Standard Chartered partners with Bukalapak to launch digital banking solutions

Standard Chartered announced today it has formed a strategic partnership with Indonesian e-commerce giant Bukalapak, to launch “innovative offerings” as part of efforts to advance its focus on digital banking.

Hosted on the nexus platform – a banking-as-a-service solution by the bank’s innovation and venture arm SC Ventures, the partnership will see Standard Chartered provide digital financial services to Bukalapak’s customer base of more than 100 million users and 13.5 million sellers.

According to Diana Mudadalam, Head of Corporate Affairs, Standard Chartered Bank Indonesia, the nexus platform offers banking-as-a-service feature similar to a white label banking service which partners can offer under their own brand.

“By embedding nexus in the partner’s ecosystem, partners like e-commerce, hailing app, etcetera, can offer banking services and products in their offering line up, allowing greater customer engagement and ecosystem stickiness without having customers move around apps to do activities such as shopping, and do financial transaction,” she wrote in a message to e27.

As per a press release, the collaboration aims to boost financial inclusion in Indonesia and further support the country’s digital economic growth.

A recent survey by Standard Chartered revealed the pandemic has acted as a catalyst for the growth of online financial activity, with over half of global respondents using more online services in a post-pandemic world. Additionally, 80 per cent of Indonesians also expect the country to go fully cashless by 2025.

This represents a large growth market for embedded finance, which Standard Chartered and Bukalapak aim to jointly capture through their digital finance solutions.

“Our inaugural partnership with Bukalapak reaffirms Standard Chartered Bank’s commitment to growing our footprint locally. We are confident that our partnership with Bukalapak will enable us to co-create a solution that drives financial inclusion in Indonesia,” said Andrew Chia, Cluster CEO, Indonesia & ASEAN Markets for Standard Chartered.

“Commerce and financial services are crucial aspects of the well-being of society, thus, the partnership increases our spirit to create A Fair Economy in Indonesia. With a global banking network, Standard Chartered participation in Bukalapak will further strengthen our current strong group of shareholders and strategic partners,” said Rachmat Kaimuddin, CEO Bukalapak.

This comes as part of Standard Chartered’s push to experiment with new business models to meet the evolving needs of its clients. The bank recently announced the official launch of Mox, its new virtual bank in Hong Kong, created in partnership with PCCW, HKT and Trip.com.

It also commercially launched digital open platform, Solv, to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in India and other markets grow by providing access to financial and business services.

Bukalapak itself has been making moves in the fintech scene, starting with the launch of services such as mutual funds and gold transactions.

The news followed recent updates from Indonesian unicorn gojek which had recently invested in Bank Jago as part of its foray into fintech, particularly digital banking services.

Anisa Menur Maulani also contributed to this story.

Source: https://e27.co/standard-chartered-partners-with-bukalapak-to-launch-digital-banking-solutions-20210114/

Image Credits: Standard Chartered


SC Ventures Invests in OpenFin

The strategic investment by Standard Chartered unit will help OpenFin meet growing demand for digital workspaces and app stores

New York & London, Dec. 9, 2020 — OpenFin, the operating system (OS) of finance, announced today that it secured a strategic investment from SC Ventures, the innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm of international banking group, Standard Chartered. The capital will accelerate new product development and brings OpenFin’s total funding to date to $50 million (USD).

OpenFin’s web-based OS has become the de facto standard in financial services for powering next-generation application and desktop experiences by creating interfaces that make the financial desktop simple and intuitive. Built on Google’s Chromium engine, OpenFin OS simplifies app distribution, unifies the digital workspace and enables seamless communication and workflow between apps. The software is now used at more than 1,500 banks and buy-side firms across nearly 250,000 desktops in 60+ countries.

The latest round of capital will be used to expand OpenFin’s product and engineering teams focused on building new user interface components of OpenFin OS, including OpenFin’s new desktop-wide Notification Center.

