Connect with us

E-Financial

Branch International Raises $170m Series C Financing

Published

on

Kindly share this post

Branch, the most downloaded finance app in Africa, announced a new global partnership and investment from Visa.

 

The two companies share a vision of bringing financial access to billions of people still unreached by banks. Visa’s investment in Branch will help expand financial access across the African continent, while fuelling new expansion in India and Latin America.

 

Branch and Visa will team up to offer virtual prepaid debit card numbers to customers around the world. This enables unbanked Branch customers the option to receive credit at any physical ATM, bypassing the need for a bank account.

 

“We started Branch in Kenya, where M-Pesa gives anyone with a phone — including the unbanked — access to digital credit. Unfortunately, mobile money isn’t available in most countries. With the help of Visa, now we can send cash to any ATM and reach the underserved around the planet,” said Matthew Flannery, CEO and co-founder of Branch.

 

Traditional barriers such as a credit score and bank account make financial accessibility a challenge for over 2 billion people in the world.

 

Yet many in underserved markets have a financial tool right in their pocket — their mobile phone.

 

By tapping into the rise of mobile technology worldwide, Branch aims to radically expand financial access, making full global inclusion a reality in our lifetime.

 

“At Visa we believe financial empowerment is an essential passport out of poverty,” said Bill Sheedy, Executive Vice President of Strategy at Visa. “Our partnership with Branch provides Visa a key distribution mechanism to reach people that were previously out of reach and help shape the future of microfinance.”

 

Today, Branch is also announcing the close of its Series C financing, a $170M round led by Foundation Capital and Visa. And joining this round of investment are existing investors, Andreessen Horowitz, Trinity Ventures, Formation 8, the IFC, CreditEase, and Victory Park as well as new investors, Greenspring, Foxhaven, and B Capital.

 

“I’ve known the Branch team since right after the company was founded,” said Charles Moldow of Foundation Capital, who will be joining the Branch Board of Directors. “After tracking them for years, it has become clear to me that emerging markets are one of the biggest growth areas for fintech. Our history of successful fintech investments is evidence that we know how to spot true innovators, like Branch. The team has executed incredibly well and is poised to become the cross-border financial super-app.”

 

 

 


Kindly share this post

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

E-Financial

NGX Sanctions Julius Berger over ‘Insider Dealing’

Published

on

Kindly share this post

Nigerian Exchange (NGX) has sanctioned Julius Berger Nigeria (JBN) Plc for engaging in inappropriate insider dealing in shares.

NGX Sanctions Julius Berger over ‘Insider Dealing’

Insider dealing is the illegal practice of trading on the stock exchange to one’s own advantage through having access to confidential information.

Incorporated in 1970, Julius Berger Nigeria became a publicly quoted company in 1991 and has more than 10,000 shareholders.

NGX Regulatory Company (NGX RegCo), the self regulatory organisation (SRO) that regulates activities at the NGX, stated that JBN breached certain provisions of the listing rules and was thus sanctioned accordingly.

According to NGX RegCo, JBN violated provisions on “closed period”, in breach of the construction company’s commitment to adhere to listing rules and standards.

The NGX had tightened its rules and regulations to checkmate boardroom intrigues and block information arbitrage that tend to confer advantages on companies’ directors.

The amendments expanded the scope and authority of corporate financial reporting while eliminating gaps that allowed companies to sidetrack relevant rules in stage-managing corporate compliance.

The enhanced framework provided clarity and greater disclosures on directors’ trading in shares, corporate liability for accuracy and compliance of financial statement, dissuade bogus dividend payment and other sundry boardroom’s maneuverings that tend to favour insiders.

The amendments came on the heels of noticeable increase in violations of rules on ‘closed period’, a period when directors are banned from trading in the shares of their companies.

Rule 17.17 of the NGX disallows insiders and their connected persons from trading in the shares or bonds of their companies during the ‘closed period’ or any period during which trading is restricted.

