Should You Open a Joint Bank Account with a Business Partner?

When you first start your business, having one bank account may have been enough to handle your financial needs. Now that you’ve grown, you’re wondering if it’s time to consider a joint bank account for your business.

Opening a joint bank account could make it much easier to handle your business’ financial needs. 

Have you never had a joint bank account? Are you curious about the benefits and disadvantages of having one?

We’re going to give you a quick rundown on what you need to know about having a joint account.

What Is a Joint Bank Account?

The concept of a joint bank account isn’t difficult to understand. Essentially, a joint bank account can allow different account holders to deposit and withdraw money. 

In terms of function, there isn’t much difference between having a joint bank account and a regular bank account for your business.

Each account holder will have their own chequebook and debit card that can allow them to make purchases or take out money at ATMs.

They’ll be able to access their account online and have all of the regular functions associated with a normal account.

Most joint bank accounts only have two account holders like spouses or two business partners, but you don’t have to stop at giving only two people access. You can open a joint bank account with three people, five people, or as many as you desire.

Joint Bank Account Pros 

Opening a joint bank account with your business partner can have a lot of benefits.

If you’ve been on the fence about whether or not opening one is the right thing to do, take some time to learn about all of the different ways having a joint account can help you and your business partner.

Transparency   

Does it occasionally feel like you and your partner are on completely different pages when it comes to finance? Opening a joint bank account can give you some much-needed insight into your spending and cash flow.

It’s easy to say that you’ll always let someone know when you make a big withdrawal or deposit, but emergencies and last-minute purchases do happen. 

Juggling multiple bank accounts for one business can start to be a little tricky. Eventually, you’ll start to lose track of what’s in each account. 

When you have a joint account, you and your business partner can handle making all of your purchases and manage all of your business expenses out of one account. It’ll make paying bills and managing finances a lot easier. 

Having two sets of eyes on the same account can also be helpful when you’re balancing the books and making purchasing decisions.

You may think that you’re able to make a purchase, but your partner can double-check your numbers to be completely sure.

Speed

You’ve found the perfect office space for your growing team and the realtor you’re talking to wants you to make an offer fast. Unfortunately, your partner has your bank account information, and they’re on vacation for the next 10 days.

Working out of a single bank account can seriously slow down some of the work and decisions you want to make.

When you have a joint account, you won’t have to worry about delaying any important purchasing decisions. As long as you have your account information, you can make purchases whenever you want.

Extra Insurance

You’d like to think that every deposit you make is foolproof, but you never know what can go wrong.

The person that wrote you a cheque may have miscalculated how much they have in their account. It’s even possible that the bank itself could have problems with clearing deposits.

You may not know this, but both the FDIC and NCUA provide $250,000 of federally backed insurance coverage for each depositor. This is done in case of bank failure.

If you open a joint account with your business partner, that $250,000 will turn into $500,000. This can give you some extra much-needed protection in case anything goes wrong. 

Joint Bank Account Cons

So far it may seem like opening a joint account could be the best thing you do for your business, but it isn’t for everyone.

There are plenty of benefits that come with having a joint account, but there are downsides too. Before you decide on opening your joint account, make sure you keep these potential downsides in mind.

No Individual Protection 

Depending on how you set up your account, creditors could have the ability to claim funds in your shared account.

If your partner is going through financial trouble or a legal matter like a divorce or lawsuit, the money you have in your joint account could be used to settle legal matters. 

You may have deposited the vast majority of the money into the account, but since the account will be in both of your names, you could lose money if creditors come after your partner.

Security Concerns 

If you give more than one person access to your secure bank account, you’ll leave yourself open to potential problems with security. 

Your business partner may accidentally lose their wallet or have it stolen. Someone getting a hold of their debit card could be enough to drain the money you have. 

Physical things don’t have to be stolen for your account to be compromised. Logging in to your bank account of a public device and forgetting to log out could be enough to put your business finances at risk.

Choose Wisley 

Ultimately, you should only open a joint bank account with your business partner if you truly trust them. 

You won’t want to share a joint account with someone that has a history of making bad money decisions, isn’t responsible, or could have serious legal trouble on the horizon. 

Do you have more questions about baking for your business? We have a lot of helpful content that can help business owners make the best decisions possible around their banking needs.

