Paysend recognised by MasterCard for the quality of their payment processing

The quality of payment processing by paytech firm Paysend has been recognised by MasterCard.

The recognition comes in the form of MasterCard’s Regional Compliance Award, which compares ICAs (Interbank Card Association Numbers) in their respective region. Only ICAs in the top five per cent with the highest compliance percentage receive the awards.

Ronald Millar, CEO of Paysend, said: “We are delighted to have won this award. The fact that we won this while against the major processors is something we at Paysend are all proud of. Like MasterCard, we take our compliance role very seriously.”

The Award is part of MasterCard’s Data Integrity Compliance Awards Program.

Cabot Financial announces another new charity partnership

Cabot Financial has selected the British Heart Foundation, the biggest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK, as its new corporate charity partner for 2019. The partnership will help in the charity’s aim of increasing awareness of heart and circulatory disease, raising funds for vital research into heart and circulatory conditions as well as train Cabot colleagues in the lifesaving first aid, CPR. Kim Brophy, BHF Fundraising Manager for Kent said; ” I am delighted that we have been chosen by this award winning company to help fight the UK’s biggest killer, the staff have a great legacy of successful fundraising and we are looking forward to working together in 2019″.

Currently, a quarter of all deaths in the UK are a result of heart and circulatory disease. The British Heart Foundation is a prominent nationwide charity funding lifesaving research to help end the heartbreak for the seven million people in the UK living with heart and circulatory disease. For over 50 years it has pioneered research that has transformed the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions and has been pivotal to offering vital treatments that are changing the fight against heart disease.
Working together, the partnership will also highlight the small changes people can make to their lifestyles that can have a very real impact on their heart and circulatory system.

Speaking about the new partnership; Derek Usher, Managing Director at Cabot Financial, said: “Our new corporate charity partner is one that is close to many within Cabot Financial, with many staff having a personal reason to support the BHF. This partnership not only raises vital funds for research but also encourages colleagues to assess their own health and equip them with vital life skills.”

Commenting on lower than expected inflation which dampens enthusiasm to raise rates

Commenting on lower than expected inflation which dampens the enthusiasm of the Bank of England to raise rates, Rupert Thompson, Head of Research at Kingswood, said: “UK inflation in March came in lower than expected. The core and headline measures were both unchanged at 1.8% and 1.9% respectively rather than edging higher as had been expected. The latest numbers leave inflation running just below the BofE’s 2% target and should dampen somewhat the enthusiasm to raise rates – if and when Brexit uncertainty subsides – to head off the ongoing pick up in wage growth. The BofE faces a similar conundrum to the Fed in the US – how much emphasis to put on the tightness of the labour market, which is putting wages under upward pressure, when as yet there is precious little sign of it feeding through to higher inflation.”

London leads Siemens Atlas of Digitalization as most ‘digitally ready’ global city

Siemens has launched a new web-based application which reveals the readiness and potential of six major cities to embrace digitalization and develop new ways of living, working and interacting. The Atlas of Digitalization is based around the interconnected themes of Expo 2020 Dubai – Mobility, Sustainability and Opportunity – and assesses how the fourth industrial revolution has already impacted urban life around the world, and the potential it could have in the future.

Data from 21 indicators has been analyzed from Buenos Aires, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Los Angeles, and Taipei. From this analysis a Digital Readiness Score has been defined, considering areas such as smart electricity and transport systems, internet connections and digital governance services. The score reveals the current level of maturity of each city’s digital infrastructure, and its preparedness for a connected future.

Juergen Maier, CEO Siemens UK said: “It is tremendous that London is leading the charge in digitalization among these global cities. In spite of all the economic uncertainty we have been facing in the UK over the last two years this study shows we are still well placed to achieve leadership globally in the fourth industrial revolution if we continue to invest, innovate and grow responsibly and sustainably.”

“However there is more to the UK economy than London and our Northern cities particularly in the Northern Powerhouse must also benefit from innovation and investment. Each city here in the UK and globally must address its own unique mix of challenges and opportunities by embracing digitalization; the key to sustainable, economically vibrant future cities.”

“The Atlas of Digitalization gives us an insight to the current status of digitalization in global cities, and the data tells us London has already made excellent progress. We hope the Atlas will inspire new ways of thinking to shape all the smart cities of tomorrow and realize the global potential of City 4.0,” added Maier.

The analysis takes into account areas such as innovation, greenhouse gas emissions and time spent in traffic to give the cities a Digital Potential Score, indicating where there is opportunity to grow digital capabilities to transform society and economy. Together, the Readiness and Potential scores illustrate the different capacities each city already has, and where they can develop to effect change and growth.

