UBX appoints new Chief Investment Officer

In line with its strategy to explore and invest in companies and platforms of the future, UBX—the Fintech and Corporate Venture Capital arm of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) — is announcing the appointment of Matthew Kolling as the company’s Chief Investment Officer (CIO).

UBX CIO Matthew Kolling
UBX CIO Matthew Kolling

As CIO, Kolling will be managing UBX’s Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) fund. He will also play a key role in raising capital for UBX while assisting the company in key corporate transactions, including the structuring of joint ventures and acquisitions.

Prior to his appointment at UBX, Kolling has been Head of Venture Investments at Aboitiz & Company since 2019, wherein he had been working with UBX on investment portfolio decisions. Before that, he held senior positions in Private Equity, Venture Capital, and Investment Banking at firms such as Providence Equity Partners and Morgan Stanley in New York.

Kolling has more than 20 years of experience in managing investments and deals in the Technology and Telecommunications industries and is active in Venture Capital and startup communities in the Philippines and the Southeast Asian region. He currently chairs the Manila Angel Investors Network, among others.

“We at UBX are excited to welcome Matt as our new CIO. We firmly believe that Matt will be instrumental in driving value creation opportunities, both within the CVC fund and our corporate ventures. We look forward to working with him as we fulfill UBX’s vision of a future where banking services are embedded into everyday experiences that matter,” said UBX president and CEO John Januszczak.

Meanwhile, UnionBank president and CEO Edwin Bautista said, “The addition of world-class talents in our pool reinforces our strategy to future-proof the organization and our business as we prepare for many new opportunities that come with the changing times.”

Philippine Bureau of the Treasury is among Asia’s pioneers in leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) for bond distribution

The Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr), together with Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) and the Philippine Digital Asset Exchange (PDAX) – a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) licensed entity, is the first in Asia to launch an app for the distribution of government bonds enabled by Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT).

Philippine Bureau of the Treasury is among Asia’s pioneers in leveraging Distributed Ledger Technology (Blockchain) for bond distribution

National Treasurer Rosalia V. De Leon said, “The launch of Bonds.PH paves the way for all Filipinos, particularly the unbanked, to easily and affordably invest in the BTr’s newest retail treasury bond, RTB-24. The mobile app presents a compelling opportunity for all to invest and help the Republic raise funds for economic recovery and COVID-19 response.”

Bonds.PH makes bond investing easy. It’s completely digital and available 24/7. Filipinos can invest in retail treasury bonds by downloading the app and pay, for as low as PHP 5,000.00, using InstaPay, GCash, Paymaya, and digital as well as over-the-counter at UnionBank.

Treasurer De Leon, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and UnionBank Vice Chair Justo Ortiz onsite, together with BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno and National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Karl Kendrick Chua virtually, did a demo of the Bonds.PH app at the official launch held yesterday.

“This is the first retail treasury bond issuance to leverage on blockchain technology – in Asia, and likely the world,” said Edwin R. Bautista, UnionBank President and CEO. “The Philippines is ready to lead the way into the future and tech up the nation with innovative, inclusive opportunities, powered by emerging technologies, for the benefit of all Filipinos.”

Bonds.PH is blockchain-enabled as transactions are recorded in a DLT-based registry in addition to the existing NROSS system. DLT enables immutable and tamper-proof record-keeping as it is recorded on the blockchain.

According to Nichel Gaba, Founder and CEO of PDAX – a fintech investment of UBX (a UnionBank subsidiary), “DLT or blockchain technology is governance by design with its cryptography and programmable smart contracts. This advantage allows the blockchain not only to preserve truth, but also to automate payments, enforce rules, and facilitate complex transactions via smart contracts at little to no cost.”

As such, DLT reduces manual verification and simplifies reconciliation bringing down processing time and costs. This is why the BTr sanctioned the pioneering effort so that through the pilot it can determine if leveraging DLT makes retail treasury bond distribution to the unbanked feasible and economically viable.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) commended the groundbreaking endeavor.

“I want to congratulate the Philippine Bureau of the Treasury (BTr) for this important milestone,” said MAS Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty.

