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Bank of Lithuania’s Response to the Covid-19 Crisis: Responsible Action or Over-Regulation?

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Bank of Lithuania’s Response to the Covid-19 Crisis:  Responsible Action or Over-Regulation?

 

The Covid- 19 Pandemic has created many novel situations that are unlikely to disappear in the near future. Like in the majority of novel post- apocalyptic scenarios, the uncertainty of the a new world order, especially in the financial sector, is always looming upon not only the governmental sector, but also on the private sector, which leads to many legal lacunas.

Within the EU financial sector, it is still uncertain whether the crisis has entered into its second act, or if it is still at the overture level.

The Bank of Lithuania, for example, has demonstrated great resilience with the initial response to the Crisis, that was remarkable in comparison to the initial response of ESMA. The Bank has issued six points of reference to the financial institutions which are regulated under the Bank which are crucial for each Electronic Money Institution’s (hereinafter- EMI) reporting duties and financial duties.

For instance, part of these requirements are in direct correlation to the Market Abuse Regulation, 5 AMLD, PSD2, and MiFID II. When discussing the Market Abuse Regulation, the Bank has issued a notice that processes and business decisions issued within the quarantine time are considered inside information, and should be disclosed under the appropriate framework.

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Bank of Lithuania is also aware that regulated entities, especially EMIs and Payment Institutions (hereinafter-PI) which have not been working from their usual headquarters, but on a remote basis, still have to continue their financial and regulatory report as usual. Documents should be sent on a password controlled basis, and physical documentation should not contain confidential or sensitive information.

In regards to trading activity and trading in a regulated environment, the Bank has announced its intentions for allocating means for legal enforcement for proper functioning of the market in Lithuania. By this, the Bank has decided to examine requests for suspended trading only after receiving well- reasoned submissions, which are objective, reasoned and legally justified.

This is not the first time that the objective, reasoned and legally justified criteria has been raised in a European context.  The criteria is remarkably similar to the Subsidiarity and Proportionality principle of EU jurisprudence, which has been discussed countlessly in the Treaty of Maastricht, the Single European Act (SEA), and in T29/92, which established that the subsidiarity principle does not constitute sufficient grounds to tackle the legality of an EU legal act, especially in trade aspects between Member States and Association Agreement Countries.

In the financial services realm, this is one of the few times that this has occurred. Implementing the Subsidiarity and Proportionality Criteria in the Lithuanian context, has surpassed the EU Agency level (ESMA) and has been directly implemented by the Lithuanian Regulator.

It may seem to some that this leap is the first sign of over-regulation in Member States, which tend to over-regulate in times of crisis, yet this measure can also be deemed as responsible action. The fact that the Bank of Lithuania has managed to implement the measure in a short time frame, with minor and almost non-existent instructions from ESMA, proves once again that in cases of financial services, mutual and not exclusive competence is the golden route for financial institutions.

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EMIs and crypto exchanges that have been licensed in Estonia in comparison, which have lately been scrutinized by regulatory enhanced enforcement, have not received any formal notification in regards to the Covid-19 crisis, and have not received an extension for financial and regulatory reporting, bearing in mind the July 1st deadline that is looming on the entire crypto industry in Estonia.

EMIs in Lithuania on the other hand, have received specific instructions on their financial and regulatory reporting, and the widely anticipated API open banking system will be presented during the Payment Council later this year.

Be that as it may, EMIs that are licensed in Lithuania need to bear in mind that additional enhanced procedures are anticipated from the Bank, and they need to prepare themselves for the regulatory whirlwind that will hit the compliance and operational desks within the foreseeable future.

About the author: Ella Rosenberg
EU Law Regulatory Consultant at Porat Group and CEO of the Israel-EU Chamber of Commerce and Industry. She primarily deals with high risk industries in Israel and Europe. Ella holds an LLB in EU Law from the European Law School, Maastricht University and an LLM in Commercial and Company Law from Erasmus School of Law, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Ella consults on AML in the crypto currency industry, Blockchain, AI, drone regulation, EU firearms regulatory framework, Art industry, financial arbitration and tokenization of maritime logistics. She also focuses on Foreign Trade Agreements of the EU and Israel, TRIPS and GATT agreements, WTO Law and EU Legal Policy. Ella serves as a member of Europe Forum in Israel, and actively consults the public and governmental sector in Israel on the EU Regulatory Framework.

