EedenBull has announced a five year agreement with National Australia Bank (NAB), which allows the bank to deploy EedenBull’s innovative payment and spend management platform to the bank’s customer base of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
The EedenBull platform provides the ability for the bank’s SMEs to track payments and spending simply, efficiently and in real time. By using the latest technology, the bank’s SME customers will prevent cash leakage by ensuring that the right business spending policies are adhered to.
EedenBull will be providing NAB its innovative Q Business platform, which includes Q Control for the administrator and Q App for the employee. NAB will issue their own payment cards onto the platform, with their customers using Q Business to manage cards and spend.
Nicki Bisgaard, CEO and founder of EedenBull, commented: “This announcement underlines our progress in offering best in class payment and spend management technology to the banking community globally. We are delighted to partner with NAB, a globally respected banking brand and Australia’s leading business bank, and to provide them innovative, digital spend solutions for their SME clients in Australia. Q Business is taking commercial payments to the next level, and we look forward to being a partner on this journey in delivering value, control and flexibility to NAB and their many business customers.”
EedenBull is already partnering with 65 banks in Europe, and is now further expanding its global reach with banks such as National Australia Bank.
Tania Motton, NAB Executive for Everyday Business Banking said: ‘’Expense management software solutions are so often out of reach for small and medium sized businesses. This exciting partnership will give our customers an intuitive expense management platform with full control and analysis of payments across their business as well as more confidence to allow their teams to spend money.”
She continued: “For us, the most important thing about partnering with EedenBull to offer their technology is that it will help more Australian businesses to focus on the business of serving customers rather than time consuming administration.”
The partnership with NAB signals a step change in the global ambition of EedenBull, which is headquartered in Oslo, has its design and innovation team in Singapore, business development team in London and their operations centre in Edinburgh.
Bisgaard continued: “We are growing fast, innovating constantly, improving our products and services all the time and seeking further partnerships with existing and new banks globally, as we expand our worldwide footprint. New technology, new regulation and new players are forever changing the way consumers and businesses think about payments – changing the way people pay, and get paid, and EedenBull is here to guide banks through this market, legislative and technology complexity.”
EedenBull Partnerships with Global Banking Community
EedenBull was launched in 2018 by a group of senior banking professionals and experts in digital payments. Enablement of third-party access to data from banks leading to the rise of open banking, has empowered tech-driven non-banking companies, such as EedenBull, to build new and innovative payments services.
EedenBull is a fintech innovation company specialising in B2B and Commercial Payment solution design and implementation. The company works with banks, schemes and payment partners on a global basis to enhance and drive innovative business solutions and products to better serve Corporate and Business clients. Unlike other fintech companies, EedenBull is not setting out to compete with the banks, but work with them to provide the innovation and tools they require to offer long-term competitive advantage and to enhance customer satisfaction. EedenBull provides its partner banks first mover advantage to improve their reputations and competitive edge. Banks also get access to specialist B2B payments expertise and the opportunity to shape future innovation developments and technology features.
ACCELERATION OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION PUSHING ORGANISATIONS TOWARDS A MORE DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH
- 84% of businesses have seen more demand for data due to Covid-19, but nearly a third say data quality remains a fundamental barrier
New research from Experian reveals how the acceleration of digital transformation, through the Covid-19 pandemic, has led to greater demand for data insights to inform decision making and strategy.
The annual Global Data Management report, which surveyed 700 data practitioners and data-driven business leaders globally, found that changing customer behaviour has intensified businesses’ need for high-quality data. Eighty-four percent have seen more demand for data insights in their organisations due to Covid-19. In fact, 72% say that the rapid push to digital transformation is making their businesses more reliant on data.
Beyond underscoring its business value, the pandemic has also exposed data’s potential to be used for societal good – and business leaders are keen to explore this further. Seventy-eight percent see COVID-19 as a defining moment for organisations to set-up and use data for societal good where they can, while 86% would like to be able to use their data in some way to benefit society.
