Union Bank of the Philippines’ Private Banking bags 2 international awards for NextGen Academy

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank)’s Private Banking recently won two international awards – the Best NextGen Offering from The Digital Banker’s Global Private Banking Innovation Awards 2020, and Best for Wealth Transfer/Succession Planning from Asiamoney Private Banking Awards 2020, for its pioneering program Next Generation (NextGen) Academy.

UnionBank Best Next-Gen Offering

The Digital Banker awards ceremony, meant to honor the world’s best-in-class private banks that demonstrate unrivalled drive and innovation to meet the sophisticated need of their high net worth clients – lauded the NextGen Academy that seeks to empower and set the entrepreneurial foundation for next-generation family business leaders.

Meanwhile, Asiamoney, in a statement, recognized UnionBank’s “digital-first approach” that is “already likely to appeal to younger clients, who demand instant access to their banking services through mobile apps rather than visits to branches.”

Succession Planning

Asiamoney commended the NextGen Academy for being a sensible way to break into the wealth transfer business by putting emphasis on the next generation of clients and ensuring that UnionBank will be among the next generation of private banks of choice.

While still relatively new to the wealth and asset management landscape in the Philippines, UnionBank Private Banking understands the importance of pairing global expertise and networks with local experience and relationships, thus establishing an academy for the Next Generation – the first-of-its-kind in the local private banking landscape.

“We want to be a part of our client’s wealth management journey, to grow, to keep and to pass on their wealth to their successors. This award is an affirmation of UnionBank Private Banking’s commitment to unlock possibilities and empower our clients to navigate their wealth towards financial legacy,” said Atty. Arlene Agustin, UnionBank’s Private Banking head.

Starting as a standalone conference in 2016, the Next Generation Academy has evolved into a program of multiple relevant modules, spanning several months of classroom sessions and workshops.

What differentiates the program is that it mirrors the structure of an academy, wherein the so-called NextGen would enroll, attend, and actively participate in all the prescribed modules.

Each classroom session is carefully curated to focus on a certain aspect of wealth management and succession, allowing the participants to be fully immersed in the discussion.

The NextGen Academy is an excellent avenue for participants to gain valuable insights and training from subject matter experts to help prepare them not only for their roles in the family business, but also for the reins of their families’ legacies to be handed over to them.

The academy also allows the NextGen participants to further network and develop invaluable close ties with regional peers from Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, and China, among others, through a premier platform called the Masters Series that is organized by UnionBank Private Banking’s strategic ally, leading global wealth and asset manager Lombard Odier.

Trump Inspires

President Donald Trump has become the unlikely saviour of the long-suffering book publishing industry. In the run-up to the election, and his possible eviction from the White House, publishers are scrambling to release a veritable tsunami of tell-all books by former associates of Mr Trump, most of whom have an axe to grind.

In September, legendary journalist Bob Woodward of Watergate fame, is expected to release the sequel to his 2018 bestseller Fear: Trump in the White House that sold well over two million copies. Meanwhile, former Trump lawyer, confidante, and fixer Michael Cohen is scribbling a highly anticipated book of revelations that promises to hit the president where it hurts.

On a lighter note, novelist and satirist Christopher Buckley promises the inside scoop on the Trump Administration in his upcoming Make Russia Great Again, the (fake) musings of Herb Nutterman, the president’s fictional seventh chief of staff. However, truth is stranger than fiction: Mr Buckley saw some of his previous work overtaken by reality.

Scheduled for release on August 11, just two weeks before the Republican National Convention in, Mary Trump’s Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man is already a bestseller in pre-sales on Amazon. The president’s niece is said to lift the veil on Mr Trump’s tax affairs, including details on systemic tax dodging and evasion that could well pique the interest of public prosecutors.

Lawyers for the Trump family are frantically trying to stop the publication of the book, but their efforts have so far failed to impress New York publishing house Simon & Schuster which already warehoused 75,000 copies with new print runs adding to the pile weekly. At least a few of the stored bombshell books are likely to be misplaced by careless warehouse workers and find their way to the press.

Authors and journalists have found the Trump Administration particularly inspiring. CNN Chief White House Correspondent and Antagonist Jim Acosta dished up the dirt in last year’s The Enemy of the People: A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth in America (US publishers have a penchant for long titles) whilst far-right media pundit Ann Coulter switched from tearing down Bill and Hillary Clinton to celebrating Donald Trump as the by far greatest man to ever hold the presidency in In Trump We Trust: E Pluribus Awesome!. Interestingly, Ms Coultier has toned down considerably as of late.

In Understanding Trump, former speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, declares his undying love for the billionaire president. The book, described in reviews as a series of platitudes, sold poorly but did manage to reach the top of the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller List thanks to a reported $100K wholesale order placed by the Republican National Convention.

By last count, some fifty major works of nonfiction have been published on the life and times of Mr Trump. The one by former National Security Advisor John Bolton – The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir – ruffled a few feathers but ultimately failed in its stated mission to destabilise, and perhaps even topple, the president.