Standard Chartered adopted OpenFin’s technology earlier this year to accelerate their internal and client-facing technology transformation strategy across multiple areas of the bank starting with the financial markets business. Traders now have access to easy workspace management and automated workflows which are intuitive, user-friendly and help increase productivity. OpenFin OS will see a significant increase in usage across Asia, Africa and the Middle East as a result of Standard Chartered’s diversified client geographies.

Standard Chartered joins a distinguished group of OpenFin investors, including Bain Capital Ventures, Barclays, DRW Venture Capital, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, NYCA Partners, Pivot Investment Partners and Wells Fargo Strategic Capital.

“In the financial services workplace of the future, employees need increasingly specific tools to collaborate and serve clients effectively,” said Alex Manson, SC Ventures. “We are thrilled to partner with OpenFin as they create such an environment, allowing for personalized design of the workspace and hence transforming the way we think of how conventional financial markets applications are delivered to the user.”

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Standard Chartered as a customer and investor,” said Mazy Dar, Co-Founder and CEO of OpenFin. “The pace of innovation at such a large financial institution has been truly astounding. We look forward to a close collaboration as we work to modernize the industry’s app infrastructure.”

Source: OpenFin

UnionBank, Standard Chartered pioneer blockchain-enabled bond issuance in the Philippines

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), in partnership with Standard Chartered Bank (SC), successfully completed a proof of concept for the issuance of a retail bond on a digital platform leveraging blockchain technology for bond tokenization.

The 3 and 5.25-year dual tranche issuance totalling PHP 9 billion by UnionBank was successfully mirrored on the platform co-created by UnionBank and SC Ventures, the innovation and ventures arm of Standard Chartered. Orders received were tokenized, and to stay within existing retail bond guidelines, tokens issued mirrored the traditional transaction but were not allocated directly to investors. SC Ventures built the bond tokenisation platform making the process simpler, faster and widely accessible.

“The marriage of a digital order taking platform and backend infrastructure driven by tokens is the future of retail bonds. We are keen to see the day when investors can buy and sell bonds, even on the secondary markets at a click of a button on their phones,” said UnionBank Executive Vice President and Chief Finance Officer Jose Emmanuel Hilado. “This proof of concept begins the journey of the democratization of bonds as an investment destination which supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

“We co-created the solution with UnionBank with the aim of providing retail investors with a trusted and transparent platform to gain direct access to bonds. Today marks a milestone as we shape the retail bond infrastructure of tomorrow,” said Alex Manson of SC Ventures.

The success of this proof of concept will open up a host of possibilities around solving for liquidity and transparency in the retail bond markets.

“The bond infrastructure around the world has been designed primarily for institutional investors and involves a number of intermediaries to buy and subsequently trade bonds, making it less accessible to retail investors. To an average investor, providing direct access to issuers is critical in allowing them to reap the full benefits of their investment,” explained Aaron Gwak, SCB Head of Capital Markets, ASEAN. The Online Bond Reservation portal of UnionBank where the bonds were made available is also the Philippines’ first digitally enabled platform allowing clients to view and place order reservations for corporate bond offerings conveniently anytime, anywhere – making a highly cumbersome and manual process simpler and more widely accessible.

Through the portal, UnionBank clients experience a fully digital end-to-end service, from account verification, client suitability assessment and the filling up of the application to purchase form, up to allocation to the investor. The portal also makes the purchase of bonds completely paperless and more efficient as it cuts the processing time for customers from a couple of days to mere minutes. “We are pleased to see innovation in fintech being driven by incumbent players in the industry and look forward to seeing further enhancements in the region. This aligns well with the government’s advocacy to accelerate digital delivery and serve wide market segments,” said Commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong, Securities and Exchange Commission. He added that the results of the parallel run could provide a measure of the efficiency and effectiveness of tokenization and use of distributed ledger technology (DLT), but he was quick to clarify that such a program would need approval by the Commission before full implementation.