He added that, “2020 will be the year of commercialization of blockchain technology in the ASEAN region, and BTr’s efforts to build a DLT registry for bond issuance accelerates the success of the most exciting technology of our time. The blockchain community in Singapore will work together with the Philippines to share learnings, open-source resources and also facilitate connecting corresponding nodes to integrate market infrastructure for transparency and interoperability. The recently released Project Ubin Phase 5 findings by MAS will facilitate the creation of robust blockchain rails for future value creation.”

Chia Hock Lai, Co-Chairman of the Blockchain Association Singapore (BAS) and Chairman of the Singapore Fintech Association (SFA) said BAS and SFA are one with the MAS in fully supporting the Philippines and UnionBank in utilizing blockchain for financial inclusion.

The Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) likewise offered its support.

“With our mandate to facilitate financial inclusion while maintaining investor protection, we support this initiative, which makes use of Distributed Ledger Technology,” said SEC Commissioner Ephyro Luis B. Amatong. “We look forward to the results from this initiative, which will contribute greatly to future DLT use cases for capital markets,” he added. The Philippine SEC is among the more progressive regulators in the world having released rules on crowdfunding, as well as draft rules on digital assets and digital exchanges.

Meanwhile, the BSP lauded the initiative for its impact on inclusive prosperity, “Given our advocacy to accelerate the digital delivery of financial services while deepening financial inclusion, we view Bonds.PH as a welcome addition to the expanding suite of available financial products serving wide market segments via innovative delivery channels and bridging the financially excluded,” said BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno.

“From the basic easing of the public’s access to transaction accounts to now this offering of retail treasury bonds to the masses in a simplified yet secure manner, shows the remarkable progress of our shared financial inclusion agenda. This surely marks the transition of blockchain technology from its buzzword status to a feasible, production grade solution capable of democratizing access to digital financial services,” said the Central Bank Chief.

“We look forward to the expansive adoption and success of this initiative and the public can always count on the BSP to remain supportive of responsible digital financial innovations,” he added.

UnionBank Vice Chair Ortiz, who also serves as Chairman of the Distributed Ledger Technology Association of the Philippines (DLTAP) and the Philippine Payments Management, Inc. (PPMI) added that, “Democratizing investment through digital channels and Distributed Ledger Technology allows all Filipinos to contribute to and accrue the benefits of nation building. Every Aling Belen and Mang Juan can save and invest. Download Bonds.PH now from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store and invest in our country!”

56% of investors say sustainable investments (ESG) are a new safe-haven

Sustainable and responsible investments (ESG) are now regarded as ‘safe havens’ by the majority of investors, reveals one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

deVere Group, which operates in more than 100 countries globally, reports that 56% of clients who seek to include environmental, social and governance-orientated investments into their portfolios do so citing that such sustainable funds offer financial protection in times of uncertainty.

A safe-haven asset is a financial instrument that is expected to retain, or even gain value during periods of economic downturn.

Nigel Green, deVere Group’s CEO and founder, says: “There’s been a massive surge from clients this year looking for ESG investments.

“Indeed, more than a quarter of all clients are currently considering or are already actively engaged in responsible, impactful and sustainable investing.

“It’s a phenomenon that’s particularly prevalent with millennials, with eight out of 10 putting ESG credentials at the heart of their investment decision-making process.”

He continues: “However, what is perhaps particularly interesting are the reasons why investors are seeking ESG in the first place.

“Of course, the global public health crisis has acted as a wake-up call in many respects. It has prompted a growing collective awareness of mutual responsibility that fits perfectly into the narrative of ESG investing.

“But what’s most surprising is that the majority [56%] also now say that they perceive ESG investments as the new safe-haven asset class.  As such, they are increasing their exposure to such funds in a way that traditionally they would have done with, say, gold or U.S. government bonds.”

Mr Green goes on to say: “They would be correct in citing this view. All the latest research underscores that the majority of environmental, social and governance investments have outperformed their non-sustainable counterparts this year and have had lower volatility.

“This cannot be ignored by retail – and increasingly institutional – investors who are looking for resilience in these highly unusual times of this new era.”

