Month: June 2016

Corporate governance: its importance for unlisted companies

Based on “Recomendaciones de Buen Gobierno Corporativo para empresas no cotizadas” (“Recommendations for Good Corporate Governance for unlisted companies”), an excellent study realized by IE Business School and Grant Thornton, from Private Investments Network we want to point out several recommendations and best practices for unlisted companies that we have found most interesting.

 “All companies have to ensure an environment characterized by quality and integrity of information that is used by the Board of directors to take the best decisions”, claims Antonio Garcia-Lozano, Consulting Leader at Grant Thornton.

Listed companies follow corporate governance policies that are essential for the relationship with shareholders and, a logical question that the study sheds light on is: why not follow such policies in unlisted companies in order to achieve high performing boards of directors?

 “Unlisted companies make up 85% of the Spanish industrial landscape. Nevertheless, the majority of the legislation and recommendations in force, as far as good corporate governance is concerned, is directed exclusively to listed companies. Extending good corporate governance to more business segments implies strengthening the sustainability and development of our companies and, by extension, our economy and society”, says Tomas Garicano, director of Good Governance Centre, professor at IE Business School and Senior Advisor in Corporate Governance for Grant Thornton.

The study is aimed at unlisted companies with an annual turnover higher than 750 million euros or an average personnel of more than 1,500 workers. Following, we highlight the main recommendations:

  • The partners have to establish a corporate governance framework that, taking into consideration the regulations in force, adapts to their needs, their size and to the complexity of their operations
  • It is appropriate distinguishing amongst the governance activities, administration, approval and supervision, entrusted to the board of directors, and operational management activities, entrusted to the executive board and the organizational structure of the company
  • The members of the board of directors need to allocate the time needed to perform the tasks, meet periodically, assist to convened meetings and rely on timely information, the necessary advice and adequate training
  • To ensure the transparency of information, it is recommended that companies disclose in an official channel the required reports or volunteers (auditor independence, committee reports and audit appointments and remuneration, if any, related operations and corporate social responsibility)
  • There should be an information system that allows reviewing of topics prior to meetings and gathering, facilitating communication between members and optimizing meetings
  • It is advisable to maintain sufficiently comprehensive minutes. The minutes of the meetings of the board are a reflection of what happened in those meetings and the relevance and depth of the issues discussed. They should be broad enough to capture both the matters discussed, such as the views expressed by the directors and their decisions made, avoiding various communication versions.
  • It is important to have a system of relations with shareholders, allowing one to know their opinions, interests, and expectations; particularly when they are not all represented on the board. The system should have a continuous relations approach over time, aiming for a periodic relationship that goes beyond the meetings of the board of directors or holding the annual general meeting.
  • One should at least communicate: financial and non-financial information, internal and external, of the present and future; that includes at minimum the issues related to the present situation and financial prospects of the company, the strategic plan, and its implementation risks, regulatory compliance, market and competitors; and, aspects of internal management and human resources.

From Private Investments Network, we offer a tool that allows unlisted companies to follow these policies within a private and secure environment, providing solutions to enhance the relationship with shareholders and other internal stakeholders.

The features of our platform allow one to maintain a transparent, segmented, and secure communication, managing processes such as: meetings, tasks, metrics, documents and even capital increases.

If you would like to know more details about how Private Investments Network helps companies, click here.


What is RegTech?


RegTech is a new concept derived from the definition of FinTech primarily signifying the technology applied to resolve issues regarding regulation within the financial industry. It helps companies to better manage and understand their legal risks as well to easily adhere to their regulatory obligations.

This is due to today’s new technologies giving rise to new regulatory necessities and the market’s legal framework often being slow in adapting to and accompanying the speed of these changes within the environment. After a disruption of the market, through new FinTech solutions arising, RegTech helps to adapt the regulatory, financial services and general professional services sectors to these changes.

Adapting to the speed of these changes is key for companies and the governments of any nation, guaranteeing that all those involved will benefit from the arising innovations within the financial industry. In this sense, the technology acts as an important frame of support to expedite, integrate, and automate this process of adaptation to regulations and even to create and audit, therefore offering security and reliability for these governments and companies involved.

The consulting company, Deloitte, announced in a report released in January this year that RegTech could already be considered the new FinTech, referring to companies that offer technology for the financial sector, a concept which is currently trending.

This roots to their belief that that there is a hole that is not being completely considered in the innovations and trends of the financial sector, simply described as the norms and regulations in place.

Similarly, an article released this March by RegTechFS discusses how regulators were often left out of the conversation of technological advancements, as they were not previously involved in how business is conducted. Filling this hole not only provides regulatory systems an opportunity to progress, but also allows other industries to move further along, not being held back by regulatory challenges.

According to the Deloitte report, “in the short term, RegTech will help companies to automate prevalent tasks of compliance and to reduce the operational risks associated with compliance and reporting obligations”.

Applying technology to issues of regulation is not particularly new, however some of the characteristics that bring and differentiate the concept of RegTech specifically are agility, velocity, integration and the possibility of analysis. According to the Deloitte report, RegTech “provides executives a higher level of opportunity to introduce new capacities that are designed to take advantage of the systems for the obtaining of normative data and the presentation of reports in a profitable, flexible, and timely manner, without running risks of replacing the existing legal systems”.