Be sure to browse all of the content in our banking tagged posts so you can learn everything you need to know about banking when you own a business.

How to Get a Secured Business Line of Credit the Right Way

A secured business line of credit is one of the best loans an owner can get.

Business is all about maximizing profits and earning a passive income. Unfortunately, not everyone has the necessary funds to start a business. This can leave many people struggling to figure out how they’ll start the business of their dreams.

Businesses borrow money for a variety of reasons, mostly to invest and make purchases benefit them. While there are a plethora of loan types, a line of credit is the only type that allows a business to keep borrowing. 

Keep on reading to learn more about lines of credit and how to get one!

What Is a Secured Business Line of Credit?

A secured business line of credit is a type of loan that you can use whenever you’d like. The line of credit (LOC) is the maximum amount that you’re able to borrow.

One of the most common lines of credit is the credit card. A credit card can be used continuously, so businesses can opt for these or other types of LOC.

If your LOC is £5,000, you can’t borrow past that. However, you can continue to borrow providing that you pay some of the money back. If you’ve maxed out your line of credit, paying off £1,000 would allow you to start borrowing up to £1,000 again. 

What makes a secured line of credit different from an unsecured line of credit is that, unlike an unsecured LOC, you need to provide collateral.

Collateral can come in the form of many things. When it comes to businesses, they’ll usually offer property and equipment as collateral.

Obtaining Traditional Bank Credit

A line of credit can be acquired at most banks and credit institutions. Many businesses will opt for traditional bank credit because it’s secure and can provide a lot of funds. The best private banks have better rates than public ones, so consider that when you’re looking for a loan.

Depending on your credit, you can get a high borrowing limit with low interest rates providing that you’re making minimum payments. 

Newer businesses will need to apply for a secured line of credit because they’ll have a hard time proving their financial eligibility. As your business establishes itself, you can start looking into unsecured LOCs. Keep in mind that you’ll have to pay high interest rates if you go for unsecured ones.

Banks often require borrowers to have a good credit score, so it may be difficult to obtain a LOC if you have a poor score or little to no credit history.

Small Business Loans

Small business loans are designed to help startup businesses get their feet off the ground. With this type of loan, you’re guaranteed low interest rates and can borrow several million.

You can get them at most banks, similar to traditional bank credit. Be sure to look at the terms and conditions of the loan. You’ll want to know the interest rate and the duration of the repayment period.

Seeking Out Investors

Seeking an investor is a great source of an LOC because they can provide a cash reserve when you need money. Investors regularly put their money into things like stocks, but you can ask them for direct money and offer them something in return.

When an investor buys a stock, they technically become an owner of the company. If you’re trying to borrow money from them, you could offer partial ownership similar to that of a stock.

You can also work out a deal in which they offer a continuous flow of money, essentially providing you with revolving debt.

No matter what you do, ensure that you have everything in a written, legally binding agreement. This protects both you and your investors in case someone doesn’t fulfil their end of the deal.

How to Guarantee That You’re Approved

Businesses have to go through a business credit application process similar to the loan process that most individuals go through. As an owner, you’ll need to meet with a lender and convince them that you’re suitable for a loan.

Do the following to guarantee that you’re approved:

Improve Your Credit Score

To get a loan of any kind, you’ll need to have a decent credit score. When it comes to a business line of credit, lenders will want to see that you’ve previously had an LOC and have managed to pay it off. 

What builds credit is paying off debt and reducing how much you borrow. The best way to do this is to start putting most of your money into the debt with the highest interest rate. While doing this, make minimum payments on your other debts to continue raising your score.

Bring Financial Records

You need to show up with organized records of your finances. This will include things like documentation of income, previous debts, and receipts of your payments. Being organized will look good to the lender and you’ll be able to present them anything when they ask.

Start Considering a Secured Business Line of Credit

If you own a business or would like to start one, a secured business line of credit can help you get ahead by providing the funds to make bigger purchases. While it’s possible to find success without borrowing, paying out of pocket will be difficult if you don’t have much money saved.

We encourage you to start looking into various banks and decide whether you should get a secured line of credit. If you have the funds to operate a business without borrowing, avoid getting an LOC so that you don’t have to pay interest.

Browse our business section to learn more about business-related finances and tips.

