28 August 2016

MIT|Blockchain Reports

In line with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s mandate to advance knowledge in areas that will serve to address the 21st century’s great challenges, by focussing on fields of scholarship that will best serve the world, MIT has recently released a number of reports on the impact of blockchain technology on financial services.

Blockchain & Financial Services: The Fifth Horizon of Networked Innovation

This report promises to close any gaps in your understanding of where the world of blockchain is today, where it’s going, and how you might capitalize on the disruption it’s bringing to the global financial system.

2 themes you will explore with this MIT report:
  • Understanding the fundamentals of blockchain and its impact on financial markets.
  • The barriers associated with adopting this new technology.

Blockchain & Transactions: Markets and Marketplaces

This report takes a closer look at how blockchain will impact transactions in the future and identifies the players and markets most likely to experience the disruption. 

2 themes you will explore with this MIT report:
  • Insights into how exactly blockchain is likely to affect a variety of sectors and stakeholders, including securities trading, commercial and retail banking, and insurance.
  • The potential of blockchain to help us reimagine and redefine the role of intermediaries and other market participants.

Blockchain & Infrastructure (Identity, Data Security)

This report explores applications of blockchain technology against the context of concerns around identity, privacy and data security. 

2 themes you will explore with this MIT report:
  • The ways in which blockchain can be utilised for online identity and how this will be valuable for financial institutions.
  • How blockchain could impact data security through decentralization and how it can render the cost of breaches much lower.

27 August 2016

MIT - Digital Banking Manifesto: The End of Banks?

This report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology investigates the current state of our banking system and how the rise of the Digital Bank and digital currencies will affect the future of finance. MIT’s Alex Lipton, David Shrier and Alex “Sandy” Pentland take you through the intricacies of the Digital Bank.

6 themes you will explore with this MIT report:
  • The rise and evolution of the Digital Bank
  • The necessary requirements for a successful Digital Bank from the perspective of the customer, investor and the bank itself
  • Understanding the digital customer segment – who makes up the market in developing and developed nations
  • The creation and considerations of digital currencies
  • The ecosystem that makes up the Digital Bank
  • The debate between the rise of the Digital Bank versus digital banking

26 August 2016

Mauritius: FSC issues Public Notice - Disqualification of Mrs Francess Henriette Marie Michelle from holding position as officer

FSC Mauritius issues Public Notice -  Disqualification of Mrs Francess Henriette Marie Michelle from holding position as officer » Read More

Mauritius: FSC issues Public Notice - Disqualification of Mr David Dawson Cosgrove from holding position as officer

FSC Mauritius issues Public Notice -  Disqualification of Mr David Dawson Cosgrove from holding position as officer » Read More

Mauritius: FSC issues Public Notice – Revocation of the Management Licence held by Belvedere Management Limited

The Enforcement Committee (the “EC”) of the Financial Services Commission has, on 24 August 2016, revoked the Management Licence held by Belvedere Management Limited (“BML”) pursuant to sections 7(1)(c)(vi) and 52(3) of the Financial Services Act 2007

25 August 2016

Significant milestone for Smart City development

In the wake of the World Smart City Forum, which was held on 13 July 2016 in Singapore, representatives of IEC, ISO, ITU, IEEE, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI gathered for a meeting initiated by the IEC. This meeting was a global first and part of an ongoing dialog among standards organizations. The aim was to accelerate and better align Smart City standardization work, which is essential for successful Smart City deployment. Between 60% and 70% of humanity is expected to be living in urban environments by 2050.

Cities need to make better use of resources and become more efficient: Policies, regulation, citizen involvement and standards are all key components needed to build a viable Smart City. While all are important, in a path towards smarter cities, standardization will play a key role in ensuring consistent outcomes. Standards are relevant in the physical world, where they allow for the interconnection of hardware and technologies, but also in the virtual space where they facilitate data collection/sharing as well as city operation.

In today’s cities much of the infrastructure is installed by a diverse set of suppliers and maintained by different agencies who sometimes work in isolation. To connect them both physically and virtually, standardized interfaces need to be put in place, and this is where standards organizations such as the IEC, ISO, ITU, IEEE, CEN, CENELEC, ETSI and others will have an important role to play.

