This week’s treasury news round-up

‘Screen scraping’ under PSD2 being publically criticised, the EC’s plans to boost cybersecurity investment, the EU’s third consecutive annual drop in M&A and EuroFinance’s new managing director all hit the latest headlines in the world of treasury this week.




SWIFT: DBS bank allows Singapore and Hong Kong clients to track cross-border payments using SWIFT

Singapore bank, DBS, now allows small and medium sized (SME) and corporate clients in Singapore and Hong Kong to make cross-border payments, it was announced on Wednesday.

The bank is using SWIFT Global Payments Innovation.

In the past, corporates and SMEs may have faced challenges tracking their cross-border payments as these transactions are routed through multiple banks, with different processing times.

“Customers can now find out the status of their cross-border payments in real-time, such as whether funds have been received by the beneficiary or whether the funds are still being processed,” says SWIFT.

“They will be able to know the amount being credited into the beneficiary account, foreign exchange rate applied and even time taken for funds to be credited,” it says.

With end-to-end tracking in Singapore and Hong Kong, the move is expected to help corporates and SMEs become more efficient in their cash management.



M&A: The EU saw the third consecutive yearly decline in EU inbound M&A

EU inbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A), involving an EU target and an acquirer outside of the EU, has hit $164bn so far during 2017, according to Thomson Reuters data.

This is down 4% compared to this time last year and marking the third consecutive year-to-date decline in deals by value.

UK companies are the most attractive in the EU for inbound investment so far this year, with deals reaching $65bn and accounting for 40% of EU inbound M&A activity.

Germany, the Netherlands and France were the next most popular destinations.

EU companies in the Technology sector are the most popular targets for inbound M&A, with 325 deals worth a combined $28.8bn announced so far this year.

Tech accounted for 17.6% of EU inbound M&A by value, followed by real estate (17%), and healthcare (15.6%).



M&A: Chinese acquisitions in the EU have hit the second highest level of all-time

Chinese acquisitions in the EU were reported at $24.4bn so far during 2017, second only to last year’s record-breaking $27.3bn total, Thomson Reuters reported.

China is the second most active acquiring country, accounting for 15% of EU inbound M&A so far during 2017.  The US accounts for 45% of EU inbound acquisitions this year.



PSD2: FIDO Alliance addresses PSD2 “screen scraping” debate in letter to European Commission

The FIDO Alliance recently wrote to the European Commission setting out the key problems with endorsing screen scraping under the Payments Services Directive 2 (PSD2).

FIDO argued that any approach where consumers are asked to share their login details with another entity is fundamentally at odds with language in the PSD2 and that it ultimately places consumers at increased risk.

Screen scraping is the practice where third-party payment initiation service providers (PISPs) and account information service providers (AISPs) access bank accounts on a client’s behalf using their username and password.

The practice was prohibited in the European Banking Authority’s (EBA) final draft Regulatory Technical Standards, however, following a strong push back from banks, the European Commission (EC) is now urging the EBA to allow companies to use screen scraping as a “fallback option”.

Brett McDowell, executive director of the FIDO Alliance, made the following comments in a blog post on this topic: “We do not see any way in which the screen scraping approach requested by the EC can be implemented to the level of enhanced security called for in PSD2.

“There are far more secure ways for consumers to delegate access to their bank accounts, involving APIs protected by strong customer authentication credentials.

“Based around proven global standards these API-based solutions have the added benefit of providing not just better security but also better privacy – as they allow consumers to grant access to their bank accounts on a granular level, choosing to share some details but not others,” writes McDowell.



Cyber security: EC to bump up cyber security investment

The European Commission (EC) wants to increase its cyber security in the EU, it was announced last week.

The EC intends to do this by investing more into technology, clamping down on consumer safeguards and increasingly diplomacy to deter attacks by other nations.

The EC is expected to announce its proposals in a report later this month, Reuters reported.

The EC’s previous plan from 2016 to spend  ‎€1.8bn ($2.1bn) by 2020 was reportedly called a “first step” in the report.

The impact of cybercrime on the EU increased five times between 2013 and 2017 and could rise another four times by 2019, the EC reportedly states in the document.



People moves: The Economist Group appoints Asif Chaudhury as managing director for EuroFinance

The Economist Group has promoted Asif Chaudhury to the role of managing director for the Group’s EuroFinance business, effective immediately.

EuroFinance runs more than 50 events worldwide for over 2,000 corporate treasurers every year.

In his new role, Chaudhury will oversee the annual International Treasury Management Conference, taking place in Barcelona from 4-6 October.

Chaudhury will report to Paul Rossi, president of The Economist Group and will join The Economist Group Media Businesses Management Committee.


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