Just two days after the Academy Awards night, we had another gala to be witness too. This time as nominees, not only TV spectators of a fabulous show. I’m talking about the e-Finance Awards Gala, held at JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, yesterday evening.
Yes, it is true, it does not have the same international awareness as the Oscars, but it does manage very well to bring together the most important players in the Romanian IT&C and Finance sectors. And it does have its own”red carpet”, nomination categories and award statuettes. Not golden, though 🙂
I know that, because I’m looking at one. Oh, in case I forgot to mention it right from the start, we were not just nominees, we were winners. Together with CEC Bank, for our more than 10 years long outstanding collaboration and for the recent qPI-TREZ project, designed to optimize the bank’s treasury operations. That’s why I have sitting on my desk a beautiful statuette as proof that Allevo and CEC Bank are thee-Partnership category winners. It was supposed to be inspirational 🙂
And we had our own Meryl Streep, in the person of Corina and our own Michel Hazanavicius, the “best director”, the one and only Sorin… Guiman, attending the gala.
As the Oscars had very funny comedians being very funny and Cirque du Soleil, still being very impressive, the e-Finance guests were engaged in a more artsy initiative. They received poems from the four Romanian poets invited to the event.
Here is the poem that Corina received (so sorry for the English-speaking readers, the original poem is in Romanian. I have tried to adapt it, but I’m not really a poet to make the translation of it look and sound like something artistic):
“Pagoda din munti
daca ai fi
o tulpina de bambus
ai putea fi stalpul
unei mici pagode din munti
sau doar pipa
din care un batran
nestiutor de carte
si-ar fuma tutunul sau
opiul de fiecare zi
dar daca ai fi
doar o tulpina de bambus
nu ti-ar pasa
daca esti pipa sau stalp
Cu prietenie, Horia Garbea
“The Mountain Pagoda
if you only were
a bamboo stalk
you could be the pillar
of a small mountain pagoda
or only the pipe
from which an old man
ignorant to knowledge
would smoke his tobacco
or everyday opium
but if you were
just a bamboo stalk
you wouldn’t care
if you are a pipe or a pillar”
on the spot translation by me:)
Last but not least, congratulations to all the winners of this year’s gala.
Now, I would like to stay and chat, but we are popping up the champagne, to celebrate the award among colleagues. See ya!
Just two days after the Academy Awards night, we had another gala to be witness too. This time as nominees, not only TV spectators of a fabulous show. I’m talking about the e-Finance 9th Awards Gala, held at JW Marriott Bucharest Grand Hotel, yesterday evening.
And not only as nominees, but also as winners. Together with CEC Bank, for our more than 10 years long outstanding collaboration and for the recent qPI-TREZ project, designed to optimize the bank’s treasury operations we were awarded the e-Partnership category prize.
Please also check the blog post for a more detailed narration of the event.
Congratulations to all the winners of this year’s gala!
Casablanca – known as the biggest city and port in Morocco or even more likely, the set for Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman’s love story. Too bad Rick’s Café didn’t really exist, because I would have liked to sit there and listen to Sam (Dooley Wilson) playing As Time Goes By. But that’s me, Corina and Dan did not go there for the romance of it 🙂
Cause on the 15th of February this year, no more than 70 years after Bogart coined the now famous phrase “Here’s looking at you kid”, Casablanca was the host for SWIFTRemit Business Day.
Corina and Dan were there, to share about the unique channel to rapidly expand remittances services, about the value and challenges of SWIFTRemit, about remittances trends and challenges in Africa, about innovation in this area and to listen to insights from banks like Caixabank or Attijariwafa. They were also there to talk during the Implementation and integration options sessions, about Allevo’s product qPI-Remit.
For those of you not familiar with this product, just a very brief note: qPI-Remit, based on SEPAReady certified qPayIntegrator, is an end-to-end remittance processing solution, dealing with the collection, processing and distribution of remittances. It started quite an interest, as during the breaks my colleagues were busy answering questions, providing additional information and showing demos.