As often happens with real-time history reporting, the quality of most books on Trump is either downright awful or, at best, tolerable. The imminent release of Bob Woodward’s latest tome may boost the overall readability of the body of work dedicated to the 45th US president. Expect the man himself to publish a book or two as well, after he has left the building. Donald Trump’s attention span may not exceed five minutes, he does like to churn out ghost written books on how to bluff, cheat, and elbow your way to riches. Lesson 1: Never admit defeat.

Is Investing in Green Energy Financially Savvy?

The global market for green energy is expected to grow to a value of $1.5 trillion by 2025. 

When you consider the fact that this was a market that barely existed a few decades ago, it’s obvious that investing in green energy has made many people rich. It’s also going to continue making people rich for as long as the world needs renewable energy, which is likely to be forever.

The question, therefore, is this: what is the best way to make money from the green revolution if you’re new to the game?

Read on as we look at the answer to that question and set you on the path to becoming a profitable green investor.

The Different Ways of Investing in Green Energy

There are many different ways to get exposure to green energy. The right one for you will depend on your risk appetite, the amount you want to invest, and whether you want to be actively involved in the investment.

We’ve looked at the different options in more detail here.

Starting a Business

If you want to take an active hand in the green energy market, you could set up a business in the field. There are a few different options here.

Wind and solar energy are the two main forms of renewable energy in the world today. If you enter this industry, you’ll likely be setting up either a wind farm or solar farm.

This is, of course, specialized work. You’ll need an educational background in energy or physics, and you may need prior professional experience of working with renewable energy.

In order to produce energy on an industrial scale, you’ll also need to make a considerable initial investment. Solar panels and wind turbines are both expensive to buy in bulk. They also take up considerable space, which means that you’ll need to have a large plot of land to work on.

Buying Stocks

If you don’t want to set up a green energy company yourself, you could choose to invest in one that’s already in operation.

There are many different options here, from established energy giants to brand new operations. The latter will not feature on public stock exchanges, however, so you’ll need to look to different investment platforms for these.

If you invest in a new start-up while its shares are cheap and it goes on to create highly valuable energy solutions, you could end up multiplying the value of your investment many times over. On the other hand, if the company goes bankrupt, you’ll lose all your money.

If you’d prefer a lower-risk stock investment, it might be a good idea to look for a publicly-traded, blue-chip green energy company.

Investing in a Green Mutual Fund or ETF

This is similar to investing in green stocks. It will offer passive exposure to the green energy market, giving you financial benefits if and when the market as a whole improves.

The key difference between this and the option of buying company shares is the risk-reward profile. Because funds diversify your investment across a large number of ventures, you won’t lose all your money because of one company’s bad decisions.

However, you will also have a much more limited growth capacity. 

There are a couple of important differences between an ETF and a mutual fund. Most significantly, a mutual fund is actively managed, which means that fund managers will pick up and drop stocks in real time on the basis of market trends.

ETF managers, on the other hand, pick a basket of stocks or index at the fund’s inception and leave them in place regardless of trends. Because of this passive strategy, ETF fees tend to be much lower.

Setting Up Solar Panels or a Windmill

This admittedly isn’t an investment in the business sense. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great bet.

Recent COVID-19-related dips aside, fossil fuels are getting more expensive. As oil-producing countries tinker with the supply chain and the reserves of natural fuel continue to dwindle, the price of non-renewable energy will eventually become unsustainable.

When that happens, the homes and businesses that are self-sufficient in terms of energy will be much better off. If you live in an area that gets a lot of sun or wind, this is something you should consider.

The Advantages of Investing in Green Energy

The main advantage of investing in green energy is the market outlook. There aren’t many industries with as bright a future as renewable energy.

Green companies also benefit from government subsidies and tax breaks in many areas. Because many places desperately need green energy, ruling bodies are happy to incentivize its development in whatever ways they can.

To make the most of this, you should research political attitudes to green energy in a given country before deciding to invest in a company from there.

Depending on the investment you make, you might also be helping to fund a company that makes a real breakthrough in the field of clean energy. There are countless capable energy specialists that only need start-up capital to start building the energy solutions of tomorrow.

Investing in the Energy Solution of Tomorrow

When it comes to investments with future value potential, you might find it difficult to come across a better option than green energy. Our planet’s energy requirements are massive, and continuously growing, while non-renewable energy resources continue to dwindle.

Investing in green energy is therefore likely to be a successful strategy. However, to make sure you take on an investment that suits your goals and outlook, you’ll need to do a little research on the various available options.

To learn more about investment opportunities, check out our finance section.

TISE announces succession plan for Group Chairman

The International Stock Exchange (TISE) has announced that Jon Moulton will be retiring as parent company Chairman and stepping down as a Director at the end of the year.

Jon Moulton TISE
Jon Moulton, Chairman of The International Stock Exchange Group (TISEG)

He will be succeeded as Chairman of The International Stock Exchange Group (TISEG) by Charlie Geffen, who currently occupies the Chair role within the regulatory subsidiary, The International Stock Exchange Authority (TISEA).

Mr Moulton said: “We have significantly changed the business since I got involved seven years ago and I am pleased to be handing over the reins with it in a much stronger position. I’d like to thank my fellow Directors and the Executive teams for everything they have done to assist in making this difference and I’m delighted to be leaving the business in the highly capable hands of Charlie Geffen.”

