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TOUGH BUSINESS DECISIONS HAVE TO BE TAKEN IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS

Businesses now have just a few days to decide who is going to retain their jobs and who is not following the Chancellors’ changes to the furlough scheme, say leading tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg.

 

Andrew Sanford, a business advisory partner at the firm said:” There are some tough Businesses decisions to make and only a few days in which to make them. Regrettably, with the additional costs of furloughing staff, and the inevitable restrictions likely to be in place post lockdown, businesses will have to consider whether it is economically viable to continue furloughing all of their staff and many may be made redundant.”

He added: “Businesses have until next Wednesday, June 10th, to inform their employees who is going to be furloughed, if they have previously not been furloughed. That is the cut off point for businesses to take advantage of the Chancellors new furlough scheme which allows employees to work part time. It is important to remember than only people who have been furloughed for 3 weeks before 30 June are eligible to take part.”

Sanford said: “Further guidance will be published by the government on June 12th. However, in practice, the employee will be paid their full-time rate for the hours worked and the furlough rate of pay for the hours they are not working. For example, for an employee earning £24,000 per annum, or £2,000 per month, who works two days per week from 1 July, the employer will pay £800 per month (40% x £2,000) and the grant which can be claimed will be £960 (60% x £2,000 x 80%). In September, the employer will contribute 1/8 of the £960 furlough grant, plus pay all of the relevant NIC and pension costs.

Sanford added: “The redundancy consultation process can take up to 45 days, and there is a requirement to pay at full rate during any statutory notice pay periods. If employers are considering redundancies, they should take legal advice, as the costs of redundancy are also dependent on specific contractual terms.”

Sanford said that the announcement on Friday 29 May by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, on the extension of the CJRS offered far more support for businesses than was originally envisaged. Rates of contributions from businesses were lower than expected, and there was a commitment to having part – time Furlough arrangements with effect from 1 July 2020.

 

Sanford added: “It is important for businesses to understand how the new scheme will work, what the costs there are to a business, the scheme remains unchanged in July and is fully funded by HMRC. In August, businesses have to cover the Employers National Insurance and pension costs of the claim. This typically amounts to 5% of the claim but can vary as for low paid employees there may be no National Insurance or pension contributions to make. In September the employer will be additionally responsible for 1/8 of the furlough pay, increasing to 1/4 of the furlough pay in October. For an employee who is receiving £2,500 of furlough pay currently, if they were still on furlough in September, the employer would pay £312.50 plus the associated employer’s National Insurance and pension contribution and the government would pay £2,187.50.

“However there are some additional costs that may be incurred, existing benefits such as Health Insurance, Death in Service Benefit and Company Car if applicable, any employer pensions payments over the basic 3% rate, any salary top up payments, over and above the furlough entitlement, including the resultant NIC and pension payments, holiday pay and accrued holiday leave.

 “Where an employee takes holiday during a furlough period, they will be entitled to their full salary for any days taken. This means that employers will need to top-up the furlough amount for holidays and Bank Holidays. Employers may prefer to ask employees to take time off in lieu when the employee returns to work, but this should be discussed and agreed with the employee. Holiday entitlement will continue to accrue while an employee is on furlough. many furloughed employees may not take a holiday. This therefore represents an ever-increasing cost to the employer.”

 

Sanford said: “There are three tests that must be fulfilled when considering Part time furlough. For an employee to be on furlough in July, they must have been previously furloughed. Given the minimum period for furlough is three weeks the latest an employee can be furloughed is from the 10th June. There is also a condition that from 1 July, you cannot have more employees on furlough than you had in previous claim periods.”

He added: “Employers considering furloughing additional staff must start the consultation immediately in order to meet the 10 June deadline, and to give the furloughed staff adequate notice. For those businesses who have not yet made any claims all claims for periods up to 30 June must be submitted by 31 July 2020.”

 

Business

CAN TECHNICAL INNOVATION HELP FINANCIAL SERVICES FIGHT BACK AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIME?

By Charlie Roberts, Head of Business Development, UK, Ireland & EU at IDnow

 

It’s no secret that the financial services sector is a top target among cyber criminals. In fact, according to a report from IBM, it retained its top spot as the most targeted sector in 2019.

The consequences of falling victim to an attack can be severe too. It can lead to financial losses and reputational damage as well as loss of customer confidence and therefore sales. One UK financial services firm, for example, was hit by a total loss of $87.9 million.

So, if we consider that the coronavirus crisis continues to drive increased online consumer activity, should financial services be more concerned? Simply put, yes.

We are seeing a significant increase in organisations taking their business online to reach their customers. Banks, for example, in adapting to COVID-19, are offering customers a more convenient way of opening an account given branch visiting restrictions. But while these services offer more choice and ease for customers, it also means that new account fraud is opening up and is becoming a major challenge for organisations to overcome.

Charlie Roberts

Some cyber criminals are even trying to exploit the pandemic as an opportunity for financial crime by posing as trusted organisations like banks and even the World Health Organisation. According to Action Fraud, over £6.2 million has reportedly been lost by UK citizens to coronavirus-related scams. And this figure continues to rise week by week.

 

The role of innovation

The rise in financial crime shows just how much the financial services sector is in need of technological innovation. We’ve already seen great progress. About half of financial services and insurance firms globally already use Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to Forrester.

It has many use cases too. In a recent report published by The Alan Turing Institute, AI is largely being used for fraud detection and compliance. AI is beneficial because its algorithms can analyse millions of data points to detect fraudulent transactions which could otherwise go unnoticed by humans. What’s more, these AI-driven fraud detection systems can now actively learn and calibrate in response to new potential (or real) security threats.

The report also details some of the ways that financial services companies are exploring AI-based fraud prevention alternatives. It includes the use of AI to increase approvals for genuine transactions and the use of real-time and high volume data to help protect schemes, financial institutions and their customers from fraud and financial crime.

