPay Technologies. With over 30 years of investments experience and the FinTech landscape, he is now driving professionals to pave the way in the blockchain industry. He has grown Climb Investment’s portfolio year after year, and NPC has become one of the largest card processing companies in the state of Ohio under his leadership. Now at the helm of NuPay Technologies, Brad has enlisted a spectacular team of like-minded, driven professionals to deep dive into the world of blockchain technology and NFTs! Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t 15
Read on for Bill Blain’s gallop around some of the market themes to look out for this year. What are the Key for 2022? MARKET THEMES Bill Blain Market Strategist at Shard Capital Inve s tmen t 16 Finance Monthly.
s I write this we are already well into the new year and it’s becoming clear 2022 has a very different outlook from last year when the “everything rally” was fuelled by easy money, ongoing COVID recovery and mitigation spending programmes, the market’s belief central banks would act to avoid any market instability from derailing sentiment, and COVID uncertainty. This year has opened with a much clearer perspective on how quickly central banks will act to address inflation, normalise rates and unwind the quantitative easing programmes that juiced markets with liquidity over the last decade. Welcome back to grown-up markets! The critical uncertainties are how destabilisation rising/normalising rates become, how inflation – “transitory” or “persistent” – develops (and the danger it morphs into stagflation), and how quickly the global economy puts COVID-19 behind it to start growing again. That leaves geopolitical tensions over Ukraine and with China as the other known unknowns. In short, investors are going to have to think hard about what this market is telling them through Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t 17
18 Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t 2022. The game is changing. One aspect I expect to change dramatically is “euphoric” market sentiment – the everything rally fuelled speculation to supercharged irrational levels. As a famous boxer never said: “I go into the fight prepared with a plan to get rich – which I stick with right up till I get punched hard in the face”. Sentiment, especially towards getrich tech scams, is changing. My tech valuation stupidity indicators – ARK, Bitcoin, Tesla - opened the year into negative numbers suggesting fundamental analysis is coming back into vogue. To be fair, Morgan Stanley disagrees with me on Tesla – predicting a rally to $1400 on the back of improving numbers and it’s already on the final lap of the EV marathon when everyone else is still tying their shoelaces… really? I predict everyone could be making decent EVs within a few years. But they won’t be… and to find out why, keep reading. I would never grace my market haverings with the legitimacy of being “predictions” but let’s run through some ideas for the coming year. Stocks Inflation is nailed on – which is perversely good for stocks on a relative basis. The upside will come from higher corporate dividends as the globe recovers from COVID. Sound stocks which will continue to beat risk-adjusted bond returns. But it will be a selective market – distributable profits matter as rates rise, spelling a crisis for the tech sector where unprofitable firms telling the pursuit of size over returns will struggle. In a rising rate environment, fundamental value stocks will outperform. I’m also expecting an ESG backlash to benefit the detest oil majors as energy shortages in Q1 trigger a fundamental review of climate change transition, and the acknowledgement we can’t dump gas overnight and expect the global economy to keep working. If we assume the global economy stages a covid recovery I’d expect a knew jerk Q1 market rally, before rising rates and lower liquidity sees a pretty flat second half. Consumers This is not going to be a good year for consumers - tax rises, massive increases in energy bills, inflation of food, accommodation, and “This is not going to be a good year for consumers - tax rises, massive increases in energy bills, inflation of food, accommodation, and modern necessities like Netflix will dramatically hit discretionary spending.”
