Weekly News Highlights – 08 February 2024

Welcome to the latest in fintech news, where cutting-edge technologies and innovative financial solutions converge to reshape the landscape of banking, investing, and payments. Stay tuned as we explore the trends driving the future of finance!

ASR Nederland to Sell Online Bank Knab to BAWAG for EUR510 Mln (MarketWatch)

ASR Nederland is set to sell its online bank Knab to Austria’s Bawag Group for €510 million, with an additional €80 million for managing its mortgage portfolio. Acquired by ASR in July 2023, Knab, launched by Aegon in 2012, offers banking services, insurance, pension products, and mortgages, targeting freelancers and small businesses. The move follows ASR’s efforts to divest Knab since its acquisition. Bawag Group, headquartered in Vienna, operates various brands across multiple countries, focusing on retail, small business, corporate, real estate, and public sector customers. The deal is expected to be finalized in the second half of 2024. Read more

ESMA calls for new voices in European Capital Markets (Fintech Global)

The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) is actively seeking new members for its Securities Markets Stakeholder Group (SMSG), a crucial advisory body that facilitates stakeholder consultation and provides technical advice on ESMA’s policies and activities. The SMSG ensures a diverse range of perspectives, contributing to the responsiveness and effectiveness of ESMA’s regulatory framework. Verena Ross, Chair of ESMA, emphasized the importance of balanced representation, encouraging stakeholders such as consumers, financial service users, industry employees, and SMEs to apply. The application deadline is 18 March 2024, with the selection process concluding in May, and the appointed members commencing their term on 1 July 2024. Read more

Crypto custodian BitGo moves into private securities with Brassica acquisition (FinExtra)

BitGo, a crypto custody specialist, has acquired Brassica, a fintech specializing in back-end infrastructure services for private securities and alternative investments. The acquisition aims to enable BitGo to offer a unified platform for both traditional private securities and blockchain-based assets globally, facilitating the tokenization of real-world assets. BitGo, valued at $1.75 billion in a 2023 funding round, gains a technology stack including multi-asset custody, advanced capital formation solutions, and streamlined record-keeping and transfer agent services through the deal. This move positions BitGo as a major financial services firm providing comprehensive infrastructure support for both traditional and blockchain-based assets, expanding its global presence significantly. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. Read more

Duco acquires intelligent document processing start-up Metamaze (Fintech Futures)

Data automation firm Duco has acquired Metamaze, an intelligent document processing (IDP) startup, for an undisclosed amount. Metamaze, based in Antwerp, Belgium, operates an AI-powered no-code Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform designed to automate the extraction of information and data from various document types. The platform focuses on serving the banking and insurance industries and aims to eliminate the need for manual data extraction. Duco, headquartered in London, plans to integrate Metamaze’s platform with its own cloud-based SaaS tools to create an AI-powered platform automating the processing of both structured and unstructured data throughout its lifecycle. Read more

B2B finance automation platform Ramp acquires Venue to revamp procurement product (Fintech Futures)

Ramp, a finance automation platform for businesses based in New York, has expanded its procurement product suite with the acquisition of Venue, a procurement startup. Venue specializes in helping companies manage the cost of their vendor relationships throughout the procurement lifecycle. The integrated solution aims to provide finance teams with full visibility into employee and business spending. The Venue team will lead various projects, including customized intake forms, flexible approvals, purchase order management, and AI-powered vendor management. Ramp is enhancing its procurement function with features such as a new contract review process, accounting platforms synced with purchase orders, and stakeholder collaboration tools. Read more

Twig enters liquidation, becoming latest UK fintech to shut down (Fintech Futures)

UK-based circular economy fintech, Twig, has entered liquidation, just two years after securing $35 million in a Series A financing round. Twig, originally founded in 2020 as Diem Group, described itself as a “bank of things,” providing a platform for customers to sell unwanted belongings through its app for cash. The company also offered a carbon offsetting subscription service and a co-branded debit card with Visa. Despite its efforts and a Series A funding round in 2022, Twig is now being wound down voluntarily, owing approximately £15.4 million to its creditors. Read more

Munich Re Launches Global Parametric NatCat Solutions Team to Boost Expert Collaboration (InsurtechInsights)

Munich Re has established a dedicated global parametric team to meet the rising demand for parametric solutions in the insurance sector. Parametric solutions, which complement traditional insurance models, offer swift determinations of recoveries based on specific perils, providing post-catastrophe liquidity and coverage for risks that might be challenging to insure otherwise. Munich Re, with over 20 years of experience in the parametric space, aims to leverage its substantial risk-taking capacity, advanced risk modeling capabilities, global presence, and data resources to offer innovative parametric solutions. The new team will collaborate closely with Munich Re’s existing units and partners to address climate change-related natural catastrophe risks and reduce protection gaps. Read more

Mastercard invests $200 million to acquire a minority stake in MTN’s fintech division (Techpoint Africa)

Mastercard will invest $200 million in MTN Group Fintech, acquiring a 3.8% minority stake in the telco’s fintech arm, MTN MoMo. The deal values MTN Group Fintech at $5.2 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. This investment follows Mastercard’s announcement six months ago about its plans to acquire a minority stake in MTN MoMo. MTN Group aims to expand its fintech business, including MTN MoMo, insurance services, airtime lending, eCommerce, and network offerings. The collaboration with Mastercard is part of MTN’s strategy to accelerate payments and remittance services in its fintech business. Read more

European Regtech Salv Secures License to Operate as a “Closed Service KYC Utility” Service Provider (Crowdfund Insider)

RegTech scale-up Salv has become the first technology firm in Europe to secure a regulator-awarded license to operate as a ‘Closed Service KYC Utility’ service provider. This license, granted by the Data State Inspectorate of Latvia, allows financial institutions to collaborate whenever criminal activity is identified or suspected. Salv’s Bridge platform enables firms to alert their peers about financial crime, helping them take action to prevent it from escalating across the financial services ecosystem. This development is seen as a significant step forward in the fight against money laundering and financial crime in the region. Read more

Entrust plans to acquire AI-powered RegTech firm Onfido (IBS Intelligence)

Entrust, a global payments, identities, and data security company, is in talks to acquire London-based Onfido, a cloud-based, AI-powered identity verification technology. The potential acquisition aims to add a compliant AI/ML-based biometric and document IDV tech stack to Entrust’s portfolio of identity solutions. This move is seen as a response to the changing landscape of identity verification due to the emergence of AI-based attacks, deepfakes, and synthetic identity issues. Combining Onfido’s expertise with Entrust’s identity security solutions could enhance trusted and secure interactions for people, enterprises, and institutions. Read more

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