Standard Chartered launches fintech innovation lab in Shanghai, China
Standard Chartered continues its drive to accelerate the company’s fintech capabilities by launching the eXellerator innovation lab in Shanghai, China. The lab is the latest addition to the network of innovation labs which are located across Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Kenya and San Francisco. The banking group aims to use these labs to create new technology strategies.
Commenting on the launch, Jerry Zhang, CEO of Standard Chartered Bank (China), said: “Rapid changes in financial technology are reshaping the future of the global banking industry, especially here in China which is home to some of the world’s most established companies leading the way in areas like artificial intelligence and Big Data. Given the strategic importance of this market to the Group, our innovation centre in Shanghai will play a crucial role to support us in proactively reinventing ourselves, by bringing together our people, clients and fintechs to co-create and deliver the next generation of products and services.”
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Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures, added: “To truly rewire the DNA in banking, we need to go beyond just offering a digital interface. Our eXellerators create an environment which combines innovation from both in and outside the Bank, to rapidly prototype and experiment with new ideas and business models that will allow us to better serve our clients with solutions that addresses their problems or needs.”
Recently Standard Chartered has also forged many new partnerships such as a strategic joint venture with PCCW, HKT and Ctrip Finance to create a singular digital retail bank in Hong Kong. With these new initiatives set to digitally transform the company, it is on track to meet the demand in the market with an innovative edge.
Robinhood faces $35mn fine from New York DFS
The company’s crypto division was issued with a wrist slap in 2020, following the red flagging of several “matters requiring attention”. Robinhood revealed it had reached a settlement with the New York State Department of Financial Services regarding the issues, which related to “alleged violations” of cybersecurity and anti-money laundering rules.
The news follows on from the announcement earlier this week that the trading platform favoured by armchair investors, which almost broke Wall Street earlier this year, has an expected valuation of $35bn following its IPO.
Critics of the platform say Robinhood encourages “risky behaviour” among inexperienced (armchair) investors. The app has also been criticised for not informing customers that much of its profits are generated by routing their trades to Wall Street firms taking the other side, or so-called "payment for order flow."
Robinhood said last month they expected the DFS fine to be at the $15mn mark, adding it would be “the bottom of the range for our probable loss in this matter”. The $35mn penalty is on top of the record $70mn Robinhood incurred from US financial regulator FINRA in June, for “lax vetting and outages.”
However, the settlement indicates the company’s IPO will go ahead as planned, despite initial concerns the investigation could see the float delayed until later this year.
Robinhood floats imminent
Despite the regulatory hiccups, Robinhood priced its IPO between US$38-US$42 per share, giving the platform the US$35bn valuation and analysts predict the firm’s debut on the Nasdaq could occur as early as next week.
Robinhood democratising investment
Launched in 2013 by Tenev and Bhatt, who were Stanford University roommates, Robinhood’s founders will retain most of the voting rights after the IPO. Bhatt reportedly holds 39% of the voting power of outstanding stock, while Tenev holds 26.2%.
The online brokerage, which came under fire for its handling of the GameStop trading debacle, which saw the platform limit stocks to investors, states its mission is to “democratise” investing and is one of the most highly anticipated IPOs of the year.
Robinhood was valued at $11.7bn in autumn 2020 following a private equity funding drive. The new valuation will mean represent a three-fold increase in the company’s market value in less than 12 months.