Types of Investment Banking Services and How They Can Help Your Business

Your business is going to disappear into the void if you try to expand. It’s going to vanish into the gaping maw of capitalism, shredded to microscopic pieces. The public won’t even blink.

Okay, so it won’t be that bad. But the higher on the totem pole your company tries to get, the more danger you put yourself in of entering total doom. What options can you pursue to prevent that?

You’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you all about the different types of investment banking services and how they can help your business! 

Are you ready? Then let’s jump right into it!

What Is An Investment Bank?

To keep it simple, investment banks are banks created for boosting the funds of organizations like corporations and divisions of the government. These banks will often be privately owned (like Citi Private Bank or Pictect) and will have whole teams of people working on a project at a time.

These banks will often serve as the go-between for your company and private investors you’re looking to get money from. Think of them like the cream holding the Oreo of your company and the investors together: they make all your negotiations and deals quicker and easier. 

The banks divide into three sections: the front (where all the direct service, advising and investing happens), the middle (the research/IT guys), and the back (HR, day-to-day organization, etc).  You will be dealing with the “front” most of the time, but it’s important to know the other parts in case you require their services.

Investment banks break down into three types: elite boutique, middle-market, and bulge bracket. Bulge bracket banks are the “big dogs” of the banking sphere: they handle operations all over the world, and they tend to lean toward investments in the billions. Middle-market is a smaller-scale version of bulge bracket: they work globally too, but opt for lower-end investments. 

Finally, elite boutique banks are the regional variants of the bulge bracket banks. They handle big-scale investments but focused on a specific area with a smaller staff. There are extra variants of boutique banks that keep the regional focus but handle more reasonably-sized investments.

So what can these banks do for you?

The Different Types Of Investment Banking Services

One of the major services investment banks will offer you is underwriting. Underwriting is an agreement where someone can take on some of the risks (financially speaking) of a company or policy. In exchange, they take a flat sum upfront.

In this case, the bank won’t need to find a third party to finance the agreement: they’ll do it themselves. Bankers at these companies will buy your stock and then attempt to market it off to other investors, or skip the buying step and be your very own salesmen.

This can also have the effect of increasing the chance that investors will get in on your business, as the bank taking stock shows them you have some credibility to your name.

Skipping the buying step is less common than you may think, however: the bankers get no flat sum if they don’t buy, meaning their income relies on how much of your stock they sell. So unless they want to go broke, they’ve got some motivation to fight like hell for your business. 

Another service investment banks will offer you is matching you up with investors. The process will entail you and the bank working together to find tiny groups of investors that you can privately sell your stock or securities to. If you’re not looking to go all in on public stock, this may be the option for you.

Public Stock And Other Investment Banking Services

Investment banks are tailor-made to help you with getting your IPO (initial public offering) off the ground. They can do everything from advising you on the right price to debut your public shares at to helping first-time business owners navigate the paperwork and legalese-filled world of the stock market.

If public shares aren’t your speed, or you’ve already gone down that route, investment banks can also advise you on any mergers or acquisitions your company is undertaking. This “division” of investment banking splits into two sections: the buyers and the sellers.

Both divisions will look at their respective companies’ finances and tell them if the merger is a good idea, in addition to creating a basic plan and price for both companies to go off of. They’ll even assist at discussions if you need them to, helping to keep the process smooth and civil.

These negotiations will also be determined via the “type” of bank you’re in: higher investment talks will need to go to bigger banks.

Before You Start Investment Banking

Despite all the services they offer, investment banks can be very costly, so it’s important to do your research before you hop on board. Try to pay attention to global or national events and how they could affect the market: recently, investment bankers have jumped ship on deals or stocks in China due to the Coronavirus.  

Another factor to consider is the power you are handing the bank over your company. This is more important if you take the route of investment bankers buying shares in your company. They will have your best financial interest in mind, but if you pride complete freedom and autonomy in running your business, it will be something you should think about first.

Taking Your Next Steps In The Banking World

Congrats! You are now equipped with the basic knowledge you need to test all the types of investment banking services and have an estimate as to whether it’s right for you!

If you have more questions about investment banking or more happening in the wide world of finance, check out some of the other posts on our blog!

So until next time, play it smart and keep a financial eye out: if you play your cards right in investment banks, you could be the next big business juggernaut.