The proof of concept with Standard Chartered follows UnionBank’s other recent initiatives on blockchainenabled bonds issuances, particularly the launch of Bonds.PH, a platform for retail treasury bonds done in collaboration with the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury and Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX). Bonds.PH was launched earlier this year for the issuance of the Philippines’ RTB-24 or Progreso Bonds and is currently one of the channels to purchase the second offering of Premyo Bonds (PB-2) until December 11.

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Disruptive digital solutions is rewiring the DNA of Banking

By Kennedy Mubita, Africa Head, SC Ventures.

Imagine a bank whose customers can tap on a wearable device to make a payment, regularly receive updates on changes they could make to their investment portfolio through AI-generated insights. A bank that enables its customer to own their data through the application of blockchain technology and share it with lenders as a validated credit history when applying for a loan anywhere; that bank is likely to remain fully operational for the long term.

According to a PWC global CEO survey, 70% of financial services leaders stated that the speed of technological change is one of their biggest concerns. Clients demand more convenience and customization from their banks, delivered through technology-driven innovation. This trend will accelerate as other industries digitize, allowing microservices to be monetized. New technologies are tooling up non-traditional players such as Neobanks, mobile network operators, e-commerce platforms, and supermarkets with the means to tokenize exchange and intermediate supply chains exclusive of traditional banks. These new entrants in the financial sector are a competitive threat to conventional regulated players. For banks to survive and win in this new paradigm, they will need to adopt technology-driven business models; they must develop an internal culture that is tech-minded, encourage idea generation and execution across all departments. But change doesn’t happen in a vacuum. For impactful transformation, banks will need to involve their clients, employees, and communities to build solutions that meet evolving needs across a broad social spectrum.

Collaboration is a crucial ingredient

Digital transformation can only be optimal through a collaborative effort by partnerships with the clients, the Fintech community, regulators, service providers, and other financial services providers applying digital tools to meet their financial goals. Hence, we see traditional banks partnering with FinTechs, MNO’s, and digital marketplaces by design or necessary survival. These alliances are symbiotic in that the Fintechs see three evolving challenges. First, as they build new digital business models, their activities are becoming economically significant; hence the Central Bank, other regulators, and Governments are getting concerned about potential downside credit and systemic risks. Their days of minimal or no regulatory oversight are coming to an end. Secondly, traditional banks are not sitting back and are beginning to incorporate digital solutions in their processes and strategies. Thirdly, at scale, traditional banks still dominate the sovereign, corporate finance, and long-term lending markets.

On the other hand, while banks lack agility and sufficient qualified and digitally literate managers, they have trusted compliance capabilities. They are accustomed to the regulatory minefield and can help FinTechs navigate that space. Partnerships with banks lend credibility to the Ventures they participate, and in so doing, there is a reverse transfer of skills from the banks to FinTechs. Banks can “stand in the gap” between Regulators and FinTechs interpreting the use of new technologies to address regulatory concerns. For instance, Financial institutions can address the issue around authenticating a person’s human identity when opening an account through the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI). These technologies use various metrics, including location services, user image movement, facial recognition, and temperature checks, to determine whether the person operating the device is an actual human.

Standard Chartered recognizes that technology-driven enablement and partnerships can facilitate the resolution of challenges facing various sectors. For example, small and medium-sized enterprises require access to finance, markets, and simple digital business efficiency tools. Guided by this, SC Ventures, a Standard Chartered business unit, was set up to promote innovation, invest in disruptive financial technology, and explore alternative business models. The business unit provides a platform for collaboration with Fintech, clients, and partners across our markets, connecting them to staff and SCB departments as appropriate.

In Africa, we leverage digital capabilities to resolve social challenges and accelerate economic growth for different market segments. For instance, in Kenya, SC Ventures is currently piloting a digitized and automated water infrastructure system for a water and sanitation company. The Internet of Things-enabled smart water meter solution will reduce leakages, improve revenue collection, provide a platform for remote connections management while aiding in reducing operations and maintenance costs.