This period is mostly at a period of sensitive material information, like prior knowledge of financials, dividends or major corporate changes, which places directors and other insiders at advantage above other general and retail investors.

A review of the disclosure violations at the stock market had shown that all violations in 2021 were related to violation of Rule 17.17 on ‘closed period’.

Under the amendments, in addition to the provisions of relevant accounting standards, laws, rules and requirements regarding preparation of financial statements, companies are now required to include several specific declarations on securities transactions by directors, changes in shareholding structure, self-assessment on compliance with corporate governance standards and internal code for directors on securities transactions among others.

According to the rules, in relation to securities transactions by directors, a company shall disclose in its quarterly financial statements, full year audited financial statements, and in corporate governance report contained in its annual report whether the company has adopted a code of conduct regarding securities transactions by its directors on terms no less exacting than the required standard set out by the market.

The company is also required to disclose, having made specific enquiry of all directors, whether its directors have complied with, or whether there has been any non-compliance with, the required standard set out in the Exchange’s rules and in code of conduct regarding securities transactions by directors.

 

Cerdit: The Nation

 


Kindly share this post
Continue Reading

E-Financial

IMF says Rising Cyber Threats Pose Serious Concerns for Financial Stability

Published

on

Kindly share this post

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has declared that cyberattacks have more than doubled since the pandemic. In a blog released during the week, it pointed out that while companies have historically suffered relatively modest direct losses from cyberattacks, some have experienced a much heavier toll.

Specifically, US credit reporting agency Equifax, for example, paid more than $1 billion in penalties after a major data breach in 2017 that affected about 150 million consumers.

“As we show in a chapter of the April 2024 Global Financial Stability Report, the risk of extreme losses from cyber incidents is increasing. Such losses could potentially cause funding problems for companies and even jeopardise their solvency.

“The size of these extreme losses has more than quadrupled since 2017 to $2.5 billion. And indirect losses like reputational damage or security upgrades are substantially higher.

“The financial sector is uniquely exposed to cyber risk. Financial firms—given the large amounts of sensitive data and transactions they handle—are often targeted by criminals seeking to steal money or disrupt economic activity. Attacks on financial firms account for nearly one-fifth of the total, of which banks are the most exposed,” IMF said.

According to the Bretton Woods institution, incidents in the financial sector could threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions. “For example, a severe incident at a financial institution could undermine trust and, in extreme cases, lead to market selloffs or runs on banks.

Although no significant “cyber runs” have occurred thus far, our analysis suggests modest and somewhat persistent deposit outflows have occurred at smaller US banks after a cyberattack.

“Cyber incidents that disrupt critical services like payment networks could also severely affect economic activity. For example, a December attack at the Central Bank of Lesotho disrupted the national payment system, preventing transactions by domestic banks.

“Another consideration is that financial firms increasingly rely on third-party IT service providers, and may do so even more with the emerging role of artificial intelligence.

“Such external providers can improve operational resilience, but also expose the financial industry to systemwide shocks. For example, a 2023 ransomware attack on a cloud IT service provider caused simultaneous outages at 60 US credit unions,” it added.

The Fund said with the global financial system facing significant and growing cyber risks from increasing digitalization and geopolitical tensions, policies and governance frameworks at firms must keep pace.

The global lender added that because private incentives may be insufficient to address cyber risks—for example, firms may not fully account for the systemwide effects of incidents—public intervention may be necessary.

However, according to an IMF survey of central banks and supervisory authorities, cybersecurity policy frameworks, especially in emerging market and developing economies, often remain insufficient. For example, only about half of countries surveyed had a national, financial sector-focused cybersecurity strategy or dedicated cybersecurity regulations.

To strengthen resilience in the financial sector, authorities should develop an adequate national cybersecurity strategy accompanied by effective regulation and supervisory capacity that should encompass: Periodically assessing the cybersecurity landscape and identifying potential systemic risks from interconnectedness and concentrations, including from third-party service providers.

