Fund Services Weekly Briefing: 7/10/2019

Every Monday, VitalBriefing is proud to publish its exclusive Luxembourg Funds Intelligence Briefing, featuring our editors’ selection of the most important stories of the week in a sector followed by thousands of financial professionals in the Grand Duchy and elsewhere.

Don’t miss out on the latest critical developments impacting the funds industry:You can subscribe for free here.

Alternatively, take a look at this week’s briefing in your browser: VitalBriefing’s weekly fund services briefing (Oct. 7, 2019).

 

Don’t be fooled: Curing the fake news epidemic, one story at a time



Over the last several years, the world has succumbed to an epidemic of fake news. While disinformation has circulated for as long as people have created news, the internet, social media and changes in the way in which we consume information have turned fake news into an uncontrollable global virus with massive repercussions across politics, business and society.

Stories that on the surface may seem accurate but instead are misleading or downright false can have serious consequences once – to adopt the social media phraseology – they go ‘viral.’

Fake news stories have been absorbed and spread by millions of people, enticed by the click-bait headlines plaguing social media feeds – feeds originally designed to ease the sharing of content rather than to encourage the dissemination of untruth. On occasion, such as in the run-up to the 2016 US election or the Brexit referendum, this has resulted in a viral storm of sound bites that can trap people in a ‘filter bubble’ of disinformation, impacting how they vote, who they connect with socially and which companies they buy from.

While the mainstream media is certainly not innocent of embellishing the news to attract readers, of making mistakes or of inaccurate reporting, more alarmingly, the phrase ‘fake news’ is now deliberately being used by politicians and business leaders around the world as a weapon against legitimate news reporting, to mislead their constituencies and as an excuse to censor free speech.

In the business world, being tarnished with fake news that sticks can be disastrous, impacting public sentiment and your brand reputation with after-effects that can be hard – even impossible – to shake off.

No global vaccine exists for inoculating against the fake news epidemic, but VitalBriefing, as specialists in media and brand monitoring, has developed tools and techniques to filter fact from fiction, enhanced by our team of highly skilled and experienced journalists.

Here are six tips and tricks you can apply today when you read the news online or browse your social media feed:

  • Is the publisher credible?

Simply because a website is popular, does not mean it is accurate – especially if it appears on social media or automated news aggregation services where clicks and computer algorithms decide what leads. Be wary, for example, of unusual domain names or websites imitating legitimate news publications. Check the ‘About Us’ section to get an idea of what and who is behind the publication.

  • Is the writer credible? 

Check authors’ by-lines: Have they published anything else? Are they real writers, commentators or experts in their field or – as is often the case with fake news stories – simply a fictitious pseudonym?

  • Is the story credible?

Has the information been published on other websites, especially on authoritative ones such as noted mainstream media publications or specialist news outlets? If there’s no coverage elsewhere, it’s not a certainty that the news is fake, but it’s a strong warning sign that other verification methods need to be applied, especially if it’s not published by a legitimate news organisation.

  • Who’s in the story? 

If a person or organisation is quoted, perform a reverse search to check the original source of the quote. Is the attribution accurate? Is it being taken out of context? If there are no quotes or contributing sources, consider it another red flag.

  • How timely is the information?

Checking other sources can reveal a common indicator of fake news: the recycling of older information, dragged out of context, and made to appear as fresh news.

  • How’s the quality of the writing? 

Poor grammar and spelling is not necessarily indicative of a disreputable publication – automated or poor-quality translations are common on non-native language news sites, for example – but it should be a cause for scepticism, necessitating cross-checking the accuracy of the information. 

VitalBriefing applies all of the above and more when searching, filtering and curating information for your organisation, culling fake news to supply accurate business intelligence with journalistic integrity.

Monetary and Fiscal Policy Divide North and South Europe

VitalBriefing Editor-in-Chief Simon Gray discusses the worrying current state of monetary and fiscal policy in Europe.

Countries in the north and south of the continent are divided in opinion as to what they believe the role of monetary policy should be in stimulating the economy. Moreover, consensus cannot be reached regarding the fiscal rules governing participation in the euro, Europe’s single currency.

With both sides of the debate entrenched in their positions, US banks have been able to dominate global finance and even steal investment banking business from their European counterparts.

With the global economy facing a possible recession, how will Europe solve this inter-continental discord?