Previously, the deVere CEO has commented that the trend for ESG is only likely to intensify as millennials, who are statistically more likely to seek responsible investment options, become the major beneficiaries of the largest intergenerational transfer of wealth – an estimated $30tn in the next few years – meaning we can expect both retail and institutional investors to continue to pile into ESG.

Nigel Green concludes: “The data shows that the view held by traditionalists who claim ESG investments are ‘nice to have’ but not ‘a need to have,’ falls apart under scrutiny in the virus-driven global economic downturn.

“And whilst this short time frame is not determinative, those investors citing ESG’s safe-haven credentials are, for now at least, being proven right.”

California Insurance Commissioner launches first-ever database of green insurance products

Climate Smart Insurance Products Database is part of comprehensive insurance strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and build climate resilience

Los Angeles, California—Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara has launched the Climate Smart Insurance Products Database, the first-ever consumer-oriented list of green insurance policies. With hundreds of climate-related insurance products already available to consumers and businesses, the California Department of Insurance has developed this database to help the public understand and access these products and encourage further insurance policy innovation in commercial, homeowners, and auto lines. Recognizing the potential for specific insurance products to address climate risks and contribute to a sustainable future will encourage consumers and insurance companies to explore products that harness new technologies and promote resilience.

“Understanding, preventing and reducing climate risk is of paramount importance, and we need innovative insurance solutions to accelerate the transition to sustainable and resilient communities and economies,” said Commissioner Lara. “When disaster strikes, insurance can help damaged homes, buildings, and vehicles be built back better, stronger and greener and springboard into the cleanest technologies.”

The Climate Smart database lists more than 400 products available to consumers and businesses that address climate risks, harness new technologies and build resilience. They include insurance products and solutions that:

  • Provide green-rebuild coverage, providing a pathway to building back stronger, more energy efficient, and lower-emission buildings and vehicles
  • Promote fuel-efficiency by offering lower premiums for low-emission vehicles
  • Provide discounts for green energy use and energy efficiency certification
  • Provide discounts for businesses who operate hydrogen and hybrid electric buses
  • Protect low-income communities and natural ecosystems

A June 1, 2020 report from the environmental and sustainability nonprofit group Ceres recommends the development of a database of innovative insurance products that reduce emissions or increase resiliency.

“California Commissioner Lara and his team at the California Insurance Department deserve great credit for creating the Climate Smart Insurance Products Database,” said Steven M. Rothstein, Managing Director of the Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets. “This is part of a comprehensive insurance approach to climate risks. This database is a critical building block for a more sustainable future.”

The database is another element in Commissioner Lara’s strategy to combat climate change. Last year, Commissioner Lara announced an agenda-setting effort with the United Nations to create a Sustainable Insurance Roadmap, a comprehensive climate change strategy and action plan that is envisioned to pave the way for innovative risk management, insurance and investment solutions that reduce climate risks and protect natural ecosystems.

“One of the United Nations’ Principles for Sustainable Insurance promotes the aim of insurers working together with governments, regulators and other stakeholders in promoting widespread action on sustainability issues, and Commissioner Lara is showing us what regulators can actively do to make that happen and drive innovation,” said Butch Bacani, who leads UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI), the largest collaboration between the UN and the insurance industry. “With this pioneering database, Commissioner Lara is demonstrating sustainability leadership, and we hope that other regulators will step up to the plate and lead by example.” 

Commissioner Lara previewed the database on July 8 at an international virtual event convened by the UN PSI and Swiss Re on sustainability leadership in insurance, which attracted more than 700 participants from over 60 countries. In addition to working the the UN, California will be collaborating with Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler to build on this innovative database. California and Washington State have been working together with the UN Environment Programme as members of the PSI as well as the Sustainable Insurance Forum (SIF) for regulators. 

“I applaud Commissioner Lara and the California Insurance Department’s thoughtful initiative to make the full range of existing climate-related insurance products available to consumers and businesses,” said Commissioner Kreidler. “Providing this innovative access to these products encourages communication between policyholders and their insurers, and will no doubt lead to new ideas and more refined climate-related insurance products going forward.”

***

The Climate Smart Insurance Products Database can be accessed via: www.insurance.ca.gov/climate-smart-database.