Charlie Geffen, Chairman of The International Stock Exchange Authority (TISEA)

Mr Geffen has been TISEA Chairman since January this year. He will remain in that role until the end of 2020, at which point he will relinquish his position as Chairman and Director of TISEA. He will become TISEG Chairman from January 2021.

Mr Geffen was previously at the law firm Ashurst for 32 years, the last five as the firm’s senior Partner and latterly, at the US law firm Gibson, Dunn & Cutcher where, as Chair of the Corporate Practice in London, he led the growth of its Transactional Practice which secured a number of high-profile M&A mandates. He is a trustee of the Institute of Cancer Research and a member of Council at Surrey University.

Mr Geffen said: “The period since I joined the group at the start of the year has coincided with the COVID-19 pandemic and the way in which the business has continued to operate smoothly is testament to our professional, committed teams. Jon will leave us in very good shape and I am looking forward to working with all internal and external stakeholders as we continue to improve the business.”

As a consequence of Mr Geffen’s appointment to the TISEG Board, an additional Non-Executive Director of TISEA will be recruited later in the year at which point there will be an announcement about the appointment of the new TISEA Chairman.

Anderson Whamond, Non-Executive Director of TISEG and Chairman of the Nominations Committee, said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I would like to place on record our utmost thanks to Jon for his extremely valuable contribution to the transformation of the business over the last seven years. At the same time, I’m delighted that he will be succeeded by Charlie, whom I look forward to joining the TISEG Board from the start of next year as we execute the next phase of the group’s strategy.”

Following the initial announcement in February, it has been confirmed that TISEG CEO, Fiona Le Poidevin, will leave the company on 27 July.

Mr Whamond added: “Once again, I’d like to thank Fiona for her significant contribution and commitment to the development of the company over the last five years. The process for recruiting her successor is progressing well, despite the difficulties and uncertainties posed by COVID-19. However, it will be some months before a successor is in place and in the meantime, the existing senior management team will assume those responsibilities, with additional oversight from the Board.”

Figures released today show that despite the continuing impact of COVID-19 on the broader market environment, volumes of new applications to list on TISE held up unexpectedly well during the second quarter of 2020.

Overall, there were 390 new listings admitted to the Official List of TISE during the first six months of 2020, which represents a rise of more than 60% year on year and takes the total number of securities listed on the market up to 3,030 at 30 June 2020.

About TISE

The International Stock Exchange provides a responsive and innovative listing facility for international companies to raise capital from investors based around the globe. TISE offers a regulated marketplace, with globally recognisable clients and a growing product range, from a premier location.

Headquartered in Guernsey and with offices in Jersey and the Isle of Man, TISE offers a convenient and cost-effective service for listing a wide range of securities, including trading companies, investment vehicles and specialist debt.

www.tisegroup.com

Islamic Development Bank Group in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Annual Investment Meeting to Host a Live Webinar

The webinar entitled, “IsDB Group Private Sector Action Response to COVID-19” will discuss the challenges facing the private sector and global economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

30 June, 2020, Dubai, UAE – The Islamic Development Bank Group in partnership with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Annual Investment Meeting, will conduct a live webinar entitled “IsDB Group Private Sector Action Response to COVID-19” on the 6th of July at 01:00 PM (KSA Time) to discuss the challenges facing the private sector and global economy during the COVID-19 outbreak.

H.E. Eng. Sultan Al Mansoori
H.E. Eng. Sultan Al Mansoori

The live session will also present the immediate joint action response of the IsDB Group Private Sector Entities namely, the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC), Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), in order to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar will discuss the future outlook to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the webinar will highlight the IsDB Group’s US$2.3 billion Strategic Preparedness and Response Programme for COVID-19 under its 3Rs approach “Respond, Restore and Restart”.

The keynote speakers who will share their in-depth perspectives in the webinar are Mr. Ousama Kaissi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC); Mr. Ayman Sejiny, the CEO & General Manager of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and Ms. Cornelia Meyer, the Chairman & CEO of Meyer Resources.

Mr. Ousama Kaissi, the Chief Executive Officer of The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) and one of the keynote speakers in the webinar, stated: “While the disruption to global trade and investment flows is unavoidable due to the unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential that institutions with the mandate and means to stabilize the trade ecosystem during the crisis heighten their efforts to do so. ICIEC is honoured to be a part of this webinar with the UAE Ministry of Economy and our IsDB Group peers in order to share how we are employing our multilateral insurance solutions toward the collective recovery of member countries.”

H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar
H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar

“The private sector can play a pivotal and proactive role to close funding gaps in the COVID-19 response. It is capable to minimize short-term risks to employees and long-term costs to businesses and the economy as a whole. ICD will work closely with 100+ local and regional financial institutions in its network to provide necessary support so they can continue to fund private sector, particularly SMEs in affected sectors within the markets they operate in” stated Mr. Ayman Sejiny, the CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and one of the keynote speakers in the webinar.

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and one of the keynote speakers in the webinar, stated: “Since the outbreak of the pandemic, ITFC has moved quickly to put in place emergency financing measures to ensure that member countries continue to receive the support needed. Our COVID-19 ‘Rapid Response Initiative’ (RRI) has made US$ 300 million immediately available. This has facilitated the immediate access to medical equipment, the supply of staple foods and critical energy needs. Continuing to work closely with IsDB and partners, ITFC is moving forward with its Recovery Response Plan (RRP) with the provision of US$550 million for deployment over the next two years. The RRP is aimed at fixing the socio-economic damage which is expected to last longer than immediate impact of the virus; including the provision of lines of financing to fund the private sector and SMEs.”

