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Saudi Arabia based Wataniya Adoptes eBaoTech’s Future Proof Insurance Platform

Betty Tűndik

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eBaoTech, a global leading digital insurance solution provider recently announced that Saudi Arabia based Wataniya Insurance Company (Wataniya) successfully launched eBaoTech’s microservices and cloud-native based 4G insurance platform as its policy administration system. The new system will be used to manage Wataniya’s end-to-end policy operations from underwriting, sales, re-insurance, claims to IT, and for all of its product lines. All legacy policy data have been migrated to the new system.

Wataniya experienced fast business growth in recent years. Its legacy IT systems became a challenge to support its further growth and the IT maintenance was very costly. In this context, Wataniya was looking for a new on-premise core business platform which should be on a modern architecture for the ease to maintain, agile enough to meet the changing needs in digital age and cost effective.

“The new PA system laid a solid foundation to support our digital transformation. We are very pleased that the replacement project was complete within two years,” Haitham Albakree, CEO, of Wataniya commented. “Besides the future proof solution on microservice and native cloud architecture, we are also pleased by the professionalism, dedication and passion demonstrated by eBaoTech’s implementation team. With the new system in place, I am confident that we now have cutting edge IT capabilities to better serve our clients in digital age.”

Woody Mo, CEO of eBaoTech added ,”eBaoTech has a strong, proven record in serving insurance carriers in more than 30 countries. We are very honored to have Wataniya as our first client in Saudi Arabia and we look forward to working with more carriers in the fast growing ME market.”

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Banking/Financial Services

MPOWER And LULF Launch Scholarships For DACA And Latin American Students

Betty Tűndik

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Photo by Govinda Valbuena / Pixabay
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U.S. college students from Latin America, as well as both Latino and non-Latino students with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status, are eligible for two new scholarship programs created through a unique partnership between MPOWER Financing and La Unidad Latina Foundation (LULF). MPOWER Financing, a certified B Corporation (social enterprise), is the leading U.S. provider of education loans to international and DACA students. LULF propels students dedicated to advancing the Latino community from high school to college graduation and beyond.

These two new scholarship programs — La Unidad Latina/MPOWERING Estudiantes Latinoamericanos and La Unidad Latina/MPOWERING DACA Students — will support students who demonstrate the highest potential to advocate for and empower other DACA recipients or marginalized communities in their home countries or within the U.S. Latino community.

The MPOWER-LULF partnership grew out of a shared passion for supporting high-potential international and DACA students and expanding access to higher education. MPOWER CEO and Co-founder Manu Smadja’s was inspired to start his company after he received a request from a fellow member of a University of Virginia (UVA) Latino alumni association for a small personal loan for a tuition payment to complete his degree. “I thought it was so unfortunate that this talented young guy, who is now a successful engineer, could not graduate on time — or at all — because of financial issues,” said Smadja. “It also occurred to me that he was not the only who had to compromise education and a bright future for just a few hundred dollars. I sent him the money — and then decided to start MPOWER.”

The partnership with LULF was a “no-brainer,” according to Smadja. “LULF is at the forefront of the movement to eliminate financial barriers to higher education for Latinos, first-generation college students, and others in need,” he said.

LULF’s Chairman, Julio Casado, concurs. “When Manu first shared with me the mission of MPOWER, I knew one day we would work together,” he said. “The story of its founding is the story of so many of our students, and it is my story too. These scholarships will help more students overcome financial obstacles and achieve their dreams. We are excited to stand with MPOWER on this important initiative.”

The emphasis on DACA students reflects MPOWER and LULF’s engagement with this underserved population. MPOWER has made loans to DACA students at 16 universities and is working to increase its outreach to this community. “DACA students face a lot of hurdles,” Smadja said. “They’re not eligible for federal loans, and their parents typically have limited access to bank loans because they lack the credit history or income to qualify. We’ve assisted DACA students through our core lending product, which does not require collateral or a co-signer. We also include them in our existing Global Citizen Scholarship Program, but we wanted to create a unique scholarship program just for them in partnership with LULF.”

LULF has awarded scholarships irrespective of immigration status since its inception. In 2015, LULF permanently designated a scholarship for DACA students to support their fight for higher education and their place in America, their home. Since that time, LULF has awarded over $20,000 in scholarships to DACA students and hopes to significantly increase that number through its partnership with MPOWER.

The MPOWER-LULF partnership is part of a broader social impact strategy supported by a generous grant from Gray Matters Capital, a social impact investment firm and current investor in MPOWER.

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Banking/Financial Services

Digital Currency Foundation: UK Small Businesses Could Save £800 Million per Year on International Transfers if The y Switched to Digital Currencies

Vlad Poptamas

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Research released today on behalf of the Digital Currency Foundation has shown that UK SMEs could save £800 million a year if they switched from existing financial institutions to instead use digital currencies for their international money transfers. The DCF will be driving a Digi-van advertising this fact to the major UK commercial banks’ headquarters in the City of London today.

The research also found that those living in the UK sending money to loved ones abroad are losing as much as £427 million per year because they continue to use conventional financial services for their international transfers.

Digital Currencies offer a quick and low cost payment method for consumers and businesses by removing the need for traditional intermediaries, which can in the case of international transfers cost up to 10% of the total payment amount in fees, and take several days to arrive.

The data released today coincides with the 2nd Annual UK National Digital Currency Day. The day’s highlights will include a roundtable event involving industry leaders and officials from Her Majesty’s Treasury to discuss the need for appropriate regulation in the UK. The day will conclude with a reception in Parliament to celebrate the transformative potential of digital currencies and the benefits they currently offer to UK consumers and businesses.