It is the first database of insurance products focused on sustainability that is available to consumers. The database includes insurance products sold in California and around the world.

The database allows consumers to search products in nine categories:

  • Fortified Homes can provide protection from natural hazards through improved roofing materials or other home hardening efforts. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) identifies best practices to protect against storms and wildfires.
  • Green Buildings and Equipment are energy efficient or otherwise sustainable.
  • Nature-Based Solutions harness the capabilities of natural infrastructure to mitigate against weather disasters.
  • Mileage-Based Insurance recognizes risk reductions from decreased driving.
  • Low-Emissions Vehicles include electric, hybrid and other low-emissions vehicles.
  • Microinsurance allows low-income individuals to receive protection from specific perils.
  • Renewables include solar, wind, geothermal and other sustainable technologies.
  • Carbon Offsets are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions to compensate for emissions occurring elsewhere.
  • Super Pollutant Reduction includes efforts to decrease dangerous air pollutants.
  • California is the largest insurance market in the U.S., and one of the largest in the world. The California Department of Insurance was one of the first insurance regulatory and supervisory authorities in the world to sign UN Environment Programme’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance and commit to tackling global sustainability challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, pollution, and social and financial exclusion.
  • The Department of Insurance does not endorse any particular insurer. While the Department of Insurance makes every effort to confirm the accuracy of the database, insurance products may not be currently available and the database can be revised at any time, with or without notice.
  • The original source of the information for this database is Dr. Evan Mills (Energy Associates), who is a world-renowned researcher of the intersection between climate change and insurance. The Department plans to update and add to this information through dialogue with insurers, other climate experts, other state entities, and international leaders.

The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect USD 310 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011, the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over USD 387 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at www.insurance.ca.gov.

WISeKey Receives Best IoT Semiconductor Innovator Global 2020 Award

Geneva, Switzerland – July 14, 2020 – WISeKey International Holding Ltd (“WISeKey”, SIX: WIHN / Nasdaq: WKEY), a leading global cybersecurity and IoT company today announced that it was recognized by CFI.co, a print journal and online resource reporting on business, economics, and finance, with the “Best IoT Semiconductor Innovator Global 2020” award.

Each year, CFI.co seeks out individuals and organisations that contribute significantly to the convergence of economies and truly add value for all stakeholders. This year, CFI.co judges have conferred WISeKey the award for Best IoT Semiconductor Innovator Global 2020.

Highlights of the judging panel’s findings include:

  • Operating at the leading edge of the digitalised world, WISeKey is engineering a hack-proof yet user-friendly environment. Unique amongst its peers, the company develops and manufactures its own chips that help establish fully secured data generation and injection capabilities.
  • WISeKey was founded in 1999 and was an early promotor of strengthened security in electronic communication. To that end, the company engages with key organisations, such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).
  • The CFI.co judging panel remarks that the company is forward thinking and actively pursues new opportunities to grow organically and through acquisitions.

The judging panel’s full report:

WISeKey: Best IoT Semiconductor Innovator Global 2020

The Next Big Thing is already here and will revolutionise our way of living – yet again. However, fear not: The naming of the Internet of Things (IoT) may have been unimaginative, but its applications are not. According to WISeKey, a Swiss-based innovator and disruptor, the IoT is growing exponentially, connecting mere billions of devices today, but will link well over a trillion ‘things’ by 2030. Operating at the leading edge of the digitalised world, WISeKey is engineering a hack-proof yet user-friendly environment. Unique amongst its peers, the company develops and manufactures its own chips that help establish fully secured data generation and injection capabilities. To protect against hackers, WISeKey has created scalable hardware and software suites that provide secure connections from the edge, where data is gathered, to the cloud where the processing takes place. WISeKey was founded in 1999 and was an early promotor of strengthened security in electronic communication. To that end, the company engages with key organisations, such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). Listed on Nasdaq, WISeKey is recognised for its adherence to a well-defined and clear mission statement. The company also excels in transparent corporate governance. Thanks to its expertise, size, and domicile, WISeKey has maintained – and expanded – its edge over the competition. The CFI.co judging panel remarks that the company is forward thinking and actively pursues new opportunities to grow organically and through acquisitions. The judges are delighted to offer WISeKey the 2020 award Best IoT Semiconductor Innovator (Global).