19 Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t modern necessities like Netflix will dramatically hit discretionary spending. Wages are likely to remain sticky for most workers, unless they are prepared to move into the more challenging sectors like service, entertainment and logistics where wages are rising. Issues like consumer exposure to interest-free debt (like Klarna) could prove “interesting” – if discretionary spending falls, then so will the amount of consumer free-cash to service debt. Inflation Forget transitory – that’s a 2021 expression. Supply chain bottlenecks triggered inflation – but they have themselves spawned significant consequences. We’re now seeing higher wages and supply chains evolving. Energy prices will hoick inflation. While 6-7% inflation rates will characterise the early part of the year we may see moderation to 4% later – but that will be remained sustained as the economy adjusts and finds a new equilibrium at a higher permanent inflation rate. Bonds The market now expects the Fed could hike four times this year. The Bank of England has already hit the button. Rising rates mean a bad year for bonds – but remember they are also the ultimate safe haven if markets snap. We’re likely to see an acceleration of corporate defaults which have been artificially low for over a decade due to ultra-low rates allowing unfit companies to survive – and that could get very messy due to terminally dismal liquidity in bond markets – which will set like concrete when the selling starts. Corporate spreads will widen – and the markets will have to relearn the fundamentals of credit strength. Crypto vs Gold No contest. Gold will win. Crypto enthusiasts can argue gold is as destructive to the environment as Bitcoin. Really. But it’s also real. Bitcoin isn’t. Energy 2021 demonstrated the dangers of Energy Sovereignty. Without it, nations are vulnerable – as Europe is finding out. Ensuring sufficient stocks of energy – particularly oil and gas – will become paramount. ESG concerns will be dismissed as it becomes clear the optimal routes to Net Carbon Neutrality by 2050 depend on a phased approach with gas replacing coal before gas can be replaced itself. The likelihood is for oil and gas prices to remain elevated through 2022. Renewables Will 2022 be the year the world wakes up to the fact wind and solar might be marvellous in terms of fooling the people we’re greening the planet? They are the least efficient source of power, more expensive than expected to maintain, but can achieve easy funding at tight levels because every institutional investor wants to show off how green and ESG compliant they are by holding renewable assets. A better route to zero carbon involves a much wider range of non-CO2 emitting, but more “difficult” energy sources such as tidal, nuclear and clean gas, and mitigants like reforestation and better waste carbon sequestration. These are all achievable – but difficult. Nuclear fusion – will remain a tomorrow solution. I haven’t mentioned hydrogen – because it’s far more difficult than folk expect. EVs A world where Rivian made 1400 cars in 2021 but is worth more than the German auto sector has never made much sense. It makes even less when we appreciate that every single EV on the planet today is based on lithium batteries. Lithium is a nasty, dirty dangerous element that will kill us all if it leaks into the water table. Whatever Elon Musk says, it is very difficult to recycle. If we are going to make 35 million EVs by 2030, then we either mine every single atom of it on the planet or hope that a friendly asteroid comprising pristine lithium and cobalt makes a soft landing (as it didn’t happen in the film “Don’t Look Up”). Otherwise – we probably need a rethink on EV power – soon! “Crypto enthusiasts can argue gold is as destructive to the environment as Bitcoin. Really. But it’s also real. Bitcoin isn’t.”
SUSTAINABLE INVESTING A Sign of What’s to Come in 2022 Inve s tmen t 20 Finance Monthly.
Markets are currently abuzz with talk of sustainable investing and all things related to ESG (environmental, social and governance). However, while the concept has actually been around for some time, it is only in the last few years that sustainable investing was gaining any significant traction. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and, as it rippled across the world, many proponents feared the worse for sustainable investing’s trajectory, as governments, regulators and investors switched attention to short term recovery measures. But the worst did not happen, in fact, quite the opposite. The buzz about sustainable investing has continued to grow louder, as we are increasingly aware of how interconnected we are, but also the glaring inequalities we face. So, what does this mean for us now, as we look beyond the pandemic? 2022 appears to be the year that sustainable investing is set to skyrocket. Finance Monthly. 21 Inve s tmen t
22 Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t Sustainable investing explained Sustainable investing is an investment discipline that considers environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) criteria to generate long-term competitive financial returns and positive societal impact. Various other terms are often used such as responsible investing, impact investing or ethical investing – while there are nuanced differences, it’s fair to say that the commonality is to achieve positive change, invariably with a social or environmental dimension. However, sustainable investing isn’t just about avoiding investing in companies that do harm. There is a new class of investors actively seeking out companies that address daunting social and environmental challenges while also delivering financial returns. These companies fall into a wide range of industries and sectors - ranging from food to transportation, from healthcare to education – the universe for sustainable investors is extensive. Jumping on board Even as recent as five years ago, the mainstream investment community was largely disengaged fromdiscussionsabout sustainable investing. These conversations remained firmly within niche corners of the industry. This is shifting dramatically, with most big investors now believing sustainable investing to be good risk management, leveraging the