Alok Sama is reportedly leaving Softbank, will continue as an advisor

Alok Sama is reportedly leaving Softbank, will continue as an advisor … still decided to step down from his position as President of the Softbank group.

Alok Sama, the go-to man for Masayoshi Son when it comes to some of his biggest financial deals, is reportedly leaving the company. Drawing curtains to a 5 year stint, Sama was instrumental in some of the biggest M&As that Softbank achieved in the last half a decade or so. The mega $32 Billion buy-out of ARM and the $59 Billion merger of Sprint and T-mobile were all transactions, done under Sama’s leadership.

Sama was also deeply involved in Softbank’s early India investments in Ola and Snapdeal. Alok Sama, a former Morgan Stanley banker, joined SoftBank in 2014 as adviser. He became the CFO of the group’s international holdings a year later.

While there is no official word out yet, a source close to the developments told the Economic Times, “He is likely to take some time off but is looking at different opportunities in investment management and advisory besides areas like distressed assets in India”.

Despite of the exit though, Sama will continue to represent SoftBank on the boards of SB Energy, the renewable energy joint venture with Bharti and Foxconn in India besides SoFi, a San Francisco-based online lender. There is no word on what role will he play in Softbank’s other startup investments globally.

Alok Sama was also closely associated with Nikesh Arora, who left Softbank rather abruptly in 2016. Nikesh was considered the ‘hier apparent’ by most in the industry. That however ended in 2016 when Softbank announced investigations in certain deals done under Arora. Alok Sama was also named in those investigations. Softbank later gave a clean chit to Arora, though he still decided to step down from his position as President of the Softbank group.

Firoz joins The Tech Portal to report on all stuff that relates to developers and their community. He is actively involved in multiple startups, helping them build and develop modern web products.

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Saudi regulator launches regulatory sandbox to test fintech

… design of a sandbox regulatory environment that allows local and international financial technology firms to test new digital solutions as the kingdom …

The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) has announced the start of the design of a sandbox regulatory environment that allows local and international financial technology firms to test new digital solutions as the kingdom pushes for economic transformation.

The move follows similar initiatives by other regulators in the GCC and aims to help the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority understand and assess the impact of new technologies on the financial services market.

“Saudi has one of highest outflows of remittances in the region. Hence working on innovative ideas for cross border transfers, domestic payments, peer-to-peer lending for SMEs and other fintech ideas is a priority,” Mohamed Roushdy, head of technology at Dubai Asset Management, told Zawya.

“Saudi has one of highest outflows of remittances in the region. Hence working on innovative ideas for cross border transfers, domestic payments, peer-to-peer lending for SMEs and other fintech ideas is a priority”

“Sandbox could play a great role in getting those ideas to the market with the support of banks, which will be part of the sandbox next to fintechs,” he added.

Sama plans to transform the initiative into an “intelligent financial centre” that allows local and international companies to test digital solutions they intend to launch in the kingdom, the regulator said in a statement.

The list of permitted fintechs so far is comprised of Geidea, Bayan Payments Company Limited, HalalaH, Saudi Digital Payments Company (STC Pay), Saudi Post, Brightware, and Tap Payments, according to SAMA.

The sandbox environment will be linked to the kingdom’s Vision 2030, an overarching road map that aims to overhaul and diversify the country’s economy away from oil. The Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP), geared to transform and diversify the financial sector, and support national economy through financing and investment initiatives for private sector, are among the key pillars of Vision 2030.

Société Générale and several other banks are already eyeing opportunities that this economic transformation might bring.

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Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies’ Trading is Illegal in Saudi Arabia: Govt. Committee

The committee went on to warn citizens about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, not just from the volatility of the market but also …

The standing committee formed by the government officials in Saudi Arabia has warned that the unauthorized virtual currencies are illegal inside the kingdom of Saudi Arabia because of their negative consequences and high risks on traders as they are out of government supervision.

According to a statement issued by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority, country’s central bank:

“The committee assured that virtual currency including, for example but not limited to, the Bitcoins are illegal in the kingdom and no parties or individuals are licensed for such practices.”