About WISeKey

WISeKey (NASDAQ: WKEY; SIX Swiss Exchange: WIHN) is a leading global cybersecurity company currently deploying large scale digital identity ecosystems for people and objects using Blockchain, AI and IoT respecting the Human as the Fulcrum of the Internet. WISeKey microprocessors secure the pervasive computing shaping today’s Internet of Everything. WISeKey IoT has an install base of over 1.5 billion microchips in virtually all IoT sectors (connected cars, smart cities, drones, agricultural sensors, anti-counterfeiting, smart lighting, servers, computers, mobile phones, crypto tokens etc.). WISeKey is uniquely positioned to be at the edge of IoT as our semiconductors produce a huge amount of Big Data that, when analyzed with Artificial Intelligence (AI), can help industrial applications to predict the failure of their equipment before it happens.

Our technology is Trusted by the OISTE/WISeKey’s Swiss based cryptographic Root of Trust (“RoT”) provides secure authentication and identification, in both physical and virtual environments, for the Internet of Things, Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence. The WISeKey RoT serves as a common trust anchor to ensure the integrity of online transactions among objects and between objects and people. For more information, visit www.wisekey.com.

Disclaimer

This communication expressly or implicitly contains certain forward-looking statements concerning WISeKey International Holding Ltd and its business. Such statements involve certain known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, which could cause the actual results, financial condition, performance or achievements of WISeKey International Holding Ltd to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. WISeKey International Holding Ltd is providing this communication as of this date and does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements contained herein as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell, or a solicitation of an offer to buy, any securities, and it does not constitute an offering prospectus within the meaning of article 652a or article 1156 of the Swiss Code of Obligations or a listing prospectus within the meaning of the listing rules of the SIX Swiss Exchange. Investors must rely on their own evaluation of WISeKey and its securities, including the merits and risks involved. Nothing contained herein is, or shall be relied on as, a promise or representation as to the future performance of WISeKey.

Contact

WISeKey Investor Relations (US)

Lena Cati

The Equity Group

212 836-9611

Phone: 212 836-9611

Email: [email protected]

The perfect storm brewing for company pensions

Company pensions are becoming increasingly unsustainable due to the plunge in government bond yields and low interest rates, warns the CEO of one of the world’s largest financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The warning from Nigel Green comes as the yields of government securities – in which pension funds heavily invest – have fallen dramatically since the coronavirus crisis.

Mr Green says: “Institutional investors, such as pension funds, have always traditionally invested in government bonds, as they’re widely regarded as a safe-haven.

“However, the world has changed considerably in six months.

“Around the world, government bond yields are plunging as a direct result of the record-breaking asset purchase schemes introduced by central banks to help ease a severe worldwide economic slump due to the pandemic.

“And as the historic stimulus is set to remain, or even be expanded, the pressure on bond yields is expected to intensify.”

He continues: “The far-reaching stimulus agendas and more than a decade of ultra-low interest rates – which could be going even lower – are creating a perfect storm for company pensions, which are already feeling the squeeze of ballooning deficits.

“Increasingly, no longer are government bonds delivering the returns required to fulfil the obligations made to retirement savers.”

The deVere CEO also underscores the ongoing issues of the wider bond market.

“The falling yields have forced pension funds, and other institutional investors, to make highly unusual changes to their asset allocation mix as they seek out better returns in riskier assets.

“But then, the question is: If pension funds don’t buy government bonds, who will?

“China has been a major purchaser of U.S. bonds in the past to keep its export prices down. With its $1trn of Treasurys it’s the number two holder.

“But the new economic realities and geopolitical tensions have prompted Beijing to shed some of its U.S. bonds. In March alone, China sold $8bn of its hoard – in the same month as overseas investors and central banks got rid of $300 billion of Treasurys to raise dollars.”

Mr Green concludes: “Typically, bonds account for more than half of the assets held by pension schemes.

“Due to the falling bond yields, the potential for negative interest rates, and the already chronic deficits, company pension holders should seek with their adviser the available ways to safeguard their retirement income.”

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.

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