Resilient Economy, Weak Dollar & A Burgeoning Relationship; A Good Time To Swap Pounds For Dollars?

Davos, it is said, doesn’t know quite what to make of Donald Trump. On the one hand, there is outrage, stemming from the POTUS’ decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement, his outspoken views on immigration, and his deeply unpopular and controversial domestic policies. Read more “Resilient Economy, Weak Dollar & A Burgeoning Relationship; A Good Time To Swap Pounds For Dollars?”

The Bitcoin Phenomenon; Is It A Myth That We Are All Buying The Digital Currency?

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Most of us have heard of it, but are we buying it? After a rocky first few years, when it was seen as little more than a vehicle for the ill-gotten gains of drug dealers, money launderers and terrorists, bitcoin, the concept, successfully overcame the doubters in 2017, leading to a stunning hike in the price of the digital currency, from less than $1,000 dollars in January, to above $19,500 by the end of December. Read more “The Bitcoin Phenomenon; Is It A Myth That We Are All Buying The Digital Currency?”

Bitcoin’s Exchange Issues; Crypto Speculators In UK Struggling To “Cash Out”

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Bitcoin speculators in the UK are facing high fees for transferring their digital crypto gains into fiat currency, because digital currency exchanges are struggling to build relationships with UK based banks, the FT revealed over the weekend.

UK banks are apparently “taking a lot more time to get comfortable” when it comes to dealing with bitcoin, or cryptocurrency exchanges, than their European and US counterparts, according to Obi Nwosu, chief executive of Coinfloor, the cryptocurrency exchange. Read more “Bitcoin’s Exchange Issues; Crypto Speculators In UK Struggling To “Cash Out””

How Will PSD2 Affect The Fortunes Of The “Big Banks” In 2018?

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Before we begin to discuss PSD2, let’s remind ourselves why banks exist in the first place.

Banks look after our cash for us. Sometimes they charge a small fee for doing so, and sometimes they request permission to use our deposits for the sake of their own returns, promising to pay us interest for the right to do so.

So far so good. We can all agree that storing our money securely with a bank is preferable to storing it under the floorboards, if only for security reasons. From a bank’s perspective, it is also win-win. Even if we end up owing the bank money, we will incur charges carefully computed to ensure the bank still makes a profit from our business. Read more “How Will PSD2 Affect The Fortunes Of The “Big Banks” In 2018?”

Used vs New; The Dilemma That Faced Farmers At LAMMA 2018

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If you are one of the 40,000+ workers in the agriculture sector expected to descend upon the East of England Showground near Peterborough for this year’s LAMMA show – the UK’s Leading Farm Machinery, Equipment and Services Show, then you are probably mulling over the following options.

Do I buy new, buy second hand, or stick with what I have? Read more “Used vs New; The Dilemma That Faced Farmers At LAMMA 2018”

Being An Entrepreneur On The Cote D’Azur; You’re Probably Right To Be Tempted

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Monaco, Cannes, Marseille, Nice, St Tropez; France’s Cote D’Azur hosts some world-famous cities and towns as well as picturesque, sleepy on the surface villages that stretch towards Ventimiglia, in Italy, in the East, and Marseille in the West.

The quality of life on the Cote D’Azur is high; there are plenty of activities, events and festivals, celebrating food, life and culture; there are yachts, superyachts, casinos, nightclubs, fast cars, good food, and all the other trappings of the glamorous Mediterranean that you might expect. It can also be surprisingly down to earth ad friendly. Read more “Being An Entrepreneur On The Cote D’Azur; You’re Probably Right To Be Tempted”

Facebook Messenger Pay Arrives In The UK & France – Infographic Reveals How Brits Feel About Being Paid Back

2 years after it was launched in the US, Facebook Messenger Pay has finally crossed the Atlantic. Now it’s possible to make a P2P transaction across the platform in both France and the UK, simply by tapping the blue plus icon to the left of the chat bar, and choosing the green cash icon.

