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Impact Focus – Companies and founders disrupting the global financial technology market

Russians are increasingly using mobile wallets to pay for groceries and bills as cashless technologies disrupt the financial services industry, extending their reach across the world’s largest country. The number of purchases made with smartphones has jumped...
A UBS exchange-traded fund focused on ESG investing became the first in Europe to exceed €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in assets, showing that socially responsible financial strategies are growing in popularity.The UBS ETF (LU) MSCI World Socially...
While millennials may be the generation most associated with social impact investing, other groups are showing strong interest, according to a new study from Allianz Life Insurance. Sure, it’s still millennials who are participating...
The bank that once took deposits from Albert Einstein is keeping its offerings fresh by investing in a two-year old firm pitching social impact investments to millennials. Ladenburg Thalmann Financial Services, whose lineage stretches...
A trove of fingerprints, passwords and facial recognition data, supposedly protected, were found exposed and accessible online because the database of a company that provides secure access to warehouses and offices was flawed. The...
With an eye toward boosting security and efficiency, as well as toward managing an aging population, U.K. officials are considering Blockchain technology for social security and welfare payments.  They also want to make sure...
Institutional investors are likely to rate white-led investment teams higher than those led by black fund managers that were equal in performance, leading to racial disparities in how trillions of dollars are invested, according to research by...
Robinhood, a U.S.-based owner of a stock-trading app, is heading across the Atlantic as it’s been granted a license to operate by the U.K. Financial Conduct Authority. The app, available in the states since...
KKR & Co.’s fundraising for its first Global Impact Fund surpassed its goal, as bets on investments intended to provide a social and environmental benefit surge. KKR is still collecting commitments after surpassing its...
Walmart filed a patent for a cryptocurrency, saying a Blockchain-based currency would help the retail giant’s low-income customers who don’t have access to credit cards. “Low-income households” may find regular banking expensive and see the currency as...
Fitch Ratings released a tool showing the relevance of environment, social and governance factors to credit ratings in different industries, as investor demand grows for ways to measure ESG criteria from wastewater management to employee well-being.
Israel’s first new bank in 47 years will be making interest-free and low-interest loans, continuing the social impact tradition of its successor organization. Non-profit lender Ogen Bank, which is in the late stages of...
BlackRock’s fossil fuel investments cost its investors $90 billion in lost value and missed opportunities over the last decade, according to a report that gives support to social impact and sustainable-energy strategies. The world’s...
The announcement that British asset manager Schroders would acquire a majority stake in the impact investing firm BlueOrchard Finance is the latest evidence that legacy asset managers are increasingly looking to beef up their sustainability bona fides,...
Law enforcement may have found the perpetrator quickly.  But the theft of personal data concerning 106 million Capital One customers renewed deep concerns about the big banks’’ ability to protect information and the persistence...
The German government announced last month the preparation of its first green bond, as the cornerstone European Union issuer becomes the latest example of accelerating use of bonds to address environmental and social challenges. 
Debate swirls around whether environmentally friendly companies outperform the wider universe of firms. A study by Stanford and Yonsei university economists offers compelling evidence that they do.  The researchers, Stanford’s Soh Young In and...
Slavery in its modern forms like forced labor and debt servitude persist despite efforts to stamp them out. Despite a ban by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, inadequate laws around the world fail to...
Investors scrutinizing target companies’ commitments to environmental, social and governance principles sometimes find they need a hand cutting through the feel-good fluff to measure what’s actually getting done.  Germany’s Arabesque S-Ray says it can...
As Bitcoin gains use in international transactions, and in providing finances to people without access to regular banks, critics are pointing to the environmental costs exacted by the powerful computers used to “mine” buried Bitcoin codes.
Pacific Life Insurance’s impact investing platform Swell, which sought to align offerings with the U.N. Sustainability Goals, said this week it would shut the service by August 30 because it didn’t “achieve the necessary scale.”
Studies show that Environmental, Social and Governance investments as more resilient than other strategies and that companies with high ESG ratings tend to outperform their peers. Yet old-school bottom-line watchers, fiduciary purists, insist this is nonsense. 
Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, Fidelity Investments and the U.K.’s Theo Osborne were among high-profile firms backing Ethic Inc. in its latest funding round, as they bet on rising demand for tracking tools as more money gets directed...
From demolition debris recycling to imitation chicken, Congruent Ventures has taken a markedly different approach to investing than many of its social impact peers. Taking a no compromise approach, the San Francisco VC firm is seeking products...
WhatsApp’s delayed digital payment system in India is moving closer to a start, as it addresses privacy concerns before becoming the latest entrant in a market projected to hit $1 trillion by 2023. WhatsApp Pay...
If you’ve never been in love with an insurance company, Lemonade is looking to change that.  The startup property insurer wants to shake up the industry, pitching love, charitable contributions and customer service. Whether...
Women entrepreneurs have long been overlooked by technology-focused venture capitalists. That may be changing in the Netherlands, whose largest city -- Amsterdam -- is seen as one of Europe’s central VC and tech centers. 
From founding groundbreaking companies to fueling the workforce and reinvigorating neighborhoods, immigrants have shaped the U.S. economy since it began. While coming to the U.S. has brought a better life for many, hurdles remain for immigrants, particularly...
A pepperoni pizza delivery to Ter Apel refugee camp in northeastern Holland inspired a Blockchain-powered system that one day may enable millions of people to prove who they are without government documents. Today, Toufic...
In this age of advanced technology, the $10 trillion global trade finance industry hasn’t embraced innovation, instead maintaining its dependence on paper-based systems. A single cross-border, trade finance transaction typically consists of 100 pages of documents from...
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