Managed IT specialist expands to larger premises following glut of major contract wins

Nottinghamshire-based managed IT services specialist Octavian IT has celebrated winning a plethora of major projects by expanding into larger premises.

Managed IT specialist expands to larger premises following glut of major contract wins
Managed IT specialist expands to larger premises following glut of major contract wins

The Cyber Essentials-accredited company saw its annual recurring revenue increase by £78,000 over the last 3 months after snagging six prestigious contracts, several of which are with companies operating in the security industry. 70 per cent of the Octavian IT’s revenue now comes from highly-regulated, security-based industries.

The firm, which also recently added three new recruits to its team, has now moved to more extensive offices in Bingham as its rapid expansion continues.

One new contract valued at more than £142,000 over 2 years will see Octavian install IT and phone systems and provide ongoing 24/7 IT support and maintenance cover for a major London-based security services provider. The London firm has recently built a bespoke 7 figure ARC (alarm receiving centre) in the Midlands to service UK and international CCTV and physical security monitoring contracts.

Octavian IT also recently completed a major project which involved moving the longstanding accountancy practice to a new cloud-based centralised server system in Microsoft Azure, installing a cloud-based phone system and facilitating and managing IT systems at the firm’s new office in Twyning.

In addition, the cyber security specialist has set up IT systems for a high-end US footwear brand’s new site in London and will now provide full IT support to a London and Midlands-based logistics group.

The new contracts add to Octavian IT’s already-burgeoning client base, which includes four fully-contracted US companies, two of which operate in the medical industry.

Octavian IT Managing Director Ben Solomon said: “The past three months have been an exciting time for Octavian IT. We have added three new members of staff tour growing team, increased our revenue significantly and won six major contracts.

“We are continuing to make inroads into the security sector, and recently became Cyber Essentials accredited, which demonstrates our commitment to our own internal cyber security standards and protection of our clients systems. We’re pushing now for the next phase which is Cyber Essentials Plus, followed by the ISO standards.

“The speed and scale of our expansion made it necessary to take larger premises, which we have now done. We’re now looking forward to a busy and prosperous year ahead.”


Octavian IT is part of the award-winning multi-service provider Octavian Group.

Restoring competition in ”winner-took-all” digital platform markets

Competition law and policy can help ensure open and accessible markets with fair and reasonable terms for businesses

Digital platforms are at the centre of the global economy and daily lives of consumers.

A handful of these platforms have become dominant in specific markets without facing meaningful competition. They include Amazon as a marketplace, Facebook in social networking, Google in search engines and Apple and Google in application stores.

Digital platforms rely on big data and are characterized as multisided markets with economies of scale, network effects and winner-takes-all features.

These firms offer their products for “free” on one side of the market and earn revenues from online advertising and selling user data on the other side of the market.

Digital Platforms

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The growing market power of these platforms raises concerns not only for consumers and smaller businesses but also for competition authorities.

Consumers not in control

Consumers can no longer control the use of their data.

Smaller businesses face unfair market conditions, where they compete with big platforms that offer services by self-preferencing their own products. It is now widely recognized that these markets cannot self-correct.

What needs to be done?

One effective response is competition law and policy that promotes open and accessible markets with fair and reasonable terms for businesses.

This goal is more pronounced in highly concentrated digital markets, where large platforms’ market power is enduring.

The most important competitive threats to monopolists are likely to come from new entrants, which are vulnerable to exclusionary conduct or anticompetitive acquisitions.

Governments should have in place relevant policies and legal frameworks to overcome different challenges of the platform economy. These include competition, consumer protection and data protection policies and legislation.

Adapt to new realities

There is a need for adapting competition law enforcement tools to new business realities by revising laws like in Germany and Austria or issuing regulations or guidelines as has been done in Kenya and Japan.

A 2017 law revision in Germany incorporated in the assessment of the market power of firms in the digital economy such criteria as direct and indirect network effects, parallel use of services from different providers and switching costs for users.

It also factored in economies of scale in connection with network effects, access by firms to data relevant for competition and innovation-driven competitive pressure.

This amendment allowed the Federal Cartel Office in Germany to consider these criteria in analyzing Facebook’s dominance in the social network market during its investigation into Facebook between March 2016 and February 2019. 