“It is a great privilege to be in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Economy and Islamic Development Bank Group in organizing this live webinar session that will tackle the major challenges currently being confronted by the private sector and the global economy as a whole,” Mr. Walid A. Farghal, Director General of the Annual Investment Meeting mentioned.

“The private sector is indispensable to economic growth. In fact, it contributes up to 90 per cent of employment and provides over 80 per cent of government revenues in developing countries. Thus, it is essential to highlight this huge initiative by the IsDB Group that enables the sectors adversely affected by COVID-19 to continue their business activities,” he furthered.

During the webinar, 3 online initiatives will be launched jointly by IsDB Group Private Sector Entities and AIM. These initiatives will support the private sector, trade and exports in OIC member countries and will be focusing on:

  • Digital Country Presentations: to promote and showcase the investment and trade opportunities in OIC member countries which will serve as a virtual gathering and strategic innovative platform to support the investors, government agencies, private institutions, investment promotion agencies to discuss the best possible means to attract FDI.
  • Startups Virtual Pitch Competition: to connect Startups globally and support them in meeting potential partners and investors from other parts of the world.
  • MADE IN…..SERIES: this digital platform is open to all SMEs who want to showcase and present their local products, project and services to international audience.

The webinar will gather more than 700 participants from multiple sectors across the globe such as government officials, Chairmen, Presidents & CEOs of local and international companies, multilateral and financial institutions, Chambers of Commerce & Industry, business associations, investment promotion agencies, individual investors, and entrepreneurs.

For further information, please refer to the following website (https://isdbg-psf.org/webinar)

About the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC)

Established 26 years ago in 1994 as a multilateral institution and member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, ICIEC was tasked to promote cross-border trade and foreign direct investments (FDI) in its Member Countries. To fulfill its mandate, ICIEC provides risk mitigation solutions to Member Country exporters. By protecting them from commercial and political risks, exporters are enabled to sell their products and services across the world. The multilateral credit insurer also provides risk protection to investors from across the world that seeks to invest in ICIEC’s Member Countries. To promote the sustainable economic development of its Member Countries, ICIEC – on a limited basis – can also support international exporters selling capital goods or strategic commodities to ICIEC’s Member Countries. In addition to its core business, ICIEC also offers technical assistance to Member Countries’ Export Credit Agencies. ICIEC’s mission is to make trade and investment between Member Countries and the world more secure through the Shariah-compliant risk mitigation tool. Its vision is to be recognized as the preferred enabler of trade and investment for sustainable economic development in Member Countries. ICIEC is the only multilateral export credit and investment insurance corporation in the world that provides Shariah-compliant insurance and reinsurance solutions. Today, ICIEC supports trade and investment flows in 47 Member Countries spanning across Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. Its target clients are corporates (both exporters and investors), banks and financial institutions as well as Export Credit Agencies and insurers.

About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD)

ICD is a multilateral development organization and a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. The mandate of ICD is to support economic development and promote the development of the private sector in its 55-member countries through providing financing facilities and/or investments in viable projects sponsored by eligible enterprises in accordance with the principles of Shari’ah. ICD also provides technical assistance and advisory services to member countries and their public and private enterprises with a view to improving the environment for private investment, facilitating the identification and promotion of investment opportunities, privatization of public enterprises and the development of the Islamic capital markets.  ICD applies Fintech to make finance more efficient and inclusive. ICD set up a platform built and centered on ICD relationship with 119 Financial Institutions. Through them, the IsDB Group in general and ICD in particular leverage access to the country and avail financing opportunities. For more information about ICD, visit www.icd-ps.org.

About the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC)

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC Member Countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$51 billion to OIC Member Countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for the Member Countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC Member Countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.

About the Islamic Development Bank Group Business Forum (THIQAH)

The Islamic Development Bank Group Business Forum (THIQAH) is the window of IsDB Group that facilitate contact and coordination between entities concerned of the IsDB Group and private sector firms and related institutions in IsDB Group member countries. The main objective of THIQAH is to establish a unique and innovative platform for dialogue, cooperation and inclusive partnership for business leaders committed to partnering in promising investment opportunities. THIQAH’s vision is to position itself as the leading business platform of the IsDB Group serving the private sector and maximizing the achievements of successful investment projects. Through facilitation and catalyst roles, THIQAH will be leveraging IsDB Group’s resources to offer necessary services and confidence to investors and to establish strategic partnerships with the leaders of the private sector in order to capitalize on their expertise and know-how on one hand, and to synergize with IsDB Group entities on the other. The primary focus will be on maximizing cross-border investment among member countries to be supported by IsDB Group’s financial products and services. (www.idbgbf.org).

About Annual Investment Meeting (AIM)

Annual Investment Meeting (AIM), the World’s Leading Investment Platform in the Middle East and North Africa, will hold its 10th at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Under the theme ‘Investing for the Future: Shaping the Global Investment Strategies’, AIM will gather high-ranking government officials, decision makers, corporate leaders, policy makers, businessmen, regional and international investors, entrepreneurs, leading academics and investment experts to address the global challenges of securing viable investment aimed at contributing to economic growth.