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Starlight Investments Expands UK Portfolio with Acquisition of 232-Suite Build-to-Rent Community in Dartford

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TORONTO, June 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Starlight Investments (“Starlight”), a leading global real estate investment and asset management firm, has exchanged on an acquisition to purchase a seven-building master-planned Build-to-Rent (“BTR”) community under development in Dartford, Kent, from Bellway London.

The 232-suite community, being completed in three phases, will feature seven mid-rise residential buildings including 163 parking spaces, and a range of high-end rental suites and layouts including studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom suites, all of which will be fully furnished. Upon completion, residents will enjoy a range of high-quality amenities and a 2,000 square foot rooftop terrace. Also being acquired is a 3,500 square foot commercial unit located within the development that will be utilized for additional amenity space in the future. The community’s design prioritizes sustainability with a low carbon energy strategy and other eco-friendly features. Additionally, residents will have direct access to a large adjacent park, offering substantial green space and family-friendly facilities.

Located centrally near the high street and Dartford station, the community is conveniently situated for commuters to London and surrounding employment hubs. Dartford, the most densely populated city in Kent, is expected to see considerable growth over the next decade.

This transaction marks another milestone in Starlight’s European residential asset management platform, which was launched last year with a focus on the UK BTR market. The addition of this new community further complements the company’s acquisitions to date in Manchester, Liverpool, Ashford and Leeds and will increase Starlight’s UK portfolio to over 1,250 suites, with an additional 1,500 suites in the development pipeline.

“We are pleased to establish Starlight’s presence in Dartford, a city with a strong heritage and direct connections to major regional employment centres,” said Daniel Drimmer, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Starlight Investments. “The addition of this community is part of our broader UK expansion strategy and showcases our continued momentum in the UK’s dynamic and growing BTR market.”

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About Starlight Investments

Starlight Investments is a leading global real estate investment and asset management firm with CAD $28B AUM. A privately held owner, developer and asset manager of over 68,000 multi-residential suites and over 7 million square feet of commercial property space, we offer a range of investment vehicles across various real estate strategies. Starlight’s guiding mission is to balance our tenure with visionary curiosity to create positive impact for investors and communities alike. At Starlight, we invest with impact. Learn more at www.starlightinvest.com or connect with us on LinkedIn.

Contacts: Jonnie Milich, Head, UK Residential, +44 -7930-373-945, [email protected]; Leslie Veiner, Chief Operating Officer, Canada & UK Residential, +1-416‑234‑8444, [email protected]; Talia Schwebel, Vice President, Marketing & Communications, +1-416‑234‑8444, [email protected]

Starlight Investments - https://www.starlightinvest.com/

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FinVolution Group Wins Asian Banker’s Award for “Best Consumer Lending Technology Implementation in China”

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SHANGHAI, June 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — FinVolution Group, a leading fintech company, has been awarded the “Best Consumer Lending Technology Implementation in China” alongside CITIC Consumer Finance at the Asian Banker China Awards 2024. This award acknowledges FinVolution’s dedication to providing innovative technology to financial institution partners.

The Asian Banker Awards are known for their rigorous and transparent evaluation process within China’s financial industry. This year, the awards received over 400 entries from more than 160 institutions across the financial and fintech sectors.

The award highlighted FinVolution’s efforts in enhancing the resources and business scale of its partner, CITIC Consumer Finance, through improved financial risk control and technological innovation.

In recent years, FinVolution has closely collaborated with financial institutions to enhance microfinance and consumer finance through advanced technology and services. By the first quarter of 2024, FinVolution had served 102 licensed financial institutions, including banks, consumer finance companies, and trusts.

FinVolution’s partnership with CITIC Consumer Finance has improved digitalization and efficiency in CITIC’s customer acquisition, risk management, and fraud prevention. This collaboration has led to a significant expansion of resources and business scale, as well as improved risk indicators.

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Tiezheng Li, CEO of FinVolution Group, said, “We are pleased to receive this award with CITIC Consumer Finance. FinVolution is committed to developing technology that connects financial institutions with underserved populations and supports our partners in enhancing their digital capabilities with secure and efficient financial technology services.”

