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Buy Now, Pay Later is a rapidly growing consumer credit sector. Last year, it is reported, it was used in 3.6% of retail sales in the UK. Is it a panacea or a plague?

Long Read: 17 pages.

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There's more fallout from the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has charged Allianz Australia Insurance Limited has been charged with seven counts, and AWP Australia Pty Ltd with one count, of making false or misleading statements regarding the sale of Allianz domestic and international travel insurance products.

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The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) today announced a settlement with BitPay, Inc., a private company based in Atlanta, Georgia, that offers a payment processing solution for merchants to accept digital currency as payment for goods and services. BitPay agreed to remit USD507,375 to settle its potential civil liability for 2,102 apparent breaches of multiple sanctions requirements. We have edited the relevant media material and commented on it.

The case provides fascinating background as US PoTUS Biden undertakes a wide-ranging review of Trump-era regulations including sanctions. Much will turn on whether such sanctions are "revoked" or "repealed" or, even, just "cancelled." It also draws attention to "know your customer's customer."

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission has today announced that it has preliminary competition concerns with Aon plc’s (Aon) proposed merger with Willis Towers Watson plc (WTW).

Note, unusually, this is actually a merger not a takeover: a new combined company will be owned as to approx 2/3 by AON and 1/3 by Willis shareholders. While shareholders have approved the deal, competition authorities around the world are not inclined to give an automatic nod.

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Morningstar has been mounting a persistent advertising campaign on LinkedIn recently. It it, it promotes its due diligence services. An announcement by the USA's Securities and Exchange Commission raises several questions, not the least of which is "who or what is Morningstar"?

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The Hong Kong Monetary Authority published today the credit card lending survey results for the fourth quarter of 2020.

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The best thing about the Gamestock story is that a short-seller tried to manipulate the market by doing deals then trying to talk down the stock. The market turned the other way, leaving the short seller out an estimated 30% of their entire funds under management.

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This press release from the USA's Securities and Investment Commission is about an old-fashioned (alleged) fund management fraud in which crypto-assets were the hook by which investors were encouraged to put money into a scheme which was not, says the SEC, what the promoters said it was.

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission has alleged that unlicensed financial advice is being given in relation to the development of property by a company headquartered in Perth and that it relates to an unlicensed investment scheme. The facts as set out by ASIC imply other issues, too. ASIC has frozen the assets of Monica Kaur, MKS Property Investments/Developments Pty Ltd (MKS Property), Paradise Property Group Pty Ltd (Paradise Property) as well as against Sadu Singh, Melvin Paul Singh and Stephanie Lee. All but Lee have been banned from leaving Australia.

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"Callum Reece akhil"@vitelglobal.com is an interesting e-mail address.

But this is who an offer for loans purportedly comes from.

The reply-to address is akhil@vitelglobal.com - which makes the "from" address all the more strange and suggests that someone's e-mail account has been hijacked. Will the real Callum Reece please stand up?

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iSignthis is not an Apple device. Nor one of those iMassage services with mobile phone numbers spray painted on walls. It's an interlocking set of companies with iSignthis Limited listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) and the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. ASX and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission says it's been naughty. So what? So its customers are financial institutions buying in outsourced regulatory risk and compliance services in relation to e.g. financial crime.

Fintech, Regtech and the risks they present to your business.

Media Release 1 December 2020 18:00 HK time.

Temporary suspension of the Coin Cart services

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You'd have thought that you'd heard the last of US lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the self-styled lobbyist, film producer, writer and businessman when he was awarded the coveted additional position, without which no American businessman's career is, seemingly, complete: that of convicted felon. After all, when you've been jailed for fraud, conspiracy to commit bribery and tax evasion you'd keep your head down, wouldn't you.

But then again, when your entire career has been working with dodgy businesses and doing dodgy political deals, perhaps there's nothing left to do but be dodgy over cryptoassets. A crypto-coin especially designed to be resistant to money laundering: AML Bitcoin was tailor-made for Abramoff. Now he's awaiting sentence and the company behind it is in disarray - and spending investors' money on litigation.

But what lies behind it is even more fascinating and takes us on a global trek from Las Vegas via Texas to London, Singapore and Melbourne - then across the Pacific to...

31 December 2020 is a Thursday. 1 November is, therefore, Friday. The moment that is neither of them, midnight, is a pivotal moment in the history of financial services. It is at that moment that South Africa's banks become the banks that say "no." No to cheques that is. Anyone to tries to present a cheque after that moment, will be turned away.

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