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One Year In, J5 Making a Difference

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Leaders from five international tax organizations met in Washington, DC, this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the formation of the J5 and announce the results from its first year. The meeting coincided with a global cyber training event hosted by the United States at the World Bank.

The five Chiefs who make up the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) have spearheaded this new operational organization specifically focusing on shared areas of concern and cross-national tax crime threats including cyber-crime and crypto-currency as well as enablers of global tax evasion, while working to share intelligence and data in near real time.

The J5 includes the heads of tax crime and senior officials from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and Australian Taxation Office (ATO), the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), the Dutch Fiscal Intelligence and Investigation Service (FIOD), Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC), and Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).

The J5 is involved in more than 50 investigations involving sophisticated international enablers of tax evasion, including a global financial institution and its intermediaries who facilitate taxpayers to hide their income and assets. These highly harmful, high-end enablers of tax evasion were previously thought to be beyond the reach of the member countries. The agencies are also cooperating on cases covering crimes from money laundering and the smuggling of illicit commodities to personal tax frauds and evasion. Additionally, there have already been hundreds of data exchanges between J5 partner agencies with more data being exchanged in the past year than the previous 10 years combined.

Each J5 country has leveraged different capabilities to enhance the effectiveness and success of the J5. Working within existing treaties and laws, J5 countries shared information and were able to open new cases, more rapidly develop existing cases in the enforcement process, and find efficiencies to reduce the time it takes to work cases.

“I’m pleased with the progress the J5 has made on several significant joint investigations since its establishment last year,” said Will Day, Deputy Commissioner, ATO. “The collective intelligence available through the J5 is instrumental in enabling us to tackle serious and organised financial crime threats located in both Australia and offshore .”

“Tax crimes continue to evolve in their level of sophistication and complexity, which is why it is essential that we collaborate with our international partners to combat tax evasion,” said Stephane Bonin, Director General, CRA. “After one year working with the J5, we are now all better equipped to conduct operations together in the fight against those who commit, promote and enable international tax crimes and money laundering. Together, we will continue to tighten the net on those who break tax laws, and ensure they face the consequences of their actions.”

“The cooperation between the J5 countries is becoming more effective and operational,” said Hans van der Vlist, General Director FIOD. “Two weeks ago we took offline an important online mixer for cryptocurrencies. We are now analyzing the seized information. We expect good leads for investigations in J5 countries. Another example is the FCInet matching system that will help us in the fight against transnational fiscal and financial crime.”

“When we launched the J5 we were clear that we wanted to use our combined powers and expertise to close the net on offshore tax evaders, international organised crime groups and those who help them,” said Simon York, Director HMRC Fraud Investigation Service. “In just 12 months, that net has tightened with eighteen suspected enablers in our sights and a further 50 cases in the pipeline. This builds on work that has seen HMRC secure more than £2.9bn from offshore tax evaders since 2010.  Our message remains clear – no matter how safe you think you are, the J5 are closing in.”

“I’m extremely proud of the work we have accomplished in just one year since the formation of the J5,” said Don Fort, Chief of IRS-CI. “Each country came to the group with expectations and challenges that needed to be overcome so we could each realize our goal. We have found innovative ways to tackle these problems, remove barriers, and develop processes that make the sum of all of our parts a much more efficient and successful organization. It is not a good time to be a tax criminal on the run—your days are numbered.”

In addition to the group’s work with enablers and virtual currency, the J5 also focused on platforms that enable each country to share information in a more organized manner. FCInet is one such platform that each country has invested in to further that goal. FCInet is a decentralized virtual computer network that enables agencies to compare, analyse and exchange data anonymously. It helps users to obtain the right information in real-time and enables agencies from different jurisdictions to work together while respecting each other’s local autonomy. Organizations can jointly connect information, without needing to surrender data or control to a central database. FCInet doesn’t collect data, rather it connects data.

Offshore evasion is an international issue that affects more than just the J5 countries and calls for international solutions. Collectively, the J5 has taken the unprecedented action to revolutionise transparency internationally. As a result of its leadership in this space, J5 countries are making it harder for people to dodge taxes by hiding their money abroad.

The cyber training this week was hosted by IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in conjunction with the World Bank. The event brought in more than 120 international and domestic law enforcement partners from approximately 20 countries to address emerging areas associated with cybercrime. Over the past several years, IRS-CI has been a leader in cyber-crimes and the investigative work worldwide. Training was provided on virtual currency, blockchain and the dark web. Additionally, case presentations were presented from IRS-CI special agents and members of the J5 working group. The last day of training consisted of advanced trainings on cryptocurrency tracing and open source intelligence.

