As the Winter Olympics dominate the news, an awards list comparable to the “Fintech Olympics” was released: Forbes Fintech 50. You can imagine our excitement to read about the latest companies Forbes deems worthy of recognition in our industry. We could spend the rest of this newsletter humorously comparing these companies to Olympic athletes and sports, but let’s triple axle over to the blunders section instead.
Big banks can’t seem to avoid blunders lately, including U.S. Bank which is being charged of neglecting to prevent money laundering and lying to regulators. Perhaps there is a regtech solution one of the award winners above can use to help prevent more big banking blunders?
Forbes released its third edition of the Fintech 50 list. 2018’s roundup includes 22 businesses in the newcomers category. The Fintech 50 considers businesses that have operations, customers or impact in the U.S. and excludes publicly traded companies, subsidiaries and established private financial players. In addition to newcomers, categories include investing, blockchain and cryptocurrency, lending, real estate investment and finance, payments, personal finance, Wall Street and big data.
U.S. Bank agreed to pay $613 million to settle anti-money laundering cases. The U.S. Justice Department charged the bank with neglecting to guard against illegal activity, helping a payday lender’s illegal business and lying to a regulator. Aside from the fines, prosecution will be deferred if the bank can show improvement of customer transaction monitoring. A revealing 2009 memo described the bank’s employees tasked with investigating money laundering alerts as “stretched dangerously thin,” but prosecutors argued that senior bank officials knew a lack of manpower was not an excuse to stop investigations or lie to federal bank examiners.
Seven percent of Americans reportedly own cryptocurrency, but the IRS states that currently only .04 percent of the filed 2017 tax returns list cryptocurrency gains and losses. Though it’s still early in the tax season, Credit Karma uncovered similar statistics, with fewer than 100 out of 250,000 tax filers disclosing cryptocurrency taxable events. Many high-profile blockchain investors are warning followers to comply with tax laws or risk IRS action.
Atria Wealth Solutions (Atria) not only launched as an active holding company, but also announced a significant private equity investment from Lee Equity Partners while simultaneously acquiring two broker-dealers. The client required a PR team with expertise in overseeing complex situations with multiple stakeholder groups and product lines (i.e., the business channels – bank and credit union affiliated advisors, hybrid registered investment advisors and other key stakeholders).