Washington D.C., May 15, 2020 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged New York-based credit rating agency Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC for violating a conflict of interest rule designed to separate credit ratings and analysis from sales and marketing efforts. Morningstar has agreed to pay $3.5 million to settle the charges.
The SEC’s order finds that from mid-2015 through September 2016, credit rating analysts in Morningstar’s asset-backed securities (ABS) group engaged in sales and marketing to prospective clients. According to the order, Morningstar’s head of business development instructed analysts to identify business targets and pursue them through marketing calls, meetings, and offers to provide indicative ratings. For example, the order finds that one ABS analyst at Morningstar wrote a commentary specifically aimed at a potential client issuer and sent it to the issuer for the purpose of obtaining the business of the issuer, which eventually became a Morningstar client. The order further finds that Morningstar issued and maintained ABS ratings for certain entities where an analyst who participated in determining or monitoring the credit rating also participated in the sales or marketing of a Morningstar product or service. In addition, the order finds that between at least June 2015 and November 2016, Morningstar failed to maintain written policies and procedures reasonably designed to sufficiently separate the firm’s analytical and business development functions.
“Credit rating agencies must be vigilant to prevent potential conflicts of interest between their ratings functions and their sales and marketing activities,” said Daniel Michael, Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit. “As the SEC’s order finds, Morningstar sometimes enlisted its analysts in business development efforts, introducing the exact conflict of interest that the rule is intended to eliminate.”
The SEC’s order finds that Morningstar violated Rule 17g-5(c)(8)(i), which prohibits a rating agency from issuing or maintaining a credit rating where an analyst who participates in determining or monitoring credit ratings also participates in sales and marketing activity, and Section 15E(h)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, which requires credit rating agencies to establish, maintain, and enforce policies and procedures reasonably designed to address and manage conflicts of interest. Without admitting or denying the findings, Morningstar agreed to pay a $3.5 million penalty and committed to conduct training and implement changes to its internal controls, policies, and procedures related to the charged provisions.
The SEC’s investigation was conducted by Robert Leidenheimer of the Complex Financial Instruments Unit and Colin Forbes of the Boston Regional Office with the assistance of Senior Trial Counsel Al Day, and was supervised by Assistant Director Celia Moore.
Nagad’s Digital Bank on cards, Sadaf to lead the side
Nagad, Bangladesh’s leading Mobile Financial Service (MFS) provider, is gearing up to establish the much-anticipated digital bank, as it is going to secure a licence from the Bangladesh Bank within a couple of months.
Sadaf Roksana, a co-founder and executive director of Nagad Ltd., has been entrusted with the responsibility of leading her company’s transformative venture that will bring greater convenience to the lives of millions of Bangladeshis, reducing their reliance on traditional brick-and-mortar banks.
The MFS provider earlier applied to secure a digital bank licence following the central bank’s call for applications through its website. The Bangladesh Bank also formulated necessary guidelines to widen and accelerate financial inclusion, which will also create jobs for young IT workers.
The world’s fastest mobile money carrier is going to venture into the digital banking era at a time when the financial landscape across the globe is fast evolving towards digitalisation, driven by technological advancements and changing consumer preferences.
Taking on the new assignment, Sadaf, a seasoned financial executive with a remarkable track record in the fintech industry, is poised to steer Nagad’s digital bank towards success. Once Nagad gets the digital bank licence, it will provide its consumers with innovative and convenient banking solutions.
“We are very excited that we are going to introduce digital banking services to the people of Bangladesh within a couple of months,” Sadaf said, adding, “This endeavour aligns perfectly with our vision of enhancing financial inclusion and ensuring easy access to all financial services also at affordable prices.”
Nagad is already well-equipped to launch a digital bank. It will start serving customers soon after getting the licence, Sadaf assured.
Under its digital banking platform, Nagad will introduce many new services, such as single-digit and collateral-free loans for small informal businesses and farmers who now are to take loans from moneylenders even at 40% interest rate per day, she pointed out.
“Thus, we will encourage them to come under financial inclusion, thus putting their money into the formal channel,” she expressed her optimism.
To assess one’s creditworthiness, Nagad has created an AI-based credit rating system that will analyse all transactions-related data available on public domains using one’s NID and mobile number, Sadaf Roksana added.
As Nagad goes ahead with its plans, all eyes will be on Sadaf Roksana and her team as they will embark on this exciting journey towards a more digitised and inclusive financial future for the country.
SOURCE Nagad Limited
Newly inaugurated Yashobhoomi (IICC Dwarka) to host Trescon’s DATE 2023 with Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman amongst the dignitaries
Excitement surrounds Trescon’s Digital Acceleration & Transformation Expo (DATE) as the Honorable Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman confirms to speak at the event and highlight India’s financial innovation and FinTech revolution. The inaugural expo, scheduled for 23-24 November 2023 at the newly inaugurated Yashobhoomi (IICC Dwarka) in New Delhi, is set to be a grand spectacle, representing India’s enthusiastic stride towards its technological dreams, inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
DATE’s vision is not just to gaze into the future but to actively shape it, offering a rare confluence for government, enterprises, tech companies including startups and discerning global investors. With a dynamic setup featuring five main themes, three conference tracks for in-depth discussions, and multiple exhibition zones for tech showcase, DATE offers a glimpse into both current and future tech trends.