Facebook said in a blog post that it is “not just the transactional act of paying someone back, it’s the emotional importance of doing so”, and said that this is backed up by research they have conducted on Messenger, which you can see in the infographic below. Read more “Facebook Messenger Pay Arrives In The UK & France – Infographic Reveals How Brits Feel About Being Paid Back”

SEPA’s New Instant Credit Transfer Facility Allows Up To €15,000 To Be Transferred EU-Wide In Just 10 Seconds

“As of today, nearly 600 payment service providers (PSPs) from eight European countries are offering instant payment solutions based on SCT Inst.” EPC announcement, Nov 21st

What is SCT Inst? As of 21st November, the Single European Payments Area (SEPA) Instant Credit Transfer Scheme has become operational. The scheme “allows the electronic transfer of up to €15,000 Euros to be transferred across Europe in less than ten seconds, at any time and on any day of the year, including weekends and holidays.” Read more “SEPA’s New Instant Credit Transfer Facility Allows Up To €15,000 To Be Transferred EU-Wide In Just 10 Seconds”

Standard Chartered Is Introducing A Chatbot In Hong Kong With The Brains To Manage Your Money – Just Don’t Expect Miracles

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Not so long ago, chatbots were the most talked about new tech on the block. It was believed that soon we would be able to conduct conversations with digital assistants as easily as we could with our PAs.

Well, things haven’t quite turned out that way. Microsoft’s attempt to launch a “twitter bot” in 2016, known as Tay, was nothing short of disastrous, Hackers were quickly able to disrupt and distort the bot’s conversational gambits until Tay began to spout offensive gibberish. Read more “Standard Chartered Is Introducing A Chatbot In Hong Kong With The Brains To Manage Your Money – Just Don’t Expect Miracles”

WalletHub’s Infographic Reveals Top 3 Stocks That The World’s Hedge Fund Billionaires Are Buying & Holding

With more than $6 trillion of assets under management, the world’s 50 largest hedge funds control as much wealth as the GDP of the United States’ 25 smallest states combined.

So when hedge funds take long positions in securities, it’s worth paying attention to who they are backing, and why. Read more “WalletHub’s Infographic Reveals Top 3 Stocks That The World’s Hedge Fund Billionaires Are Buying & Holding”

Art Basel Miami; World Renowned Art Fair Where The Creative Showcase & The Well-Heeled Spend Big

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Art Basel, founded by gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt, staged its first international art fair, in Switzerland, back in 1970. The event attracted tens of thousands of visitors, and work from some 90 prestigious art galleries, and 30 art publishers. Read more “Art Basel Miami; World Renowned Art Fair Where The Creative Showcase & The Well-Heeled Spend Big”

Blockchain Startup R3 Building First Cross Border Payments Platform Using Distributed Ledger Technology

R3, the fintech startup that raised $107 million dollars of investment earlier this year has announced that it will collaborate with 22 of its member banks to build a blockchain-based platform that will enable cross border payments for both central bank and digital currencies.

R3 says that it expects the prototype to be launched before the end of 2017. The company also insists that the new platform will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. Read more “Blockchain Startup R3 Building First Cross Border Payments Platform Using Distributed Ledger Technology”

The Singapore Fintech Festival Is In Full Swing This Week – Here’s What You Need To Know

When it comes to fintech, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is one of world’s most forward thinking organisations.

The agency not only enables local fintech startups to thrive and prosper, but reaches out globally, signing deals with its equivalent local authorities all over the world, from Australia, to the Caribbean, to neighbouring countries in South East Asia – as well as the Financial Conduct Authority in London – with the purpose of collaborating, sharing technologies, and comparing regulatory regimes. Read more “The Singapore Fintech Festival Is In Full Swing This Week – Here’s What You Need To Know”

6 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia Is The Focus Of The World’s Attention Right Now

They say a week is a long time in politics; it certainly must have felt that way in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia this week. it has truly been one of the most turbulent weeks in recent Saudi political and economical history.