For city planners, utilities, service and technology providers, standards are essential enablers, facilitating an expected performance and quality level, consistent reproducible outcomes as well as compatibility between technologies.

This was the first time these different standards bodies from around the world met to examine how to work together for the greater good of cities and citizens.

Participants expressed their commitment to uphold principles of mutual respect, transparency, openness and sharing of new work information. Discussions looked at gaps; where standards are needed but work is not yet advanced; overlaps, where different organizations may be active; and, how the standards world can collaborate to better serve the needs of cities and citizens.

Over the coming months the organizations will work together to develop a viable framework for cooperation in order to optimize outcomes and reduce duplication, wasted time and expense. A follow-up meeting organized by ISO is planned for 2017.

Says Frans Vreeswijk, IEC General Secretary and CEO: “As a global, not-for-profit organization, the IEC saw the opportunity for greater Smart City cooperation and provided the impulse for such a meeting. We are excited about the prospect of more efficient, inclusive standards development for cities. Cities are complex, multi-dimensional systems of systems. No single standards organization will be able to provide everything cities need. Here, as elsewhere, broad collaboration is required. In this context, sometimes one organization will lead an effort and at other times it will share its expertise while another one leads.

Says Kevin McKinley, Acting ISO Secretary-General: “At this first meeting we successfully shared initiatives and discussed opportunities for greater collaboration. We now have a good foundation on which we can build, and at ISO we look forward to future cooperation with our partner organizations. This will mean ISO members engaging even more with cities, planners and other stakeholders, to serve their needs and increase awareness of the value International Standards can bring to the development of Smart Cities."

Says Chaesub Lee, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau: “Cities develop and mature in a diverse range of ways, reflecting differences in history, culture and geographic and economic environments. It is a great challenge to identify the common characteristics of Smart Cities in a global sense, however it is clear that essential elements of a city’s ‘smartness’ will depend on information and communication technologies (ICTs). Here ITU has a leading role to play as the United Nations specialized agency for ICTs. The Key Performance Indicators that we have developed for Smart Sustainable Cities as well as our various international standards for the Internet of Things will provide valuable tools to drive the New Urban Agenda and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Says Bruce Kraemer, President IEEE Standards Association: “IEEE-SA has always acknowledged the importance of openness in standardization development as it relates to Smart Cities. IEEE-SA is committed to continue working collaboratively within an ecosystem that encourages mutually beneficial relationships among an array of standards setting organizations and regulatory agencies. This meeting of the world’s key standards organizations focused on Smart Cities and marks a significant step in building a framework for global cooperation that leads to more efficient technological development and implementation for Smart Cities. IEEE-SA is actively fostering Smart City developments and looks forward to supporting these efforts.

Says Bernhard Thies, CENELEC President: “As European Standardization Organization responsible for developing and defining standards at European level, CENELEC has a role to play in supporting the sustainable and smart evolution of urban living, keeping pace with the changes brought by digitalization of technologies, and promoting the harmonization of the EU single market. Standards can be relevant tools in helping cities, industries, service providers and citizens meet EU energy and climate goals, and smart energy is just one of the ‘building blocks’ for the development of Smart Cities.

Because of the complexity of Smart Cities, a collaborative effort is needed for greater simplicity and to clearly map all relevant standards, to identify and address standardization gaps. In order to create a ‘Smart City architecture model’ for enhancing integration, we can take inspiration from existing work on smart grids and industry 4.0. This year CENELEC and IEC celebrated 25 years of technical cooperation, and we welcome the opportunity to strengthen our collaboration, and support a common and consistent approach in order to undertake innovative urban transformation. Together with other standardization organizations, as well as international fora and consortia, we have the opportunity to formulate our future!

Says Friedrich Smaxwil, CEN President: “Standardization in Europe forms a critical part of the evolution European cities need to make over the coming years, in order to meet the 20/20/20 energy and climate goals. Population growth, economic stress on resources, rapid urbanization are increasing strains on energy, transportation, water, buildings, and public spaces. Solutions for cities need to be found – solutions which are both ‘smart’, namely highly efficient and ‘sustainable’ while specifically generating economic prosperity and social wellbeing of the citizens.