Read the full article on Toolbox.com.

Apple’s iPhone 11 Could Shake the Market with New Location Tech

Could Apple’s iPhone 11 come with new location technology that could revolutionize the sector? The technology giant says the new ultra-wideband chip in the iPhone 11 eliminates the need for the traditional line of sight required by GPS. While Apple promises that the U1 chip comes with all the positives of a GPS system without the downsides, it still has a long way to go.

Discover why adoption of this new tech could be tougher than Apple thinks on Toolbox.com.

The Rise of Cloud Services: Infographic

We’ve known for years that cloud computing would eventually rock the business world — and that time has come. The value of cloud services is growing fast as organisations across industries increasingly adopt the public cloud as an affordable platform for enterprise applications as well as for developing and deploying customer-facing solutions. It’s just the beginning: By 2022, it’s projected, 90% of organisations will be there. Based on available data, the sector is consolidating: Major players are boosting their market share, eliminating the various kinks and migrating to the cloud.

Should You Relaunch Your Website?

by David Schrieberg

For much of our eight-year history, our COO has loved to repeat that “we should eat our own dog food.”

It’s a standing joke between us – he knows I’ll smack him (half-)playfully every time he repeats it. But after years of rolling my eyes, I’ve finally admitted that there’s meaning in his cliche.

Which brings me to the point: After barely touching it for eight years, we’ve just overhauled our website and now that I survived the process, I have to say that you should probably take a look at yours and at least consider doing the same, if you haven’t recently.

The reason I held off for so long, given my experience with websites, was because I knew what kind of a project we would be taking on: Days, weeks and months of distraction, negotiations, back-and-forth, development, design, time, money…and arguments. Endless arguments.

If I’ve learned anything over 20 years spent in digital media, it’s this: Everybody and his or her mother know how to design a website. They know that this color should be changed, that quote should be dropped, this photo should be moved, that font should be altered, this text should be rewritten, that graphic killed…on and on and on.

Creating or relaunching a website is like living in an extended family argument: The fight is never really about the subject of the fight. Rather, it’s about lots of other things going on under the surface (and on the surface, too). Underlying tensions and issues have a way of bubbling over during the debates. Things can get heated. Ugly, even.

Yet, here’s the bottom line: That’s all healthy and all to the good of the organisation. It forces everyone to look hard at, and focus on, the strategy, goals, operations and products or output. Because the website is a window on your collective organisational soul.

In our case, our previous website was a thing of beauty, design-wise, but it wasn’t specifically intended to “sell” our services or products. So we decided it was time – go ahead and smack me – to eat our own dog food. And while it was painful in the preparation, it was a necessary meal and I couldn’t be happier we ate together.

Because in a world where trustworthy, accurate and engaging content is ever more important, effective storytelling is really about “story selling.” In this context and in our case, that means creating thought leadership content that showcases expertise, authority and trustworthiness – EAT – which mightily helps you get top-of-Google-search-results. That’s what our clients rightfully expect from us.

The process forced us to look hard at ourselves. We surveyed our customers and gathered new testimonials in order to better understand the value we offer them, and presumably our prospects. We added a revolving, regularly-refreshed carousel of examples of the content we produce for them across 25+ different industries including finance, technology, HR, Space and content marketing.

And maybe the most important outcome: We revised our own core message from “the cure for information overload” (still true) to a message more relevant in today’s confusing world: “content you can trust,” because we consider ourselves one small antidote for a world beset by fake news.

So take a look at www.vitalbriefing.com. Then I invite you to ask yourself whether it’s time to join us at the table.

Fintech: closing in on the end of the beginning

Fintech is not about the future of the financial industry – but its present. 

Online and mobile banking is no longer futuristic, but what’s expected of any institution, from venerable financial dynasties to upstart challengers. 

Instant payments, smartphone transactions, crowdfunding and savings apps have moved from the disruptive fringe into the mainstream. Confined just a short time ago to the world of start-ups, today’s fintech firms just as likely could be well-established businesses recording swelling profits and paying handsome dividends to shareholders.

After years of steady rather than breakneck growth, investment in the sector may be growing faster than ever: New money doubled to $55 billion last year alone compared with a total of $153 billion in the eight years between 2010 and 2018. Almost half came from China ($26 billion), although the US and the UK, despite Brexit, remain significant sources of venture capital and other types of investment. 

