Decision Intelligence Leader Quantexa Awarded Google Cloud’s Industry Solution Technology Partner of the Year for Line of Business Processes

LONDON and NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Quantexa, a global leader in Decision Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, announced that it has won the 2023 Google Cloud’s Industry Solution Technology Partner of the Year award for Line of Business Processes. The award comes after its Decision Intelligence Platform […]

LONDON and NEW YORK, Aug. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today, Quantexa, a global leader in Decision Intelligence (DI) solutions for the public and private sectors, announced that it has won the 2023 Google Cloud’s Industry Solution Technology Partner of the Year award for Line of Business Processes. The award comes after its Decision Intelligence Platform and solutions were made available on Google Cloud Marketplace in April 2023.

Quantexa is recognized for the strength of its line of business solutions. Their Line of Business Processes removes traditional manual data capture by connecting internal and external data and creating an accurate single view of customers. Quantexa’s advanced Line of Businesses processes capabilities were awarded in acknowledgement of the technologies ability to monitor KYC profiles and automate the detection and prioritization of real risk and opportunities.

Key capabilities included in Quantexa’s AI-enabled KYC solution are onboarding, remediation, enhanced due diligence (EDD), and perpetual KYC (pKYC). By deploying the solution, Google Cloud customers can focus their risk management efforts and facilitate trust with customers, leading to increased revenue generation. Plus, by gaining a true understanding of those they are doing business with joint customers will see benefits across the banking value chain, including improved financial crime, AML, and fraud detection.

Making the Quantexa Decision Intelligence Platform available via Google Cloud has given organizations in banking, insurance, telecommunications, and government agencies the ability to connect their data across siloed systems, making it simple for global enterprise customers to trust their data and augment and automate decision-making to protect, optimize, and grow their business.

Dan Higgins, Chief Product Officer at Quantexa: Together with Google Cloud, we’ve been able to bring cutting-edge compliance and risk technology solutions to the Cloud and give our joint customers flexible deployment options. This partnership is enabling IT and infrastructure teams to be more agile and support line-of-business leaders working in an ever-evolving risk landscape. The recognition by Google Cloud further highlights our achievements in enabling organizations to leverage Decision Intelligence to master customer and risk management.”

“Google Cloud’s partner awards recognize the significant impact and customer success that our partners have driven over the past year,” said Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Global Ecosystem and Channels at Google Cloud. “We’re delighted to recognize Quantexa as a 2023 Google Cloud Partner Award winner and look forward to a continued strong partnership in support of our mutual customers.”

To learn more about how your organization can benefit from Quantexa’s KYC solution and other Decision Intelligence Platform capabilities, please visit: www.quantexa.com

Notes To Editors:

The award win comes ahead of Quantexa’s Global Insurance Roadshow with Accenture, Google Cloud and Quantexa in APAC, EMEA & North America. The events will educate insurers on how to leverage AI to create hyper-personalized customer experiences and will be hosted in the following cities and dates:

About Quantexa
Quantexa is a global data and analytics software company pioneering Decision Intelligence that empowers organisations to make trusted operational decisions by making data meaningful. Using the latest advancements in big data and AI, Quantexa’s Decision Intelligence platform uncovers hidden risk and new opportunities by providing a contextual, connected view of internal and external data in a single place. It solves major challenges across data management, KYC, customer intelligence, financial crime, risk, fraud, and security, throughout the customer lifecycle.

The Quantexa Decision Intelligence Platform enhances operational performance with over 90% more accuracy and 60 times faster analytical model resolution than traditional approaches. Founded in 2016, Quantexa now has more than 650 employees and thousands of users working with billions of transactions and data points across the world. The company has offices in London, New York, Boston, Toronto, Malaga, Brussels, Amsterdam, Dublin, Luxemburg, Singapore, Melbourne, Sydney, and Dubai. For more information, please visit www.quantexa.com or follow us on LinkedIn.

Media Enquiries 

C: Stephanie Crisp, Associate Director and Media Strategist, Fight or Flight
E: quantexa@fightorflight.com

C: Adam Jaffe, SVP of Corporate Marketing
T: +1 609 502 6889
E: adamjaffe@quantexa.com

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The Commonwealth of Dominica Enhances Security and Management of the Citizenship by Investment Programme

Roseau, Aug. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica has taken significant steps to bolster the security and management protocols for its Citizenship by Investment Programme, aimed at fortifying the integrity and longevity of the programme. Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica, has been collaborating closely with various stakeholders, including international […]

Roseau, Aug. 29, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Commonwealth of Dominica has taken significant steps to bolster the security and management protocols for its Citizenship by Investment Programme, aimed at fortifying the integrity and longevity of the programme.

Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, the Prime Minister of Dominica, has been collaborating closely with various stakeholders, including international consultants, to conduct a comprehensive audit of the investment migration programme. Building on an initial audit undertaken last year by a UK consulting firm, the government has been actively implementing new and improved processes through the Citizenship by Investment Unit.

During his recent Budget Speech, the Prime Minister unveiled plans to enlist a globally vetted management consulting firm to oversee the overall operations and management of the Citizenship by Investment Programme. While Dominica already boasts a proactive due diligence process, the government is committed to its further reinforcement, vowing “to leave no stone unturned to strengthen it.”

“We take this matter very seriously and will increase our efforts in showcasing our robust due diligence and risk mitigation efforts on all fronts.” the Prime Minister affirmed.

Over the past 18 months, the Government of Dominica has undertaken several measures to elevate the security of its investment migration programme.

A United States-based firm has already conducted anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing training for all Citizenship by Investment Unit staff as the Unit undergoes restructuring. The CBIU was restructured under the supervision of an expert compliance officer to ensure that all procedures were updated, quality control measures strictly followed, and all IT systems upgraded.

The government made a bold move at the start of the year, giving notice of its intent to revoke the citizenship of those who made false declarations or misrepresentations in their applications, particularly relating to previous visa rejections from countries with which Dominica has visa-free treaties.

Dominica has also introduced biometric travel documents and updated its naturalisation certificate, enhancing its security features.

Citizens of the Kurdistan region in Iraq, Russia and Belarus do not qualify for citizenship in Dominica as international security authorities have flagged the regions as high risk. Moreover, the government introduced legislation providing an enhanced due diligence fee for applicants from specific countries. This enhanced due diligence fee offers the government additional resources to thoroughly scrutinise applicants from these countries.

The country also issued regulations to restrict citizens from changing their names.

Dominica has distinguished itself as the first Caribbean country to implement mandatory interviews as part of the citizenship by investment application process – a requirement agreed upon with the United States at a roundtable earlier this year.

“We also devised a new rigorous risk assessment and hired firms from the United States and the United Kingdom to begin interviews with all CBI applicants,” Prime Minister Skerrit said in the Parliament.

In addition to international firms in the US and UK conducting due diligence checks, Dominica’s Financial Intelligence Unit will also assist with the due diligence process. This includes reporting rejected applicants to the JRCC monthly and permitting the JRCC to share that information with the other CBI jurisdictions in the OECS.

Dominica is leading discussions in the region to collaborate on safeguarding the citizenship by investment industry; and has taken measures to emphasise its dedication to cooperating with global stakeholders and enhance the due diligence process to reduce threats from illicit actors.

In addition to these recent changes, new risk mitigation actions include:

  • Thorough assessment and reduction of the number of agents and promoters of the country’s Citizenship by Investment Programme, who will be strictly monitored, along with developers, to ensure compliance with current regulations governing the advertisement of Dominica’s Citizenship by Investment Programme.
  • Strict enforcement of regulated citizenship fees to prevent any undercutting.
  • Strengthening of policies and legislation to maintain competitiveness and alignment with international best practices.

Dominica’s rigorous due diligence and vetting processes make it extremely difficult for any illicit individual to qualify for citizenship. Background checks occur on the ground where the applicant lives and works, via online databases and now in person.

The Prime Minister has reiterated that Dominica will maintain robust due diligence processes to ensure the country meets international standards and alleviates any security concerns.

“We have fresh impetus to go back and relook where we can do even better in giving our international counterparts confidence in our security measures – which are already some of the most robust in the world compared to other jurisdictions,” he said.

Secretary of Dominica Citizenship by Investment Programme
Commonwealth of Dominica
001 (767) 266 3919
info@cbiu.gov.dm

GlobeNewswire Distribution ID 8912512

Imran Khan conviction in Pakistan: Lawyer says court suspends ex-PM’s graft sentence

A Pakistani high court has reportedly suspended former prime minister Imran Khan’s prison sentence for a graft conviction. It’s still unclear if he would be immediately released. A spokesman for Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said Islamabad High…

A Pakistani high court has reportedly suspended former prime minister Imran Khan's prison sentence for a graft conviction. It's still unclear if he would be immediately released. A spokesman for Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said Islamabad High Court had overturned a lower-court decision this month imprisoning him for three years, a judgement that had barred him from contesting upcoming elections. FRANCE 24's correspondent in Islamabad Shahzaib Wahlah tells us more.