Examples of companies (according to Deloitte) that already can be considered to be within the RegTech sector include:

  • Fund Recs: Based in Ireland since 2013, Fund Recs focuses on providing a reconciliation platform to progress data management and processes in the Funds Industry. Not only does this allow data leveraging to become more efficient, powerful, and cost effective; but Fund Recs believes that day-to-day business softwares should be well designed and easy to use, making the overall platform applicable to any business. Fund Recs recently took the step forward to also launch their VELOCITY platform for Fund Administrators to develop valuations efficiently.
  • Silverfinch: Part of the MoneyMate Group, establishes connectivity between asset managers and insurers by providing fund data utility through a platform that is safe and controlled. As a self-service tool by design, Silverfinch gives the user increased control whilst still offering training, support, and establishing connectivity within Silverfinch. Through this secure platform, competitors have no access to proprietary information, while insurers can still keep up with their solvency regulation requirements through connectivity with asset managers,
  • Trustev: Based in Ireland, this RegTech company combines machine learning and human intelligence to look holistically at data from online transactions and events. Trustev then scans these transactions, all in real time, to catch potential fraud. Allowing one to reduce fraud allows one to stop fiscal leaks and operative challenges faced by fraud, whilst not affecting the genuine customers that one interacts with.
  • TradeFlow: As a platform operated by Expeditors, TradeFlow provides information on tariff data and regulations, compliance, expected costs of various operations, and much more, to assist both importers and exporters in combating challenges they may face when partaking in international trade. Tradeflow operates as a supply chain tool to make international trade easier, by making international regulations easier to follow, therefore allowing global trade to grow.
  • Vizor: Now operating in 30 countries, Vizor serves both companies and financial regulators. Through Vizor’s software, a company can see and understand all their financial regulatory requirements and have full knowledge of any gaps. Regulators can easily track companies and see which firms are meeting their regulatory obligations. Not only does this create ease in meeting obligations, but it also shows that greater trust within this industry can be built.
  • Corlytics: The Corlytics Financial Fines Database is platform of financial fines providing information on a global scale on financial institutions, regulators, fining authorities, fine parameters, and more. Using analytics technology, the database is further connected to global cases and regulators, allowing further insight. Corlytic´s database allows companies access to trends and analysis, as well as the opportunity to identify potential risks and loss estimations.
  • KYC3: Founded in 2013, KYC3 focuses on three themes: compliance, counterparty risk management, and competitive intelligence. Providing instant reports from compliance, to political risk management, to networks of influence, and much more, KYC3 allows one to complete all due diligence tasks, be efficient, meet compliance regulations, and discover further opportunities and threats. Using big data, KYC3 delivers data mining and analysis solutions to you.
  • TheMarketsTrust: Based in Luxembourg, TheMarketsTrust provides solutions to risk analysis through insights into the financial industry and offering advisory services through financial knowledge and by leveraging their expertise of technology. Through an in-house research team, TheMarketsTrust aims to be both unique and customer-centric, providing solutions to one’s specific needs.
  • AssetLogic: As a fund information network, AssetLogic allows one to aggregate all their data and information into an online location in little time. Through this tool, one can share information and data with whoever they like, allowing more efficient use of this data. Not only will compliance work more effectively, but all sides of an organization will benefit, from investor relationships, to marketing, and more.
  • FundApps: This RegTech platform allows one to automate their compliance monitoring by entering a collaborative community in which industry experts manage the community and help companies be aware of threats and opportunities. Combining high-end technology and experienced industry experts, FundApps aims to deliver quickly, efficiently, and effectively, by harmonizing technology and content.

The advantages of RegTech can be well applied tools of:

  • Analysis of gaps in legislation and regulation
  • Real-time information
  • Compliance and investor relations
  • Information management
  • Reporting of transactions and regulatory reports
  • Storages of risk data
  • Data aggregation, analysis, and sharing
  • Loss, profit, and risk estimations

RegTech represents an opportunity to companies that develop this type of technology, although the challenge currently is to know to apply it well and to do so with an agile manner with regards to technological changes, offering a real competitive edge for companies.

Private Investment Networks similarly shares this vision on RegTech, both fostering and advancing the world of FinTech that we experience today. Through its many roles, RegTech can act as a facilitator of compliance for companies, allowing them to meet regulatory obligations, whilst also fostering the investors’ relations tasks that a company may conduct, as it does in Private Investments Network.

As FinTech advances, the hopes are that we can take a step back and see if there is a missing link or hole in this chain of innovation, as these RegTech firms have done, and consider how compliance and regulatory obligations can be both met with ease, as well as advanced to help our companies innovate further.

Fdo. Helena Lopes and Sara Jokinen.

Private Investments Network is recognized by the French Finance Innovation Cluster

Finance innovation
Private Investments Network is extremely happy and grateful to have received the recognition from the Finance Innovation Cluster, the grouping of private/public competitiveness of the Paris Europlace that promotes technological innovation in the financial sector.

This recognition is given to projects with high potential at the European level and which are:

  • Innovation: Particularly with regard to techniques used, the implemented models, customer segments, the developed technologies and the covered risks;
  • Strategic for the French financial industry: Bringing new products or new customers, facilitating international competitiveness, meeting the needs of the economy and increasing employment support;
  • Credible: Verified partner skills, technical feasibility and financial viability of the project.

The selection of projects that are recognized is made by the members of the Finance Innovation Cluster, which is represented by major financial sector institutions in France.

Here you are able to view the pitch presented by the CEO and co-founder of Private Investments Network, François-Eric Perquel, at the Finance Innovation Cluster.

And here you can watch the video with the presentation (it is in French).