Top five stories of the week – 19 August 2022
Here’s our pick of five of the top news stories from the world of finance and tech this week.
Abrdn snaps up stake in digital securities exchange Archax
Scottish wealth management firm abrdn has finalised a deal to become the largest external shareholder in Archax, a UK-based regulated digital assets exchange.
Established in 2018, Archax helps institutional investors gain access to blockchain-based digital assets, claiming to act as a “bridge” to traditional capital markets. It is set to launch later this year.
Archax says it is the “first and only” digital securities exchange to have received approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) with permissions for trading, custody and brokerage.
Through its stake in Archax, abrdn aims to provide new investment opportunities through digital securities to its customers.
UN calls for comprehensive crypto regulation in developing countries
The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has outlined the “risks and costs” of cryptocurrencies to developing nations in three policy briefs, suggesting ways to limit their expansion.
The UNCTAD, which promotes the interests of developing states in world trade, details how crypto is a potential threat to financial stability, the allocation of capital and resources and the security of monetary systems within developing countries.
Citizens of emerging nations, such as Kenya, Venezuela and India, are disproportionately more likely to own digital currency, the UNCTAD says, with 15 of the top 20 countries with the highest share of digital asset ownership being emerging countries.
It calls on developing nations to curb crypto advertising and introduce robust regulation of crypto exchanges, digital wallets and other aspects of decentralised finance. It also suggests banning financial institutions from holding crypto.
Zopa founder Giles Andrews joins Hoares as non-exec director
British private bank C Hoare & Co has appointed fintech veteran Giles Andrews as an independent non-executive director.
While Andrews has been involved with a number of fintech companies, it is his role as co-founder of peer-to-peer lending business turned digital bank Zopa that he is most well known for.
Andrews founded Zopa in 2004 as the firm’s chief financial officer before becoming CEO in 2007 and chair in 2015. He is now a member of the fintech unicorn’s board, having served in that role since 2019.
Monzo and Starling top latest CMA customer satisfaction survey
Market research has revealed that challenger banks Starling and Monzo are the UK banks most likely to be recommended by their customers.
The results are from an independent survey carried out between July 2021 and June 2022 by market research firm Ipsos as part of a regulatory requirement and the results have been published at the behest of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
At joint first for overall service quality, with 81% of customers likely to recommend them, Starling and Monzo beat out high street banks including Santander, NatWest and Lloyds.
The CMA says the survey promotes competition, “resulting in better experiences for all account holders”.
Australian crypto exchange Swyftx cuts 21% of workforce
Aussie crypto exchange Swyftx is set to lay off 74 employees – 21% of its workforce – as the firm looks to reduce the size of its business as it grapples with increasingly tough global economic conditions.
In a company-wide memo, co-CEOs Alex Harper and Ryan Parson cite an “uncertain business environment” of high inflation, rising interest rates, “highly volatile markets across all asset classes” and a looming global recession as reasons behind the decision.
“We started growing our team in a very different world and it’s now prudent to make sure our cost base is compatible with this extended period of economic uncertainty,” Harper and Ryan say.