AIM has evolved from assisting emerging economies to attract FDIs. On its 10th edition, AIM will embrace a bigger challenge of enabling economic growth through its five pillars – FDIs, Startups, Future Cities, SMEs, Foreign Portfolio Investment, and special event One Belt and One Road.

AIM 2019 saw the participation of over 16,000 visitors, 436 exhibitors and co-exhibitors, 66 high-level dignitaries, more than 150 experts and investment specialists, and 143 country representations.

€60 million for innovators awarded under EIT Crisis Response Initiative

30 June 2020, Budapest, Hungary – Almost 1 500 innovators from 44 countries applied for the EIT’s € 60 million Crisis Response Initiative. The funds have now been unlocked by the EIT Governing Board to ensure critical support swiftly reaches entrepreneurs. This will allow high-impact start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs to benefit from additional funding under the ‘Venture Support Instrument’; and will enable the launch of new innovation projects tackling COVID-19 related challenges as part of the ‘Pandemic Response Projects. By deploying a rapid response mechanism, all EIT Crisis Response activities will be completed by the end of 2020 to help Europe recover.

Mariya Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, responsible for the EIT said: ‘This action of the EIT is part of the EU’s comprehensive response to the COVID-19 crisis, including substantial support to innovation. I am glad to see the efficient mobilisation of all EU instruments that we have at our disposal. Thanks to the EIT’s funding, hundreds of innovators and companies will be given the opportunity to participate in the collective effort to overcome this crisis and rebuild our economy sustainably.’

Under the EIT Crisis Response Initiative, each EIT Knowledge and Innovation Community launched Calls for Proposals for ventures and for innovation projects. Close to 1 500 proposals were received from 44 countries (including all 27 EU Member States as well as the Israel, Northern Macedonia, Norway, United Kingdom, Serbia, Switzerland and Turkey).

Dirk Jan van den Berg, Chair of the EIT Governing Board, added: ‘This is the EIT in action: agile mobilisation of Europe’s largest innovation community to deliver innovative solutions and a boost to Europe’s economy. With the EIT’s rapid response and additional € 60 million funding, our Knowledge and Innovation Communities will now ensure high-impact ventures and ground-breaking projects help accelerate Europe’s recovery. The submission of almost 1 500 proposals highlights the depth of talent of innovators and the need for crisis recovery support in Europe and beyond.’

The quality and relevance of the EIT’s eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities’ Calls for Proposals under the EIT Crisis Response Initiative were evaluated. Based on this, the EIT Governing Board decided to allocate the following grants: 

EIT Climate-KIC: EUR 8.40 million

EIT Digital: EUR 7.65 million 

EIT Food: EUR 10.25 million

EIT Health: EUR 9.85 million

EIT InnoEnergy: EUR 7.40 million

EIT Raw Materials: EUR 9.80 million

EIT Manufacturing: EUR 3.30 million

EIT Urban Mobility: EUR 3.35 million

 Following the EIT Governing Board decision, each EIT Knowledge and Innovation Community will now finalise its selection processes based on the available budget. It is foreseen that 60% of the EIT Crisis Response funds will be awarded to highly innovative start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs as part of the ‘Venture Support Instrument’, and 40% to innovation projects under the ‘Pandemic Response Projects’. More details on the selected ventures and innovation projects to be financed will be announced in the coming weeks.

BACKGROUND: EIT- MAKING INNOVATION HAPPEN!

What is the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT)?

The EIT strengthens Europe’s ability to innovate by powering solutions to pressing global challenges and by nurturing entrepreneurial talent to create sustainable growth and skilled jobs across Europe. The EIT is an EU body and an integral part of Horizon2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. The Institute supports the development of dynamic pan-European partnerships – EIT Knowledge and Innovation Communities – among leading companies, research labs and universities.

What is the EIT Crisis Response Initiative?

The EUR 60 million EIT initiative launched in May 2020 consists of two main tracks of activities to be implemented by the EIT’s eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities across Europe:

  • Venture Support Instrument: Start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs have been enormously impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Additional EIT support (financing, technical assistance and network) will help highly innovative ventures weather the crisis and accelerate their growth.
  • Pandemic Response Projects: More than ever, innovations and new solutions are needed to tackle the current crisis and prevent its resurgence. The EIT ecosystem is agile and will mobilise innovators to address the COVID-19 crisis, both in terms of the immediate health concerns and the wider response needed.

Learn more about the EIT Crisis Response Initiative in this factsheet.

EIT powers innovative solutions to global challenges

The EIT’s eight Knowledge and Innovation Communities work to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon economy (EIT Climate-KIC), drive Europe’s digital transformation (EIT Digital), lead the global revolution in food innovation and production (EIT Food), give EU citizens greater opportunities to lead a healthy life (EIT Health), achieve a sustainable energy future for Europe (EIT InnoEnergy), strengthen the competitiveness of Europe’s manufacturing industry (EIT Manufacturing), develop raw materials into a major strength for Europe (EIT RawMaterials), and solve the mobility challenges of our cities (EIT Urban Mobility).