Source: France24.com

Pakistani Athlete Wins Gold Medal in Peace and Friendship Games

A strong Pakistani judo contingent secured a gold medal by defeating Iran A in the final of the Peace and Friendship Games held in Iran on Monday.This notable victory in the event came after a series of successes in the group matches, where the Pakist…

A strong Pakistani judo contingent secured a gold medal by defeating Iran A in the final of the Peace and Friendship Games held in Iran on Monday.

This notable victory in the event came after a series of successes in the group matches, where the Pakistani team had previously overcome Iran B and Afghanistan.

The Pakistan Judo Federation shared that the team included Sher Khan Kakar (-60kg), Qudratullah (-73kg), Junaid Khan (-81kg), and Haseeb Mustafa (-90kg).

In an intense final, the four-member Pakistani contingent edged out a five-member team from Iran with a 3-2 victory, securing the prestigious medal in the tournament.

Young athlete Haseeb Mustafa, who was one of the key players in the Pakistani team, also participated in the sport of Kure, a traditional form of Judo.

A historic win for Haseeb Mustafa in the final bout not only earned him a personal gold medal but also contributed to the overall ranking of the country in the sport.

However, despite the outstanding performance displayed by Haseeb Mustafa, Pakistan finished second and had to settle for a silver medal.

Pakistan had another reason to celebrate as Syed Muhammad won a gold medal in the men’s individual 60kg category yesterday by winning the final bout.

Source: Pro Pakistani

5 Predictions About the Future of Digital Retail Banking in Pakistan [Opinion]

With commercial banks and branchless microfinance players pushing forward their respective digital agendas, and the emerging DRB NOC winners getting ready and awaiting in-principle approvals, here are the top 5 predictions of what to expect in Pakista…

With commercial banks and branchless microfinance players pushing forward their respective digital agendas, and the emerging DRB NOC winners getting ready and awaiting in-principle approvals, here are the top 5 predictions of what to expect in Pakistan over the next 3-5 years in this fascinating space that has the potential to change the lives of masses of Pakistan for the better.

Please note the scope of this piece does not include EMIs and NBFCs, and their contributions, as they will be the subject of a separate article.

Evolution Takes Time for DRBs

DRBs will likely focus on setting the right foundations, getting to operational readiness for pilots, and subsequently in the transition phase, prioritizing their shareholder customer segments and partnerships (representing distribution, agri, and youth organizations) as opposed to mass scale.

After all, Rome was not built in a day! While this may be a shocker to those who believe DRBs will move the needle as early as 2024, this time will be used to re-evaluate customer and profitability/valuation strategies, deal plans, etc. We may also see attempts for partial ownership changes (subject to approvals).

According to some reports, as of last year, over 90% of ‘Neo Banks’ globally had still not made an organic profit with breakeven points generally being between the 6-10 year mark. However, valuation /deal multiples have been high for such Neo Banks, especially in the US and Europe while in markets such as Africa, the premiums /deal multiples haven’t been as relatively lucrative.

This will also be a dilemma for the DRB NOC winners in Pakistan. The Policy rate, PKR USD parity, and other indicators were notably better when shareholders submitted license applications and the definition of ‘value creation’ will come under discussion.

The likely approximately Rs 4-5b needed at the operational readiness stage (Rs 1.5b MCR and Rs 2-3b outlay) will require both an understanding shareholders and a leadership team will a clear route to creating value. It will be interesting to see whether shareholders believe the global model of high valuation multiples and long periods of losses will be the route to follow in our bumpy economic climate, especially when the impressive Telenor ANT financial deal multiple is now widely considered to be a one-off.

Alternatively, and these are not mutually exclusive, shareholders could ask teams to shorten the break-even cycle, and focus on day 1-unit economics. DRBs can no doubt transform customer journeys and have the potential to innovate and scale financial inclusion, yet they too will inevitably have to address these questions, especially in their nascent years.

Pricing Pressure on Nano Lending

Likely ceilings on Nano lending pricing may be a blow to branchless banking microfinance players in 2024 which could mean the need for further support from telco owners. While also an opportunity to diversify revenue streams, regulatory interventions may also be needed to support these players who have tangibly scaled financial inclusion across the country and moved high digital volumes.

