TABInsights

Our archives on Research Notes

The United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major global trade and business hub, lands on this year’s list of countries still lacking in progress on anti-money laundering (AML) and combating the financing of terrorism (CFT) efforts. Further advancement on the investigation and prosecution of cases involving dirty money is key to removing the UAE from the so-called grey list. Despite this, the impact on the UAE’s economy is expected to be limited because of its relative strength and stability.

A whitepaper just released by Honghu Best Global Family Office and The Asian Banker, "Global Family Office and Wealth Management Best Practices 2021 - Global Perspectives, Chinese Flair" reveals that succession planning is critical to intergenerational wealth transfer. However, most families do not prepare or plan for a smooth transition, leading to the partial or even full loss of wealth or family values that need to be passed on.

As global banks move towards ISO 20022 readiness by the end of 2022, it is important to understand the impact that the adoption of the new standard will have on the banking and payment industries and what challenges and opportunities they will face as they modernise international settlement.

The continuous expansion of the crypto market and the innovations it promises have been closely watched by the financial services industry, particularly by regulators. While it continues to face an uncertain, future. several factors, including the constant offering of new cryptos, new use cases in DeFi and CeFi application, increasing number of users, and structural changes and innovation in financial markets will determine its long-term growth.

The total capitalisation of digital assets surged three-fold in 2021, with strong evidence that the momentum is likely to continue into the new year. DeFi users are expected to continue their exponential growth over the next 12 months, with more institutional investors moving into the space, combined with greater clarity over regulators’ stance in the large economies such as China and the US. What challenges and uncertainties could lie ahead to derail the upbeat outlook?

With 41% of China's $45 trillion in banking assets and 27% of its $30 trillion in loans exposed to the property market, authorities are likely to initiate an orderly distribution of distressed assets of real estate developers such as Evergrande that failed to meet the “three red lines” limit on debt liabilities. Leveraged expansion sabotaged Evergrande’s sustainability while profit from property development shrunk for three consecutive years.

Despite weak growth in the banking industry last year, UOB managed to grow its SME deposits significantly and reported the lowest CIR among its peers. It was also the first bank to announce $2.2 billion in relief assistance in February 2020, ahead of any government support measures. It was the leading provider in government’s assistance schemes to SMEs with the largest market share.

The rapid transformation of domestic and cross-border payments brings new opportunities and challenges for financial institutions.Amid shrinking payment margins, players are rethinking their business models to better monetise data insights and integrate financing options such as “buy now, pay later” (BNPL). Industry experts share their views on the impact of this changing landscape, emerging value propositions, and key technology enablers for future growth

At the International Heads of Retail Finance Virtual Meeting on 28 August 2020, leaders from over 22 institutions in Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, discussed key trends and issues impacting the industry. The rise of digital only banks, integrating lifestyle and finance through digital platforms, and improving customer experience were at the forefront of the dialogue.

Africa’s payments services architecture is rapidly evolving in response to changing technology and customer expectation. While non-banks such as mobile network operators (MNOs) are the key drivers of disruptive payments technologies in Africa, traditional banks are also creatively developing and integrating disruptive technologies to address the continent’s payment challenges and most importantly meet customer expectations.

Pressure on margins from increased competition and compliance requirements is forcing the industry to recalibrate its trade finance offerings. While institutions know that trade digitalisation is important for the future of the business, success relies heavily on deeper coordination and collaboration between the myriad participants in the trade finance ecosystem and technology enablers

Globally, commercial banks have demonstrated that they are not the underdogs when it comes to growing the number of digital users. They compete well in most markets under review against the best neo-banks and digital financial institutions (FIs). However, the dramatic rise in digital user base of neo-banks in recent months may erode this lead.

The Asia Pacific banking sector will benefit from the improving global and regional economic conditions in 2018. Overall, better asset quality is expected, and banks will maintain relatively stable profitability and capitalisation. Nevertheless, there are growing concerns over the potential asset price corrections, high private debt, and geopolitical risks.

President Xi Jinping’s pet project – “The Belt and Road Initiative” – aims to link Asia, Europe and Africa by rewriting global trade routes. With such a big project, China’s accompanying motivations are also enormous. Be it on an economic, political or strategic-level, the project is sold almost as a catch-all solution.

In a matter of weeks US President Donald Trump’s administration will lay bare how they wish to regulate banks and markets. After months of scathing remarks about the Dodd-Frank Act, any clarity on exactly how Trump wishes to overhaul the system is welcomed by both detractors and supporters. But how much change should be expected?

In retail banks around the world, robots are making their way into the back office and reducing costs by as much as 80% while increasing accuracy by up to 100%. Along with bringing lower costs and greater efficiency, they’re also creating the complexity of redeploying people who have performed routine tasks for many years.

With more than 70% of Southeast Asia being unbanked, fintech possesses tremendous potential to widen financial inclusion and spur economies. Advances in the industry mean more people and companies have the ability to save, borrow and transact. Yet with such a wide and sensitive remit, regulations need to keep pace with the constant innovation.

Financial institutions are starting to use APIs to create important linkages between their products and services and their customers and important third party value providers. Early movers to stand to gain mindshare of both customers and the wider application developer community.

Customised financial advice had, for many years, been available almost exclusively to private banking clients or to the mass affluent. However, robo-advisors are offering the same advice to many more consumers. Customers in Asia, from the man on the street to the ultra-wealthy, seem ready to embrace these new robo-advisors.

In the United Arab Emirates, banks have become more competitive in retaining their customers as a result of new regulations, while the rest are developing their individual strengths gained from their own customer experiences. The experiences of National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank illustrate how banks have adapted their strategies to new developments in the banking sector.

It is clear that China’s goal of becoming the world’s largest economy by 2020 and the internationalisation of the RMB are two initiatives that are symbiotic in nature. With the recent IMF decision to include the currency in the SDR currency basket, what does the future hold for the RMB?

Asia Pacific markets have seen a shift towards digital banking during the past few years. Nowadays, banks are placing more effort on mobile banking, such as improving security and convenience of their applications and enhance the user experience to drive engagement in the channel.

United Overseas Bank (UOB) increased retail banking income contribution by 15% as the financial industry grapples with digital advancement. The bank leveraged its omni-channel customer engagement model which helped grow retail deposits by 7% year on year. The bank continued to invest in digital transformation and innovation which resulted in 96% of all transactions being conducted digitally in 2019.