Cities are expected to deliver more and newer services as well as to increase competitively. CEN standards are available and represent relevant tools to achieve this. The CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Smart and Sustainable Cities and Communities Coordination Group (AFNOR Secretariat) has been working towards this objective since 2013. Further cooperation would be needed to adopt a ‘system/cross sectoral approach for standardization’ on this topic and improved collaboration with relevant stakeholders is key. CEN welcomes better collaboration among SDOs as fundamental aspect to identify gaps, avoid duplication of work, and ensure European contributions to global solutions for Smart Cities.

Says Luis Jorge Romero Saro, Director General of ETSI: “At ETSI we have a long-standing experience of working on international projects with other standard bodies. As a founding member of the well-known 3GPP and oneM2M partnership projects, ETSI and its partners are working in standard technology building blocks for Smart Cities. ETSI is also part of NIST’s International Working Group on IoT-Enabled Smart City Framework. We are happy to be part of this new initiative to help enhance the collaboration among parties so that all expertise and knowledge are shared and enable the development of standards to the design of smarter, more secure and more sustainable cities in the future.

William Ahern: The Pearl and The Oyster

FATCA first cracked the oyster shell and CRS will prise it wide open and reveal what is within to tax authorities at home and abroad automatically, annually. The trouble is, these pearls of financial data are not just attractive and available to tax authorities, but to malevolents everywhere.

22 August 2016

Deutsche Bank’s $10-Billion Scandal

Almost every weekday between the fall of 2011 and early 2015, a Russian broker named Igor Volkov called the equities desk of Deutsche Bank’s Moscow headquarters. Volkov would speak to a sales trader—often, a young woman named Dina Maksutova—and ask her to place two trades simultaneously. In one, he would use Russian rubles to buy a blue-chip Russian stock, such as Lukoil, for a Russian company that he represented. Usually, the order was for about ten million dollars’ worth of the stock. In the second trade, Volkov—acting on behalf of a different company, which typically was registered in an offshore territory, such as the British Virgin Islands—would sell the same Russian stock, in the same quantity, in London, in exchange for dollars, pounds, or euros. Both the Russian company and the offshore company had the same owner. Deutsche Bank was helping the client to buy and sell to himself.

18 August 2016

UN e-Government Survey 2016 ranks Mauritius 1st in Africa

The United Nations e-Government Survey 2016 ranks Mauritius first in Africa (followed by Tunisia) and 58th worldwide, with an e-Government Development Index of 0.6231. In 2014 Mauritius was ranked 76th and Tunisia 75th.

Issued at the moment when countries are launching the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the survey offers a snapshot of trends in the development of e-government in countries across the globe. It provides new evidence that more governments are embracing information and communication technologies to deliver services and to engage people in decision-making processes in all regions of the world. The survey shows that digital technologies—the Internet, mobile phones, and all the other tools to collect, store, analyze, and share information digitally— are being increasingly utilised.

E-government has the potential to help support the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 sustainable development goals. In fact, the Online Service Index (OSI) values for the majority of UN Member States have increased, which suggests that innovative approaches are being applied in the public sector and specifically in public service delivery.

According to the survey a sharp rise has been noted in the number of countries that are using e-government to provide public services online through one stop-platform – an approach that makes it easier to access public services. More countries are making an effort through e-government to ensure that public institutions are more inclusive, effective, accountable and transparent.

The UN e-Government Survey 2016 underscores that one of the most important new trends is the advancement of people-driven services that reflect people’s needs and are driven by them. At the same time, disparities remain within and among countries. Lack of access to technology, poverty and inequality prevent people from fully taking advantage of the potential of ICTs and e-government for sustainable development.

As reported the survey shows that since 2014 the number of countries with very high OSI has increased from 22 to 32 whereas the number of countries with low OSI dropped from 71 to 53.

The UN 2030 Agenda itself recognized that “the spread of information and communications technology and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies, as does scientific and technological innovation across areas as diverse as medicine and energy”

15 August 2016

Retirement Planning and Healthcare of Chinese HNWIs 2016

Taikang and Hurun Report today jointly released Retirement Planning and Healthcare of Chinese HNWIs 2016. This 48-page report is based on a study of 1125 High Net-Worth Individuals (HNWIs) across China, and 30 one-to-one interviews with HNWIs in the first-tier cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. This is the second year of the report.

