CFTC commissioner attacks swaps regulation and proposes alternative agenda

US Commodity Futures Trading Commission Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo has condemned the CFTC’s implementation of swaps trading regulation reforms, describing its approach as highly over-engineered, disproportionately modelled on the US futures market and biased against both human discretion and technological innovation.

North American bank IT spending climbs as firms invest in external services

Banks in North America are ramping up IT spending on retail banking services and digital channels this year, with total IT spend expected to reach $64.8 billion by 2016, according to a new report by analyst firm Celent. The figures represent a 4.5% increase this year, as financial institutions increasingly turn to external software provider and specialists to bolster their abilities.

Polish mobile payments platform prepares for launch with six banks

A new bank-run mobile payment service is set to launch in Poland next month, following collaborative efforts between six Polish banks. The new service will allow customers to make payments in stores and online, withdraw cash and send P2P transfers, all using their mobile phone.

RMB breaks into top five world payments currencies

The Chinese renminbi has become one of the world’s top five payments currencies, according to new figures released by Swift. The currency, first introduced to foreign investors in 2007, overtook the Canadian dollar and the Australian dollar in the last two months of 2014 to reach the top five.

Iceland’s RB makes core banking system replacement

Iceland’s Reikninstofa Bankanna, which is jointly owned by the three main banks in Iceland, has opted for a full core bank replacement project which it says will help it to slash its costs and bring new services to the market more quickly.

Brazil capital markets spending set to rise as LatAm surges forward

Brazil’s capital markets IT spend is expected to reach $2.6 billion by 2017 as the country seeks to modernise its financial institutions, improve post-trade processing and integrate with global markets. The transformation creates both challenges and opportunities for foreign financial services companies in Latin America’s largest market, according to a new report by analyst firm Celent.

Increasing customer engagement through mobile banking

Consumers in both developed and developing countries have embraced their mobile devices to check balances, make payments and conduct other financial activities. As a result, mobile banking has become a must-have offering for financial institutions. However, many are still working out how to go beyond the basics to add value for customers, increase engagement and maximise the return on the mobile channel investment.

Taking care of business

With a string of client projects in flight, the immediate effects of the financial crisis weren’t a problem for Dublin-based Information Mosaic, but as projects that had run for two or more years started coming to an end, things got a little tougher. Fortunately, the company has one major shareholder that has both funds and a long-term view …

UK current account battle continues

Several of the UK’s major banking brands are losing customers to rivals such as Spanish bank Santander and building society Nationwide, according to figures released by the UK Payments Council – while competitor bank Nationwide continues to add customers.

CLS and TriOptima debut FX compression service

FX services provider CLS Group and OTC derivatives specialist TriOptima are collaborating to launch an FX forward compression service, which they say will help customers to meet the regulatory obligation to use compression for non-centrally cleared OTC derivatives if possible.

Banking competition, divestments and the rise of the digital challenger banks

The Competition and Markets Authority has recently embarked on a full investigation into the so-called competitive stranglehold the four big banks – Lloyds, RBS, Barclays and HSBC – have over the UK market place. The CMA ended a five month consultation with the announcement of the investigation into accounts for customers and corporate accounts for small businesses – the CMA has already identified large branch networks and free current accounts as being barriers to entry for new banks

BT gets personal with on-the-fly video message service

BT has formally today the availability of a personalised video capability as part of its Cloud Contact portfolio of services following pilot project with two UK retail banks. The system, which allows businesses to email individually tailored videos to millions of customers by integrating relevant data with video templates, was developed by Israeli marketing technology specialist Idomoo.

Financial regulation drives London jobs growth despite economic and political uncertainty

London-based financial services professionals moving to new jobs in 2014 boosted their salaries by an average of 18% – and an increasing number of people did so, with year-on-year figures showing a 51% increase in people looking for new positions. But gloomy economic forecasts, combined with the seasonal drop in hiring over the Christmas period suggest that firms have postponed major hires to the current quarter.

Standard Chartered loses CIO and CRO as reorganisation bites

Jan Verplancke is stepping down as chief information officer and group head of technology and operations at Standard Chartered, as is Richard Goulding, chief risk officer. The news of their departure comes as the banks announced further restructuring, including the closure of its institutional cash equities, equity research and equity capital markets businesses as part of a strategic plan to ditch “non-core or underperforming businesses”.

Switzerland goes contactless with SIX Payment Services

Switzerland’s SIX Payment Services has begun distributing the country’s first contactless debit cards, through a partnership with local bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, based in Aargau. The project, which began in December, replaces the bank’s entire portfolio of 22,000 debit cards with dual interface V PAY cards that enable contactless and regular transactions.

Orchestral manoeuvres

When first reports of an integrated communications project that had attracted a $66 million investment from a consortium of banks led by Goldman Sachs appeared last year, there was an element of cloak and dagger about the enterprise. The truth is both more prosaic and more interesting according to David Gurle, chief executive and founder of the company behind it.

The need for a resilient global network of FMIs

By facilitating payments, and clearing and settling transactions in the securities and derivatives markets, financial market infrastructures are essential nodes in a complex and ever more integrated international network of capital flows. The consequent inter-dependencies between financial market infrastructures will create new resiliency challenges