Together with their leading partners in Europe, they offer a wide range of innovation and entrepreneurship activities. This includes education courses that combine technical and entrepreneurial skills, business creation and acceleration services and innovation driven research projects.

EIT Facts & Figures

  • Proposed budget of EUR 3 billion between 2021 and 2027 under the EU’s Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Framework Programme 
  • Europe’s largest innovation network: 2 000+ partners from top business, research and education organisations across Europe in 60+ innovation hubs across Europe
  • Europe’s tried, tested and proven innovation engine: powered more than 2 000 start-ups and scale-ups, created more than 900 new products and services. To date, EIT-supported ventures have raised more than EUR 1.5 billion in external capital. More than 2 200 students have graduated from EIT labelled master and doctoral programmes.
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More information: EIT in a nutshell Infographic

Discover EIT Community innovators: EIT Community COVID-19 solutions

What Happens When You Declare Bankruptcy in the Philippines?

After East Asia’s financial crisis in the 1990s, middle-income countries including the Philippines made up 80% of the total East Asian bankruptcies filed

Do you know what happens when you declare bankruptcy in the Philippines? We’re coming up on another financial crisis, so now is the best time yet to learn your legal rights. That’s why we created this guide. 

Are you considering filing bankruptcy in the Philippines and want to know what to expect? Then you’ve got to keep reading because this article is for you.

What Exactly is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that takes place after an individual or company has defaulted on a debt. 

Filing bankruptcy allows individuals options to either repay or offer collateral to erase their debts. At the same time, bankruptcies allow the bank or other lending institution to remove bad debt from their ledgers. 

When the bankruptcy filer can’t repay debts, they typically end up divesting an asset. An asset is anything a company or individual owns outright. For example, buildings, homes, cars, etc. 

The Philippines Bankruptcy Law: The Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act

The Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act (FRIA) legally allows the declaration of bankruptcy in the Philippines. Individuals can file for personal bankruptcy. Companies will file for business bankruptcy. 

In the Philippines, there are three ways to file bankruptcy legally. We’re going in-depth with each method next, so check it out.

Suspended Payment

In some cases, an individual or business filing for bankruptcy can repay the debt over time. A Philippines court will restructure the debt payments to allow for a longer period of repayment. 

Suspended payment bankruptcies are allowed when:

  • The debtor has the collateral to cover the debt but can’t meet payments by their due date
  • The debtor presents a restructuring payment plan that is both possible and agreeable to the lending party
  • Creditors or lenders who hold 60% of more of the debt liability get together and agree on the debtor’s proposed repayment plan

Once the lender agrees to the debtor’s restructuring strategy, the debtor can proceed with the suspended payment bankruptcy agreement. 

Voluntary Insolvency

With voluntary insolvency, an individual or business defaults on a debt. Unlike suspended payment bankruptcies, voluntary insolvencies allow debtors to voluntarily give up assets to repay debts. 

To file for this type of bankruptcy, the individual or company must have assets that sufficiently balance out the debts owed. However, these debts must be in excess of P500,000. 

Individuals or businesses filing for voluntary insolvency are responsible for petitioning the court. The court will then determine whether the collateral offered is equal to the debts owed.

Within five days of approving the petition, the court will issue a liquidation order. Liquidation orders allow the original lenders to claim the proposed collateral to settle the debt.

Involuntary Insolvency

Involuntary insolvency is different from both suspended payment and voluntary insolvency bankruptcies in the Philippines. Why? Because Philippine creditors and lenders, not debtors, initiate involuntary insolvency.

Under FRIA in the Philippines, lenders with claims of P500,000 or more can file a petition with the courts. The court should be that of the city or province where the debtor lives. 

This petition will outline that, upon default of the debt, the creditors will seek liquidation. If the debtor does default, the court can order the lender to seize the individual or businesses’ assets. 

Civil Small Claims

In some cases, a lender can file a civil small claims case instead of choosing involuntary insolvency. This can only happen for debts of less than P400,000. The proceedings of a small claim case tend to be cheaper and quicker, which is why many creditors are more likely to use it. 

The bad news? Individuals and businesses can’t actually have legal representation in small claims cases. If creditors win, debtors can’t appeal the ultimate decision either. 

What Happens When You Declare Bankruptcy? 

Bankruptcy is an extremely helpful tool for individuals and companies that can’t pay back debts they owe. Yet, bankruptcy isn’t without some serious consequences. Here’s what to expect after filing bankruptcy. 

Your Credit Score Will Drop

After filing for bankruptcy, it will stay on your credit report. The bankruptcy will also lower your credit score. This will make it difficult to open lines of credit or apply for a mortgage in the future. 

You Could Lose Your Stuff

If you go through voluntary or involuntary insolvency, you’re going to lose your assets. Debtors can choose which assets they’d prefer to divest in voluntary liquidation. Yet, if your lender files for involuntary insolvency, you’ll have no control over which assets they take from you.

You May Lose All Your Credit

Many credit card companies will immediately terminate your lines of credit after a bankruptcy. This is especially true if your credit card company is the same bank filing bankruptcy against you. 