The result shows that interest in senior living communities rose 87%, especially among the under 35s, who jumped from 17% to 39%.

The creation of a ‘one-stop’ funeral services concept, with comprehensive coverage encompassing palliative care, religious beliefs and inheritance of family heritage and spirit is the future development trend for the HNWI funeral market.

Chinese ‘millionaires’ up 10.7%; Healthcare now biggest concern

A surge in housing prices in first-tier cities was the main driver for the growth in Chinese HNWIs, so that despite a slowdown in the economy, the number of Chinese HNWIs, defined as individuals with CNY 10 million of personal wealth or more (equivalent to US$1.6 million), shot up 10.7% year on year. As of May 2016, there were 1.34 million HNWIs worth CNY 10 million or more in the Chinese mainland, up 130,000 on last year, with a growth rate of 10.7%. There are about 89,000 UHNWIs (Ultra high net worth individuals) worth CNY 100 million or more, up 11,000 on last year, with a growth rate of 14.1%.

Guangdong overtook Beijing for the first time, home to 240,000 individuals with CNY 10 million or more, and the fastest growth rate, 17.65%. Beijing takes second place with an increase of 24,000, hitting 238,000 in total. Shanghai was third, increasing by 24,000 to 205,000. Zhejiang fourth with an increase of 14,000 to reach 160,000.

Bank deposits, property and insurance remain the three main av­enues for financial investment. The proportion who invest in insurance increased, while the proportion de­voted to property investment fell.

The main topics of concern for Chinese HNWIs was quite different this year. Healthcare took first place, displacing financial investment, which fell to third. Sports come second, with 29%. The HNWIs also expressed an interest in news and tourism.

95% believe that social security will be unable to meet their current needs.

95% of HNWI respondents with CNY 10 million or more own commercial life insurance. The average pre­mium paid was CNY 37,000, suggesting that the total annual premiums paid by HNWIs was CNY 47 billion, or 4.6% of China’s total life insurance market.

95% of HNWIs buy commercial life insurance in ad­dition to social insurance mainly because the latter has little relevance for them. Due to the minimal nature of the social insurance system, which provides only basic coverage to the population as a whole, it has little impact on the quality of HNWI lifestyle. Consequently it is not capable of meeting the high standards HNWIs require in terms of comprehensiveness of security, premium levels, investment returns, levels of satisfaction and per­sonalized design. Commercial insurance, on the other hand, offers an effective means of overcoming the shortcomings and deficiencies of social insurance, al­lowing HNWIs more comprehensive and satisfactory coverage.

In short, HNWIs are attaching greater importance to commercial insurance due to the comprehensive­ness of the security it offers. When evaluating the importance of commercial insurance, 78% of HNWIs indicated that it is very important or quite important, giving it an average of 8.1 points on a 10-point scale.

59% of HNWIs indicate that they will proactively seek to learn about commercial life insurance, a much higher percentage than last year’s 22%, further evi­dence of the manner in which HNWI interest in commercial insurance is on the rise.

With the rapid rise in HNWIs' recognition of and demand for new types of senior living homes, senior living communities are the preferred mode of retirement, with younger respondents most interested in them.

57% regard retiring at home as their first choice, followed by senior living communities, with 28%, and community-supported retirement with 8%. Though home re­tirement still accounts for more than half, the amount of respondents opt­ing for it fell by 26%. The proportion of those choosing senior living communities climbed by 87%, especially among those under 35 years old, with this option rising from 17% to 39%. When it comes to the age at which HNWIs plan to move into senior living communities, the preference for 70 years of age remains the same.

HNWI attitudes towards retirement are becoming more open-minded and optimistic, as social perceptions alter. In retirement, they expect to lead co­lourful and relaxed lives, and to travel extensively. They are increasingly independent with regards to retire­ment planning, preferring to prepare through investment and insurance, rather than expecting their children to look after them. Accordingly, they expect to move into senior living com­munities or institutional care, not only to enjoy medical security but also to reduce pressure on their children, who already face tremendous social burdens due to the One Child Policy. Furthermore, with the rapid devel­opment of the senior living industry, there is more choice, and expectations that children ought to provide for their aged parents is on the wane.