In an unprecedented and unexpected move, an anti-corruption crackdown, authorised by the King, Salman, and carried out by his son, the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the head of a recently formed anti-corruption unit, saw many of Saudi Arabia’s most powerful and richest people held at the Ritz Carlton hotel in Riyadh. Read more “6 Reasons Why Saudi Arabia Is The Focus Of The World’s Attention Right Now”

New Zealand Tops World Bank List For Ease Of Doing Business, UK Ranks Seventh

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The UK has held on to seventh place in the World Bank’s annual rankings for Ease of Doing Business; New Zealand topped the list, with Singapore, Denmark, Hong Kong and South Korea claiming the next four spots; the US leapfrogged the UK to take 6th. Read more “New Zealand Tops World Bank List For Ease Of Doing Business, UK Ranks Seventh”

Internations Reveals The Best and Worst Places For Expats in 2017

It’s all change amongst the top 3 nations in the world that are most popular with expats, according to a survey released earlier this year by Internations, the global expat networking platform and events organiser. 

None of 2016’s top 3 retained their spot in 2017, whilst the world’s highest rated destination this year has made the jump from 19th to 1st spot. Read more “Internations Reveals The Best and Worst Places For Expats in 2017”

Tax Affairs Of World’s Rich, Elite & Famous Under Scrutiny Again After Release of “Paradise Papers”

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The secretive world of offshore tax havens and the complex webs of companies they create in order to allegedly help the wealthy avoid paying tax on many of their assets will be brought firmly back into focus again this week thanks to a leak of more than 13.4m files from two offshore service providers.

The latest leak has been dubbed the “Paradise Papers”. At 1.4 terrabytes, the leak is roughly half the size of the “Panama Papers”, which sent shockwaves around the world in 2016, after an anonymous source sent private communications and files from the offices of Mossack Fonseca, a Panama based law firm, to the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. Read more “Tax Affairs Of World’s Rich, Elite & Famous Under Scrutiny Again After Release of “Paradise Papers””

Buying Property Overseas: 10 Crucial Things To Consider Before You Take The Plunge

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Welcome to our guide to buying property overseas.

It’s around this time of year, with winter well and truly descending upon us, and daylight-saving time rearing its ugly head, that many of us, those that can afford it, consider the possibility of either relocating overseas, or acquiring a property overseas.

Wouldn’t it be just great to know that, faced with a particularly grim weekends’ weather, we can simply jump on the Eurostar or into the family car, or onto a direct flight to France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, or even Croatia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Albania…or even further afield?

A ski-chalet in the Swiss Alps. A beachside villa in Sitges. A small finca in the Balearics. It’s not as much of a pipe dream as you might think.

All you have to do is to break the process down into small steps, set targets, timeframes, price limits, and devote a decent chunk of time to researching – or better still, visiting – the places where you’d most like to purchase a second home. Here’s how. Read more “Buying Property Overseas: 10 Crucial Things To Consider Before You Take The Plunge”

Fintech In Asia – 2 New “Regulatory Sandboxes” Announced in Hong Kong, Whilst A Third Gets An Upgrade. Good News For Customers Worldwide?

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As anybody who regularly reads our blog posts and breaking news updates will probably know, we have recently been travelling in Asia, visiting Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, and exploring the countries’ fintech and international money transfer ecosystems.

Fintech in Asia is booming; along with London, New York, and parts of Africa, places like Singapore, and, not to be underestimated, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are forging ahead with truly disruptive services and products that will change the face of banking forever.

But in this post we are going to look at some news from Hong Kong, courtesy of Open Gov Asia; last week, not one, not two, but three financial regulators announced plans to introduce “sandboxes” to aid the development of disruptive startup fintech firms. Read more “Fintech In Asia – 2 New “Regulatory Sandboxes” Announced in Hong Kong, Whilst A Third Gets An Upgrade. Good News For Customers Worldwide?”

Thailand’s TrueMoney Continues South East Asian Fintech Firms Push Towards The Unbanked With Move Into Myanmar

TrueMoney, the Thai Fintech company, is to enter the market for mobile money in Myanmar, adding the country to an impressive cross-border network that includes Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia.

TrueMoney allows its users to deposit cash in mobile accounts or at point of sale outlets and transfer cash via a network of agents either domestically or overseas. Read more “Thailand’s TrueMoney Continues South East Asian Fintech Firms Push Towards The Unbanked With Move Into Myanmar”