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Shaping the future of finance

The Finanser’s Week: 8th June – 14th June 2009

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Here are our key stories of the week:

Is the social web party over?

I keep reading reports of Second Life being an overhyped piece of dead meat, and now get the same vibes about Twitter and more.  In the latest round of discussions, James Gardner and Ron Shevlin both
question the worthiness of Twitter for banking, whilst an interesting
survey by Purewire found that millions of Twitterati never actually
tweet.  It begs the question: is this social network and media stuff all just tosh and what is the relevance to banking?

Social media has changed society

I recently posted about how social media is changing our world, and Bill Jones commented: "The
question is whether they change behaviour temporarily or permanently.
The evidence is that behaviour (individual or group) is changed
  Well, here's some evidence that it is changing permanently.

IBM discovers banks don't understand their customers

I received a few interesting reports recently and just got a chance to read some of them.  The
first I got around to was from IBM's Institute for Business Value, with
the grand title: “Toward transparency and sustainability: building a
new financial order”.

A SEPA end-date at last?

Two things coincided today.  The first is the great news that the European Commission is thinking about setting a SEPA end-date. The second is another report I finally got to read, the excellent Boston Consulting Group’s (BCG)
payments analysis from the first quarter entitled: “Weathering the
Storm”.  The reason why the BCG report is important to the Commission's SEPA plans is explained if you read on.

Forget payments, think value

Many moons ago, everyone referred to payments as “Money Transmissions”.  Over time, Money Transmissions evolved into Payments Processing and now Transaction Services.  It became less important as other areas, such as investment banking, became profitable and gained favour.  Now payments and everything about payments is very much back in vogue, as a reliable source of revenue and profitability.  There’s a problem with this however.  We should be talking about value, not payments.

A compliance culture or function?

Over a dinner this week, there was a fascinating discussion about the role of compliance.  Compliance.  A culture or a function?  A view of complying and being subservient or of being proactively compliant.  A painful enforced change or an opportunity to re-engineer and improve.  Threat or opportunity?  To be truthful, compliance can be all of the above or none. It is all down to attitude.  And this is the one key point about compliance that is clearly going to change.

Time for the Gangsters?

A new film comes out in July called Public Enemies, with Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. It’s the story of John Dillinger, who went on a rampage of bank robbing in 1933-34, and gained notoriety as a kind of Robin Hood gangster anti-hero.

Harry Potter and the Prince of Darkness

Potter and his best mates Ron Weasley and Hermoine Granger had managed
to live amongst the muggles for many moons without detection. They now
realised they had to come out of hiding and fight the evil of
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named in public.  You see, they had
already seen the wizards of evil destroy the heritage of Hogwarts
School by using the Derivatives of Doom. The
Derivatives of Doom had been created by just a few of
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named’s followers, but most of these now lay slain,
including the powerful wizards: Goodwin and Fuld.

Looks like the banker's store worked

visited many of the major financial centres of the world, I've
discovered that a new chain of retail outlets have been opening across
the USA and now there's several around Europe too.  Their story is
one of the major successes of the past year as, serving senior
investment bankers, their stock and inventory appears to have really

The #1 selling item in the banker's store

Yesterday, I mentioned the new store chain that has become
incredibly successful in most major financial centres of the world over
the last year. Here's the store's #1 selling item patented back in 1994.

The British Economy for Dummies

A friend sent me this note that explains, in plain English, how we are running our economy: It
is the middle of June and raining. The little British beach town is
deserted as it’s tough times.  Everybody is in debt and everybody lives
on credit.

And the biggest news stories of the week include:

Commission launches consultation on possible end-date for Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA) migration 

Sovereign wealth funds back BlackRock move to acquire Barclays Global Investors (Telegraph)
UK financial clout fades as EU pushes tighter regulation (Euractiv)
Congress attacks Bush administration for 'bullying' Bank of America into buying Merrill Lynch (Guardian)
G8's promise to Africa is likely to be broken, warns campaign group (Guardian)

For stories by date, click on the dates below:

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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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