Merger control regimes should enable competition authorities to scrutinize the acquisition of start-ups by major platforms.

Merger analysis needs to incorporate the role of data in acquiring and sustaining market power and establishing entry barriers to new firms, thereby affecting future competition and innovation.

Not only free but also fair competition

It is important to ensure not only free but also fair competition. This is more so in digital markets, where smaller firms face challenges in their contractual relationship with big platforms.

Competition law provisions on unfair trade practices and abuse of superior bargaining position, as found in competition laws of Japan and the Republic of Korea, would empower competition authorities in protecting the interests of smaller firms vis-à-vis big platforms. 

Developing countries could consider this policy measure in revising their competition legislation or introduce a separate regulation concerning digital platforms’ dealings with their business users.

Such measures could facilitate entry of local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to platform markets, thereby allowing developing countries to reap the benefits of the digital economy.

This is important as SMEs are crucial to job creation and innovation.

Both the implementation of fair competition legislation and review of acquisitions of startups by dominant platforms could play an important role in maintaining an inclusive, competitive and fair business environment in the digital economy. This might eventually enhance innovation.

Apt taxation policy needed

Another critical element needed to ensure fair competition is an appropriate taxation policy. A significant proportion of the value created in the digital economy results from users who provide data.

The current international corporate tax system is not adapted to the digital economy. There is not yet a common understanding of “value creation” for taxation purposes in the digital economy.

This leads to a disconnect between where value is generated and where taxes are paid. According to the UNCTAD Digital Economy Report 2019, taxes paid abroad by Facebook represented only 2.9% of the profits it generated outside the United States in 2017.

Ideally, an international taxation system, which is agreed upon by all countries, and recognizes the main aspects of digital businesses that have significant implications for taxation, should be put in place.

Drawing the Line on Free Business Giveaways

There are few business marketing practices that have stood the test of time as well as free giveaways. Whether offering products or services, this arm of advertising is popular for a reason. It gives customers a chance to get something for nothing, and it gives a business an opportunity to illustrate their strengths to the greater market. When done right, in many ways, it can be a win-win.

With that that in mind, it’s also important to remember that this can be a dangerous game. Making an avoidable mistake, or working without full comprehension of the possible positives and negatives of a position, can put both finances and reputations at risk.

When Should Giveaways be Avoided?

One of the biggest issues with free giveaways is how nebulous the results can be in terms of costs and benefits. Larger businesses might have the ability to hire marketing firms or invest in research to accurately predict the outcome of a free giveaway but, for small to medium-sized businesses, such actions can be an impossibility.

To address this issue, it can be a good idea to look at the worst possible outcome of a free giveaway, and check whether or not a bottom-line can afford the hit. Imagine a struggling Ford garage offering incentive projects where specific vehicles purchased within a set time-frame go into a draw to be fully paid off by the dealership. In the worst-case scenario, no more cars would be sold than usual, effectively adopting an enormous financial hit for zero real monetary rewards.

Businesses also need to know that not all that glitters is gold, and not everything that is offered for free is appreciated. While this is only one aspect of the free giveaway game, it is one of the most fundamental features, which even the biggest businesses can overlook.

Drawing the Line on Free Business Giveaways
Drawing the Line on Free Business Giveaways. Source: Pixabay

Take, for example, how Apple made headlines by giving away a free U2 album to iTunes users back in 2014. Apple saw this is a way to give people some of what everyone loved. Unfortunately for them, they vastly overestimated U2’s actual appeal. On top of this, the act of downloading the album automatically onto people’s devices used up room and bandwidth and messed with their shuffle functions.

In other words, just because you have the stock, doesn’t mean customers will necessarily care. Instead of such a broad shotgun approach, it’s best to narrow your sights to those who show informed interest.

When Should Free Giveaways be Used?

The most important part of this question lies, again, with the potential cost. Can a business afford the cost no matter the outcome? Then, and only then, should the business continue with this plan of action.

In the modern age, free giveaways are used to draw attention to not just a business as a whole, but also to a specific part of a business. This saw an enormous take-off at the turn of the new millennium as businesses increasingly turned to creating their own websites and, more importantly, online ordering systems.

