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UK Fintech News Roundup: The Latest Stories 22/03

Every Wednesday, we delve into the latest fintech updates from across the UK. This week brings updates from Microsoft, FCA, SmartSearch, AGAM and Recap.

Mastercard digital ID offering gets UK thumbs up

Microsoft digital IDMastercard has been certified under the UK’s Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework (DIATF) as an identity provider. It can now offer ID, its digital identity service, to UK organisations.

Mastercard’s ID app, which is available at major mobile app stores, aims to give consumers more choice in how they prove their identity.

The DIATF sets the rules and standards to establish trust in digital identity solutions. Certified organisations can work with each other, ensuring that digital attributes and identities are consistent as well as trusted. Providers conduct annual assessments to verify they meet DIATF requirements.

“The UK is at the forefront of giving people greater control in proving their identity easily and safely,” said Sarah Clark, senior vice president, digital identity at Mastercard. “By receiving certification in the UK, Mastercard can collaborate with the private and public sector to offer ID.”

FCA calls for improvements in ESG benchmarks 

ESGThe Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has threatened ESG benchmark administrators with regulatory action due to the ‘potential for widespread failings’.

The UK watchdog has been conducting a preliminary review on ESG benchmarks, assessing the quality of disclosures offered by a sample of them. It found the overall quality of ESG-related disclosures ‘poor’.

In a new letter to benchmark administrators, the FCA said it will “use the full range of our tools” if issues are not addressed.

It has sent an additional letter to administrators outlining the issues identified, including:

  • Not enough detail on the ESG factors considered in benchmark methodologies
  • Not ensuring that the underlying methodologies for ESG data and ratings products used in benchmarks are accessible, clearly presented and explained to users
  • Not fully implementing ESG disclosure requirements
  • Benchmark administrators failing to implement their ESG benchmarks’ methodologies correctly. For example, using outdated data and ratings or failing to apply ESG exclusion criteria
AGAM teams up with Software Shop Limited

partnershipUK based fintech AGAM International has joined forces with Bangladeshi payments gateway system Software Shop Limited (SSL).

The partnership sees AGAM facilitate instant, end-to-end digital lending (via partner banks) for SSL’s merchant, corporate and their employee base. Lending includes nano loans, BNPL and EWA (earned wage access), powered by AGAM International’s credit scoring system.

AGAM International will play the role of product producer and developer while SSL acts as the systems integrator, sales partner or reseller to reach SSL customers and clients, which include corporations, banks and financial institutions.

AGAM CEO and founder Shabnam Wazed, said: “The synergy between SSL’s strong platforms and network of merchants, alongside AGAM International’s bank-grade technology, will make access to finance for customers, merchants, and employees of enterprises and corporates instant and seamless.

SmartSearch introduces next generation platform 

SmartSearch, a UK provider of anti-money-laundering software, has unveiled an ‘enhanced’ platform with enhanced functionalities following customer feedback.

Guy Harrison
Guy Harrison, CEO, SmartSearch

It now promises bespoke configurability and automation, improved compliance standards, audit-ready reporting, and strengthened perpetual KYC.

Stress-tested for reliability, the enhanced platform has carried out more than six million searches for clients worldwide during beta testing.
CEO Guy Harrison said: “ As the go-to solution for AML and risk management, this development sees SmartSearch increase its advantage in the digital compliance solutions market.

“With advanced features and improved usability, our development work marks a significant step forward in response to the demands of the modern age.

Recap launches NFT gallery

nftRecap, a crypto tax calculation service, has introduced NFT Gallery. The platform provides investors with a single showcasing platform that includes AI-driven appraisals and tax tracking functionality.

Integrated with Recap’s tax reporting Dashboard, the gallery brings valuations as well as taxable events to NFT collections.

Recap has teamed up with trusted NFT valuation engine Upshot to serve up projected gains, losses and AI-informed appraisals. The platform supports more than 67,000 types of NFTs. Users can view all non-fungible token assets in one place, including a live view for both static and video NFTs.

Daniel Howitt, CEO and co-founder of Recap said: “For NFT investors with multiple digital tokens, keeping track of assets across different platforms can prove difficult. On top of this, valuing NFTs has always been a little questionable, with current metrics relying on the latest floor prices to calculate a value.

“At Recap, we’ve simplified the process – delivering the UK’s first tax engine supported NFT Gallery that centralises a portfolio and produces automated tax calculations and reports. It also harnesses Upshot’s powerful advanced machine learning algorithm to provide highly accurate valuations, taking into account order books, traits and NFT sales histories, as well as social and lending data to provide state-of-the-art price predictions for better informed investments.”

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