New offerings bolster GCash

Most fintech [financial technology] companies in the Philippines battle for the most convenient products, but it is high time for everyone to start talking …

New offerings bolster GCash

September 15, 2019

GCASH, an electronic-cash services provider backed by Globe Telecom Inc., continues to expand its reach in the local cashless economy by introducing new services to attract more users.

In this regard, GCash recently expanded its partnership with Puregold Price Club Inc. to allow its users to load their account via a barcode in all the listed supermarket operator’s branches.

“You put the amount that you want on the GCash app, then we generate the barcode and you [hand over] your cash and it’s done,” Globe President and Chief Executive Officer Ernest Cu said at the service’s launch in Taguig City on Tuesday.

For his part, Puregold President Vincent Co said there were 65 Puregold stores — out of 354 across the country as of 2018 — with exclusive lanes for GCash.

The e-wallet is operated by Mynt, which is a partnership between Globe, its parent firm Ayala Corp., and Ant Financial.

“Puregold and GCash have been longtime partners in providing useful innovations to Filipinos. By tapping Puregold checkout counters as cash-in points, we encourage more people to discover and enjoy the convenience of going cashless,” Fred Levy, Mynt’s chief commercial officer for transfers, said in a statement.

On Wednesday, GCash also unveiled its Customer Protect program that offers up to P100,000 as compensation for unauthorized financial transactions using GCash on the Messenger or GCash Mastercard platforms.

“It’s actually elevating the financial landscape. Most fintech [financial technology] companies in the Philippines battle for the most convenient products, but it is high time for everyone to start talking about security. If you are able to provide this platform you should be able to back it up and protect users, as well,” GCash Risk Policy Lead

Louie Miguel Santos said.

Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) Upgraded at ValuEngine

Two Sigma Investments LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.8% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 200,498 …

Selecta Biosciences logoSelecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) was upgraded by ValuEngine from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a report released on Thursday, ValuEngine reports.

A number of other brokerages have also recently commented on SELB. Mizuho reiterated a “buy” rating and issued a $4.00 target price on shares of Selecta Biosciences in a research report on Friday, May 10th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Selecta Biosciences from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, July 11th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have assigned a hold rating and five have issued a buy rating to the stock. Selecta Biosciences currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $8.04.

Shares of NASDAQ SELB opened at $2.08 on Thursday. The firm has a 50-day simple moving average of $1.82. The firm has a market capitalization of $86.45 million, a PE ratio of -0.71 and a beta of 1.17. Selecta Biosciences has a 52 week low of $1.41 and a 52 week high of $16.55.

Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB) last issued its earnings results on Thursday, May 9th. The company reported ($0.31) EPS for the quarter, beating the Zacks’ consensus estimate of ($0.37) by $0.06. The business had revenue of $0.01 million during the quarter. On average, sell-side analysts anticipate that Selecta Biosciences will post -1.35 earnings per share for the current year.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently made changes to their positions in SELB. Geode Capital Management LLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 17.9% during the fourth quarter. Geode Capital Management LLC now owns 175,308 shares of the company’s stock valued at $466,000 after acquiring an additional 26,568 shares in the last quarter. Barclays PLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.6% during the fourth quarter. Barclays PLC now owns 12,661 shares of the company’s stock valued at $34,000 after acquiring an additional 5,911 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 87.8% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Investments LP now owns 200,498 shares of the company’s stock valued at $533,000 after acquiring an additional 93,719 shares in the last quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 18.3% during the fourth quarter. Two Sigma Advisers LP now owns 54,900 shares of the company’s stock valued at $146,000 after acquiring an additional 8,500 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC grew its stake in Selecta Biosciences by 23.5% during the fourth quarter. FMR LLC now owns 345,046 shares of the company’s stock valued at $918,000 after acquiring an additional 65,623 shares in the last quarter. 49.67% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

About Selecta Biosciences

Selecta Biosciences, Inc, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, researches and develops nanoparticle immunomodulatory drugs for the treatment and prevention of human diseases. Its proprietary pipeline includes therapeutic enzymes, gene therapies, and other products and product candidates affected by undesired immune responses.

Recommended Story: Cash Flow

To view ValuEngine’s full report, visit ValuEngine’s official website.

Analyst Recommendations for Selecta Biosciences (NASDAQ:SELB)

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Philippines central bank warns about unregistered crypto exchanges

As a safeguard against unregistered virtual currency exchanges, BSP-supervised financial institutions, upon onboarding and during transaction …

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has issued a memo warning banks to be more stringent when dealing with cryptocurrency businesses. The regulator urged commercial banks to be strict with their risk management protocols when dealing with crypto exchanges to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing through cryptos.

