25 Oct


ITF to become “the world’s first fintech bank”

A new bank, Into the Future (ITF), is gearing up for launch in Hong Kong and Singapore. Among its investors is Jim Rogers, an American businessman based in Singapore and the co-founder of the Quantum Group of Funds (which he started with George Soros).

“Fintech is obviously going to change everything,” Rogers told International Investment at the recent unveiling of ITF.

ITF has applied for licences in both jurisdictions and hopes to open for business next year. It has established correspondent banking relationships with the Bank of Communications Shanghai and Bank of Communications Hong Kong.

It is also in the process of acquiring a bank in Vanuatu. Its founders are Lim Hui Jie and Ignious Yong.

MapD partners with IBM Power Systems
Analytics platform MapD Technologies has partnered with IBM Power Systems to enhance its analytical performance, writes Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

MapD has optimised its MapD Core database and MapD Immersive visual analytics client to take advantage of IBM Power Systems to target the speed at which SQL queries can be performed.

Running queries on IBM Power Systems S822LC for HPC servers versus x86-based servers offers an SQL querying speed that is up to 1.3 x faster than recent benchmarks. On average, the updated queries show a 65% acceleration over the original, benchmarked SQL queries. Upgrades such as these help users analyse billion-row data sets in real-time.

“We are bringing new performance capabilities to a broader audience only available on IBM Power Systems,” says Ashish Bambroo, VP of business development at MapD. “IBM Power Systems are optimised for the kind of compute-intensive applications where MapD’s technology excels. By harnessing the advantages of IBM Power Systems, we can provide our enterprise customers with more options for tackling the toughest workloads.”

To increase the speed, MapD is leveraging IBM’s Power CPUs and Nvidia Tesla P100 graphics processors. The Power processor CPU works together with the NvidiaA Tesla P100 GPU, accelerating CPU-to-GPU analytic pipelines up to 2.5X. This acceleration bolsters MapD’s platform that uses GPUs to query and visualise billions of records in real-time. The company’s GPU-based platform performs from 75 to 3,500 times faster than traditional CPU databases.

MapD was founded in 2013 and is based in California, US.

Mastercard takes blockchain mainstream with API
Mastercard has tested and validated its blockchain and will be opening access to it via a set of three APIs published on the Mastercard Developers website.

The APIs include the blockchain core API, the smart contracts API, and the fast pay network API, writes Julie Muhn at Finovate (Banking Technology‘s sister company).

Mastercard will pilot the blockchain for use in the business-to-business space, implementing it to increase speed and transparency in payments and decrease costs for cross-border payments. The blockchain solution aims to offer a new way for consumers, businesses, and banks to transact. The company describes it as the “key” to its strategy of providing payment solutions that “meet every need of financial institutions and their end-customers”.

Mastercard’s blockchain operates independently of a digital currency. As Justin Pinkham, senior vice-president at Mastercard Labs told Forbes, “We are not using a cryptocurrency, and we are not introducing a new cryptocurrency, because that introduces other challenges – regulatory, legal challenges. If you do a payment, then what we can do is move those funds in the way that we do today in fiat currency.”

CECL: managing implementation through collaboration
The accounting standard Current Expected Credit Loss (CECL), which requires banks to calculate expected credit losses and incorporate resulting provisions into its P&L statements, necessitates a flexible, adaptable technology solution that will enable closer collaboration among finance, risk and reporting functions.

Will Newcomer, VP of product and strategy, and Bart Everaert, market manager, risk and finance, Wolters Kluwer in the Americas, examine what a suitable technology solution for banks impacted by the standard looks like.

The deadline to CECL, the equivalent protocol from the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) for predicting the extent and impact of credit impairments, is determined by a business’s fiscal year, whether it is a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filer and whether it meets the definition of a public business entity (PBE). It will be the first day of the fiscal year beginning after 15 December 2019, for financial companies that have publicly held equity and that meet the definition of a US SEC filer (1 January 2020 for calendar-year entities). All others will have a year after that to get the job done.

That means the leaders of institutions that adhere to US GAAP will have to start thinking about the changes they will need to make between now and then to their technology and their activities overall. If they run global enterprises that answer to the FASB and IASB in different jurisdictions, moreover they are likely to find that the race to implement IFRS 9 has been merely the first of two heats.

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