Increasing collaboration with other organisations to better support those in need, sharing talent and resources to develop and deliver products, or allowing their data practitioners to spend time on voluntary project were all highlighted as a potential approach to achieving this.
However, they will struggle to use data for either business or social good unless they can overcome endemic weaknesses in legacy data management practices. Experian’s report outlines key barriers that organisations must address:
- Data quality and maturity: On average, organisations believe a third of their data (32%) is inaccurate in some way. It’s unsurprising then that 55% of business leaders lack trust in data assets, and 51% say improving data quality is a ‘significant priority’.
- Data skills: Embracing the power of data is being stunted by a skills gap – 62% say a lack of basic data literacy skills impacts the value they get from their investment in data and technology, while 55% believe they lack skills/resources to leverage data assets fully.
- Agility: Sixty-two percent admit a lack of agility in data processes has hurt their response to changing business needs in the wake of COVID-19.
Andrew Abraham, Global Managing Director, Data Quality, at Experian, comments on the findings: “The pandemic has been a catalyst for long-awaited digital transformation. Businesses need to move fast to serve customers’ changing needs, and leaders know that data-based decision-making is key to evolving the right way.
“It’s also heartening to see organisations looking beyond the business applications of data, to how they can use it for societal good. However, if businesses are to succeed in either area, they must overcome fundamental barriers to effective data management.”
The paper also provides insight into businesses’ data priorities, as well as expert advice on how organisations can meet digital transformation objectives by making improvements in the following areas:
- People: With a data literate workforce, a business is armed with talent that can make timely, data-driven decisions. Reassuringly the report reveals that 85% of organisations are hiring data roles in the next six months.
- Technology: Technology has a critical role to play when it comes to modernising data management practices. Eighty-five percent of business leaders say sourcing more technology for staff is a priority.
- New ways of working: DataOps: DataOps aims to shorten development cycles, increase deployment frequency, and create more dependable releases of data pipelines, in close alignment with business objectives. This practice helps organisations adapt more quickly to changing conditions.
Getting back to basics: Before new initiatives complicate the issue, go back to basics – people, processes, and tools. To build resilience against future risk, invest in the right areas to recognise return on investment on data management more quickly.
SUSTAINABLE DERIVATIVES: THE “GIVING TREE”
Jennifer Kafcas, Lauren Blaber, Alvino Van Schalkwyk and Harry Polan
Momentum continues to gather pace towards building a sustainable economy, especially since the start of the pandemic. As a result, financial markets have seen a considerable increase in the focus on, and deal volume with respect to, sustainability-linked loans and bonds. It has been a logical progression that the sustainability tree sprouts a new leaf with the development of environmental, social and governance (ESG) linked derivatives. These products enable, among other things, firms and companies to hedge risks associated with sustainable investments including project risk, interest rate and currency risks. This will be all the more important given the need to hedge risks from any underlying loan and its related sustainability criteria.
While ISDA has outlined the broad range of derivatives in sustainable finance, furthering the development of this product type (including, among others, sustainability-linked derivatives, ESG-related credit default swaps, exchange-traded derivatives on listed ESG-related equity indices, emissions trading derivatives, renewable energy and renewable fuels derivatives, and catastrophe and weather derivatives), this article focuses on more conventional derivatives transactions, such as interest rate swaps (IRS) and Foreign Exchange (FX) transactions used by market participants to hedge the risk arising from green bonds and loans. Though these transactions are no different conceptually from a product standpoint than any other IRS or FX transaction, it is important to understand the inherent structural and deal term differences.