Choice of medical institutions diversified, increased demand for new medical channels, tremendous potential for future market

Respondents would consider using 2.5 different kinds of medical institutions on average this year, up from 1.7, reflecting a diversification in choice. Compared with last year, as HNWIs understand medical information in greater detail, their attitudes are becoming more open, and the range of their choices more diverse. Many more are willing to use new medical treatment methods, with all categories witnessing increases.

Though the percentage consulting private doctors is very low at just 8%, this represents a 60% year-on-year increase, a trend is likely to remain on an upward trajectory. 10% of HNWIs have previously sought it in one form or another.

Its popularity is comparatively low, with about half of respondents never having heard of it. However there has been a significant increase in the proportion of those who have used it compared with last year, with the rate rising from 2% to 11%, reflecting a higher conversion rate among users, and reflecting a degree of market potential. Convenient online reservation and registration is the main reason cited for using it. Other reasons include the availability of electronic health records and making use of portable testing equipment at home.

The creation of a ‘cradle to grave’ concept, encompassing palliative care, religious beliefs and the desire to transmit values to the next generation, is an important trend for the HNWI funeral market.

Palliative care: this includes specialized and professional treat­ment, focusing on relieving pain and providing mental comfort, and the prevention of over-treat­ment. This method can not only reduce families' medical treatment expenses, but also calm patients’ nerves and relieve unnecessary pain.

Funeral services should meet spiritu­al needs: this involves developing differentiated services in line with the religious beliefs of HNWIs. 30% of HNWIs are religious, 23% of them Buddhists and 6% of them Chris­tians, according to Hurun Research. Religious convictions are more common the older respon­dents get and the richer they are. More than 60% of HNWIs with CNY 30 million or above have religious beliefs. In recent years, the proportion of religious HNWIs has grown. These beliefs strongly affect their attitude to­wards and demand for funeral ser­vices, thus it is important for them to be taken into account.

Transmission of inheritance and values: it is envisaged that a combination of insurance and trusts will be used, to ensure that rules are in place to regulate in­heritances, and to guide the values of the next generation in making use of their legacies. It is also hoped that the family’s values and mission can be passed on.

During the press conference, Taikang Life Chairman and CEO Chen Dongsheng said, “Retirement planning and healthcare has been the focus of Taikang, and is of huge value to humanity. I am excited that healthcare has become the main topic of concern for Chinese HNWIs. Taikang is now fully engaged in the development of ‘Big Happiness Project’, using the three core pillars of insurance, asset management and healthcare. The mission of Taikang is making people healthier, wealthier and to let them live longer. This is how Taikang can make people ‘happier’.

Rupert Hoogewerf, Chairman and Chief Researcher of Hurun Report, said, “Nobody before has focused on the funeral needs of the Chinese HNWI, a key innovation in this year’s report. Social stigmas of retirement planning are also gradually shifting, such that Chinese HNWIs are willing to discuss the topic, especially with the recent health ‘craze’. I am delighted to put out this 48-page report in association with Taikang, China's leading integrated insurance group.

14 August 2016

India: Government notifies revised tax treaty with Mauritius

Under the amended treaty with Mauritius, for two years beginning 1 April 2017, capital gains tax will be imposed at 50 per cent of the prevailing domestic rate. Full rate will apply from 1 April 2019. As per the revised treaty, investments made prior to 1 April 2017, will be protected from new tax provisions.

03 August 2016

FSC Mauritius issues Public Notice – Revocation of the Category 1 Global Business Licence of Starwings Aircraft Leasing Limited

FSC Mauritius issues Public Notice -  Revocation of the Category 1 Global Business Licence of Starwings Aircraft Leasing Limited (03-08-2016) » Read More

01 August 2016

Mauritius: EY technical analysis and synopsis on Budget Speech 2016-2017

The Budget 2016/2017 is built on ten major strategies. Its theme is about moving to a higher growth path, thus requiring major changes in the way things are done as well as in the things that are done. EY is pleased to share its insights through a technical analysis and a synopsis of the key measures announced.