You Could Have Trouble Getting a Loan

We’ve already mentioned that a lower credit score means more problems getting a mortgage. This is also true for loans in general. Not only that, lenders see bankruptcies as a huge red flag, meaning you may have to pay ridiculously high interest rates for loans.

You May Not Get a Tax Refund

If you qualify for a tax refund in the same year you filed bankruptcy, you may not receive it. 

You Could Face Difficulties Finding Housing and Jobs

Many employers and building owners pre-screen potential candidates for bankruptcy. Some employers won’t hire you if you’ve recently filed for bankruptcy. Worse, recent bankruptcy can affect your desirability as a tenant. 

More Financial Advice from Capital Finance International

Now that you know what happens when you declare bankruptcy in the Philippines, you should feel confident knowing your rights when you can’t repay a debt. 

Are you looking for more financial advice during these trying times? Then don’t forget to subscribe to our finance blog for new updates every week. 

Union Bank of the Philippines Bridges the Gap for Unbanked Filipinos through Cash-out via 11,000 Remittance Outlets Nationwide

Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) recently rolled out more cash-out options for customers via 11,000 remittance counters across the Philippines, including in rural areas where most of the unbanked and underserved population are located.

Union Bank of the Filippines

This makes UnionBank the first Philippine bank to launch the largest cash-out network in the country – a crucial step seen to significantly improve access to financial services for communities amidst the current pandemic.

Recognizing that sending funds to families and relatives living in provinces has been challenging, especially in far-flung areas where ATMs and bank branches are scarce or unavailable, UnionBank identified that the best course of action to address this concern was to enable customers to send money from home via its app to remittance counters in underserved areas.

The Bank leveraged existing partnerships with top Philippine fintechs such as Dragonpay and Coins.ph, as well as remittance centers Cebuana Lhuillier, LBC, PeraHub and Palawan Express. Integrating the service on UnionBank’s app was made possible in a short amount of time through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) exposed on the Bank’s API Developer Portal/ Marketplace. This also enabled rural banks, who are currently on the UnionBank’s i2i network, to connect to the payout counters, allowing their account holders to send or withdraw funds from these non-traditional outlets.

In just a couple of weeks, UnionBank secured approval from the Central Bank of the Philippines, to perform a live pilot remittance and roll out the feature in the UnionBank Online app.

“With the onset of this pandemic, it has become crucial that our products and services quickly adapt to the challenges presented in this new digital normal,” said Edwin Bautista, UnionBank President and Chief Executive Officer. “This cash-out service is just one way for UnionBank to demonstrate its commitment to financial inclusion as we continue venturing forth in tech-ing up the Philippines.”

Upon the launch of this service, UnionBank noted an immediate high uptake by its customers. At the end of April 2020, with all major remittance centers available through the service, transactions have more than doubled. The Bank also recorded a 20% increase in daily digital account opening as a result of this feature.

“Through collaboration with various UnionBank teams and our fintech partners, we have demonstrated that the spirit of community is very much alive as we address the needs of our countrymen,” said Arvie de Vera, UnionBank Senior Vice President and Fintech Group Head. “This is a testament that we can use technology and digital services to ensure that no one gets left behind, especially as we weather through this ongoing crisis.”

Pent-up desire for holidays drives spike in demand for multi-currency cards

There has been a “sudden surge” in the demand for multi-currency cards as holidays and overseas trips are planned and as the pound remains weak, reveals the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The observation from Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which in 2017 launched the pioneering global e-money app and multi-currency card, deVere Vault, comes as international borders are gradually re-opened around the world following the pandemic and ahead of the busiest time for holiday travel.

Mr Green comments: “There’s been a sudden surge in the last week from clients looking to use our e-money app and multi-currency payment card.

“This spike, we believe, is due to a steady relaxation of travel restrictions releasing a pent-up desire to escape lockdown, take a summer holiday, and/or see friends and relatives overseas as the world gradually gets back on its feet after a highly unusual few months.”

He continues: “But the fragile global economy together with the weakness of the pound, which is making almost every destination in the world more expensive for Brits, are making people even more pro-active in searching low-cost exchange rates and low-cost banking.

“The pound continues to be one of the worst-performing currencies in the world as we head into peak summer holiday season – and it could get further battered should the current Brexit negotiations fail.

“Against this backdrop, it is sensible that people are seeing the value in managing, spending and receiving money anywhere in the world without hassle and excessive exchange rates by using deVere Vault.”

Launched shortly after the Brexit referendum caused a significant drop in the value of the pound, deVere Vault is a trailblazing app and its Prepaid Mastercard®️ allows clients to spend, receive, store and transfer money in up to 27 different currencies.

Added to holidaymakers’ exchange rate concerns are excessive bank charges.
 
Mr Green says: “When you use your debit or credit card abroad in anything other than your destination’s local currency, you could be paying excessive exchange fees.
 
 “Typically, an extra 6% is added on top, but these fees can be up to 10%.  All too often the customer is completely unaware of these costs.
 
“This is simply not on. In an increasingly globalised world, people have the right to expect hassle-free, borderless access to and use of their money, without over-the-top charges.
 
“deVere Vault addresses these issues.” 

It automatically pays in Sterling in the UK, U.S. Dollars in the States, Euros in the eurozone, and Swiss Francs in Switzerland, for example.

