Martin Bellin: From Treasury Vision to Treasury Mission

Written by Henry Martin . Posted in Strategy

Some say that the best ideas are born out of a genuine personal need. There is nothing like finding a solution to your own problems as the first step to empowering others to achieve the same. This is certainly the story of Martin Bellin, former treasurer turned treasury management system entrepreneur and innovator. When he founded BELLIN 20 years ago, he was driven by a vision that was inspired by his own experience in a sector that he found to be thoroughly unequipped. Today, the BELLIN Group is the global leader in technology for corporate banking and treasury, providing solutions for the financial sector and a range of clients from large multinationals to SMEs and banks.

Capital Flows - Real estate outlook for 2018

Written by By Emmanuel Lumineau and Thomas Schneider, Founders of BrickVest. Posted in Strategy

2017 was a strong year for the real estate industry. Despite a number of external factors that could have easily affected market performance, low interest rates remained stable and demand in real estate investment products continued to rise. 

Brexit has clearly had an effect on the UK but we believe that across Europe, there remains strong deal flow levels and investment opportunities. Our recent research showed that one in three (33%) commercial real estate investors highlighted Germany as their preferred region to invest in. This is the first time that Germany has been chosen as the number one region to invest in and ahead of the UK which was selected by a quarter (27%).

Templar Executives: Cyber Scene from the Boardroom

Written by Anu Khurmi and Andrew Fitzmaurice. Posted in Strategy

Boardroom oversight of Cyber is rapidly becoming a business imperative given the increasing pressure from Regulators and ongoing Cyber attacks. A report this year by the World Economic Forum highlights the ‘key role that business leadership must play’ to ‘ build a more effective Cyber strategy and incorporate it into overall strategic thinking.’ However, it also noted that becoming Cyber resilient is gaining traction relatively slowly amongst many Board members. This is still surprising given Boards are increasingly being held to account for security breaches, with Cyber risk having the potential to be a ‘tail risk’ provoking irrecoverable damage to reputation and the ability to operate as a successful business.

One of the key reasons for this may be the traditional misconception that Cyber Security is the remit of the IT function. However, whilst this is beginning to change, with organisations starting to cite Cyber Security as one of their top business risks, there is also acknowledgment that many Board members do not have sufficient knowledge or expertise to address this area and provide effective oversight.

A Modern Economy

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Strategy

Henry Martin speaks with the Icelandic Minister for Foreign Affairs, Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson

CEO Insight: As you asses the External Trade potential for Iceland going forward, what do you consider to be important short term goals for the Ministry?

Gudlaugur Thór Thórdarson: As a small island country with an open economy, Iceland’s development and prosperity are dependent on trade – and progressive trade liberalisation. We know very well from our history the consequences of isolation and protectionism, and the benefits of being integrated into the global trading system.

One of our immediate goals is therefore to communicate our vision of an inclusive and open international trading system as a counter-balance to a growing climate of protectionism and anti-globalisation. At the same time we must ensure that our trade policy adapts to the challenges of the modern global economy, distributes the benefits fairly and evolves in step with the needs of our citizens, businesses and values.

Elon Musk - Cosmic Dreamer Come Good

Written by Fergal Hogan. Posted in Strategy

Elon Musk

Few other entrepreneurs have risked so much and taken such gambles as Elon Musk. And few have had such incredible successes. Even more amazing, the real impact of his entrepreneurship - whether in the area of space travel, electric vehicles or solar energy - has yet to be felt by humanity. The best, it could be said, is yet to come from Elon Musk.

What began with a failed attempt in 2001 to purchase an intercontinental ballistic missile on the cheap from a Russian dealer is now a $12 billion, thriving company that builds its own rockets and launches around one every four weeks, carrying satellites and supply capsules into space. It's a story of extraordinary business and engineering brilliance. Even more, it's a story of the resilience, belief and tenacity of its founder Elon Musk.

As a child growing up in Pretoria, South Africa, Elon Musk was obsessed with the concept and possibilities of space travel. Initially, little came of this obsession. He left South Africa in 1988 when he was 17, spending a couple of years in Canada before settling in the US. He was awarded degrees in Physics and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania, and was accepted into a PhD in Applied Physics at Stanford University. His entrepreneurial ambitions won out over his academic ambitions, however, and he dropped out of the program after just a few days and went straight into business.

