A lot of firms have absolutely no idea how the unique transaction identifier (UTI) issuance process will be conducted, and they are not alone. The regulatory and trade repository communities are also scratching their heads.
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Depending on which report you read, somewhere between 3 million and 5 million drivers are now taking advantage of telematics-fueled usage-based insurance (UBI) programs worldwide. Aite Group believes that the larger figure includes commercial lines, so on a global scale the UBI market has remained relatively small and undeveloped. Aite Group estimates that by the end of this year, 75 property & casualty carriers (out of a universe of 3,500) will have launched UBI pilots in the United States.
Aite Group's research into investor behavior reveals that the mainstream investor of today is neither entirely delegator nor self-directed investor but a combination of these investor types. Hybrid investors want some level of online visibility into their financial lives as well as tools to accomplish certain transactions on their own, yet they also indicate a willingness to shift assets to firms that can provide "better advice." Whether or not investors work with a financial advisor, approximately 60% of 1,014 U.S. investors surveyed by Aite Group in December 2011 (minimum investable assets of US$25,000, 20% of the sample had at least US$250,000) indicate that they trade or have traded online.
Establishing a new, non-sovereign digital currency is not for the faint of heart. Bitcoin, the poster child for cryptocurrencies, has weathered a barrage of ups and downs over the last six months as financial and regulatory entities struggle to understand the currency and its role in commerce as well as the broader macroeconomic environment. Bitcoin and other digital currencies have often gotten a (not undeserved) bad rap. The anonymity that the currencies facilitate and their position outside of sovereign oversight have made Liberty Reserve, WebMoney, and Bitcoin the currencies of choice in the cybercriminal underground. The early October FBI bust of Silk Road, an underground Web forum for drug sales, netted more than US$3 million in confiscated bitcoins.
Taulia, provider of a software platform for dynamic discounting, recently appointed a new managing director for its European operations. Considering that Taulia was founded in 2009 and has so far run its operations only in North America, this is a sign that the company is doing well and growing fast. I believe that Taulia will be able to succeed if its European team is capable of positioning the company as an e-invoicing/dynamic discounting/supply chain finance (SCF) provider in Europe.