Drawing the Line on Free Business Giveaways
Drawing the Line on Free Business Giveaways. Source: Pixabay

Online ordering and interaction systems are an enormous boost for businesses, in that they free up man-hours for staff, they can handle much more traffic than direct human interaction can, and they can operate 24/7. In these instances, free giveaways tied to online ordering systems could create unprecedented leaps in productivity. Walmart was one such example of this, where already legendary convenience was raised to an entirely new level.

More recently, this has taken the form of mobile-focused ordering systems. As more users turn to mobiles for internet use, this has again pushed for fresh illumination. Again, smaller free promotions can drive engagement, and can help spread word of mouth. This can be especially useful for businesses offering smaller goods and services, as they won’t have to eat significant costs. This might not matter so much for Walmart-sized franchises, but it will for almost everyone else.

Another method, as utilized by some businesses, is to extend already common bonuses one step further. For example, some businesses, such as online casinos for example, have long offered deposit matches as bonuses for new users, to the point where these are usually standard. New casinos, trying something different, turned to giving away no deposit bonuses, effectively one-upping the competition.

Of course, this particular industry can protect itself from what is known as wagering requirements, but the general concept of one-upmanship can still apply to a wide range of other markets.

Looking From Inside and Out

Measuring when a free giveaway is and isn’t worth the effort means walking a balancing act. What works for one industry or business might not work for another, even if the two are nearly identical. Because of this, the most important part is not to get lazy, and not to make assumptions on what will work.

By taking a step back from the industry, and doing individual research on what customers want, it can be possible to gain a much clearer picture. Work for success, but protect against failure. Try something new, but observe what others have done that worked and didn’t. Remember that there is no easy solution, but performed at the right place and the right time, a free giveaway can be a business-saver.

Ideagen Reaches For The Stars With Agreement with Top US Space Discovery Company

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Becomes The Latest Customer of Pentana Audit

Leading global provider of governance, risk and compliance software, UK company Ideagen Plc, has signed a long-term contract with California-based constructor and operator of planetary robotic spacecraft, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Founded in the 1930s, JPL is a federally funded research and development centre managed for NASA by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech). The lab’s current major projects include the Mars Science Laboratory mission (which includes the Curiosity rover), the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. JPL is also responsible for operating NASA’s Deep Space Network.

Ideagen has a close relationship with the US Institute of Internal Auditors, which means companies using the Pentana software have the comfort of knowing their audits are being done to the standards expected by the Institute and comply with the guidance it issues.

JPL operates in a highly sensitive and regulated environment and the need for security and top-quality governance processes is paramount. Ideagen’s Pentana Audit solution offered the lab the benefits of leading software together with the flexibility of both cloud-based and on-premise data storage options.

Colin Smith, Head of Sales, Audit & Risk at Ideagen, commented: “Companies are placing increasing importance on compliance and good governance, driven in part by some very high-profile failures of governance by large organisations in recent years. Ideagen’s Pentana software is tried, tested and ensures internal audits are carried out to the standards expected by the US Institute of Internal Auditors. 

“JPL are dealing with incredibly complicated and potentially life changing endeavours. We are extremely proud to have been chosen by them and look forward to helping to ease their burden when it comes to the audit process.”

easyJet and Travelport to target diversified traveller growth

UK, 29 January 2020: easyJet, Europe’s leading airline, has announced the renewal of its long-standing content partnership with Travelport, a leading technology company serving the global travel and tourism industry.

In partnering with Travelport, travel agencies around the world will continue to benefit from real-time access to easyJet’s range of fares through the company’s market-leading technology platform, Travelport Smartpoint.

easyJet will also benefit from access to the full suite of Travelport’s digital media merchandising solutions in line with the airline’s strategy to refine and diversify the way it targets business and leisure travellers.

Thomas Haagensen, Group Markets Director at easyJet, said: “easyJet offers an unrivalled network flying to more primary airports on the top 100 European routes than any other carrier which means we are ideally placed to meet the expectations of where our customers want to fly for business. Having been one of the first airlines in the low-cost sector to make its inventory available through global distributor, Travelport, we continue to deliver on our strategy to increase our appeal, especially to the business travel sector and are pleased to have renewed our partnership.

easyJet will remain among the 300 airlines that utilise Travelport’s innovative merchandising tool, Travelport Rich Content and Branding. Travelport Rich Content and Branding enables airlines to more effectively display their products in line with how they are sold on their own websites, with detailed product descriptions and imagery that enhances the experience for travel agents looking to search, sell and book branded fare families.