SC Ventures at Standard chartered is committed to working with local and global financial technology players who are innovating and developing curated products for these underserved or unbanked market segments that were erstwhile, not reachable due to lack of infrastructure and digital platform.

The community of stakeholders in financial services sectors and other industry verticals enabled by the 3rd and 4th industrial revolution technologies creates a global data lake that will be a massive enabler of innovation in the financial services sector. By gaining API access to various data sources, banks can create customized solutions for different clients across the region. Digital access will minimize direct contact with banks. Soon, data portability, possibly using distributed ledger technology (DLT) through data banks, will allow customers to use their data as an asset by being part of a community or use it to receive bespoke services.

The future of finance is commoditized services on a network of data connected to value; this enabled by ever-increasing research and technology advancements such as 5G and quantum computing. These tools will vastly change the financial ecosystem, and banks that evolve quickly will be better positioned not only to survive but to thrive.

Source: CNBC Africa


We made a strategic investment in Secret Double Octopus

Standard Chartered backs passwordless tech startup Secret Double Octopus

LONDON (Reuters) – Standard Chartered Plc’s venture capital arm SC Ventures has made a strategic investment in Secret Double Octopus, a Tel Aviv-based startup providing authentication technology that removes the need for passwords, the companies said on Thursday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Secret Double Octopus, which already counts Sony Financial Ventures and Japanese telecoms provider KDDI as investors, said it will use the funding to grow the business.

The startup helps large enterprises replace passwords used by employees to log into company systems with passwordless multi-factor authentication. It says its technology can help make systems more secure, while cutting down on the large costs associated with managing passwords.

“On average an enterprise user forgets his password three times a year,” said Raz Rafaeli, co-founder and chief executive of Secret Double Octopus. “The cost of password reset is $25 dollars at a minimum.”

That could amount to millions of dollars annually for companies with thousands of employees, he added.

The technology could also be deployed to remove passwords in customer facing systems, Rafaeli said.

Standard Chartered’s involvement comes as banks and other financial institutions continue to ramp up their investments in cyber security, as they seek to protect their organisations and customers from a multitude of online threats.

Financial institutions spent about $2,700 on average per full-time employee on cybersecurity in 2020, up from about $2,300 last year, according to a recent study by Deloitte. That represented 10.9% of their overall IT budget, up from 10.1% in 2019.

Source: Reuters

Group Backed by ING Bank, Fidelity and Standard Chartered Releases Crypto AML Tools

The Travel Rule Protocol (TRP), a working group favored by banks and traditional financial institutions and focused on bringing crypto in line with global anti-money laundering (AML) standards, has released the first version of its application programming interface (API).

Announced Thursday, the 25-member TRP working group, which includes Standard Chartered, ING Bank and Fidelity Digital Assets, has published the TRP API version 1.0.0.

The product aims to offer a straightforward way for firms to swap identification data about the originators and beneficiaries of crypto transactions, as per the requirements of global AML watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The headache of sharing personally identifiable information between virtual asset service providers (VASPs) has engendered a range of technical solutions from individual crypto firms and consortia dotted around the world. The TRP working group is the first to include large retail banks among its founding members, however.

“The impetus for the TRP API was a desire by the working group to ensure an easy path to Travel Rule compliance, as well as communications standardization and interoperability for VASPs around the world,” Maxime de Guillebon of SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation unit, said in a statement. “Our API allows organizations to do this as they mature, rather than attempting to integrate a number of already existing complex solutions during critical periods of time.”

How TRP works
The TRP release uses two simple RESTful APIs, designed for querying address ownership and sending required originator and beneficiary information about digital asset transfers.

The TRP API release builds on the widely-adopted InterVASP Messaging Standard (IVMS-101), said BC Group CEO Hugh Madden. (The TRP working group is chaired by Hong-Kong-based BC Group and its institutional crypto-focused subsidiary, OSL.)

