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Hogan Lovells advises banks on Eurogrid green bonds placement

Led by Frankfurt partner Jochen Seitz, the international law firm Hogan Lovells advised the joint lead managers consisting of UniCredit Bank (technical lead), BNP Paribas and Rabobank on the placement of Eurogrid GmbH’s first green bonds with an issue volume of EUR 750 million.

The corporate bond with a term of 12 years and an interest rate of 1.113 percent was successfully placed on 15 May 2020 and admitted to the regulated market in Luxembourg. Hogan Lovells had previously advised the dealers on the update of the debt issuance programme with Commerzbank as arranger.

With its first Green Bond, Eurogrid GmbH, parent company of the transmission system operator 50Hertz Transmission GmbH, secures the financing of investments in a portfolio of selected projects and facilities of 50Hertz Transmission GmbH and its subsidiary 50Hertz Offshore GmbH within its Green Bond Framework. These serve in particular to integrate offshore wind energy into the transmission grid on land and thus to expand the grid necessary for the energy turnaround. Examples of projects currently selected under the Green Bond Framework are the offshore projects Ostwind 1 and Ostwind 2, which involve the construction of grid connections for several offshore wind farms northeast of Rügen.

Hogan Lovells team for the bank consortium:

  • Dr. Jochen Seitz (Partner), Dr. Stefan Schrewe, Frank Salzgeber (Associates) (all Capital Markets);
  • Dr. Jörg Herwig (Partner), Simon Theis (Senior Associate) (both Corporate).

Jochen Seitz and his team have been advising the banks on the programme and issuances since its launch in 2015.

Norton Rose advises consortium of banks on $500m bond issuance

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a US$500 million bond issuance by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC.

The notes are due February 2025 and were issued off Emirates NBD Bank PJSC’s $12,500,000,000 Euro Medium Term Note Programme, which was updated in July 2019 and on which Norton Rose Fulbright also advised.

The Dubai-based Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by head of debt capital markets for the Middle East, Gregory Man, with assistance from senior associate, Ganna Vlasenko.

Gregory Man commented: “We are proud to have been involved in this transaction. This deal builds on Norton Rose Fulbright’s track record of advising on notable bond transactions in the region and once again provided us with the opportunity to represent many of our leading financial institutions clients.”

About Norton Rose Fulbright

We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3,700 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognised for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through our global risk advisory group, we leverage our industry experience with our knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide our clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg.

Global brochure

How reliable is biometric data in tightening bank cyber security?

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is one important pillar of cyber security in banking. Financial services interests have realised that requiring consumers to provide their personal information before processing transactions can deter data breaches.

And it has worked. Despite the numerous cases of successful high-profile hacking in the past 10 years, involving prominent names in the industry such as JPMorgan Chase and SWIFT, Fortunly believes more people would have been defrauded had there been lax customer authentication policies in place.

However, cyber robbers have managed to exploit a weakness in text-based MFA. In February, The Telegraph reported that Metro Bank and some smaller financial institutions were hacked. The attackers were able to get their hands on the codes sent to customers by capitalising on a flaw in SS7. Telecoms rely on this set of protocols to exchange SMS text messages and calls between one another anywhere in the world.

Clearly, more secure MFA is necessary to protect the integrity of financial services organisations as custodians of sensitive data of billions of people on the planet. This is where biometrics come in.

Unlike texted codes, pieces of biometric data are harder to steal since they are unique to individual consumers. Then again, biometrics are not equal and may not provide different levels of protection.

Fingerprint

Fingerprints, as well as finger-vein patterns, are being used by banks to authenticate customers at brick-and-mortar branches. Scanners for both biological characteristics can deliver fast, accurate results, which allow frictionless in-building and ATM transactions.

The availability of scanners in consumer electronics makes fingerprint authentication a feasible solution to boost cyber security. In fact, it has been adopted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for mobile banking. With just one touch, fingerprints can authenticate users to complete card payment transactions made via RBS’s mobile apps.

Face

What is advantageous about facial features as biometric details is that they are hard to cheat. Unlike fingerprints that could be reproduced with tape, the distinct qualities of a face could not in any way, shape or form be mimicked.

Voice

Voice biometric technology is sophisticated, for it considers up to 80 of the distinguishing vocal-tract attributes of a person. As biological data, the voice is actually more unique than the fingerprint.

Citibank has been using voice authentication since 2016. The consumer arm of the Citigroup analyses the voice pattern of a caller based on a pre-recorded voice print to help detect identity thieves more accurately.

Online Behaviour

Signatures, keystroke patterns and website browsing tendencies are some peculiar customer identifiers being tested by some banks to prevent fraud. Behavioural biometric tech may require a ton of historical data to be considered helpful, but its readings are claimed to be 99% accurate.

Conclusion

Ultimately, biometrics are imperfect. Physical characteristics and individual behaviours can change, so they can’t be reliable 100% of the time. Nevertheless, biological data is a potent tool for cyber security all banks should adopt to stay ahead in the game of cat and mouse they play with hackers until the next MFA innovation comes along.

CommerceWest Bank helped children find their forever families

CommerceWest Bank helped children find their forever families by supporting Seneca Family of Agencies. Seneca has had a 100% success rate in placing children from foster care with their forever families for over 35 years. Seneca improves services and support for the most vulnerable children and their families. It is their commitment to provide unconditional care and they will do whatever it takes to help children and their families thrive.