practice to help manage risk in uncertain times. For sure, the COVID-19 pandemic has been somewhat of a game-changer in this regard because it turns out that companies that manage sustainability risks better, manage other risks better as well. It helps also that some big names are getting more vocal about sustainable investing. Perhaps a pivotal moment happened in early 2020 when Larry Fink in his annual letter famously stated that Blackrock would put sustainability at the centre of its investment strategy. With all this momentum underway, we are going to see investors strengthening their ESG commitments and demand for sustainable and green products growing at a rapid pace. The role of policy and regulation There is a great deal happening on the global policy agenda too which is shaping the way many investors are thinking about sustainability. The Paris Agreement on Climate Change gave us a global carbon budget, and we are seeing widespread commitments being made by corporates and investors alike to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. All this bodes well - and let’s face it, now we have the US back at the table, things are certainly looking up. On the regulatory front, the European Union is leading the charge, with its Sustainable Finance Action Plan a sea change for investors. This includes new requirements to disclose the sustainability credentials of funds and regulations aimed at boosting transparency. The EU is certainly out front on sustainable finance regulation but countries around the world are watching closely on its success in implementation and are likely to follow suit in the months and years to come. Looking out for sustainable stocks – what is out there? The sustainable investing universe is wide and ESG is a broad church. However, as we look to the future certain themes and issues will gain more attention than others. For example, climate change will remain a top priority for many investors. At the end of last year, COP26 pulled together some significant private-sector commitments, particularly around driving trillions of dollars towards climate solutions. The momentum is clear as many large corporates make net-zero commitments, often more ambitious than national commitments. These are the companies that are worth looking at because they are embracing the inevitable. At the same time, these actions are also being spurred on by a push back against high-carbon companies, especially Big Oil. Last year, a number of global fossilfuel giants suffered embarrassing “We have many reasons for optimism and 2022 is likely to see a sustainable investing boom.”
23 Finance Monthly. Inve s tmen t rebukes over their lack of climate change action. Investors are taking note and are increasingly willing to force companies to reduce their carbon dioxide emissions quickly. Interestingly, the pandemic has shone a spotlight on social issues, pushing many investors to reconsider the management of social risks within their portfolios. This elevation of the ‘S’ in ESG is likely to continue. At the same time, the Black Lives Matter movement is bringing into sharper focus the lack of meaningful progress on racial equality and progressive investors are considering what action they can take. Diversity will continue to matter. Take, for example, the growth and traction of gender-lens investing – an approach that integrates genderbased factors into investment strategy, process and analysis, in order to deliver positive benefits to women and girls. It is a growing sector and attention is not only coming from sustainable and impact investors. The evidence is stacking up as research continues to demonstrate the compelling case for gender diversity in the workforce, for overall economic growth, as well as improvements in innovation and productivity. Still some challenges to overcome There are still challenges to overcome to embed sustainable investing as the ‘new norm’. Disclosure and ESG data remain thorny issues, with concern that data is still fragmented, disclosure is inconsistent, and the lack of standardisation holds investors back. We still have some way to go on the regulatory front too – while the EU has been a front runner with its sustainable finance agenda, there are some delays as well as ongoing heated debates. There is also increasing concern over the issue of greenwashing which is leading investors down the wrong path in some instances. Particularly for retail investors, where many are relying on certain labels such as ‘green’ or ‘SDGs’ or ‘gender diversity’ to guide them in the right direction when they make an investment decision. The problem is that sometimes these labels are not properly assigned, or maybe stretching the trust. This gives the investor a false sense of comfort, not tomention the damage it does to the reputation of the sustainable investment industry. The important thing is to be aware of ‘greenwashing’ - some companies and funds can do a good job at ‘greenwashing’. Corporate marketing and PR efforts can hide a whole host of sins and this makes the job of sustainable investors even harder. It requires sustainable investors to do their research, check against third-party sources and undertake thorough due diligence. Reasons for optimism Despite these challenges, we have many reasons for optimism and 2022 is likely to see a sustainable investing boom. Perhaps one of the most exciting developments is how retail investors are waking up to the sustainable investing trend. Interestingly, research tells us that a lot of this drive is coming from women as well as younger generations. For certain, new audiences and new conversations are to be had – and the finance industry needs to be ready to deliver. About the Author Jessica Robinson is a leading expert on sustainable finance and responsible investing, and author of Financial Feminism: A Woman’s Guide to Investing for a Sustainable Future. Find out more at moxiefuture.com
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Banking Financial Services 34. 30. 26. Top Insurance Trends in 2022 Transform or Lose Competitive Advantage: The Pressure on Financial Services How Mentoring Can Help Women in Finance
Insurance Top Trends in 2022 Assaf Tayar, Managing Director at BCG Platinion Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s 26 Finance Monthly.