Finance-linked sustainable derivatives (OTC)
A number of sustainability-linked derivatives have been issued in recent years, which add an ESG pricing component to conventional IRS and FX hedging instruments. The table below provides examples of recently issued sustainability-linked derivatives. As this is a developing market, the transaction volume has been very low, but uptake is expected to increase over coming years.
|BNP Paribas & Siemens Gamesa||€174 million FX forward, under which Siemens Gamesa will pay a premium on their forward if they do not meet certain ESG targets. If paid, that premium shall be used to finance local reforestation projects in Spain. The premium shall be calculated using a metric assigned by a third-party sustainable finance specialist.|
|Société Générale & Enel||Cross currency swap, by which Enel hedged their euro-dollar exchange rate and interest rate risk under a $1.5 billion sustainability-linked bond. If Enel does not meet certain renewable energy targets, the swap will be re-priced to their detriment.|
|New World Development (NWD) & DBS Hong Kong||Interest rate swap linked to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, hedging interest rate risk under NWD’s HK$1 billion sustainability-linked loan. If NWD generates at least eight business-to-business opportunities that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, DBS will sponsor certain NWD social innovation projects.|
As evidenced above, ESG-linked derivatives can take on a number of characteristics and structures, including:
- Derivative pricing. One counterparty having a number of prescribed ESG targets which, if met, will lead to a downwards ratchet in the pricing of the derivative (with such pricing often increasing if the targets are not met).
- Fixed payments. If ESG targets are not met by the corporate, a fixed payment can be required to the issuing bank, which will be put towards a green project.
- Triggers linked to a company’s ESG rating. If the ESG rating of the corporate increases, a benefit can be awarded to them (e.g. interest rate discount).
- Both parties having ESG targets papered into their derivatives contracts. Corporates can receive a discount on the interest rate under the derivative if they meet their ESG targets, with that discount increasing if the issuing bank fails to meet its own ESG targets.
- Charitable giving requirements. A failure by the corporate to comply with its ESG targets can lead to it being required to make contributions to non-profit organisations, with the bank having to make such contributions if the corporate’s ESG targets are met.
As sustainability-linked products gain traction, a degree of care will be required to ensure ESG targets are finely balanced and verifiable. Verification is essential for market transparency, for ESG products to be considered credible and for lenders and corporates alike to avoid reputational risks. Furthermore, the ability of a corporate to verify reliable compliance with ESG targets could provide a significantly smoother path through their lender’s credit approval process and in turn the lender’s ability to verify will enable it to better monitor the performance matrix set by the underlying loan or bond.
Renewable Energy and Renewable Fuels
In addition to the above OTCs, renewable energy hedging transactions (including power hedge transactions) are important for market participants to hedge the risk associated with fluctuations in renewable energy production, and in doing so, encourage more capital to be contributed to renewable energy projects.
Typical documentation with respect to the above type of trades are Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) which document the purchase of power and associated renewable energy certificates between a renewable energy generator (the seller) and a purchaser of renewable electricity (the buyer). PPAs do not require companies to contribute directly to enhanced ESG standards, however they can help catalyse a shift to clean energy sources as they reduce market price volatility for buyers, and reassure sellers that a buyer will purchase power generated from renewable energy assets, thus encouraging the financing of such projects. In an ESG-linked transaction, these types of arrangements can be replicated by covering the credit risk element in the intercreditor terms. As an alternative the market may develop such that in lieu of these structures the underlying risk with respect to market price volatility is documented under an ISDA and secured under the financing and intercreditor documentation. This structure is fast approaching.
Expected developments in 2021
Climate change and, therefore, a sustainable economy remain front and centre for governments and regulators worldwide. In 2020,countries like Japan, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and the UK set net carbon neutrality objectives and most recently the USA, following the inauguration of President Biden, announced plans to spend $2 trillion over four years to aid in the fight against climate change, all following the commitment already set by the EU.
Whilst the need for banks and corporates to develop and consider bespoke products to promote true progress in ESG compliance may hinder any radical uplift in ESG-linked derivatives volumes over the course of 2021, we anticipate that as banks and corporates continue to familiarise themselves with the requirements of such products, integrating ESG elements into derivatives trades will begin to be common practice.
In view of this, derivatives market participants will be eager to continue to drive ESG-linked derivatives volumes and to develop new and innovative ESG products facilitating the mobilisation of capital towards sustainable investments to ensure that they continue to significantly improve ESG standards, and to strengthen their contribution to the green finance drive.
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