“Technology is shaping our world and enabling better governance in India. Hosting the inaugural DATE 2023 in India is a testament to our digitization efforts and reflects our commitment to national advancements and ambitions under our leader Shri Narendra Modi,” said Shri Tejasvi Surya, Honorable Member of Parliament and an advisory board member of DATE.
Shri Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar, Chairperson of Cyberverse, a Strategic Partner of DATE 2023, said, “DATE isn’t just an event; it’s the essence of India’s tech aspirations and its journey towards a brighter, digital future. With our Finance Minister joining the line-up of dignitaries and speakers, the event is well poised to bring the FinTech community together and augment our overall digital ecosystem.”
“DATE is our commitment to catalyze India’s digital evolution, bringing together innovation, expertise, and limitless possibilities,” said Mohammed Saleem, Founder & Chairman of Trescon. “This event is the essence of India’s tech aspirations and its journey towards a brighter, digital future,” he added.
Naveen Bharadwaj, Group CEO of Trescon, the organiser of DATE added, “We are honored to welcome Hon’ble Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman at DATE 2023 and eager to learn about some of the impactful initiatives being led by her as we mobilise the key tech community, showcasing cutting edge technologies, introducing startups to global investors and fueling India’s entrepreneurial spirit.”
Entrepreneurs continue to be drawn to India, aiming to revolutionize the narrative of digital transformation. Segments including esports, cybersecurity, robotics, augmented and virtual reality, the metaverse, and more are witnessing a continual upward trend as startups enter the markets and redefine the digital landscape.
DATE 2023’s objective is beyond mere envisioning; it’s about realization. Boasting over 100 global speakers and 3,000 participants, DATE 2023 promises enlightening insights into the latest tech trends, opportunities, challenges, and practical success stories. It aims to be the place-to-be for top decision-makers, tech leaders, CIOs, CTOs, and other experts from various sectors across India.
To further enhance India’s digital transformation journey, the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI)’s support serves as a key driver that will accelerate India’s digital transformation journey. Their association with DATE underscores the shared commitment towards building a robust innovation ecosystem.
In addition to STPI, DATE 2023 is proud to welcome Innovation Mission of Punjab, Goa Technology Association, Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Gujarat Electronics and Software Industries Association (GESIA), and Federation of IT Associations of Gujarati (FITAG) as valuable association partners. Their collaboration fortifies DATE’s mission to foster digital innovation and transformation in India.
For more info or to register for DATE, please visit www.datewithtech.com.
TONIK NAMED BEST CUSTOMER SERVICE DIGITAL BANK
Tonik Digital Bank is proud to announce its recognition as the Philippines’ Best Customer Service for 2023, cementing its status as the number one digital bank for customer service in the country.
Tonik thanks its radically different approach from the get-go, as customer service is not just an aspect of their operations, it is their very essence incorporated in every level of the organization.
“Tonik is proud to be recognized for our customer service by none other than our consumers,” says Mila Bedrenets, Chief Growth Hacker of Tonik Digital Bank. “This award is important for us, as this validates the dedication and passion that we have poured into providing the best banking experience to all our customers.”
The recognition comes from an independent survey launched by Statista, a globally established company publishing brand top lists in cooperation with high-profile media partners. For the Philippines, Statista partnered with Philippine Daily Inquirer, the nation’s leading broadsheet.
Statista surveyed a vast sample of 11,000 Filipino customers who have either made purchases, used services, or gathered information about products or services in the past three years.
BANKING ON THE VOICE OF CUSTOMERS
Tonik stands out from other banking institutions in such a way that customer service is a collaborative effort across all its teams.
From its agents up to members of its senior management, the bank integrates agility and care in listening to customer feedback to further enhance its app, making sure that every interaction leads to a better overall banking experience.
Bedrenets mentions that at this day and age of social media, identifying customer pain points are simple, and that it is just a matter of learning to listen and act on them quickly to address and resolve any concerns.
“I am [literally] sending screenshots of customer complaints to fellow top managers daily, just so everyone is duly aware of customer pain points,” Bedrenets said. “Once the specific complaint is addressed, we also make sure that the same issue will not be experienced by other customers.”
Tonik also utilizes the fastest possible flow of communication across all its teams to address customer issues and concerns and employs tools to effectively alleviate customer pain points.
“The ‘Voice of Customer’ unit is not a side structure for us, nor is it buried in a deeper level of our organization. We make sure that is very much present in our management committee front and center, as we understand that the more you care about customer experience, the less you will need to care about good sales performance,” Bedrenets added.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP)-licensed digital bank also goes the extra mile by proactively informing its customers of both internal and external service improvements, changes, as well as scheduled downtimes, which may affect their app experience. This transparent communication ensures that customers are informed and updated, fostering trust and reliability.
As they continue to revolutionize the digital banking landscape in the Philippines, Tonik Digital Bank invites customers to experience banking that is truly centered around their needs, values, and aspirations.
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