The Atlas recognizes London’s advanced implementation of digital technologies in areas such as the introduction of the congestion charge and the Ultra Low Emission Zone which will dramatically cut nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions. Currently road traffic in London is responsible for more than half of the city’s NOx emissions.

The Atlas also identifies potential for digitalization to positively impact areas in London such as improving mobile internet speeds and opening up new opportunities for internet-enabled services based on the Internet of Things such as ‘vehicle to everything communications’ to improve efficiency.

Mark Jenkinson, City Director, London, at Siemens said: “As part of the Mayor of London’s ‘Smarter London Together’ plan to transform London into the smartest city in the world, the Greater London Authority has set out how they want to collaborate with the capital’s boroughs and services, from Transport for London to the National Health Service: working more effectively with the tech community, universities and other cities to make their vision a reality.”

Data from the 21 indicators has been mapped across three themes: Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity, creating unique visualization of each city’s digitalization landscape. Visitors to the Atlas of Digitalization can interact with each city and explore its data, taking an in-depth look into how each is addressing its own challenges and opportunities, and how it will impact work and life in future cities.

The Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity themes are identified by Expo 2020 Dubai as having the power to build partnerships, inspire progress and develop our future cities. Siemens is Infrastructure Digitalization Partner to Expo 2020 Dubai and will use digital solutions to connect, monitor and control buildings at the site using MindSphere, the cloud-based operating systems for the Internet of Things.

Basingstoke and Deane tender win and YPO framework for Enforcement agent services

Basingstoke and Deane tender win

Excel have been successful in winning the tender to provide the enforcement and collection of council tax and sundry debt in rural areas. This was a two-stage process through the submission of a tender document and then a post tender presentation.

The contract is to start 1st April 2019 for 2 years with a further 2 options to extend annually, if mutually agreed by both parties.

YPO DPS Enforcement Agent Services Framework Agreement

Excel has once again been successful in being named a provider on the YPO Framework agreement for Enforcement agent services.

The framework covers the period of 1st April 2019 to 31 March 2024. The first review to extend will be December 2019 then annually thereafter, with the maximum contract period being 5 years.

About YPO

YPO supplies products and services to a wide range of customers including schools, local authorities, charities, emergency services, public sector and other businesses such as nurseries and care homes.

YPO is 100% publicly owned, by 13 local authorities, which means the profits they make are returned to our public sector customers, delivering even better value for money.

Lowell Announces Change of Leadership CFO Colin Storrar to Become Chief Executive Officer

Lowell, one of Europe’s largest credit management companies, today announced a change of leadership. Effective 10th June, 2019, Colin Storrar, Chief Financial Officer of Lowell since 2013, will succeed James Cornell as CEO. Colin has worked closely with James to lead Lowell’s successful transformation from a primarily British player to a leading European business. He brings a combination of deep Financial Services and general leadership experience both from his time at Lowell but also previous general management and finance roles with HSBC First Direct and GE Capital. James, who will continue as a significant investor, will take the role of market and operational consultant to the company, enabling Lowell to benefit from his institutional knowledge and experience. The Board has initiated a search process for the role of CFO on which it will update in due course.

Commenting on the management change, Chairman Heinz Hilgert said: “The Board is very pleased that Colin, with his significant leadership experience and deep sector expertise, will succeed James as Chief Executive following James’ decision to step back. On behalf of the Board, I’d like to thank James for his service to Lowell and for building the platform for the company’s future success. We are delighted that he will remain close as an adviser and shareholder.

“Having significantly grown financially and geographically in the past several years, Lowell has entered an era of being a truly European platform which is reflected in this leadership set-up. We are well progressed with the transition already – having brought in highly qualified general managers for our three key regions. As we look to the years ahead, we will continue to grow the business in the right way, targeting sustainable long-term growth with an appropriate capital structure to match our ambition.”

Colin Storrar, CEO designate, added: “I am very much looking forward to the opportunity to lead the business in such a crucial and exciting phase of its development and to continue the close cooperation within the management team. Our focus is on delivering sustainable results by implementing our successful growth strategy as a European market leader. It has been a huge pleasure to work with James these past six years. He’s been a valued colleague and friend. I’d like to thank him on behalf of the business and the industry, for all he’s done to bring positive change to the company and the sector.”