Leaders of tax enforcement authorities from AustraliaCanadathe Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States established the joint operational alliance known as the J5 in mid-2018 to increase collaboration in the fight against international and transnational tax crime and money laundering. For more information about J5, please visit www.irs.gov/J5.

 

SOURCE Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5)

Fintech

Credify announces seed investment by BEENEXT and DEEPCORE

Vlad Poptamas

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Credify Pte Ltd is proud to announce it has successfully closed a USD 1M seed round investment with two leading Venture Capital funds: BEENEXT and DEEPCORE.

Credify provides Universal Identity and Trust System solutions to companies active in e-commerce and finance. Credify’s Universal Identity product acts as a personal data bridge, connecting consuming services like e-commerce marketplaces and lending platforms with institutions that possess valuable, yet untapped information like identity verification results and credit scores. In this way, Credify enables entirely new revenue streams for these traditional organisations in a completely secure and data privacy compliant manner.

On top of this powerful identity system, Credify is developing an innovative credibility mechanism that addresses issues inherent to the trust systems we rely on in e-commerce and digital lending, like fraud and manipulation, that lead to an estimated USD 1T in transacted value being negatively impacted every year.

Chosen out of 250+ companies around the world, Credify is one of the outstanding startups in Plug and Play Japan’s 2020 FinTech Accelerator program. Credify was also awarded the UK Tech Rocketship: Future of Financial Services Award 2019 by the UK’s Department of International Trade and Scottish Development International.

This funding round allows Credify to enhance the development of its suite of products, further localize its software development operations in South East Asia, and move ahead with its live client engagements. ASEAN nations represent the fastest growth opportunities globally in FinTech and E-commerce: USD 72B FinTech market with 72.5% CAGR by 2020, and USD 102B E-commerce market by 2025. At the same time, South East Asia fraud rates in finance and e-commerce are one of the highest globally. Credify aims to tackle these issues with its leading-edge technologies.

Credify CEO Makoto Tominaga expressed his excitement: “This investment from BEENEXT and DEEPCORE represents far more value than the capital that will assist us as we execute on our vision to elevate trust in digital economies. Both firms bring with them strong networks within our target markets and deep understanding of the strategic and practical execution necessary to transform early stage businesses to large-scale growth enterprises. Credify could not have asked for better partners in this early stage of our journey, and we are overwhelmed with appreciation to have this opportunity to work with both teams for many years to come.”

BEENEXT CEO Teruhide Sato shared his thoughts on the investment: “We were impressed by the quality of Credify’s multi-disciplinary team and the technology they have developed which provides great synergies with some of our portfolio companies. We look forward to supporting Credify in its business development and expansion in South East Asia and beyond.”

DeepCore commented: “We appreciate the Credify team’s deep understanding of the industry’s pain points and the ability to implement cutting-edge technologies, such as blockchain, into systems to solve issues. We hope that the excellent team that has developed the business at KERNEL HONGO will expand its business to the world by solving issues in areas where counterparty risk occurs.”

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Consumers Are Willing to Share Personal Data in Exchange for Better Customer Experience, Broadridge Study Finds

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Amidst a backdrop of increasing emphasis on data privacy via the introductions of the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act, nearly half of consumers in North America (45%) would be willing to share their data if it meant that it would enhance their customer experience (CX), according to a new study from global Fintech leader Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc. (NYSE:BR).

The annual study, which surveys the opinions of more than 3,000 individuals in North America on topics relating to consumer experience and essential communications, revealed that consumers’ desire for enhanced experiences coincided with an even stronger sentiment around the need for more data privacy legislation. In fact, more than 84% want more legislation that increases their ability to protect and control the personal data they provide companies, as well as greater transparency on how their data is used.

“Data privacy concerns are at a peak, and yet consumers are placing immense value on their experiences and are willing to share more of their personal data if it enhances the services they receive in return,” said Matt Swain, managing director and practice lead for communications consulting services at Broadridge. “Data is the bedrock of customer experience and providers of essential communications, like bills and statements, have a significant opportunity to modernize the way they customize consumers’ experiences. This can only be done if they are clear about what data is needed, how it will be managed and, ultimately, how it will improve the lives of their customers – on and offline.”

Demand for Paperless Communications Rises, and Companies are Missing Out

When it comes to essential communications, interest in going digital is growing. Compared to the 45% who prefer paper, two out of three respondents (67%) switched at least one bill or statement to paperless in the last year.