Mihir Magudia, Managing Director of the Digital Currency Foundation, commented: “This research should act as a wakeup call to businesses across the country. Using Digital Currencies can save them significant sums. They offer a fast, cheap and secure alternative to traditional payment methods, an advantage that is magnified in the sphere of international payments. The raison dêtre of the Digital Currency Foundation is to highlight the benefits digital currencies offer, and this research shows that today, on the 2nd annual UK National Digital Currency Day, this role has never been so important.”

Notes to Editors:

Total achievable saving = potential savings for SMEs making payments abroad + potential savings for those sending money to friends and family abroad.

Remittances:

Under existing financial services:
Volume – 2017 UK remittance estimate[1]: 9.274 billion USD = 7.32 billion GBP[2]
Cost – Average of the cost of remitting[
3] = 8.58%
Total cost = 7.32 billion * 0.0858 = £628 million
Crypto comparison:
Total Transaction fee percentage = GBP-BTC cost + BTC-BTC cost + BTC-FX(foreign currency) cost
BTC-BTC Transaction fee – 0.255 USD per transaction[
4] = 0.2 GBP
Percentage for median BTC-BTC transaction = 0.2/120 = 0.1666%
GBP-BTC cost = BTC-FX cost = 1% + 1% =2%
Total cost for crypto = 7.32 billion * 0.0216 = £158 million
Total Saving:
£628 million – £18 million = £470 million

Small Business:

Under Existing financial services[5]:
Volume – For UK SMEs international trade is worth over £700bn, of which £365.3bn takes place within the EU, £162.92bn of which are outgoing payments (SEPA payments).
Cost: Average cost of SEPA Payments = 2.43%
Total transfer costs in 2014 = 162.92 * 0.0243 = £3.96bn in transfer costs in 2014
2019 cost[6
] = 2014 cost * 1.25 = £4.95bn
Crypto comparison:
Total Transaction fee percentage = GBP-BTC cost + BTC-BTC cost + BTC-FX(foreign currency) cost
BTC-BTC Transaction fee – 0.255 USD per transaction = 0.2 GBP
Percentage for median BTC-BTC transaction = 0.2/50,000 = 0.0004%
GBP-BTC cost = BTC-FX cost = 1% + 1% =2%
Total crypto cost 2019 = crypto transaction fee percentage + SEPA payments value 2014 *1.25
= 0.0204*(162.92*1.25) = £4.15 billion
Total Saving:
£4.95 billion – £4.15 billion = £800 million

Total Annual Achievable saving for UK SMEs and ex-pats living within the UK = £470 million + £800 million = £1.27 billion

References:

[1] Latest World Bank Remittance estimates – (http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/migrationremittancesdiasporaissues/brief/migration-remittances-data)

[2] USD/GBP exchange rate at 1250 on 04/01/2019

[3] Assumptions: average cost of the top two financial remittance institutions – MoneyGram and Western Union – to the top 5 remittance destinations from the UK – Bangladesh, Nigeria, India, Poland and Pakistan. The calculation is based on the median amount remitted – 120 GBP. Source: https://remittanceprices.worldbank.org/sites/default/files/rpw_report_december_2015.pdf

[4] Based on the average Bitcoin Transaction Fee on 03/01/2019. Source: https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-transactionfees.html#3m

[5] This is based on a 2014 study carried out by Oxford Economics and commissioned by Money Mover using a typical SME transfer of £50,000 into Euros. Source: https://www.moneymover.com/media/uploads/files/UK-SME-International-Payments-Analysis-Full-Report.pdf

[6]Based on research by Capital Economics which found the total amount extra taken by traditional financial institutions on Small Business SMEs had increased by 25% over a 5 year period: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/international-business-payments-analysed/

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Banking/Financial Services

Quest Partners Selects QuantHouse for Global Quantitative Trading Solutions

Betty Tűndik

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Providing a one-stop solution for global automated and systematic trading

QuantHouse, the independent global provider of high performance systematic trading solutions including innovative market data services, algo development tools and global network infrastructure, today announced it has been selected by Quest Partners LLC (“Quest”) to support the diverse needs of their automated traders.

Quest specializes in research-driven, multi-asset, quantitative trading and is known for trading complex, disciplined strategies leveraging volatility changes across a wide range of global exchanges. Their algorithmic traders connect to over 80 liquid markets including commodity, currency, equity index and fixed income venues. To meet the organization’s need for high quality data and technology, Quest has chosen QuantHouse, a specialist in the quant space with services tailor-made for advanced, global systematic trading.

ConsolidatedFEED leverages QuantHouse’s robust infrastructure and unmatched normalization used to power the ultra-low latency solutions and to streamline the process of consuming data from global markets. QuantHouse performs normalization, updates and maintenance at the source, disseminating data in a proprietary protocol across the fully resilient QuantLINK fiber optic network and providing 140+ feeds through a single API, accessible anywhere in the world from dedicated regional hubs. In addition, QuantHouse manages connectivity and hosting services in financial datacenters worldwide – allowing Quest to connect to brokers, execution venues and other technology providers from QuantHouse hosted servers as part of a fully managed service.

Salloum AbouSaleh, Managing Director, Americas, QuantHouse, said, “Quest is a very successful systematic asset manager and we are delighted to have been selected by them to handle some of their most critical core trading requirements. QuantHouse is becoming a one-stop-shop for quant funds by providing market access, historical and real-time market data, hosting and connectivity for order flow to prime brokers, algo execution providers, cloud service providers, and fund admins and by providing additional services through our API ecosystem store. Our propositions have been developed to support the growth of a multi asset buy-side whether global macros, asset managers or hedge funds.”

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