With draft regulations likely to cap the pricing of nano consumer loans, Branchless microfinance players may face margin pressures in 2024. Such draft guidance has so far not included DRBs in their scope, yet I do expect applicability to them as well a year or two after the others. Let’s not forget that nominal IBFT fees, nano lending revenue, and float revenue on customer deposits are two main drivers of the financial viability of these players, players who have played a large role in scaling inclusion and moving high single digit of Pakistan’s GDP in payment volumes. Recently these players have

reduced customer acquisition spending and the ‘customer washing machine effect’ with an enhanced focus more on customer engagement. More of this can understandably be expected.

Harmony in Commercial Banks’ Digital Asset Strategies

Commercial banks’ digital banking assets will scale, with such banks moving more of their ‘existing’ business to digital assets with a ‘digitizing the core’ focus. While there will still be battles between digital and non-digital segments, I do anticipate somewhat improved harmony and execution.

Even though the cash cow of commercial banks will most definitely be elsewhere, I do expect more harmony in how commercial banks approach digital banking. Digital banking of such Banks will still be challenged to stand on their own two feet and what we are likely to see is an increasing focus on such digital assets supporting core business.

I don’t believe that the “separate wallets strategy” for digital customers and branch customers of such commercial banks will continue on a widespread basis. Onboarding large numbers of ‘new to bank’ customers (especially in lending) directly on digital assets of commercial banks though, may still be a while away.

Emphasis on Governance and Security

As digital platforms are developed and scaled, it would be naïve to underestimate the importance of robust governance and control processes.

DRBs for instance, are required to comply with the Code of Corporate Governance for LISTED companies, and as start-up banks, they will need to start preparing for this from now on. The importance of good governance practices, risk management practices, internal controls over operational processes, financial reporting and especially customer data privacy and protection, cannot be undermined for DRBs, Branchless players and Commercial Banks alike.

We may see some hiccups here in the overall ecosystem, which is natural on such journeys, yet the key will be to avoid catastrophes.

Enhanced Customer Journeys and Innovation

Of this I’m sure. Be it trial and error, a push due to competition or innate ingenuity, digital retail banking in Pakistan will get better for the benefit of Pakistanis over the next 3-5 years. DRBs, branchless players, and commercial banks will all continue to play a pivotal role in better customer journeys, experiences and also impactful and innovative use cases.

Who will take the cake? Well, that really depends on who better can combine a customer lens with unit economics, and leverage data holistically AND granularly. I believe there are many opportunities to be pursued both at a strategic and operational level, with some examples below:

Sharia-compliant digital banking will be a significant driver – banks cannot continue to ignore what customers are demanding, and the ability to execute with authenticity will be key;

Transactional wallets as opposed to “cashback-based wallets” – use cases that help customers stay engaged and keep funds in their wallets can help with much needed respite in terms of cost of funding and a better CASA ratio;

Digital lending through closed loop B2B2C lending will be important – any claims of credit scoring models being perfect for SME lending at scale from day 1 should be taken with a pinch of salt. Banks would be better advised to approach this by partnerships with FMCGs, and other businesses that engage with and maintain MSME/SME data. With the right permissions from the end MSMEs/SMEs, the right data sets, and a focus on customer hypothesis testing and feedback for product development and journeys design, this can be used by banks to pre-credit score, grade and price lending products for small businesses that are part of a larger business network. This will in turn help reduce risk, enhance quality of MSME/SME lending at reasonable prices and also improve, in time, the accuracy of a Bank’s credit scoring model;

Truly understanding customer and segment needs. A design and research leader once said to me that it would be a surprise if digital banking leaders assumed they understood what SMEs / youth / women /freelancers /expats /farmers/ and other segments actually wanted! He was right. Its imperative that data be leveraged into insights and combined with robust customer testing to go beyond the surface of customer needs, rather than just a ‘product first’ strategy.

Commercial banks and Branchless players are often judged on the speed of customer onboarding, lack of one stop shop corporate portal solutions (big opportunity!), partner integration processes and card delivery processes. The perception of DRBs will likely be based on the same, atleast at the start. It will be important to focus on what drives customer perception and also the need to be an engaging brand, being truly there for customers, as opposed to just maintaining a transactional relationship.