Ivo A. Tjan, Chairman and CEO of CommerceWest Bank commented, “CommerceWest Bank is grateful to be able to help children and families that have faced challenges such as poverty, trauma, and community violence.” He continued, “Seneca is a special agency, as no child is ejected due to challenging behaviours. They truly provide unconditional care.”

CommerceWest Bank is a California based full service commercial bank with a unique vision and culture of focusing exclusively on the business community. Founded in 2001 and headquartered in Irvine, California. The Bank serves businesses throughout the state with an emphasis on clients in Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Riverside Counties. We are a full service business bank and offer a wide range of commercial banking services, including concierge services, remote deposit solution, online banking, mobile banking, lines of credit, working capital loans, commercial real estate loans, SBA loans, and treasury management services.

Mission Statement

CommerceWest Bank will create a complete banking experience for each client, catering to businesses and their specific banking needs, while accommodating our clients and providing them high-quality, low stress and personally tailored banking and financial services.

Specialised banking license in Lithuania by Yuliya Barabash

Lithuania and mainly its capital Vilnius became a new flagship of European banking services centres. Favourable regulatory and tax environment, excellent infrastructure, fast Internet, cheap office space and the ability to select high-quality budget personnel make Vilnius attractive for both large international banking institutions and FinTech startups.

Moreover, in 2018, the Central Bank of Lithuania won the Central Banking FinTech RegTech Global Awards for its comprehensive approach to regulating the provision of financial services, namely in creating a favourable environment for the development of financial technologies and openness for financial service providers. Are there any other arguments for choosing this jurisdiction for the Fintech project?

In this article we will talk about a unique offer – a specialised banking license in Lithuania with reduced requirements for authorised capital – what is it about? How to get such a banking license? What functionality does this type of license cover?

What is a specialised bank?

Specialised banking license is a concept introduced in Lithuanian legislation from January 1, 2017 as a type of universal banking license. The main difference of this type of license is the requirement for the size of the authorised capital. The standard size of the authorised capital for the European Bank is 5 million Euros, while the Specialised banking license in Lithuania is issued for a company with the authorised company only 1 million Euros. It significantly simplifies the creation of your bank, isn’t it?

Functional authority

The terms of reference that this license gives its owners are very extensive – a company with a specialised banking license has the right to provide the following services: receiving deposits and other repayable funds; lending (including mortgage lending); financial leasing; payment services; issuance and management of travellers checks, bank checks and other means of payment; providing financial guarantees; financial inter-mediation (agent activity); money management; credit rating services; safe rental; currency exchange (cash); issue of electronic money.

The only functional difference between a specialised and a universal banking license is the presence of restrictions on providing investment services, management of investment and pension funds, and other similar activities. However, in practice for these purposes an alternative company is registered with the subsequent receipt of a permit for investment activity and asset management of third parties.

Conditions for obtaining a banking license

The times for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania is another incredible advantage of this type of service. With such broad powers, a company licensing takes from 6 to 12 months after providing all of the necessary documentation. Capital requirement, as mentioned above, is only 1 million Euros.

Also, to obtain such a banking license, you will need to confirm the economic presence of your company in Lithuania: you need a real local office, the minimum number of bank management staff must be 10 people, but at least one of them must be a resident of Lithuania and speak Lithuanian.

Brexit and Lithuanian specialised banking license

Brexit made adjustments even to the functioning of well-known FinTech startups – the “certification” of companies’ activities became an issue. What does it mean?

International financial companies licensed in the UK are looking for the possibility of licensing their services in one of the EEA countries to provide services to residents of the entire zone. For these purposes a specialised bank in Lithuania is suitable like no other – a wide range of powers, comfortable licensing terms, minimal authorised capital. Who would you think in the forefront received a specialised banking license, rather than the famous financial institution Revolut? It’s worth to consider.

Our team is happy to offer you not only a full package of services for obtaining a specialised banking license in Lithuania, but also assistance in opening corporate and segregated accounts, obtaining membership in SEPA and SWIFT, connecting to Visa/Mastercard, as well as other legal support issues of your project. Get an advice on establishing your Specialised bank in Lithuania today. SBSB International Law Company – your business, our concerns.

PRIVATE BANKING

Advisory Excellence for a Swiss Private Bank

In light of increasing standards within private banking, a clear definition of the services delivered to clients is necessary. An efficient delivery of these services requires an optimisation of the processes and organisational adaptations as well as state-of-the-art IT systems.

The world of private banking is changing. Increasing expectations of clients, changing regulatory requirements in applicable jurisdictions, as well as innovation among competitors all force private banks to precisely specify their market positioning.

A clear definition of client services is an essential first element in providing advisory services of consistently good quality. Well-organised and standardised advisory processes come next, followed by a well-thought-out delivery model for the monitoring of client portfolios.

The project scope included analysis of client needs and specification of new service packages in the area of non-discretionary mandates. To enable an efficient delivery of client services, the processes within mid- and front-office were optimised and supporting IT systems engaged (e.g. daily monitoring of client portfolios). These measures took active account of both global and local regulatory requirements, thereby promoting excellence not only on the client side but also on the legal and regulatory side.

Our Contribution:

  • Program management (deputy)
  • Management and specification of all requirements to improve the processes and IT-systems
  • Program-Management-Office (PMO)
  • Creation of the rollout-, training- and communication concepts
  • Support of front staff during transition phase into the new service packages