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UBS backs away from Brexit doom: The technology execs and government officials who are trying to keep fintech and other jobs in the U.K. after it leaves the European Union have gotten some good news as UBS says a large migration of its jobs away from London is now "more unlikely," according to the Financial Times. The paper quoted UBS CEO Sergio Ermotti, who was speaking to reporters on a conference call. Ermotti said the bank has gotten "regulatory and political clarifications" and the relocation of 1,000 jobs — the worst case scenario — probably won't happen. The Swiss bank has 5,000 staff in London, so a 1,000-person shift would be a big move. Ermotti also said he was not a "believer" in cryptocurrencies, but Ermotti does say there is a future for the underlying blockchain technology, which could "reshape" the banking industry. UBS is a partner in Batavia, a blockchain project that includes IBM and Bank of Montreal as members.

UBS branch sign
Bloomberg News

How does it look? Citing its own funded research that found 70% of Australians would pay with clothing or other accessories if it "fit" with their personal style, Westpac announced it will work with designers to craft wearable tap and go attachments. Called PayWear, the bank will deploy waterproof and battery-free accessories that can make payments at the point of sale. The first items, scheduled to be available in early December for free, are a silicone brand and a chip-based attachment linked to the consumer's account. The first items with designer input are expected to hit the market in early 2018, with surfboard designer Haydenshapes being among the first fashion brands to participate. As banks and technology companies try to figure out how wearable technology fits into transactions, Westpac hopes price will also be a lure—by offering the items for free, it will avoid the need to spend on a device or hardware to add another device to make a payment, according to George Frazis, Westpac Group Chief Executive, in a release.

No IPO for Ant right now: Ant Financial Services Group is tabling plans for an IPO, and is instead expanding investments in artificial intelligence and technology startups, reports The Wall Street Journal. Founded by billionaire Jack Ma, Ant has become one of the world's most valuable financial technology companies, according to the Journal, and has already made several high profile investments to build out its payments technology and expand geographically. Its largest asset is the Alipay wallet, which is quickly expanding globally, mostly through partnerships with merchants and local companies to support digital payments for travelers from China. Ant has run into some headwinds with its most bold move, an acquisition of MoneyGram which would give Ant the ability to move beyond Chinese travelers to offer payment services directly to U.S. consumers. That deal has run into regulatory opposition and faced a rival bid from Euronet.

Bitcoin's the matter with Kansas: The state of Kansas is barring bitcoin for campaign contributions for statewide and local elections, Fox reports. The state considers the currency to be too secretive for political donations, according to Mark Skoglund, the executive director of the Kansas Governmental Ethics Commission, who added he had gotten request from a candidate to accept campaign donations in bitcoin. Bitcoin has gotten mixed results with governments, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned about the risks of cryptocurrency and China has tightened regulations on cryptocurrency exchanges. In the U.S. bitcoin is considered an "in kind" donation for national elections.

From the Web

Financial pros flock to online fintech courses
CNBC | Mon Oct 30, 2017 - Financial professionals are taking online financial technology (fintech) courses to fend off competition and stay ahead of disruption. The boost in uptake is due in part to a feeling among those in the industry that financial technology has reached a turning point in its evolution. A report from Citigroup in 2016 caused widespread debate when it estimated that between 2 million and 6 million jobs would be lost in banking across the U.S. and Europe over the next 10 years.

Hong Kong sharpens fintech focus as a collaborative centre
South China Morning Post | Sat Oct 28, 2017 - If you ask Charles d’Haussy, head of fintech at InvestHK, the combination of mainland firms listing in the city and large financial institutions striking deals with start-ups is a sign of things to come: the city will remain a financial hub, but this time with technology at its core. “Hong Kong’s history has always been as gateway for trade,” said d’Haussy on the sidelines of the Hong Kong Fintech Week. “It will be the same going forward: it is going to be the place where mainland fintech companies come to sell their platforms to the world.”

Fintech Innovation Is Driving Increased Customer Engagement, Knowledge and Loyalty
Forbes | Fri Oct 27, 2017 - As smartphones like Apple's new iPhone X and Samsung's Note 8 have become ubiquitous, seismic shifts are taking place in the way people bank and make payments. Citi surveyed more than 2,000 Americans in its inaugural mobile banking study to discover how mobile technologies are shaping consumer behavior. The findings point to a transformational shift, as consumers mobile bank an average of 7 days per month – and 10 days per month for millennials. And the latter is a trend we’re seeing at Citi with millennials comprising almost 40% of Citi Mobile App users.

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