Voice and location-based customer use cases will make customer journeys simpler and improve adoption. With all the fuss on text, let’s not forget that voice to text services can move the needle for adoption in Pakistan, much as voice devices in India are starting to play their part. Similarly, location-based services helping customers with the best offers and services, based on where they are, could be a great value add; Customer feedback will be key.

Banks with digital ambitions need to choose embedded finance partners and customer use cases with care and vice versa! Be it fractional gold savings, digital committees, advance salary, insurance, personalization or agritech. While such partners may promise much, not all may deliver and this can come at the cost of time, resources and customer trust. TBH, this is equally true of some banks dealings with embedded players. Banks on digital journeys will need to either choose the embedded platforms and customer use cases with care, or commit to taking a deeper strategic position in their development;

There is a telco (or two) without a robust digital financial services play. While this is a strategic call of such telcos, their significance as a potential scale partner for banks with digital ambitions can’t be underestimated.

About the author: Sardar Abu Bakar was COO of Mobilink Microfinance and joined Raqami and was tapped as CEO few months ago. He has left Raqami end of July.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Bank Financing for Cars Decreased 13 Months in a Row

Sparse car demand and rising interest rates continue to plague the auto sector as bank financing fell again for the 13th time in July 2023. According to Dawn, the total car loan amount fell to Rs. 285.2 billion from Rs. 293.7 billion in June.Data from…

Sparse car demand and rising interest rates continue to plague the auto sector as bank financing fell again for the 13th time in July 2023. According to Dawn, the total car loan amount fell to Rs. 285.2 billion from Rs. 293.7 billion in June.

Data from the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) suggests that auto financing peaked at Rs. 368 billion in June 2022 and has since fallen due to increased interest rates, now at 22%. Other reasons for the decline include demand curbs and rising vehicle costs.

SBP reduced repayment length and raised the vehicle loan ceiling to Rs. 3 million, hurting local assembler sales.

Fahad Rauf, head of Research at Ismail Iqbal Securities (IIS), said that the 25% interest rate after Kibor plus and SBP measures to reduce auto demand are preventing bank loans. He added, citing SBP data, that bank-purchased new vehicles are not rising during net retirement.

Rauf said the market is abuzz with various predictions that the interest rate will rise or stay unchanged due to rising inflation and concern about more vehicle price hikes due to the rupee’s devaluation.

He stated that the auto sector will remain in a crisis till December and the sales situation may also remain alarming even during H1 2024, with no sign of a big drop in interest rate, prices, or rupee-dollar stability.

Indus Motor Company (IMC) CEO Ali Asghar Jamali claimed the auto industry is witnessing its worst economic downturn ever. In 2023, local and worldwide disruptions and CKD kit import limitations caused plant closures and major industry job losses.

Source: Pro Pakistani

Strategic plan for flood management must for economic growth: Irfan Aslam

Caretaker Minister for Water Resources Ahmad Irfan Aslam has stressed that a strategic plan for flood management is a must to move forward and grow the economy.Addressing an event in Islamabad on Tuesday, he noted that water related disasters cannot b…

Caretaker Minister for Water Resources Ahmad Irfan Aslam has stressed that a strategic plan for flood management is a must to move forward and grow the economy.

Addressing an event in Islamabad on Tuesday, he noted that water related disasters cannot be wisely managed without forecast.

Alluding to the devastation caused by floods in recent years, he said the fourth National Flood Protection Plan has almost been updated on the basis of lessons learnt from last year's floods with the support of Asian Development Bank.

He said its umbrella PC-1 stands approved by the ECNEC at an estimated cost of 194 billion rupees. He said this is a reflection that we are beginning to commit resources towards flood management.

Ahmad Irfan Aslam emphasized that we need to divert more resources to ensure lesser disruptions in the lives and livelihoods of people due to floods.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Dr Umar Saif affirms commitment to foster progress in IT and Telecom sector

Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif says forthcoming ten months would witness substantial progress in the execution of 5G action plan.During a meeting with Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Majo…

Caretaker Minister for Information Technology and Telecommunication Dr Umar Saif says forthcoming ten months would witness substantial progress in the execution of 5G action plan.

During a meeting with Chairman Pakistan Telecommunication Authority Major General (Retd) Hafeez Ur Rehman, the minister discussed in detail the upcoming plans related to telecommunications, the rollout of the 5G spectrum, and strategies for optimal spectrum utilization.

The Minister shed light on paramount importance of optimal spectrum utilization and the coordinated deployment of the 5G network.

Source: Radio Pakistan