Mike Rock, Head of Europe, Air Partners at Travelport, said: “The way that business and leisure travellers make travel choices continues to evolve and diversify as new and emerging technologies, and industry standards improve the experience of buying and managing travel. Our longstanding relationship with easyJet has enabled the airline to develop a multi-channel global sales strategy and we’re looking forward to working with the team to support its ambition for growth in Europe and beyond.”

Crypto Gambling Grows In Popularity Despite Calls For More Regulation

A new crypto asset regulation drafted and passed by the House of Representatives in Japan is expected to have a serious effect on the way custodians and exchanges do business in the country. The Financial Instruments and Exchange Act and the Payment Services Act is set to keep a keener eye on players in the crypto industry at a time when the crypto gambling industry in Japan is fighting through already restrictive gaming regulations.

Crypto Gambling Grows In Popularity Despite Calls For More Regulation

Joseph D. Hugh is the CFO of Jukebucks, a platform that facilitates international cryptocurrency betting. Hugh says the strict regulations Japan has regarding gambling, in general, has been passed over to the crypto gambling industry. Hugh explains it is not an easy thing for the country to completely deny players access to the gambling industry, but Japan keeps tabs on players under the pretense of tax monitoring.

Despite the restrictions that exist in Japan, lawmakers in the country agreed a little more than a year ago to allow physical gambling locations in the country.

Hugh says Japan will begin allowing offline casino betting in the country following the 2020 Olympics. He says it is unclear at this time what business entities may be in line to receive casino licenses but these permits will be issued for casinos in Osaka, Tokyo, Hokkaido, and Okinawa. It is presumed by experts in the industry, Japan will lessen restrictions on online casino play in the country after the offline industry is established.

The “integrated resorts” stamp of approval was given by the Japanese government some time ago but the effects have yet to trickle down to the gambling industry.

Integrated resorts are entertainment complex that showcases a comprehensive set of entertainment venues. Casinos are often counted among the group of business establishments part of an integrated resort. Other attractions include shopping malls, movie theaters, theme parks, and hotels.

Japan and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have appeared to be more willing to introduce legislation to benefit casinos in recent times. However, this enthusiasm does not seem to translate to crypto gambling possibilities.

Japanese Crypto Gambling

One would think that crypto gambling is much more prevalent in Japan than it is once taking a look at the abundance of regulations the country has put together on the matter. Much of the regulation is seen as a response to the 2014 collapse of the crypto-exchange Mt. Gox that was headquartered in the country.

Tron is a blockchain network that reports it is working on the infrastructure that will facilitate a completely decentralized internet. In 2019, Tron disallowed gambling apps in its app store after being pressured by the government of Japan to do so.

The Chief Technology Officer for Tron at the time of the decision to block the gambling apps, Lucien Chen, was so upset by the decision he left the company. Chen said there was a breakdown between the company’s claim to be a decentralized entity and the actions it was taken against the gambling apps.

How It Works?

There are two ways that blockchain gambling can take place. The first is off-chain gambling while the other is on-chain.

Off-chain gambling takes place whenever physical gambling locations like casinos agree to accept cryptocurrency as a form of gambling currency used to deposit into a casino account. A third-party custodian is then used by these establishments to convert cryptocurrencies into fiat money. However, casinos do exist that operate completely on Bitcoin and do not make use of fiat currency.

Smart contracts are utilized on a blockchain to facilitate on-chain gambling. A decentralized application is also needed that makes use of backend code that runs on a network for blockchain and not a traditional server.

Off-chain casinos are much easier targets for governments who wish to either regulate or eliminate crypto gambling. Websites that allow crypto gambling will often ban IP addresses that originate in certain countries. For example, users in America will find they are unable to access gaming sites that accept Bitcoin from their home location.

It is important to understand that on-chain gambling sites are not completely immune from government regulations. A good example of this is Tron’s refusal to share access to its gambling apps to users with Japanese addresses. However, the same users can access the apps if they use a VPN.

Global Crypto Gambling Regulations

The regulations most countries have in place to govern gambling that takes place online have been in place for quite a few years now. However, only a few countries have so far specifically addressed the issue of crypto gambling. Countries that have established crypto gambling regulations include the Netherlands, the United States, Poland, Greece, Belgium, and Italy.