We hear “new year, new me” a lot in January – and businesses have their own equivalent: 2022 plans, goals and predictions. Whether it’s a business or an individual, most want to reflect on what’s important, what they want to achieve and how that’s possible. Assaf Tayar, Managing Director at BCG Platinion, explains what insurance trends you should be paying close attention to in 2022. Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s 27
28 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s For businesses to set effective plans and goals, they must have a full understanding of their operating environment, trends and challenges. Of course, while the pandemic has been the obvious major source of disruption to the insurance industry, firms need to reflect more widely on how conditions have impacted their operations. In particular, the pandemic accelerated digital transformation across the world. For the insurance industry, the role of technology across all aspects of the business is essential, especially as more people take up flexible working or decide to work remotely for the foreseeable future. These new developments are forcing business leaders to re-evaluate how their business operations and user experience fit with what customers expect in a technologically advanced world. Here are some of the insurance priorities to consider and even respond to this year. Cloud will become essential Today, more leaders in the insurance sector now understand the value of cloud computing. In fact, estimates predict that the cloud computing market size will reach $1.2 trillion by 2028. Keeping up means the industry will begin to take a cloud-native approach, like many other industries that are already using the technology as part of their business infrastructure and operations. This will come as no surprise to anyone as most of today’s software solutions are cloudnative. Whether it’s to access the plethora of third-party solutions available, improve efficiencies or increase cost savings, this trend will continue to gain momentum. As such, we’ll continue to see insurance companies look for solutions that help themaccelerate their cloud migration efforts. InsurTech solutions will lead the way Just as the banking industry was revolutionised by FinTechs, the insurance industry is joining the digital revolution. InsurTech, this year, will be key to modernising technology stacks to get the most value from IoT, data and cloud, meaning InsurTech will become the norm. Yet this means SaaS-based solutions built on APIs will need to be put in place to deliver personalisation on a much greater scale. Due to the level of competition in the market, the modernisation of the insurance industry will continue to grow at a fast pace. The sector’s maturity will depend on the richness of solutions InsurTech makes possible. With the most modern, effective systems, this growth will enable businesses to provide convenient and direct value propositions to both customers and clients. A wider ecosystem will be API driven More and more new platforms are being built daily and we’re already seeing the development of microinsurance products that can be plugged into different marketplaces. As a result, this drives product simplicity, as well as ensures focused customer engagement and services. The acceleration of this trend will continue in 2022 and the insurance sector will take a larger role in this wider technology ecosystem. Next, the focus for business leaders will be to gain value from the technology, which will require better use of APIs and the development of partnerships with 1 2 3 “Estimates predict that the cloud computing market size will reach $1.2 trillion by 2028.”
29 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s open architecture. For example, with health insurance like Vitality, premiums are flexible if customers make healthier lifestyle choices, like going to the gym regularly. It’s here that open APIs are vital to track and verify customers’ patterns, for example through connecting to customers’ fitness apps. In some parts of Europe, this has already begun to happen and will become even more prominent in 2022. Data management will be used at scale According to the Global Consumer State of Mind Report 2021 by Trūata, 76% of global consumers believe that brands need to do more to protect their data. And the need to have effective and efficient solutions to cope with GDPR, cybersecurity and the like, when managing data has never been more crucial. Insurance organisations will start to see huge benefits from using data platforms once they’ve moved their IT infrastructure to the cloud. Although there won’t be an explosion of new technologies in this area, we’ll see insurance companies deploying more effective solutions at scale and leveraging it to fulfil its true potential in 2022. Cryptocurrency payments will continue to surge Our financial ecosystem is currently undergoing an evolution and insurance organisations are developing and embedding into tech more than ever. Currently, some insurance players are building payment mechanisms by leveraging crypto solutions, while others offer cryptocurrency protection. For instance, in the US, auto insurance company Metromile announced it will soon let customers pay with cryptocurrency and even receive pay-outs in digital currency. In 2022, there will be even more growth in technologies that enable alternative ways of making payments. We’ll start to see smaller players in InsurTech provide instant payments that don’t even exist right now. It will still take time for there to be a global cryptocurrency market, but blockchain will continue to provide new opportunities that will impact the insurance industry. Working with other industries will remain important Insurance has played an important part in several different industries, but this will increase in 2022 for the automotive and healthcare industries specifically. In the automotive industry, many modern cars have various IoT sensors which collect data on how a car travels. The telematics of the data is embedded in the car, meaning data can be sent back to relevant organisations – such as an insurance company – if an accident were to occur. Over time, this technology and data will continue to grow and insurers will have a much more sophisticated approach. Here, AI will play a big role, and this will be driven by the insurance sector. There’s also a huge opportunity in the healthcare industry. There is a growing ecosystem of services and devices available to help individuals live a healthy life and recent findings from CCS Insight suggest that COVID-19 led to a 20% growth in smartwatches. As more products enter the market, having the right solutions to store and process data and ensure it’s compliant, will be key. 4 5 6 “In 2022, there will be even more growth in technologies that enable alternative ways of making payments.”
