Tuesday 17th July 2018
Mobile operator EE has said it will activate the UK’s first live 5G trial network in London’s Tech City in October –The UK government says organisations that are aiming to establish themselves or expand as Public Service Mutuals can now apply for a share of £1 million in funding -- India’s central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since 2014 to curb rising price pressures and calm financial markets as policy tightening in the US rattles emerging markets – A new report from South Africa's Reserve Bank (SARB) contains exception results for a trial of its blockchain-based system for interbank clearance and settlement. According to a release yesterday SARB says it has completed a 14-week "realistic" proof-of-concept that managed to settle the country's typical 70,000 daily payment transactions within two hours, taking an average of 1–2 seconds for each transaction while preserving full anonymity. Absa, Capitec, Discovery Bank, FirstRand, Investec, Nedbank and Standard Bank are among a slew of banks that participated in the exercise. Even so, despite the success claims, SARB says its proof-of-concept doesn't mean it plans to replace the existing real-time gross settlement (RTGS) system with a live blockchain implementation, yet – According to Mickhail Shlemov, VTB’s Capital’s head of research today, “With the demerger of Bank of Georgia Group’s investment business to Georgia Capital PLC, we have revised our forecasts for Bank of Georgia Group so that they now include only the banking business. We expect the bank to benefit from this demerger amid an acceleration in corporate loan growth (although retail lending is likely to decelerate), with the total loan book expanding at a CAGR of 11% in 2017-21F. However, NIM performance headwinds are likely to stay intact. Management has reiterated its strategic targets, and we also expect the bank to show ROE of more than 20% in the next three years, with a 40% dividend payout ratio. As a result, our new 12-month Target Price is GBp 2,300/share. This implies an ETR of only 14% (the stock is up 10% since demerger day).” On May 29th, Bank of Georgia Group (BOGG) announced the completion of the demerger of the Group’s investment business to Georgia Capital PLC. As a part of the process, the bank has issued 9.8mn shares (up to 19.9% of the total share count) to Georgia Capital. Yet the capital will also be diminished by a special dividend payment of some GEL 120mn (GEL 3.10/share), similar to the proposed BGEO Group payment – Reuters reports that European parliament member Danuta Huebner says that London’s call for EU access after Brexit under mutual recognition will not work. Equivalence would let the EU set the rules – Scott Eaton, the former chief operating chief for Europe at MarketAxess has been appointed CEO of Algomi following the departure of co-founder Stu Taylor earlier this year. Eaton has taken over the role with immediate effect and will focus on developing Algomi’s fixed income services, including data aggregation and the Algomi ALFA market surveillance tool – The FCPA Blog notes today that banking giant Credit Suisse Group has agreed to pay a $47m penalty to the US Justice Department to end an FCPA investigation into hiring practices in Asia -- The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted Tuesday to approve a proposal to modify the Volcker rule, the last of the five agencies responsible for the rule to do so. The proposal is now open to a 60-day public comment period. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin called the move "an important first step" and noted Treasury's support for "better tailoring the application of the rule, preserving liquidity during periods of stress, decreasing unintended compliance burdens and encouraging capital formation." --

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  • Wednesday, 20 June 2018 Polaris invests in IT consultancy ProData Consult
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Key Stories from FTSE Global Markets

UK businesses are at risk of experiencing an “app crunch” as fierce demand for apps meets a developer skills shortage and a lack of investment in customer-facing tools, according to the latest State of Application Development report, based on polling of over 3,500 IT professionals. The poll was organised by OutSystems the low-code rapid application developer, which publishes the report.

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Recent Gartner research indicates that Brexit will have a massive impact on how IT budgets will be spent in 2018. Organisations will want greater flexibility, and as such will be spending more on software and cloud-based services rather than making long-term, upfront investments. In the article below, Monica Brink, director of EMEA Marketing at iland, discusses why the pre-Brexit environment is creating a spike in cloud adoption, and how companies are using various cloud applications to adapt to an uncertain business environment. By Monica Brink, director EMEA Marketing, iland.

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The new SSU Code substantially changes the legal framework for mining in Kazakhstan -- especially in comparison with the legal frameworks governing the oil & gas or uranium operations which are also regulated by the SSU Code.  The new mining legal framework, at least on paper, looks more straightforward and investor-friendly now (of course, with a few reservations) now.  Even so, it remains to be seen whether this will be so in practice and whether the Kazakhstan Government will follow along this line (especially, with no clear stability guarantee) in possible future boom days in the industry. By Aset Shyngyssov, partner in the Kazakhstan office of global law firm Morgan Lewis.

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The Trump-Putin summit on July 18th is expected to signal the start of the emergence of a new global power bloc; one that is anxious to overturn longstanding institutions, such as the EU, NATO, and not least OPEC. That is not the only existential threat to the oil cartel: reports have been consistent since early April that India, Korea, Japan and China are in talks to establish an oil buyers’ alliance; a fact not addressed at all at the last OPEC summit on June 22nd. Then of course, there is the resurgence of renewals and President Trump’s trade war. What is an OPEC member to do?

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Africa’s fragmented markets and lack of legacy foreign exchange trading infrastructure means that the continent has become a melting pot of fintech activity and innovation. The evolution to electronic foreign currency trading in Africa, whilst slow to start, is today gaining tremendous traction writes Tim Hutchinson, head of digital for financial markets at Standard Bank. 

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