A few general info facts mentioned during the presentations: the last count of worldwide migrants accounted for sums up 250 million people, with transfers in 2010 of 456 billion USD (in Morocco the value raised up to 10% of GDP, summing around 6.9 billion USD). There are some issues in Africa due to huge costs (a medium of 19 USD for 200 USD transferred), reduced competition (90% MTOs – Money Transfer Operators, 2.4% banks and 7.6% postal offices), exclusivity (Nigeria has banned the introduction of exclusivity clauses).
Over all, the agenda was interesting and well structured and the event very well organized, enjoying the participation of over 70 attendees. Both Corina and Dan, were very impressed with the organizer’s courtesy and attention, and felt like the entire event had an “open for collaboration” aura, between different vendors, between vendors and banks. We hope we’ll enjoy the same friendly atmosphere in Dubai as well. And even more, qPI-Remit made new acquaintances.
So, let’s hope this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
By: Ioana Moldovan
But NO: it is not happening.
At least these are the results of the two questions poll raised at the end of the Financial Services Club’s debate on SEPA, held on the 31st of January. Over 100 attendees voted with a show of hands on: “Is SEPA happening?” and “Does it matter?”. Notable to say the ones present stated that initially only one hand was raised claiming SEPA is progressing well, as Ben Poole wrote on his blog.
Why now? I guess FSC felt the need for this kind of event not only because EU recently provided us with a SEPA migration deadline, against the slow pace it has had so far, but mainly due to the economic turmoil of recent months. So, I imagine no surprise for anyone when they had three Europeans in the “YES” camp and two British in the “NO” camp, just enough to continue the “age old Anglo/German battle“.
Nevertheless, with the European Parliament and Council having reached agreement on the deadline for the migration to SEPA credit transfers and direct debits, there comes new focus on the matter. Finextra ran the article in December last year, stating: “SEPA migration deadline set at February 2014”. And gtnews, considering it worthwhile to gather industry experts to comment, ran no less than 7 new articles addressing this subject only this last week.
Even if many were waiting for this news and believe it is an important step to finally have dates set when it is mandatory for corporations and banks in all Euro countries to use SEPA standards for euro credit transfers and direct debits, the nay-sayers in the SEPA debate claim that given the current economic environment in Europe, there are other issues far more important and in need of urgent attention than reaching the payments infrastructure harmonization, as the backdrop of the Eurozone implosion, liquidity risk, transaction taxes.
An interesting aspect raised at this debate, trying to explain the slow progress of the SEPA transition, is the fact that it has been seen as a basic compliance project, falling into the business area and given to lawyers, rather than being brought into the product area and presented to infrastructure operators, where some chance for innovation could be found.
It is well known that SEPA needs public sector bodies to switch to its formats in order to boost widespread adoption within banks and corporations, but is this happening?
Well, we hope it does in Romania. As TransFonD , in cooperation with the Romanian National Bank (BNR) and the Romanian Banking Association (ARB) has initiated the project for the transition to the SEPA mechanisms and has set the following targets: first half of 2012 for RON credit transfers, second half of 2012 for EUR credit transfers and 2013 for direct debits. Moreover, the Romanian Ministry of Finance is an enthusiastic supporter of the European initiative and the national project regarding SEPA.
Allevo has been also involved in publicly promoting the importance of SEPA mechanisms adoption by the Romanian financial institutions and corporations, as well in Romania, as across our borders. It has done so by organizing dedicated sessions at the last three Sibos conferences, by maintaining its product’s SEPA functionality (qPI is accredited SEPAReady by SWIFT in 2008 & 2009), by taking part in all phases of the TransFonD project.
I would like to conclude with the advice given by one of the SEPA advocates and that is to prepare your organizations, banks as well as corporations, for SEPA before the end date. He stated that if everyone left it until the absolute last minute, the IT resource required would be severely stretched and, if you’re using outside help, very expensive.