Transform or Lose MarkWhite, SeniorManager, Financial Markets and FinTech at Telehouse Europeexplainswhyfinancial services organisations are accelerating their journey to the edge. Competitive Advantage: Mark White Senior Manager, Financial Markets and FinTech Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s 30 Finance Monthly. The Pressure on Financial Services
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32 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s inancial services enterprises are under greater pressure to digitally transform. According to new Telehouse research, more than four out o ten (42%) financial service enterprises need to transform their IT infrastructure or risk becoming less competitive – a figure significantly higher than the 34% average across other sectors. Pressure is being driven by a combination of factors, including customer demands for more connected, relevant and personalised experiences (46%), the need to simplify business and operating models to increase efficiency (46%), cyber security (44%) and the necessity to deliver new applications and services to customers (44%). The emergence of nimbler challenger banks and ambitious FinTechs has set the challenge for businesses across the sector to step up a gear and reshape their operations. For many, a shift from a traditional on-premise infrastructure, to a more modern mix of colocation, cloud and ultimately, edge computing is the answer. Scoping the challenge Today, financial services firms need to react quickly to regulatory demands and take advantage of market opportunities. However, they often don’t have the right systems in place to manage, or effectively use data to respond as quickly as their ‘digitally native’ peers. The problem is many are still reliant on inflexible, legacy, on-premise infrastructure. The research revealed that financial services organisations outsource the lowest proportion of IT infrastructure to colocation and the cloud of the enterprise sectors polled. So, it’s not surprising the sector also has the lowest confidence in IT maturity, with just 30% of IT decision-makers describing their organisation’s IT maturity as ‘very advanced’. Transformation is clearly needed but it is not always an easy task. Historically, financial services firms have struggled to adopt new technologies and meet increasingly high customer expectations quickly, often limited by strict compliance and regulatory requirements, which ratcheted up after the global financial crisis of 2008. Even with the appetite to change, many have struggled to make meaningful progress, held back by legacy IT systems. But with time of the essence and providing personalised, connected and reliable experiences now businesscritical, organisations can simply no longer afford to stand still. Why connectivity is key As customer demand and internet consumption grows, financial services organisations need to find ways to increase connectivity between offices and countries and improve the user interface on customer-focused technology like apps and websites. 5G will offer many benefits for financial services including reduced latency, which in turn will help decrease transaction and settlement times. It will also facilitate the adoption of AI to enable greater personalisation and improvements to customer experience. “According to the Telehouse research, financial services organisations are already outsourcing 38% of IT infrastructure in colocation with adoption set to increase further as the use of big data; 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) rises.”
33 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s However, as with any new wireless communications technology, the volume of data used will rise significantly, putting more stress on backbone networks. A fifth of financial service enterprises surveyed in the research already say that data volumes have become a serious problem. To succeed, organisations need the ability to quickly ingest and process data and this will be dependent on having a connected, secure, reliable, scalable, flexible, resilient and low latency IT infrastructure. Ultimately, more connections mean more risks. So, the challenge is how to take advantage of increased connectivity without compromising security or compliance. The role of colocation Many are turning to colocation as the answer; providing the extra capacity and bandwidth required, while also enabling fast, secure and direct connections to cloud service providers. According to the Telehouse research, financial services organisations are already outsourcing 38% of IT infrastructure in colocation with adoption set to increase further as the use of big data; 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT) rises. By hosting their IT infrastructure in a colocation data centre, organisations can control the migration process, keep on top of regulatory demands and keep a lid on costs. The research found that the top drivers of investment in colocation are sustainability, faster data access and improved connectivity, likely driven by the need to improve customer experience and connect disparate hybrid IT structures. More importantly, by deploying a combination of cloud and colocation strategies, organisations can create a resilient and secure foundation for growth. This will enable them to flex and scale operations when building new services and innovations to meet future demand, while also ensuring they provide their customers with a responsive and high-performing service. And by choosing a colocation facility in close proximity to financial markets and exchanges, organisations can benefit from reduced latency and faster data processing to enable real-time big data analysis. Moving to the edge Despite lagging behind other sectors in most areas, financial services are leading the way when it comes to edge computing. 