James Cornell, CEO, commented: “Having led Lowell for 15 years, I am extremely proud of what we have achieved together but I now feel that the time is right for me to step away and to hand the baton to Colin as my successor. We have built Lowell into a leading European group, with strong regional businesses in the three largest credit markets, highly talented general managers leading each region, over €13bn of AUM, more than 4,000 people, and a shared vision to be the best for clients and consumers alike. I am so pleased that my friend Colin will succeed me. He has been a tireless driving force within this business and has great knowledge of how both we, and the industry, work. He is a well-known member of the Lowell family that cares for the people that make this business – the employees, clients and consumers – as much as I do. I have every faith that Colin will take this business to the next level.”

Noble Systems Hires Its 500th Employee

Noble Systems, a global leader in omnichannel contact centre technology solutions, today announced that it has reached a new milestone in its 30-year history, surpassing 500 employees.

Noble Systems, a market leader in customer communications technology for six consecutive years, has seen employment growth of over 30% in the past two years, in support of the continued increase in market share for its premise and cloud-based platforms and its development of new technologies. Noble Systems offers the marketplace’s most diverse and comprehensive set of contact centre and analytics solutions, including award-winning workforce engagement (WEM) and gamification tools. Noble’s key performance drivers, which include depth of innovation, strength of offering and a superior ownership experience, set the company apart from other vendors.

Jim Noble, President and CEO of Noble Systems, is proud of the environment the company has developed, stating: “Opportunities abound at Noble Systems for employees who work hard and want to learn, and who want to contribute to the success of our company. Almost one-quarter of our employees have 10 years or more of service with us. That’s almost unheard of in the technology industry and is a strong indication of the culture we have built.”

A Tech Culture Award Winner, the company’s philosophy is to hire smart people, putting the right people with the right skills in the right places, and then give them the tools to gain new knowledge and skills and to grow with the organisation. The result is an established company with impressive employee tenure that offers room for advancement and a strong benefits and training program and combines a serious work environment with great perks and fun options that build employee satisfaction.

“Every day, our employees go above and beyond to help the company meet its goals, which means helping our customers meet their goals,” Noble added. “Without a doubt, we would not be able to reach the milestones in market leadership, technology innovation and longevity that we have without the commitment of our entire employee team, and I am honored to lead this group as we add our next 500 employees.”

Noble Systems’ regional headquarters are in Manchester, with the corporate headquarters in Atlanta. The company also has offices in London, Oklahoma, Austin, Melbourne, Sydney, Manila and its newest development centre in Kraków, Poland.

Artificial Intelligence to be used in debt collection

An AI based virtual agent that can take on a real-time customer facing role in debt recovery and autonomously negotiate debt repayment is due for trial in mid to late 2019 thanks to an Innovate UK funded Knowledge Transfer Partnership programme.

Advanced Collection Systems’ (ACS) collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire has proven extremely fruitful. It has led to the design of an ‘Adaptive Virtual Agent (AVA)’ through the KTP, four separate Master’s projects, and the development of an AVA based commercial solution for the debt collection sector by independent AI development company Insight.

AVA is a machine-based debt collection software system designed to work alongside human debt collection agents. Through big data analytics and machine learning, the ‘intelligent’ software automates many of the calls, negotiations and transactions currently conducted by human agents, allowing them to focus on more complex interactions and expanding the capacity of the call centre to increase the volume of calls it can take.

ACS contracted University of Hertfordshire PhD student, Paul Moggridge, as the KTP Associate to work on the project and to assist AI development company Insight to integrate AVA into its own commercial solution. ACS has also worked with various departments at the University, engaging four Master’s students with expertise ranging from psychology to data mining, machine learning, programming and cyber security; each contributing to the unique, custom-built technology.

“For a business like ours, taking on a project of this size and level of complexity would usually be really difficult – add in the amount of research we’d have to source externally and it would be near impossible. The University of Hertfordshire has been an invaluable resource, equipped to support all facets of our business.” Martin Eaves, Company Owner and Technical Director, ACS

Initially, Martin was hesitant to enter into what seemed like a daunting process of getting the KTP underway: ‘A huge contributing factor in us deciding to undertake the KTP was the amount of support that the University provides in assisting us to complete our application. This could otherwise be extremely time consuming, but we were very well supported by the team at the University.’

Now 18 months into the 3 year project, Paul has found his role as the KTP Associate to have been highly rewarding: ‘It’s been a challenge balancing study with working full-time, but they feed into each other really well. I can apply what I’m learning during my PhD study directly to my work and vice versa.’

