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Shaping the future of finance

The Finanser’s Week: 1st June – 7th June 2009

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Here are our key stories of the week:

Global Banking Trends

are growing in popularity as a substitute for conferences this year,
particularly as folks can't leave their offices these days due to cost
and travel restrictions, so this sort of meeting will no doubt be on
the increase.  I presented two this week: the first on global banking trends and the second on compliance technologies.  You might want to watch, listen and download the full presentations and webinars.

A Trade Confidence Index for Asia

This morning my inbox had a big file full of pdf documents talking about business confidence across Asia courtesy of HSBC.  It was fascinating stuff and, in summary, the HSBC Trade Confidence Index shows that the more developed markets of Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia
are less optimistic – exports are significantly down and the recession
continues to impact overall economic activity and sentiment; while the developing economies of the UAE, India, mainland China and
Vietnam are more positive even if they are not immune to the slowdown.  You can get a full copy of the report by clicking here.

Brown needs Balls, Darling

Here in the UK, we’re going through a bit of a major emotional rollercoaster.  First,
we find some of our banking leaders are greedy pigs and then we find
most of our politicians have caught their swine flu.

First, we find some of our banking leaders are greedy pigs and then we find most of our politicians have caught their swine flu.  For nearly a monthy in the UK, we have had all these detailed headlines of members of our government bucking the system by claiming expenses for everything from a moat to a house for ducks.  So it turns out that the financial markets were bad, and now our politicians have been caught out too ... but it's nothing new.

There are some people you can listen to for hours, and some that send you to sleep when they open their mouth.  Willem Buiter definitely falls into the first category.   Willem is Professor of European Political Economy at the London School
of Economics and Political Science and a former member of the UK's
Monetary Policy Committee.  His core message: leverage creates liquidity, but too much
leverage creates bad liquidity and so the core question is: what is the
right level of leverage / liquidity risk?

For too long, I’ve worked in the tech industry. I realised this when
talking with a friend about the ways in which most tech firms get it
wrong. He was lamenting the fact that the dialogue I have around things
like Social Finance, SEPA and the PSD, MiFID and more is very business
oriented, and he couldn’t see how his sales guys would “GET IT” as they
all focus on speeds and feeds.  My response?  You need more balance between the horizontal and vertical integration of the sales and marketing structure.

CEOs don't like social media ... because it's social!

Social media is a phenomena but what is the point of it?  It’s the ability to use podcasting, blogs, mobile text
messaging, and new social networking tools like Facebook, to reach out
and engage with customers.  What are banks doing in this space?  Most are doing hardly anything.

A Spanish first: Social Banking

There are a few countries / continents where innovation is rife. In Africa, mobile payments are transforming the continent. In Japan, mobile internet banking is changing their world.  And in Spain, social finance is top of the agenda with Caja Navarra (CAN) launching the first bank-led social lending system

Lloyds shareholders revolting? Yes they are!

I haven’t blogged about bank results for a while, but was asked by a few media folks about Lloyds Banking Group, who have their major stand-off shareholders meeting this week.  This is going to be quite a major shindig as there all sorts of machinations going on: the Chairman is leaving; the CEO is under pressure; the Acquired Bank, HBOS, is a basket case; the Acquiring Bank, Lloyds TSB, is finding it hard to work out what to do; and the Shares are bouncing around more than an MP’s expense budget.

iPhone's BIG NEWS: micro-payments

A nice news report on Pocket Gamer's
website, that says iPhone's developers are getting all excited about
micro-payments, a new feature in the new iPhone 3.0 software.

What sort of advert is that?

Walking around the City, one of our bright London cabs drove by and it made me wonder: is that a commercial for Barclays or a Barclays commercial?

The Green Shoot Spotter (GSS) Index

Just found the Green Shoot Spotter (GSS) Index on the financial website Breaking Views.  Published each Friday it tracks the good, bad and downright ugly news of the global economy.

And the biggest news stories of the week include:

Treasury spending 'at higher level than in First World War' (Telegraph)
Hand regulation back to Bank, says powerful Lords committee (Independent)
ECB sharply downgrades growth forecasts for Europe (Telegraph)
ECB set to push ahead with version of quantitative easing (Independent)
Eurozone unemployment surges to almost one in 10 
The post-crisis financial architecture, speech by Gertrude Tumpel-Gugerell, Member of the Executive Board of the ECB
US regulator details plan for derivatives (Times)
95pc of finance professionals expect downturn to continue (Telegraph)

For stories by date, click on the dates below:

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Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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