The IVMS-101 project, which is also a founding member of TRP, came up with a standard data format for the payload of Travel Rule messages. This innovation harmonized how information like date of birth, for example, is written in order to avoid data-field and formatting wrinkles.

“The TRP working group and API is about how you allow VASPs to share that [IVMS-101] data,” said Madden. “A RESTful API is the world standard for integrating business systems. It’s lightweight, well understood, and very interoperable. There’s no need to join any expensive industry associations or invest in vendor solutions, and it’s not an overly complicated technical implementation.”

Travel Rule implementation time

Travel Rule solutions coming to market comprise a range of approaches. Some solutions involve heroic attempts to preserve decentralization as much as possible while constructing global directories of VASPs, while others are focused on the tricky business of VASP discovery; in other words, flagging who is on the other end of a transaction and whether they can be trusted with customer data.

Madden said it makes sense to break things down into discovery type protocols and payload delivery systems. The work the TRP is doing, he said, is not so concerned with the discovery part, and rather concentrates on the process by which firms can compliantly deliver the information payload.

“The TRP focus doesn’t assume large-scale auto-discovery – although I know some groups are working on doing advanced auto-discovery, delivered transparently with nice user experience,” said Madden. “Not everyone is taking the same approach, but some TRP members are just intending to ask the user, before withdrawal goes out, which VASP are you sending it to. Then there’s no need for auto-discovery.”

This will obviously impact user experience, Madden said, “but once you know which VASP it is, and if the respective compliance teams are happy to share the data with the corresponding VASP, the TRP is about actually sharing that data in a secure way.”

Swelling ranks
It’s not surprising the TRP’s membership is growing, given the financial clout of its founding team. A spokesman for the working group said that while the names of new joiners could not be disclosed without their permission, it included four large exchanges and a host of large tech firms.

What can be revealed, however, is the new TRP API is being integrated by the consortium of financial institutions behind Pyctor, a digital-asset custody solution invited into this year’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) sandbox cohort.

Led by ING Bank, Pyctor includes ABN AMRO, BNP Paribas Securities Services, Citi, Invesco, Société Générale, State Street and UBS.

“We’re excited for the future as TRP is scalable in the financial sector while maximizing interoperability with other emerging Travel Rule solutions,” Hervé Francois, blockchain initiative lead at ING bank and Pyctor CEO, said in a statement. “We are implementing the TRP protocol in Pyctor and looking forward to driving the ecosystem adoption even further.”

Source: Coindesk

nexus 2nd partnership with Sociolla

nexus has established partnership with beauty and personal care e-commerce platform Sociolla to introduce financial products to their users

Jakarta – Standard Chartered Bank announced its partnership with Sociolla through nexus, its “Banking as a Service” solution. In line with the Bank’s vision to enable convenient access to financial services for tech-savvy consumers across its market, the partnership will enable Sociolla to offer financial products, like savings accounts, loans and credit cards that are powered by nexus in late 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

This is the second partnership which nexus has forged in Indonesia, giving Standard Chartered Bank the opportunity to reach the unbanked and expand its customer base in the world’s 4th most populous country, where the e-commerce adoption rate is the highest in the world1.

With consumer behaviour shifting in the wake of Covid-19, more Indonesians are migrating online to purchase consumer goods on e-commerce platforms2. The pandemic has also revealed the need to accelerate digitisation efforts in banking, through which Standard Chartered Bank aims to increase financial inclusion.

Andrew Chia, Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered Bank Indonesia, said: “We are excited to announce our partnership with Sociolla, Indonesia’s leading beauty and personal care e-commerce platform. This second partnership with an e-commerce platform reaffirms Standard Chartered Bank’s commitment to grow our footprint locally. We believe the future of banking is digital, and nexus is poised to leverage strategic partnerships that enable greater financial access for Indonesians.”