So, be prepared!
By: Ioana Moldovan
Yes, you don’t need to tell me again, the internet is the future. I am a Social Media Marketing person, I should be counting on this. And yes, there are people who actually believe they can start a revolution with only “like” and “share”. Whether this is or can be true or not, I can’t really take a side at this moment. But what I do know and what I do see, despite all the technology behind virtual environments, is that people still like to meet, still like to shake hands and not just wave and smile in front of a webcam. And this includes business people as well.
This is why we still have those big international or regional conferences, those high level management meetings, the fairs and technology expos, the “x” tech or product days. Because you can shake hands as much as you like 🙂 I’m just kidding a little bit now. The truth is that we cannot be anything else but human beings, whether we talk about our personal life or professional life. And it’s only human that you find communication more natural with a person that you have already met face to face, that you shook hands with or made eye contact.
Don’t worry, I’m not neglecting the marketing or promotional aspect of this sort of meetings. It’s just that this also can be done very well without human presence, so we need to come back, again, to the individual’s social needs. It is fun and interesting to meet new people, to hear other ideas than the ones of your friends and colleagues, to actually socialize in another environment than someone’s office building. And besides being fun, I believe it is also effective, advantageous and closer to obtaining results and being successful. But that’s just me. I like those conferences, I like meeting new people, I like getting involved in various conversations.
I might have presented some ideas on why individuals would like this kind of events. But why would a company? Apart from the fact that it is a group of individuals, who have something to say about this, what are the interests of a company in participating at these conferences? What are the gains for spending notable amounts of money on participation, transport, delegates’ fees and so on?
Well, I can’t talk for all the companies, but I will try to speak a little bit from Allevo’s perspective. Ok, brand awareness is one thing, but that is kind of “per se” when you talk about these conferences, so I won’t really get into it. I wanna touch a different base here.
Is it because we think we’ll have access to the newest information in the market? Is it because we believe we shall get new business ideas or inspiration? Is it because we trust there will be new customers participating? Can we actually control these things? Perhaps not. But what we can control is our persistence, our consistence, our continuous fight to make our work well-known, our trust that what we create can make a difference – ok, not for the greater good, but at least for a small niche of the industry. Something else we can control is the ability to learn from these experiences, to accumulate knowledge and to use the information we gained the best we can.
I have talked to my colleagues on this subject, including my general manager, and the omnipresent impression was: “Yes, I have learned a great deal of things by participating to this kind of events”. And I agree, you do learn, as an individual and as a company. And even what you learn as an individual, if that knowledge is put into your work, is a gain for the company itself.
Another aspect that I would like to touch is the imperative need these days to reach other markets, foreign ones. To expand, to grow. Yes, we are a Romanian company, yes, we made our mark here, in our country, but that is not enough anymore. Not these days. And by participating to these conferences, held all over the world, we can try to achieve that. To let other people, companies, industries, economies know that we exist, that we have something to offer, that we are present.
So… guess what I’m trying to say is that we are looking forward to meeting you at Sibos, SWIFT Regional Conferences, Operations Forums, Remit Business Days, EBA Days, SPIN and many others.
See you there 🙂
By: Ioana Moldovan
Allevo will participate this February to SWIFTRemit Business Day, event that will take place in Casablanca, Morocco on the 15th of next month.
In Casablanca, industry peers from banks, money transfer operators, postal organisations, exchange houses as well as SWIFT experts will take a closer look at current trends and challenges in the cross-border person-to-person payments to, from and within Africa and share with you their views and experience around SWIFT’s global remittances platform – SWIFTRemit.
If you will be in Casablanca for this event, we are looking forward to meeting you there and we would also like to invite you to the cocktail offered by Allevo.
Please stay tuned for impressions from Allevo’s delegates.
Update: As promised, please find the SWIFTRemit Business Day tale in the blog post.