Fintech firms are becoming bigger – much bigger – but there are fewer of them: the number of start-ups founded worldwide peaked at 668 in 2014 and in 2016 was down sharply to 256.

While still a hotbed of innovation, that’s a sign of a sector starting to mature. A few years ago, the industry’s most high-profile firms were focusing on, among others, mobile transactions, digital payments, and above all crypto-currencies and blockchain, the distributed ledger technology underpinning bitcoin. 

Today the headlines are more about artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data as new applications try less to sweep away the traditional financial architecture and its incumbents than to carry out more cheaply, quickly and efficiently familiar functions such as customer due diligence or trade processing.

The traditional financial industry remains worried about the possible impact on its business of technology giants such as Google, Apple and Facebook moving onto their turf to exploit huge established customer bases. 

For mainstream banks, insurers, asset and wealth managers, and their myriad service providers, fintech firms offer a source of new thinking not found in-house as well as technology to make them fit for purpose in the digital era.

For all their concern about the impact of disruptive technology on the stability of the financial system, even officials who might be considered champions of orthodoxy are looking for ways to encourage the flow of fintech innovation into the mainstream. Regulators’ digital sandbox schemes enable fintech firms to test and refine their products and services with live customers before they shoulder the full weight of regulatory compliance. 

They’re also encouraging the fast-growing area of regtech, enabling digital technology to ease the ever-more-complex process of adherence to the additional rules that have besieged the financial sector over the decade since the financial crisis. 

And even the world’s central banks, while they decry the instability, insecurity and lawlessness of crypto-currencies, are discreetly exploring the capability of digital money to smooth financial flows and anchor monetary policy-making. 

In short, fintech may be moving beyond its Wild West phase but the digital transformation of the global financial framework is barely at the end of the beginning.

Tackling cyber crime: Shared threat needs shared response

Cyber security has become a major worry for the banking sector. The digital nature of business has been accompanied by evolving risk dynamics that call for constant reassessment. Meanwhile, it’s easier for cyber criminals to mount attacks, endangering individuals and organisations of all kinds and sizes.

Due to the complexity of this segment, financial institutions must take measures necessary to protect themselves and their clients. ING, a client of VitalBriefing, has been laser-focused on the threat. To show its valued customers just how seriously it takestheir cybersecurity, the bank asked VitalBriefing to create a suite of articles on the subject. Click here to read one of them: Tackling cyber crime – A shared threat needs a shared response.

https://www.ingwb.com/themes/cyber-security-articles/tackling-cybercrime-a-shared-threat-needs-a-shared-response

Content Marketing Comes Into Its Own

The digital world has become ever more content focused. Companies across every industry are realising that producing original content — from blogs to articles to videos to social media posts — not only helps their marketing efforts, but also provides clients and prospects with what they want most: easy-to-consume, engaging stories and information.

Consider this: 90% of all marketers now use content marketing. As a result of the growing consumer demand for insightful, high-value content, experts forecast the entire industry will more than double from less than $200 billion in 2016 to $500 billion in 2021.

For more on a rapidly expanding marketing sector, read this article prepared by VitalBriefing for its client, Ziff Davis: Content Marketing Comes Into Its Own

How to Find the Right CDP: Expert Interview

Consumer data is now the undisputed linchpin of digital marketing, with experts declaring it the “new currency” among businesses. From personalisation to consumer targeting to improving campaign reach and engagement, consumer data is fast evolving into the foundation of the most effective marketing efforts.

But…there is a problem: Many, if not most, marketers struggle to make use of the data tsunami. There’s simply too much, while traditionally disparate data silos across a company complicate its attempts to unify the various datasets.

Enter customer data platforms (CDPs). This technology, as VitalBriefing Chief Operating Officer Pierre-Yves Lanneau writes, is “fast becoming [a] key brick in any robust stack.” These systems manage the data of a company’s customers and produce actionable insights for marketers.

As the CDP sector continues its rise, many marketing teams are looking into integrating such tools. They just don’t know where to start.

VitalBriefing’s Ethan Schrieberg interviewed Derek Slager, co-founder and CTO at Amperity, a Seattle-based customer data management company that recently attracted $50 million in investment, for insights on finding the right customer data platform for your specific needs.

Discover the interview on Toolbox.com.