This partnership is in line with Sociolla’s ambition to transform the beauty industry through technology. Co-Founder and President Director of Social Bella (parent company of Sociolla), Christopher Madiam said: “We are truly excited in being the first beauty-tech company that is collaborating with Standard Chartered Bank to provide beauty enthusiasts with this innovative banking solution.

At Sociolla, we are proud of our tech-led capabilities in providing customers with a holistic and unique beauty experience that truly meets our customers’ needs. The banking service is an important added value to continuously complement our integrated beauty ecosystem, especially now that we have been noticing a growing demand from our customers for trusted digital payment.”

Furthermore, digital payment has a huge role in promoting Indonesia’s digital economy. With the huge volume of beauty and personal care products being bought online, it is imperative that the industry caters to adapt with the customers’ rising adoption of digital payment methods. Christopher adds: “As e-commerce continues to develop a bigger presence among Indonesian beauty enthusiasts, we hope to expand our customer base through a more convenient and comfortable online purchasing experience within our ecosystem.”

Announced in March this year, nexus was incubated at SC Ventures, Standard Chartered’s innovation, fintech investment and ventures arm3. Through this “Banking as a Service” solution, digital platforms and ecosystems like e-commerce, social media or ride hailing companies, will be able to offer loans, credit cards and savings accounts co-created with the bank to their customers under their own brand name. The bank intends to further roll out the service to markets in Asia, Africa and the Middle East with the right regulatory frameworks and established digital platforms.

Standard Chartered has been actively experimenting with new business models to meet the evolving needs of its clients. Most recently, the Bank announced the official launch of Mox, its new virtual bank created in partnership with PCCW, HKT and Trip.com, to the general public in Hong Kong. It also set up a joint venture with Assembly Payments this February to develop and deliver next generation payment solutions and has also built a digital open platform, Solv, to help Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in India and other markets grow by providing access to financial and business services.

1 We Are Social: Digital 2020: 3.8 Billion People Use Social Media, 30 Jan 2020
2 McKinsey & Company: Optimistic, digital, generous: COVID-19’s impact on Indonesian consumer sentiment, 9 July 2020
3 nexus by Standard Chartered: Introducing nexus by Standard Chartered, 2020

Source: sc.com

Our investment in vArmour, a leading provider of Application Relationship Management

Application Relationship Management Company Expands Global Footprint with Strategic Investment Partner

Standard Chartered’s SC Ventures will support vArmour’s continued global expansion

vArmour, the leading provider of Application Relationship Management, today announced that SC Ventures, the innovation, fintech investment and ventures unit of international banking group, Standard Chartered, is investing in vArmour as a strategic partner to support the technology company’s growth on a global scale.

The onset of a global pandemic has brought new challenges, as businesses are forced to address budget restrictions and get more value out of their existing infrastructure to maximize the services they already have, and get more value out of their cloud environments. A global workforce adds a new layer of complexity to an already complicated environment of legacy and new infrastructure, resulting in applications and data spanning across hybrid environments which are difficult to track and secure.

vArmour allows businesses to control operational and cyber risk across any platform enterprise-wide. As businesses continue to tackle the challenges of digital transformation, this deepened visibility into every environment means businesses can map relationships across their entire dynamic enterprise in one view.

Standard Chartered’s cybersecurity team is deploying vArmour to improve its security across critical applications.

“One of the biggest priorities in banking today is the protection of applications and data against cybersecurity threats,” said Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures.

“vArmour’s approach to managing the relationships between applications across banks’ infrastructure is critical to the management of cyber risks in today’s cloud-first digital world. Our investment in vArmour will enable us to participate in their growth as we support their expansion in markets across the globe.”

“Businesses are looking for a simplified way to understand the relationships between their applications on both a small and large scale,” said Tim Eades, CEO at vArmour.

“With vArmour, businesses can visualize and control every relationship, and every application, in every environment in order to reduce operational risk, increase application resiliency, and secure hybrid clouds.”

Source: vArmour Press Release