Encouraging cyber “maturity” among financial sector firms, including board-level access to cybersecurity expertise, as supported by the chapter’s analysis which suggests that better cyber-related governance may reduce cyber risk.

Improving cyber hygiene of firms—that is, their online security and system health (such as antimalware and multifactor authentication)—and training and awareness.

Prioritising data reporting and collection of cyber incidents, and sharing information among financial sector participants to enhance their collective preparedness.

As attacks often emanate from outside a financial firm’s home country and proceeds can be routed across borders, international cooperation is imperative to address cyber risk successfully.

It stressed that while cyber incidents will occur, the financial sector needed the capacity to deliver critical business services during these disruptions.

To this end, financial firms should develop, and test, response and recovery procedures and national authorities should have effective response protocols and crisis management frameworks in place.

It also hinted that IMF actively helped member countries strengthen their cybersecurity frameworks through policy advice, for example as part of the Financial Sector Assessment Programme, and through capacity-building activities.


Kindly share this post
Continue Reading

E-Financial

Financial Firms Lost $2.5Bn To Cyberattacks in 4 Years – IMF

Published

on

Kindly share this post

Financial firms have reported significant direct losses, totaling almost $12 billion since 2004 and $2.5 billion since 2020, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has disclosed.

Financial Firms Lost $2.5Bn To Cyberattacks in 4 Years – IMF

In its April 2024 Global Financial Stability Report released recently, IMF stated that attacks on financial firms account for nearly one-fifth of the total, of which banks are the most exposed.

The IMF offered JPMorgan Chase as an example, stating that the biggest US bank recently reported 45 billion cyber events each day, with $15 billion spent annually on technology and 62,000 employees, many of whom were devoted to cybersecurity.

It went on to say that cyber events constitute a major operational risk that might jeopardise the operational stability of financial institutions and negatively impact macrofinancial stability as a whole.

“Financial institutions in advanced economies, particularly in the United States, have been more exposed to cyber incidents than firms in emerging markets and developing economies. Given the large amounts of sensitive data and transactions they handle, are often targeted by criminals seeking to steal money or disrupt economic activity.

“Attacks on financial firms account for nearly one-fifth of the total, of which banks are the most exposed. Incidents in the financial sector could threaten financial and economic stability if they erode confidence in the financial system, disrupt critical services, or cause spillovers to other institutions.

“Cyber incidents that disrupt critical services like payment networks could also severely affect economic activity. For example, a December attack at the Central Bank of Lesotho disrupted the

The IMF observed that a variety of reasons are involved in the increase in cyber incidents, which include the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the fast expanding digital connectivity as well as the growing reliance on technology and financial innovation. Also, given the spike in cyberattacks following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, geopolitical tensions might also be a cause.

“A cyber incident at a financial institution or a country’s critical infrastructure could generate macro-financial stability risks through three key channels: loss of confidence, lack of substitutes for the services rendered, and interconnectedness. While cyber incidents thus far have not been systemic, ongoing rapid digital transformation and technological innovation such as artificial intelligence and heightened global geopolitical tensions exacerbate the risk.

“Recent significant cyber incidents—such as the ransomware attack on the US arm of China’s largest bank, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, on November 8, 2023, which temporarily disrupted trades in the US Treasury market—further underscore that cyber incidents at major financial institutions could threaten financial stability,” it said.

To strengthen resilience in the financial sector, the IMF, suggested that central banks and authorities must create a sufficient national cybersecurity strategy and implement efficient regulation and supervisory measures, which should include: regular evaluation of the state of cybersecurity and detection of possible systemic vulnerabilities resulting from concentrations and interconnections, including those arising from third-party service providers; improved cyber-related governance to lower cyber risk and supports the idea of promoting cyber “maturity” among financial sector companies, including board-level access to cybersecurity knowledge, among others.

 


Kindly share this post
Continue Reading

Trending