The multi-currency account also allows you to withdraw and spend money anywhere in the world where Mastercard is accepted.

The deVere CEO concludes: “The world is beginning to re-open, but, more than ever, those planning trips abroad don’t want to get caught out. They need and want to protect their holiday cash from excessive exchange rate and banking fees.”

Cryptocurrency 101: Learn the Basics

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency is a virtual currency that could replace our cash system one day. 

Virtual currencies like Bitcoin are working to cut out the middle man in our banking transactions. Read this article to learn cryptocurrency 101 and whether you should invest or pass. 

Cryptocurrency 101

Cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency. It is secured by cryptography. Cryptography is a method of encoding and decoding data. Essentially cryptography puts the “crypt” in cryptocurrency. Cryptography makes it almost impossible to counterfeit money. 

Cryptocurrencies (yes there are more than one) use blockchain technology. It works by dispersing a ledger among a network of computers. These computers all work to keep up with it. 

Understanding Cryptocurrency: How it Works

With cryptocurrencies, there isn’t a central authority. They are not issued by a government or a bank. In theory, this makes cryptocurrencies free from government interference or manipulation.

Payments are made online using “tokens”. The ledger keeps track of all the entries and how much currency everyone has. Verifying transactions is usually the role of the banks but cryptocurrency relies on the peer-to-peer system. 

This system allows for your transactions to be secure. It reduces the risk of fraud and allows your transactions to be more transparent. 

Popular Cryptocurrencies 

Bitcoin was the first blockchain-based cryptocurrency. It was started in 2009 by an individual known as Satoshi Nakamoto. Today it remains the most popular and valuable. 

Since Bitcoin started there are now thousands of different cryptocurrencies people can use. Each cryptocurrency has its function in the market. Some of these cryptocurrencies copied Bitcoin and others were built from scratch. 

At the time of this article, USD 27.5 billion BTC has been traded in the past 24 hours. A single token or BTC of Bitcoin is worth USD 9,435.04. 

Other popular cryptocurrencies include Litecoin, Ethereum, Namecoin, Cardano, and EOS. If we calculator the total value of cryptocurrencies all together that number would be around USD 251.8 billion. To put that into perspective that is about 0.7% of the world’s money. 

Is Cryptocurrency Safe?

Cryptocurrency experts would remind you that Investing is always a risky business. However, Some traditional experts say investing in cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, is even more of a risk. 

The world has been caught up in “crypto-mania” as people began buying and selling cryptocurrency like stocks. We’ve all heard the stories of people who became millionaires overnight thanks to Bitcoin business opportunities. 

We’re not going to suggest investments. That should be left to you and your portfolio manager. However, we will say you shouldn’t invest in something you don’t fully understand. This advice goes for any investment. 

Pros of Cryptocurrency

There are a lot of pros of cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies make it much easier for two parties to exchange funds. No longer do you need a bank or credit card company to serve as a middle man. 

The transfers are secure. There is very little risk of counterfeiting or double-spending. They are also completed with very minimal transfer fees. The fee is much lower than the charge for a wire transfer from a bank. 

With more customers choosing to make payments from their mobile phone, tablet, or Apple Watch, cryptocurrency is a cheaper and more efficient system for payment. 

Cryptocurrencies have the potential to create a borderless, global economy. That’s a win for everyone (well, maybe except banks). It can help fight financial inequality by taking out the bank and credit card middlemen and bring financial services directly to the people.

Cons of Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency sounds great but there are a few drawbacks to blockchain the technology it is based on. For one, blockchain isn’t as scalable as centralized banking systems. If you’ve ever made a bitcoin transaction then you noticed it took some time to complete. 

Remember the ledger we talked about? The blockchain network of computers is kinda slow to make changes to the ledger. And if you think it is slow now just think about how slow it would be if more people started using bitcoin!

Another common issue is that you can lose your cryptocurrency hack. When you purchase cryptocurrency most people store it in their wallet. Wallets are located on the exchange.

Billions of dollars of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have been lost on the exchange from hackers. 

A smarter place to store your cryptocurrency would be on your smartphone’s cryptocurrency wallet because generally speaking, smartphones are not hacked. 

But even if you use a wallet on your smartphone it is still possible to lose your cryptocurrency. You could misplace or forget your “key” or password for the account. There is no forgot my password link to click with cryptocurrencies.  

Your phone’s OS, operating system, could also become corrupt. This could delete your wallet from your phone. Bye-bye cryptocurrency. There is hardware now available for people to back up and secure their wallets. 

Trading Cryptocurrency 

If you are trading cryptocurrencies, there will be fees involved. These fees are still a fraction of a per cent of the total transaction amount depending on the cryptocurrency exchange you use. You can also avoid some fees by using your wallet.

The fees involved will vary depending on the total number of people who are buying and selling your particular cryptocurrency.

In general, the more people the higher the fee. In the beginning, when most people had never heard of trading Bitcoin the transaction fee was around 6 cents. Today that fee is much more and it is always changing. 

Consult With Your Financial Advisor

We hope you enjoyed reading cryptocurrency 101. Many positive benefits could come from a virtual currency like Bitcoin or others. There are also many other positive benefits blockchain technology has in healthcare or voting systems that are also being explored. 

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