In the memo, the deputy governor of the BSP Chuchi Fonacier reminded banks to ensure that they only deal with exchanges that have received a license to operate from the BSP. The regulator has now issued the license to 11 exchanges. The latest was BitanMoneytech Co. Ltd. which received the license a month ago. Fonacier stated:

As a safeguard against unregistered virtual currency exchanges, BSP-supervised financial institutions, upon onboarding and during transaction monitoring, should exercise extra caution and vigilance as well as perform enhanced due diligence, as necessary, in accordance with their Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Prevention Program as prescribed under existing regulation.

The Philippines has continued taking to cryptos rapidly, with the volume of crypto trades doubling to $390 million in 2018, a year in which cryptos took a huge price hit. With the country being the fourth-largest remittances receiver in the world and with over 75% of the population being unbanked, cryptos have found fertile ground.

This popularity of cryptos requires the banks to be extra vigilant, Fonacier stated. They should conduct risk assessment of the crypto exchanges, considering such factors as types of clients, business operations, distribution channels, products and services availed and anticipated account activity.

Additionally, banks must verify the exchanges’ registration with the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). In the Philippines, a crypto exchange must register with the AMLC in order to start operations.

Banks must implement robust systems that can identify unusual movement of funds by the crypto exchanges. This will enable them to investigate transactions and determine if filing a suspicious transaction report is warranted.

The BSP has so far issued licenses to 11 crypto exchanges. In April, it emerged that the regulator had issued licenses to three crypto exchanges namely ABA Global Phils Inc., Coinville Phils Inc. and Bexpress Inc. Other exchanges that have previously received licenses to operate include Rebittance Inc., Zybi Tech Inc. and Virtual Currency Philippines Inc.

However, despite the surging crypto popularity, the BSP has stated that it remains lukewarm on crypto. According to one senior BSP official, terrorist financing, money laundering and the price volatility of most cryptos were the main factors putting off the BSP.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

Bitcoin Satoshi Vision (BSV) is today the only Bitcoin project that follows the original Satoshi Nakamoto whitepaper, and that follows the original Satoshi protocol and design. BSV is the only public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin and will massively scale to become the world’s new money and enterprise blockchain.

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Digital banking policies toward greater financial inclusion

A framework for regulating virtual currency exchanges in the Philippines is implemented to provide consumers an innovative medium to do …

MANILA, Philippines — In line with our vision for higher quality of life for all Filipinos, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) has embraced financial inclusion as a worthy goal, long before it was mainstreamed as a global development agenda. We recognize that bringing financial services to all, especially those that are underserved and unserved, opens up opportunities for poor families in the country to improve their household welfare, spur enterprise activity and participate meaningfully in economic activities. Thus, we continue to relentlessly pursue policy and supervisory reforms which systematically accelerate the level of financial inclusion in the Philippines.

State of financial inclusion in the Philippines

The Philippine economy has been growing consistently and in recent years, at levels regarded as one of the fastest in Asia. In fact, our GDP growth rate of 5.6 percent in the first quarter of 2019 is our 78th consecutive quarter of uninterrupted economic growth, since the Asian financial crisis.

However, the archipelagic nature of the Philippines imposes serious physical barriers to financial access. As of 2018, 536 out of 1,530 cities and municipalities do not have a banking office. In areas where there are financial institutions present, financial services are concentrated in highly urbanized and populous regions, leaving much of the low-income regions significantly underserved. Based on the BSP’s Financial Inclusion Survey (2017), 48 percent of adults have savings but 68 percent of them keep their savings at home. Two-thirds of adults do not have a formal account that will enable them to save and access other financial services, such as credit, insurance, investment, payment and remittance.

Meanwhile, unique mobile user penetration in the Philippines is at 58 percent. With more than half of Filipinos using the Internet and staying online for an average of four hours every day, we acquired the title of being the “Social Networking Capital of the World.” As technology continues to move at an unprecedented scale, we set our sights on digital innovations as a catalyst and strategic enabler of financial inclusion.

Technology – building the gap toward greater financial inclusion

Financial Technology (FinTech) is the application of technology in financial services, in a manner that drives the transformation or disruption of traditional processes in financial system. FinTech transcends geographical barriers, enhances transparency and reduces transaction costs. Thus, FinTech presents a potent tool to expand and deepen financial inclusion.

For the Philippine banking landscape, technology has also reshaped financial services. Technology gives consumers access to their funds, anytime, anywhere, at the touch of their fingertips. Banks embrace the digital age to streamline costs, maximize efficiency of their processes and manage risks across various facets of their operations.

BSP response: enabling regulatory environment

The BSP seeks to continually build an enabling regulatory environment that allow innovations to flourish, yet still mindful that risks must be effectively managed and consumer welfare remain protected. Our ‘test and learn’ approach allows us to craft fair and proportionate regulations that promote a level playing field in the industry.