72% of respondents have already implemented a strategy for edge computing, driven by a need to optimise data volumes (36%), digitally transform (34%) and match competitor capabilities (34%). However, over a third say they are challenged by a lack of understanding of edge networks and their purpose as well as uncertainty over which locations to gather and manage data in. Given that it’s now more important than ever for financial services firms to store, access and analyse and access exponential levels of data at record speeds, it is not surprising that interest in edge computing is soaring. Gartner predicts that by 2025, 85% of infrastructure strategies will integrate on-premises, colocation, cloud and edge delivery options, compared with 20% in 2020. Demand for edge is also likely to be driven by its convergence with other technologies such as cloud and colocation and is evidenced by the fact that many firms opt for a mix of technologies. Ultimately, the key for success for organisations will be building the right infrastructure foundations and connectivity, and the right data centre partner is critical to achieving this. Embracing the connected future Financial service providers have a huge opportunity to provide the seamless, secure and personalised services that today’s consumers crave. But doing so requires digital transformation. As data volumes and connectivity increase, new developments such as predictive modelling to prepare for ‘what if’ scenarios, automation of front-end sales and customerfacing environments and the enhancement of customer care by self-service functionality will become commonplace. However, success depends on having the right IT infrastructure to enable fast, secure and seamless connections. It will be those that can build a connected, secure, reliable, scalable, flexible, resilient and low latency IT infrastructure that will be winners in the race to the connected future.
The diversity within specific business job roles is set by history. This process starts in school and carries on through college and university, and the precedents set there are often carried through into the workplace, even if the process is typically not consciously acknowledged. Constance Minc, chief financial officer at IFS, explains how mentoring can help elevate women in finance. Mentoring How Can Help Women in Finance Constance Minc CFO at IFS Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s 34 Finance Monthly.
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36 Finance Monthly. Bank i ng & F i nanc i a l Se r v i ce s or women, doubts can be raised through the process. A decision about whether or not to study accountancy can be impacted by the knowledge that the vast majority of CFOs (just under 90% according to research from Crist Kolder Associates) are men. The lack of visible role models for women thinking of taking on a finance post will act as a deterrent for many. The challenge certainly continues in the workplace though and mentoring and support needs to be applied on an ongoing basis, especially when women working in finance look to rise through the ranks. Equileap’s Gender Equality Report & Ranking Report 2021 found that while women represent 50% of the workforce in financial companies globally, the representation of women remains low in higher levels of management, with an average of 26% women on the board of directors, 18% women on the executive team, and 28% women in senior management. These are figures that demonstrate clearly that while mentoring at an early stage is important, this support must be present throughout a woman’s career to ensure that when the time comes they do not feel that they need to choose between a career and a family. Mentoring, in other words, needs to be about retention, not just recruitment and onboarding. Mentoring facilitates and supports diversity The kind of mentoring outlined above can play a key supporting role to women working in finance, but perhaps, even more so, if like myself they are working in finance within a technology context, where there are generally few female role models to help show the way. I speak from personal experience. I wish I had had a mentor, or more specifically, a role model when I was making my way into the corporate world and finance. I wish I had been fortunate enough to have an experienced guide who had been through what I was about to go through, a voice of experience, someone in whom I could see ‘the future me’. A mentor could have foreseen there would be “nice” but “chaotic” Monday mornings to deal with from actively participating in a family environment, something that a working mother has to embrace but I could still have the happiness of having a family and also a rewarding career. A mentor could have taken me aside and said the reality is it’s going to be hectic but incredibly fulfilling. Mentors that can speak with the wisdom of experience have a vital role as guides to women in navigating the choppy waters of the corporate world. Providing reassurance and support Many women in finance face daunting challenges: from entrenched attitudes, and the inevitable ‘imposter syndrome’ that a lack of positive role models gives rise to. Career breaks to build a family can also be challenging. Returning to the office after maternity leave, for example, can feel confusing and alienating when the business has gone through significant change. A mentor can help in providing support and reassurance, based on their own experience, and in highlighting the challenges they might face and solutions that might work. Going beyond even that, mentors can help give women in finance the confidence to believe: ‘It can be done, it is not a question of if, but when.’ An approach that works The evidence suggests mentoring drives diversity by helping support women and minorities to achieve their business goals. Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations found that mentoring programmes boosted minority representation at the management level by 9% to 24% (compared to -2% to 18% with other diversity initiatives). The