His first entrepreneurial venture was Zip2, a web software company that made and sold online city guides for the publishing industry, which he started with his brother in 1995. Such maps were unheard of at the time; this was almost a decade before Google Maps came into existence. Just four years later, Zip2 was bought by Compaq for over $300 million. Elon Musk, still only 28 years of age, walked away with $22 million. His next venture was an online financial services and email payment company, which soon merged with Confinity. The merged entity became PayPal, which, in 2002, was sold to eBay for $1.5 billion. By then Musk owned around 12% of PayPal, so received around $165 million from the sale. He was 31. PayPal went on to revolutionise e-commerce and the way online transactions were made.

An interview with Herbert Wigwe, Group Managing Director, Access Bank Plc

Written by Fergal Hogan. Posted in Strategy

 Over the past 26 years, Access Bank Plc has evolved from being an obscure Nigerian Bank into a world-class  African financial institution. Today, it is one of the five largest banks in Nigeria in terms of assets, loans, deposits  and branch network, a status that has been achieved through strong long-term approach to client solutions.  Access Bank has built its strength and success in corporate banking and is now taking that expertise and  applying it to the personal and business banking platform following its acquisition of Intercontinental Bank in  2012. The last two years have been spent integrating the business, investing in infrastructure and strengthening  the product offering.


CEO Insight: Access Bank might not be a name that is familiar to everyone. Can you give us an overview of the Bank’s history?

Access Bank is a leading African bank, operating 366 branches and 1066 ATMs in major centres across Nigeria and with subsidiaries in Sub-Saharan Africa and the UK. For over 26 years, the bank has been providing leading corporates, SMEs and retail customers with the highest standards of speed, service and security in its banking offering while delivering exceptional returns for its 800,000 shareholders. 

Tailor Made

Written by Henry Martin . Posted in Strategy

Henry Martin speaks with Gerardo Garcia, CEO. Barents RE

CEO Insight: Can you give us an introduction to Barents Re?

Gerardo Garcia: We established Barents Re  in 1996 and over the past two decades we have built a reputation as a leading specialty and niche reinsurer that has delivered consistently strong financial results.

We are underwriters first and foremost. Our entrepreneurial culture, coupled with an experienced management team, allows us to identify and respond quickly to opportunities. The expertise of our specialty underwriting teams and their knowledge of our markets, products and clients enables us to offer innovative solutions. We offer bespoke products and services individually tailored to our clients’ needs.

Furthermore, our reputation means we attract top quality personnel from around the world. Our people are the core of our business; it is their knowledge and experience that allows us to make the right decisions for our clients and for our business. Of course, we manage and have access to a wealth of data and tools that assist us in our decision-making processes. But it is the ability to accurately interpret such data that separates one reinsurer from another. It is precisely for this reason that we employ recognised experts.

Interview with Daniele Guidi, CEO of Banca CIS- Credito Industriale Sammarinese

Written by Henry Martin. Posted in Strategy

CEO Insight: How do you ensure continual product and service improvements for customers?

In line with our long history of Private Banking expertise, Banca CIS attention is focused on continuous improvement of product and service for customer. Today, the Bank boasts 90 collaborators, a major business network in the country and internationally. Its extensive presence in the republic is most definitely highly beneficial for local savers and investors and also results in strong support for cultural, sports and social initiatives widely popular. In the framework of a deep reorganization of Bank structure, the Private and Investment Banking development unit has been reinforced with a few managers, with prestigious curriculum and high-level professional networks.

 Banca CIS boasts an asset management company, Scudo Investimenti SG, with about fifteen San Marino Investment Funds, including an innovative Modern Art Fund, based on a collection of over 50 works of famous Italian and international artists. This is a medium/long-term investment fund of closed-end type, with assets invested in works by well-known modern and contemporary artists (Modigliani, Keith Haring, Fontana, etc.) which avails itself of the consultancy of prestigious art advisors able to guarantee the validity of the works and constantly update their estimated value. Scudo Investimenti plans and provides Funds both for Private clients and banks.


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