It’s perhaps no wonder that, outside of the technology sector, the financial services industry is the biggest spender on AI services according to The Bank of the Future report from Citi. But there is still some way to go in using technology to combat financial crime.

 

The identity verification era

Arguably, identity verification is one of the most important processes that technology can help transform – especially as the current crisis continues to drive increased online customer behaviour. In fact, AI and video based identity verification software can provide financial services organisations with a fast, seamless and secure onboarding process that increases conversion rates and customer satisfaction while providing the highest level of security.

Demand for this software in the UK’s financial services sector has already more than doubled since the start of the year, as growth in scams linked to COVID-19 continue to rise.

It’s this technology that will become critical in validating a person’s identity quickly and confidently while limiting the increased risk of fraud for both businesses and consumers.

IDnow’s AutoIdent is one software solution that has this year been experiencing high demand from the financial services industry. Its AI technology can use the camera on a customer’s smartphone to recognise the country and type of ID document without the need for user input. The technology then captures the machine-readable part of the ID document as well as non-machine-readable areas, such as address fields, before automatically checking the optical security features of the ID documents, such as holograms.

With the subsequent biometric video check of the person and “liveness detection”, the identification process is completed for the customer within just a few steps. The system can then decide if the identification is valid, with a reliability that meets compliance requirements.

 

Fighting back

The threat of financial crime is not going away any time soon and so there is no better way than to fight back with innovation. With the right technology investment, such as in AI identity products, the sector will be in a stronger position to support businesses who have a duty of care to protect their customers from risk of fraud while ensuring they remain resilient during this pandemic.

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Business

TOP 5 LINKEDIN PROFILE OPTIMIZATION HACKS FOR ASPIRING BANKERS

According to Firmex, finance professionals cannot afford to be not on LinkedIn. A significant number of organizations acquire talent in the financial industry through LinkedIn.

Especially for aspiring professionals, your internet presence matters a lot as recruiters are most likely to search your name on the internet before making a decision about your application.

As an aspiring banker on a professional platform, you should consider changing the outlook of your profile, to garner the recruiter’s attention. Your profile is unlikely to get noticed if it is out-of-date and inaccurate.

Here’s how you can optimize your LinkedIn profile:

 

Headline

Here’s an example of a good headline for a banker:

“Aspiring Banker majored in finance specializing in forecasting and risk management best practices”.

Scrolling through most professional profiles for bankers on LinkedIn, these individuals pay little attention to the headline.

A well-optimized headline gives the recruiters reasons to click on a profile. Though you just have 120 characters to make it great and charm the recruiter.

You can include pointers on what you are trying to achieve as a banker, or include your major as a way of connecting the skills-gap. If you are an MBA degree holder, then you can reflect this on your headline along with the major.

Though here are a few things you should know about creating a headline:

  • Be professional and avoid writing words like “superstar worker”, “top performer”, etc.
  • Be discreet with your job search, don’t directly mention “looking for a job”, “unemployed”, etc.
  • Research on other professional’s headlines with a network presence.
  • Include the usage of strong adjectives/action verbs.

 

Connections

On LinkedIn, develop meaningful connections with professionals and recruiters. With little effort, you can significantly increase your number of connections.

However, having 5000+ connections is not valuable if they are irrelevant to your interests. Hence, keep your connections limited to professionals in the finance industry.

  • Connect with individuals that are relevant in the finance industry and send a personalized message along with the connection request.
  • You are most likely to get ignored if you mindlessly send out requests. Though LinkedIn advocates being active, you should derive an invitation strategy for effective network expansion.
  • Message recruiters that are hiring professionals in the finance industry and ask them for advice on how you can further optimize your profile.

 

Professional Experience

Your LinkedIn profile works as a digital resume. It should give an idea of a constructive career progression. Hence, LinkedIn profile optimization becomes quite important.

  • Write points in a bullet form, don’t include long paragraphs.
  • Mentioning your roles and responsibilities isn’t ideal. Construct the points in a way that showcase all your accomplishments & contributions.
  • Add your projects separately; do not add them in the career highlights section.

 

Keywords

As with any other search engine, recruiters are dependent on the algorithm to show them the best profile as per their searches. Based on a certain set of relevant keywords in your industry, recruiters will try to search for candidates on LinkedIn.

Here’s how you can use keywords to optimize your profile:

  • Research: Thoroughly research the keywords that are of prime importance in the finance industry. Check the profiles of other professionals on LinkedIn and refer job postings to gain an understanding of how to sprinkle these keywords in your profile.
  • Section: Utilize each section efficiently of your LinkedIn profile to showcase your contributions and achievements. Don’t just stuff your profile with contextual keywords. In the end, your profile should foremost be easily readable.
  • Industry and Skills: Update the industry in your profile and include all the skills you are familiar with. Further, you can even include skills that you are not familiar with. Let’s say you need to include “Budget Forecasting” in your profile and you have not had any real-life experience with it. You may write it as “Interested in gaining experience in budget forecasting”.

 

Skills & Recommendations

Recruiters look for professionals who can deliver, hence your profile should include the skills that are highly relevant to your targeted profile. Though in the banking industry recruiters search for general skills as well. So, make sure your profile is a match for both.

Further, just listing your expertise is not going to be enough. Get your mentors, employers, etc. to write you a stellar recommendation. If you provide credibility for your skills then it can do wonders for you.

 

Final Word

  • Just as the headline of your profile, your picture is equally important. Make sure you use a professional-looking photograph.
  • Continue to engage with your connections through comments and professional messaging.

As you are a banking professional, your profile is probably going to end up looking like all about your core competencies, However, it is important to include a few pointers about your hobbies that describe your personality as well.

 

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