In countries that do not consider Bitcoin a legal method of pay it is not acceptable to fund gambling efforts with the currency. However, lawmakers in these countries will need to make the regulations regarding this matter clearer for gamblers, casinos, and themselves.

Japan, a nation whose gambling revenue slightly outpaces the revenue produced by Nevada in the United States, is one of these countries in need of better clarity.

A number of online gambling platforms exist in the United Kingdom that will allow players to fund their accounts with Bitcoin. These providers of gambling services are subject to the same laws that govern the operations of other establishments in the gambling industry. Sportsbetting is popular in the United Kingdom and this is reflected by the number of sports betting websites available that allow users to place wagers using cryptocurrencies.

The U.K. Gambling Commission urges citizens to use caution when using Bitcoin to fund gambling accounts. The commission explains there are inherent risks with using Bitcoin that is not present with the use of fiat currencies.

Gamblers are quick to point out the benefits afforded to them by the use of bitcoin. The first is privacy. Users are not required to reveal personal information when they use Bitcoin to facilitate a transaction. Bitcoin does not allow for total anonymity, however. Most countries make it necessary for individuals to share their identity before converting their Bitcoin to the fiat currency of their choice.

Coins like Zcash and Monero are not as popular as Bitcoin but offer users more protection to their identity. These coins are known to thwart attempts by regulators to gain access to personal information regarding coin holders and many supporters of regulations believe tighter controls should be exercised on these coins.

It may not be obvious to some who abhor the many regulations in place but the global gambling industry is slowly becoming more accepting of cryptocurrency. The effect can even be seen in Las Vegas, a place many believe to be the gambling capital of the world, where Bitcoin is being accepted in a few major establishments. The trend of increased acceptance for cryptocurrencies is expected to increase with time.

First Head of Fintech Strategy & Commercialisation Named at Shawbrook Bank

UK fintech market veteran, Stuart Doignie, has been appointed as Shawbrook looks to scale-up and evolve its specialist SME lending proposition

Stuart Doignie Head of Fintech Strategy & Commercialisation

Specialist SME lender, Shawbrook Bank, has started the new decade by appointing its first Head of Fintech Strategy and Commercialisation.

Stuart Doignie, who is well known within the fintech industry, joins Shawbrook’s Business Finance Division as the Bank aims to become the UK’s SME lender of choice.

Mr. Doignie has held several senior roles within the fintech space and his appointment signals Shawbrook’s intent to adopt new technologies as it looks to evolve its specialist SME lending proposition.

As Head of Fintech Strategy & Commercialisation, his primary focus will be on the adoption of technology to advance the specialist SME lender’s own infrastructure but also to support the development of new products and to leverage wider initiatives such as Open Banking.

He said: “I’ve witnessed first-hand how technology is disrupting the SME finance landscape, particularly in the un-secured space.

“The really interesting challenge now is to see how technology can help business owners’ access more sophisticated forms of funding.

“With such a diverse range of specialist SME lending products, I believe Shawbrook is perfectly placed to become one of the first institutions to demonstrate how fintech can be deployed to transform not just distribution but funding solutions too.”

Well known across the fintech industry after holding senior roles including Head of SME at Starling Bank, Chief Risk Officer at ezbob and most recently Chief Commercial Officer at OpenPayd – a leader in the Banking-as-a-Service market – Mr. Doignie has helped pioneer the use of smart technology to provide new finance solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises throughout his career.

His first task at Shawbrook will be to source and deploy a leading cloud-based commercial lending platform. This platform will enable the Bank to develop and scale-up both established and recently launched products including Commercial Loan, Development Finance, Growth Capital and Unitranche.

Neil Rudge, Managing Director of Shawbrook’s Business Finance division, said: “As a specialist lender, focused entirely on UK SMEs, we’ve built a suite of funding products over recent years to address a breadth of needs.

“We’ll be making a number of investments in technology during 2020 to help us rapidly evolve and develop these products, reduce friction in their delivery, and reach more SMEs through slicker distribution.”

He added: “With Stuart’s experience and knowledge across the fintech sector, we’re well placed to create a truly scalable and unique tech infrastructure.”