Although there’s increasing demand for digital bills and statements, the data suggests a missed opportunity for companies to grow paperless adoption, customer engagement and convenience at the onset of the relationship, while cutting costs. Only four out of 10 consumers were asked to go paperless when they opened a new account and 29% said that they were never asked at all.

In terms of motivations for going paperless, most respondents (72%) agree that reducing clutter was their primary reason for switching to online communications from their providers this past year.

Helping Consumers Take Financial Control with Advanced Features

Consumers making the leap to paperless are also increasingly looking to get more out of their bills and statements so they can take control of their finances. In fact, 72% would prefer advanced options, such as customizable dashboards, to control the look and feel of bills and statements. For those who have investment or retirement funds, insights and recommendations on their activities and spending relative to their financial goals are increasingly important (59%).

Interestingly, nearly one-third (29%) of respondents say they never review their bills or statements for reoccurring “zombie subscriptions,” which often hit consumers’ bank accounts unexpectedly.

Beyond customization of communications, consumers also want centralized delivery and storage options for bills and statements in the cloud (40%), particularly when it comes to accessing important and time-sensitive financial information. More than two-thirds (69%) of respondents say having all their financial documents in one archived location would make things like filing taxes much easier.

“Companies have the opportunity to transform the customer experience through bills and statements,” added Swain. “By reframing these household communications, companies can create more meaningful engagement with their consumers, helping simplify and organize their bills and statements, while also creating new layers of brand equity and additional revenue opportunities.”

To download the report, click here.

Methodology
Broadridge Customer Communications commissioned ENGINE to conduct a CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. The 45-question survey was administered between November 6-13, 2019, to 3,006 U.S. and Canadian residents ages 25 and older. The sample was weighted to current U.S. and Canadian Census data for age, gender and region. The figures are statistically significant at the 95% confidence level with a margin of error of ±2 percentage points.

 

SOURCE Broadridge Financial Solutions, Inc.

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Hitting $12B in AUM, Carson Doubles Down on Cutting Tech Costs for Partners

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Carson Group, one of the fastest growing financial services firms in the country, announced that as of April 1, 2020, Carson will cover technology costs for all partner firms—encompassing software platforms Salesforce, Orion, Smarsh and Egnyte. eMoney will also be covered as of May 1, 2020. Instead of spending time and money evaluating and adopting technology, wirehouse advisors, IARs and RIAs in the Carson Partners network can now, more than ever, focus on what matters and maximize the value they deliver to the families they serve.

Carson President Teri Shepherd said, “Reaching $12 billion AUM is a testament to our advisors and their dedication to serving nearly 32,000 families across the United StatesWe want our partners to have the resources to continuously reinvest in optimization and growth. Paying for the tech stack is the latest example of our commitment to helping advisors serve their clients while empowering them to focus on being the CEO of their business.”

Carson Group had unveiled plans to eliminate the financial burden on advisor businesses leveraging the Carson CX (client experience) at its flagship industry-wide Excell conference in Chicago in May 2019. Plans for discounted services and direct cost savings to partners were among the key messages shared during Carson’s Partner Summit that takes place during Excell each year. The team announced zero costs on Orion Advisor Services fees within advisory accounts, which averaged a savings of more than $22,000 per advisor firm.

Bob Huntley, Founder and Wealth Advisor of Texas-based Carson partner firm Wise Counsel Wealth Management said, “I cannot tell you how exciting it is to be part of this movement Ron Carson has built. I am already making plans to reinvest 100 percent of the savings back into growth this year.”

This commitment to eliminating tech costs is the latest in an ongoing rollout of Carson CX (customer experience) releases and technology enhancements to help make complex issues simple for advisors and investors across the country. Over the past year, the organization has rolled out several value-added advisor services and support to its ecosystem, including an expanded brokerage solution, M&A consulting to help its advisors grow their practices, succession planning, and cash management options through its partnership with Galileo Money+, a new mobile-only banking service, available exclusively through financial advisors.

Carson Group serves advisors and investors in more than 120 partner offices across the country, including 24 Carson Wealth offices. In addition to being a mainstay in the Barron’s annual list of top wealth management firms, Carson Group remains among the Inc. 5000 list of America’s fastest-growing companies, has been recognized for two consecutive years by InvestmentNews as a top-50 firm for Best Places to Work for Financial Advisors, and was recently awarded a Best Places to Work in FinTech by American Banker.

 

SOURCE Carson Group

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