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Home » Daily Briefing » Daily briefing - 26 February 2019

Daily briefing - 26 February 2019

Market opportunities will grow for low-income women with phones

At the best of times, moving banking assets, equipment and staff is a palaver. Under the "does-anyone-know-what's-happening" scenario playing out as the UK continues to Brexit, there are clear divisions. Either the deed is already done or it's flailing in the gloom that is the UK government standing a few feet from the cliff edge as the light dims. "The EU has granted banks some leeway on how quickly they need to build up staff in new subsidiaries, and in some cases banks have found workarounds to reduce the number needed," reports Reuters, which adds that banks are not finding it easy to get UK staff to re-locate to the continent or Dublin. Reuters continues: "There are plenty of personal risk reasons why staff are not jumping at these opportunities," John Liver, partner at consultant EY, said, adding that one was that if a transition deal is struck then it will be another two years before these businesses are built up.

In the always-on world of the modern Chinese smartphone user, one is never more than a text away from a new get-rich-quick offer. "Eager to pile into the world's most-volatile major stock market with 10-to-1 leverage?" asks Bloomberg. "China's shadow bankers are happy to help -- and that has the nation's policy makers worried." According to Bloomberg, margin-finance firms tout for business in chat rooms, by text messages and by phone calls. "One such platform, called Dingniudai, allows investors with 5 million yuan ($747,000) of capital to borrow 50 million yuan for stock trading, charging a monthly interest rate of 1.5 percent. The 10-to-1 leverage ratio compares with a limit of 1-to-1 at regulated brokerages. More debt means bigger gains for investors when stocks rise, but steeper losses when they fall." It's not just China. Lafferty News sees troubles in the nascent digital lending industry, where small loans enable gambling, which must look like a decent shot at getting rich quickly.

Empowerment: it's one of those words that promises so much but delivers so little. Can an entry-level smartphone — or even feature phone — be a transformative business tool? Business transformation: get phones to low-income women. "The rapid growth of mobile phone ownership in low and middle income countries has been one of the defining trends of the past decade," says Quartz. "But the growth has been far from even with women across these countries significantly less likely to own mobile phones or have access to mobile internet services, resulting in 'a persistent gender gap'. However, closing that gap in low and middle income countries could result in all-round multi-billion dollar benefits, a new study by industry trade body GSMA estimates." With China eyeing the African and Asian market for several years now, and producing affordable hardware and software for business, it will be fascinating to watch biashara economies getting a technological upgrade.

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