‘What I’ve also found beneficial is the opportunity to get additional vocational training that I wouldn’t have otherwise had during my studies. I’ve been able to attend a management school for two weeks, covering things like project, risk and test management.’

For ACS, the benefits experienced by their Associate have reinforced their interest in finding other ways to collaborate with the University.

‘Not only has our business gained a lot from the partnership in terms of very specific, tailored research, but it’s also been great to give back to the University and feed into the teaching cycle. The intellectual property generated throughout the project, as well as the data, are all fed back into the curriculum for related courses, so students are able to learn from the work that we are doing,’ says Martin.

ACS plans to partner with more of the University’s business and research services to work on other areas including designing the Cyber Security Centre to test the software in a secure setting.

ACS will use AVA to scale up its business and provide an enhanced service to clients. Insight, which specialises in providing AI solutions to the credit and collections sector, plans to integrate AVA into a full service repayment negotiator solution which it will offer to credit collection departments on a commercial basis.

Most recently, the Innovate 2 Succeed programme delivered by Exemplas, has been used to develop a plan to maximise the business benefits from deploying AVA within ACS and assisting Insight to identifying a strategy for the integration of AVA into its commercial product and follow on launch.

Fast growth fintech company snapped up by leading software provider

Vision Blue, the leading provider of compliant software solutions for the Credit and Debt Recovery sectors, has acquired Cardiff-based fast growth fintech company SamePage Group, a pioneer in fully-digital Loan Origination software platforms, for an undisclosed sum.

The acquisition of SamePage by Vision Blue comes after the success of a recent strategic partnership which saw both companies deliver a full lifecycle Loan Origination and Account Management System (LMS) for the Green Deal Finance Company (GDFC).

Since it was established in 2017, SamePage has quickly made a name for its dynamic, cloud-deployed loan origination platform which is transforming the consumer lending journey and delivering significant improvements in the financial services sector.

The addition of SamePage to the Vision Blue portfolio gives the Dublin-based company access to an experienced team of financial services experts and best-of-breed technology, which will enable it to deliver superior lending solutions and consultancy services to the lending market both within the UK, Europe and overseas.

Colin Brown, Managing Director at Vision Blue said; “Lenders are increasingly transitioning from cumbersome and inflexible legacy lending platforms to newly developed digital cloud-based solutions utilising current technologies and methodologies.

“SamePage’s entirely digital application and loan management solution enables customers to quickly deploy and easily maintain their lending products and processes whilst adapting and meeting regulatory requirements.

“The addition of SamePage to the Vision Blue portfolio now sets a new benchmark for ease of use, flexibility and rapid deployment.

“This is a really exciting acquisition for us, expanding our market reach and giving us immediate access to proven technology and market experts to deliver clients a leading end to end loan management platform.”

SamePage will continue to be based in Cardiff and will expand their current business and technical resources to build on the success of the business.

Robert Evans, Product Director at SamePage added; “We are delighted to be joining the Vision Blue team; doing so will enable us to strengthen our products, services and team while leveraging substantial business and technical resources already available within the group. Ultimately, we are all about delivering value to our customers and being part of Vision Blue significantly improves our ability to do just that.”

This is the latest deal by Vision Blue, who invested in Canada-based UBERbase in December 2018, as part of plans to become a leading international software provider.

Greenaway Scott acted for SamePage in the deal, while Eversheds (Cardiff) acted for Vision Blue.

Arvato Financial Solutions UK Appoints new Business Development Director

Arvato Financial Solutions has appointed a new Business Development Director for the UK Market

Alistair Kay who has over thirty years’ experience within the credit industry has joined Arvato from TransUnion (formerly Callcredit) to lead up the development and acquisition of new clients.

Alistair has an excellent track record of success in senior sales roles within the BPO, Financial Services markets and latterly with the UK’s leading Credit Bureau. He brings with him vast experience of engaging at senior level in a broad range of clients from SMEs to multi-national organisations. Alistair’s operational background in BPO, and subject matter expertise in Collections and Risk, makes him an ideal addition to the AFS team to help drive its plans to develop the next phase of growth in the UK.    

Debbie Nolan FCICM (grad), VP, Collections UK commented “Alistair and I worked together for a number of years at Wescot, I know how well respected he is in our industry so it’s great to be able to bring him on board.”

Alistair added “I am really excited to join the team, working with some great people, it is clear to see the investment being made to realise the ambition the Arvato Group has for the business.” Arvato Financial Solutions provides professional services to renowned international brands as well as respected local businesses. Its primary focus in the UK is Debt Collection.