PwC divests fintech business in management buyout
PricewaterhouseCooper (PwC) is to divest its fintech division eBAM in a management buyout.
The acquisition was backed by private equity firms Souter Investment and Manfield Partners, and led by former PwC Director Michael Line who will helm the new business, rebranded to LikeZero, as Chief Executive.
LikeZero uses data-driven proprietary technology to automate risk analysis for financial organisations. It serves around 10 of London’s biggest financial firms. With pressing issues such as Brexit, COVID-19 and the recent switch from Libor to SOFR, Line says risk assessment has become “increasingly challenging”.
“I’m convinced that our proprietary software and expertise is the best in the market and there lies the opportunity for us,” he adds. “This is a hugely exciting moment for our business.”
The move follows a clamp down on potential conflicts of interests between auditors and their clients. Four years ago the Financial Reporting Council (FCR) imposed their first restrictions banning the Big Four accountancy firms from supplying their audit clients with financial technology products. More recently in late 2019 the FCR imposed new restrictions to increase impartiality in the audit process, extending the embargo to other advisory services.
More Big Four shake-ups to come
Chris Biggs, a Partner at Theta Global Advisors, expects further shake-ups as the pandemic refocuses the lens on dominant accountancy firms and their interests: “Now, they are beginning to sell-off businesses that could be deemed to go against regulations and this is unlikely to be the final announcement in the space.”
He warns that if auditors don’t dramatically cut back on their non-audit business, “we could see audits moving to be the responsibility of government-led bodies”.
Singapore FinTech Association launches new networking club
The Singapore FinTech Association (SFA) has announced the launch of a new SG FinTech Club, which will act as hub that enhances networking among local fintech companies based in Singapore.
The APAC nation, which is a leading regional centre for fintechs, accounting for 13% of Singapore’s GDP in 2020. More than 1,400 fintech companies are based there, employing an estimated 10,000 people.
Technology is a driving factor within the space, and the SG FinTech Club will act as a base through which knowledge, resources and connections can be shared, as a way to increase the level of expertise in the space.
According to reports, the SFA will also develop and curate the engagement programmes for the fintech ecosystem. SG FinTech Club members will benefit from hospitality privileges offered by Supporting Partners , such as co-working spaces, which they can leverage on for social engagements.
The club’s existing membership platform will also enable users to sign up for talent matchmaking sessions, industry expert mentorship programmes, and masterclasses organised by SFA.
SG Fintech Club partnerships
The initiative has attracted the attention of several global fintech leaders, including the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF). J.P. Morgan has also joined the club as Supporting Partner and Corporate Partner, respectively, to develop skills and career development events.
Speaking about the launch of the new club, Shadab Taiyabi, President of SFA, explained, “We are proud to collaborate with MAS on the launch of SG FinTech Club, and play our part in contributing to Singapore’s thriving FinTech ecosystem.
“We hope that the Club would be the key platform for inspiration and innovation, where professionals in the financial services sector can come to exchange opinions, network, and explore endless ideas with other like-minded individuals.
He continued, “Through the Club, we strive to champion and bolster Singapore’s FinTech entrepreneurship growth, facilitate the sharing of insights, collaborations, discussions and advocate the importance of upskilling amongst professionals across the financial services industry.”
Image credit: Singapore FinTech Association event