The BSP has adopted responsive regulatory framework as the market develops and evolves. We have recently issued regulations enhancing BSP oversight on Money Service Businesses (MSBs) in order to promote more effective anti-money laundering and financial integrity regime of MSBs. Banks are now allowed to use third party cash agents such as shops, retailers, stores in remote areas, as a cost-efficient service channel to deliver digital banking solutions in the low-income areas long considered as niche and unviable by bigger banks. A framework for regulating virtual currency exchanges in the Philippines is implemented to provide consumers an innovative medium to do remittances and payments while subjecting these entities to registration, minimum capital, internal controls, regulatory reports and compliance with the anti-money laundering rules and regulations. Covered institutions are also allowed to implement reduced Know-Your-Customer (KYC) rules for certain low-risk accounts and use technology for face-to-face contact requirements which facilitate frictionless customer on-boarding, a major pain point for those serving the low-income segment.

Beyond regulatory issuances, the BSP launched in 2015 its flagship program, the National Retail Payment System (NRPS) aimed at establishing a safe, efficient, reliable, affordable and inclusive retail payment system in the Philippines. Through an effective electronic retail payment system, a “cash-lite” economy can ramp up the country’s economic competitiveness.

On the legal front, the National Payment Systems Act and New Central Bank Act have also been signed into law expanding the scope of BSP supervision to include money service businesses, credit granting businesses and payment system operators. This empowers the BSP to boost excellence in delivery of its core mandates, reinforce collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders, and execute BSP operations at par with global best practices.

Our national goal

Our overarching national goal is to enable all Filipino adults to have an account that will allow them to send or receive funds, save money, borrow capital, and get insured, among others. For a country with over 100 million people dispersed in more than 7,000 islands, this is a highly complex and daunting task which calls for national action. Thus, in 2015, the Philippines established the National Strategy for Financial Inclusion (NSFI) which sets out the strategy to optimize collective efforts towards financial inclusion in the Philippines. Key areas on policy and regulation, financial education and consumer protection, advocacy programs, and data measurement serve as elements for crafting evidence-based regulations, designing and implementing programs, and monitoring progress towards greater financial inclusion.

The Philippines has come a long way in expanding the breadth and depth of financial inclusion since the establishment of NSFI in 2015. Still, the BSP, together with partners in the government and private sectors, remains committed to making our financial inclusion goals a reality. We firmly believe that through our sustained national efforts, all Filipinos, especially those in vulnerable and marginalized sectors of our society, will have equal chances for a better life.

* * *

Chuchi G. Fonacier is the Deputy Governor of Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Financial Supervision Sector that is mainly responsible for the regulation of Banks and other BSP-Supervised Financial Institutions(BSFIs). She started her career at the BSP in 1984 as a Bank Examiner and has progressively worked her way to become Deputy Governor in 2017. – Chuchi Fonacier

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Cashalo hits client goal

Cashalo started operations last year as a joint venture between Hong Kong-based financial technology firm Oriente and Gokongwei-controlled JG …

CASHALO has surpassed its goal to have a million clients by the first semester. — HTTPS://WWW.CASHALO.COM/

MOBILE LENDING platform Cashalo breached its target to hit a million clients in the first half of the year as the firm moves into the credit business.

Cashalo General Manager Hamilton C. Angluben said the lending firm ended the first semester with about 1.5 million registered users, greater than one million it earlier targeted.

Cashalo also had more than a million financial identities and four million application downloads as of end-June.

“Because of our two new products, we cannot have a real accurate forecast given the growth is exponential, not incremental,” Mr. Angluben told BusinessWorld in a recent interview.

He added that Cashalo is “moving more into credit business” and “not much in cash loans,” as it seeks to address the need of Filipinos for credit.

“It’s really what we see the need of Filipinos right now. Less than two percent of the population have a credit card. Imagine the problem we’re addressing and we’re trying to solve,” Mr. Angluben said.

In April, Cashalo launched in beta mode its air ticket financing, wherein customers can book domestic Cebu Pacific flights which can be paid in installments.

According to Cashalo’s website, the loan limit is P7,000 and can be paid within three or six months. Loans can be approved in as fast as four hours.

“This will move on to other e-commerce players. Once we’ve done it with Cebu Pacific, it’s easy to implement it to other retail players,” Mr. Angluben told reporters during its anniversary banquet.

Apart from this, the digital lending firm last month also launched on beta mode its micropayment financing, wherein clients can borrow starting at P200, which can be used to pay in convenience stores, groceries, and drug stores, among others.

“With this product, we will be able to approve anyone as long as you see the data you send to us is consistent. Maybe 80-90% who applied will get this one,” Mr. Angluben said.

Cashalo started operations last year as a joint venture between Hong Kong-based financial technology firm Oriente and Gokongwei-controlled JG Summit Holdings, Inc.

It offers cash loans and consumer basket financing through its mobile platform. Application is done online, requiring clients to submit documents and IDs digitally.

In December, Cashalo became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oriente after it increased its stake in the fintech firm to 100% from 50%. However, JG Summit continues to be “an important strategic partner and investor” of Oriente. — K.A.N. Vidal