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Shaping the future of finance

The Finanser’s Week: 24th August – 30th August 2015

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Our main stories this week include ...

Get serious about blockchain

Having noted that most bankers are now saying bitcoin bad, blockchain good, here’s a nice set of quotes I’ve been gathering of what banks are actually saying:  …

What can banks learn from the Ashley Madison affair?

So we’ve all seen the headlines about Ashley Madison, the adulterer's website as it’s nicknamed.  So how did they get hacked?  What happened?  And what can banks learn from this?

25 Fintech Unicorns stumble, but still stampeding

In preparing some charts yesterday, I scraped the list of Unicorns and valuations as of last week and compared them with their valuations this week, after the Chinese meltdown that’s now being called Black Monday (shouldn’t we call it the Black Tiger Monday?).

Can old banks keep up with new banks? (Part One)

You have to migrate the old with minimum risk to the new, and the new needs to be built in such a way as to allow the old to catch up as a result.  This frustrates the new, as they don’t see why any of the old needs to be there; and it frustrates the old, as they want to renew but it’s too darned difficult.

Can new banks keep up with old banks? (Part Two)

In part one I talked about bank systems, structures and people holding back innovation due to their legacy, and asked whether legacy structures could be migrated fast enough to keep up with the new guys?  The answer to that question is yes, because banks also have legacy customers. 

HSBC-BACS outage, as UK announces a world class payments system

Which do you want first, the good news or the bad news?  OK, I’m gonna give you the bad news first.  HSBC is down.  According to the Daily Telegraph: HSBC says it is having problems with the BACS payments system, as customers wait for their pay ahead of the bank holiday weekend


This week’s major news headlines include … 

One in 65 Britons is now a millionaire - The Independent
Do you know a millionaire? According to new statistics, you might – especially if you live in London or the South East.

Federal Reserve Increasing Scrutiny of Bank Payment Systems - Wall Street Journal
The Federal Reserve is heightening its scrutiny of how large U.S. banks track trillions of dollars of payments that flow through its systems each day, as increasing volatility in the stock market underscores the importance of banks’ monitoring their money, people familiar with the matter said.

This guy turned 22 last week — but he's about to launch a startup RBS wants to partner with - Business Insider
Ollie Purdue finished university last year, but he's about to launch a student money-management startup that has raised 200,000 pounds ($316,000) on the strength of little more than an idea.

Barclays ranked UK’s worst bank for the third time in a row - The Independent
A survey by found that 20 per cent of bank customers rated the service as poor (up from 18 per cent in February).  While 42 per cent described the account as ‘ok’ and only 38 per cent thought that it was ‘great’.

Five charts that suggest Black Monday isn't the start of the next financial crisis - The Independent
European and US stock markets showed gains on Tuesday after the panic of Black Monday, which by some estimates wiped $3 trillion off global equity markets in the worst day of trading since the global financial crisis.

This is what happens when humans are replaced by computers - The Independent
Crash. Bang. Wallop. The crash? That was the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which opened the week 1,000 points lower than the level at which it had closed on Friday.

Is this the end of the road for billion-dollar tech unicorns? - The Independent
It seems that hardly a week has gone by in the past 18 months without some trendy start-up raising money at valuations that are nothing short of astronomical, leaving traditional, fundamentals-driven investment managers scratching their heads. Like all good fantasies, though, it has to come to an end.

Deutsche Bank mulls the potential of blockchain and the problem of legacy systems - International Business Times
Big banks like Deutsche Bank are caught between the devil of their own antiquated IT systems, and a deep blue sea of disruptive technology, the like of which has never before been visited upon the financial sector.

Bank litigation costs hit $260bn — with $65bn more to come - Financial Times
The wave of fines and lawsuits that has swept through the financial industry since the 2007-08 crisis has cost big banks $260bn, new research from Morgan Stanley shows.

It's time to lay siege to the robber barons of high finance - The Independent
Ferrying goods along the Rhine in medieval times was an expensive business. Feudal lords who controlled land along the banks of the river (which was also the main European commercial thoroughfare in the period) had a habit of hanging iron chains across the width of the waterway and extorting a


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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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