The committee was formed by the supreme decree headed by Capital Market Authority (CMA), Ministry of Ministry of Interior membership, Ministry of Media, Ministry of Commerce and Investment and Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to create awareness on dealing in unauthorized securities activities in the foreign exchange market (Forex).

Also Read: An Analysis of How Each G-20 Member Region Feels About Cryptocurrencies

The committee went on to warn citizens about the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies, not just from the volatility of the market but also from potential scams, the transfer of money to unknown recipients/entities/parties and the presence of fictitious contracts.

The standing committee is also working with relevant bodies to reduce such marketing activities, not just for cryptocurrency trading but also forex trading on sites that aren’t regulated by SAMA or CMA officials.

Investors who are in any doubt about what is permissible should refer to the relevant government entity’s website, which will provide details of the licensed entities.

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Softbank’s ex-CFO sells luxury condo in Surfside

He is a director at ARM Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, SoftBank Group Capital, Brightstar Corp. and Baer Capital Partners, according to his …

Alok Sama and the Four Seasons Residences at the Surf Club (Credit: Four Seasons)

It looks like former Softbank executive Alok Sama’s investment in Miami’s preconstruction condo market paid off.

Sama, former president and CFO of the Japanese telecommunications giant, sold a unit at the Four Seasons Residences at the Surf Club for $5.4 million, about $1.4 million more than what he paid for the condo earlier this year.

Property records show Sama, who resigned from the company last year, sold unit 505 in the south tower of the Surf Club at 9001 Collins Avenue to Free Reach LLC, a Delaware LLC.

He closed on the 2,201-square-foot unit in January for $3.95 million.

Sama resigned from the group’s SB Investment Advisers last year, according to published reports. He is a director at ARM Holdings, Fortress Investment Group, SoftBank Group Capital, Brightstar Corp. and Baer Capital Partners, according to his LinkedIn profile.

In December, Softbank’s founder and CEO Masayoshi Son joined as a part-owner of David Beckham’s Major League Soccer team in Miami. Softbank has poured billions into tech-focused startups over the last few years, including $6 billion last year alone into WeWork, Compass, Katerra and Lemonade – all real estate firms. Fort Partners, led by Nadim Ashi, completed the Four Seasons-branded development last year. Buyers include hedge funder Daniel Nir, Theory co-founder Andrew Rosen and South Florida auto magnate Alan Potamkin.

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Saudi Arabia aims to become regional fintech Mecca: official

DUBAI, April 15 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia aims to attract the leading financial technology (fintech) companies and plans to become a cashless society, said official of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) Sunday. Ziad Al-Yousef, Director General of Payment Systems at SAMA, the Saudi central bank, …
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DUBAI, April 15 (Xinhua) — Saudi Arabia aims to attract the leading financial technology (fintech) companies and plans to become a cashless society, said official of Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) Sunday.

Ziad Al-Yousef, Director General of Payment Systems at SAMA, the Saudi central bank, made the remarks at the opening of the two-day Seamless conference on payments, fintech and e-commerce.

Saudi Arabia also plans to build an ecosystem to develop local fintech startups, Yousef said, adding that fintech firms “can increase financial inclusion in the kingdom and improve the speed and efficiency of fund flows through electronic means.”

The fintech plan fits into the Saudi Vision 2030 reform scheme to reduce the kingdom’s dependence on oil, launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman a year ago, said Yousef.

To better develop the fintech plan, Saudi government plans to relax the work visa policy for talented entrepreneurs, said Yousef. “We at SAMA work together with SAGIA, the Saudi General Investment Authority, to develop such a work visa scheme,” he added.

SAMA will launch within the next two months a strategy to lead the Gulf Arab state towards a cashless society by 2030, said Al-Yousef.

The number of point-of-sale terminals, such as credit or debit card payment facilities at shops, increased to 303,464 across Saudi Arabia in 2017 from 225,372 in 2015, and “it is expected to surge to 526,889 units by 2021,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is not alone with its fintech ambitions. In early 2016, the Dubai International Financial Center launched the fintech Hive as an incubator in the field of financial big data, e-payment systems and artificial intelligence in finance.

Abu Dhabi and Bahrain have also set up fintech hubs since then.

However, according to global consultancy EY, not a single Arab country was in 2017 among the top 20 countries in relation to fintech adoption, a ranking which was led by China.

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