Since its founding in 2007, FinVolution has continually innovated to deliver comprehensive fintech solutions. Today, it stands as a trusted partner to over 100 financial institutions and millions of users, driving forward the future of finance through technology.

About FinVolution Group

FinVolution Group is a leading fintech company that connects millions of consumers as well as small-sized enterprises with financial institutions.

Founded in 2007 and listed on the New York Stock Exchange(NYSE: FINV) in 2017, we have been at the forefront of the pan-Asian credit technology industry, pioneering innovative technologies in credit risk assessment, fraud detection, big data, and artificial intelligence. With a proven track record of robust growth in pan-Asian countries, we have established leading fintech platforms in China, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

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TradeFlow Capital Management Celebrates its entry into the 7th successful year of its USD Fund with consistent growth and continued innovation

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SINGAPORE, June 24, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — TradeFlow Capital Management (TradeFlow), a global leader in alternative trade finance solutions, is proud to announce the continued success of its USD Trade Flow Fund as it enters the 7th year of generating strong and stable returns. Since its inception, the Fund has grown steadily, built on a strong asset-backed base with the exciting implementation of Fintech allowing the creation of new digital assets that enhance liquidity.  

The USD Trade Flow Fund, launched in April 2018, was designed to narrow the trade finance gap faced by SMEs worldwide with low volatility and strong and stable returns in mind, whilst facilitating trade that would not otherwise be transacted. Since its inception, the Fund has exceeded its objectives, demonstrating resilience and stability in a dynamic and challenging global commodities market, ensuring the flow of economic essentials such as metals, grains and fuels.

To date, through its USD Trade Flow fund (and EURO Trade Flow Fund launched in November 2020), TradeFlow has successfully invested in more than US$3.5 Bn of physical commodity trade through 3500+ transactions across 18+ countries and 35+ commodity types, with more than 1800 SME counterpart entities KYC reviewed. The Trade Flow fund strategy is also shariah compliant for murabaha transactions.

These achievements have been made possible by strategic efforts to embrace the latest in Digitalization technologies available to streamline all of TradeFlow’s operations, including the storage and movement of all commodities enabled.  Continuously pioneering cutting-edge financial solutions, TradeFlow has enhanced its proprietary platform to streamline operations and improve transparency for investors.

As part of its business model, TradeFlow Capital has integrated Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into its investment strategy, reinforcing its commitment to sustainable and responsible investing into every trade. Since December 2020, all of our shipping has been carbon neutral through offsetting emissions via verified carbon credit projects.

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Dr. Tom James, CEO and CIO of TradeFlow, shared his excitement about this milestone: “Reaching the 7th year of our USD Fund is a testament to the dedication and hard work of our team, the trust of our investors, and the enduring need for innovative trade finance solutions. We are incredibly proud of what we have achieved and are more motivated than ever to continue driving growth and creating value for our stakeholders.”

John Collis, Chief Risk Officer and Chief Legal Officer of TradeFlow, added: “Our success over these past seven years underscores our robust risk management framework and our commitment to legal and regulatory compliance. We’ve built a solid foundation that safeguards our investors’ interests and also supports sustainable growth. Looking ahead, we remain dedicated to maintaining the highest standards of integrity and compliance in all our operations.”

Looking ahead, TradeFlow remains committed to delivering greater value to Investors and positive impact to SMEs and local communities by expanding its global footprint, enhancing its technological capabilities, and further strengthening  TradeFlow’s  position as a market leader and innovator in the trade finance sector.

About TradeFlow Capital Management (TradeFlow)

TradeFlow is the world’s leading and first Fintech-powered commodity trade fund manager, enabling the import/export physical commodity transactions for SME size firms by employing its unique non-credit lending approach to trade finance. 

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TradeFlow consists of a diverse team of experts with the focused mission of addressing the increasing trade finance gap (US$2.5 Trillion) faced by global SMEs operating as producers/traders/end-users in the bulk commodity trading space. By performing an enabling role in international trade and globalization, TradeFlow creates stable asset backed returns for its investors, opportunities for businesses and growth for economies.

TradeFlow is a Partner of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to mobilise capital and improve trade finance access for SMEs worldwide through the “‘ICC Trade Now” and “ICC Digital Trade Standards Initiative” platforms.

For more information, please visit: www.tradeflow.capital or email us at [email protected].

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