Charee Mobley, who teaches middle school in Fort Worth, Texas, had just $166 to get herself and her 17-year-old daughter through the last two weeks of August.
But that money disappeared when Ms. Mobley, 37, ran into an issue with Square’s Cash App, an instant payments app that she was using in the coronavirus pandemic to pay her bills and do her banking.
After seeing an errant online shopping charge on her Cash App, Ms. Mobley called what she thought was a help line for it. But the line had been set up by someone who asked her to download some software, which then took control of the app and drained her account.
“I didn’t have gas money and I couldn’t pay my daughter’s senior dues,” Ms. Mobley said. “We basically just had to stick it out until I got paid the following week.”
In the pandemic, people have flocked to instant payment apps like Cash App, PayPal’s Venmo and Zelle as they have wanted to avoid retail bank branches and online commerce has become more ingrained. To encourage that shift, the payment apps have added services like debit cards and routing numbers so that they work more like traditional banks.
But many people are unaware of how vulnerable they can be to losses when they use these services in place of banks. Payment apps have long had fraud rates that are three to four times higher than traditional payment methods such as credit and debit cards, according to data from the security firms Sift and Chargeback Gurus.
The fraud appears to have surged in recent months as more people use the apps. At Venmo, daily users have grown by 26 percent since last year, while the number of customer reviews mentioning the words fraud or scam has risen nearly
The third quarter of 2020 will be remembered as one of the most unique periods of merger and acquisition activity in the history of the wealth management industry.
There were a record number of deals in Q3 – 55 transactions in total, according to the latest ECHELON Partners RIA M&A Deal Report – which surpasses the previous high of 53 deals that our research tracked in Q4 2019.
This record period comes directly after just 35 deals took place in Q2. This 57% increase in quarter-over-quarter M&A activity also registers as one of the sharpest increases in the industry’s history, marking a major rebound after the COVID-19-related market declines delayed and prolonged normal deal-making activity, as the figure below illustrates:
Overall activity levels tell just one part of the story, however, behind M&A in the wealth management market – which continues to gain more recognition from private equity and non-U.S. financial institutions.
Notably, we continue to see strong valuations for RIA firms, with larger and more established firms engaging in M&A activities – both as buyers and sellers.
This is an ongoing trend that has been developing for several years, but the firms that are being acquired in 2020 are now some of the largest – with an average of over $1.7 billion in assets – and most professionally run organizations in the wealth management industry.
In total, there were 23 firms with more than $1 BN in assets acquired during the third quarter – yet another record that was set during the period.
International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) – Get Report shares jumped higher Thursday after the cloud-focused computer group said it would spin off its infrastructure division.
IBM said it will sell its ‘managed infrastructure services unit’, a legacy division that sits within the group’s global technology services group. The move will help concentrate IBM’s focus on hybrid cloud growth, the company said, which have been driving group earnings under new CEO Arvind Krishna.
IBM said the separation, a tax-free spin-off to IBM shareholders, will likely be completed by the end of next year.
“IBM is laser-focused on the $1 trillion hybrid cloud opportunity. Client buying needs for application and infrastructure services are diverging, while adoption of our hybrid cloud platform is accelerating,” Krishna said. “Now is the right time to create two market-leading companies focused on what they do best. IBM will focus on its open hybrid cloud platform and AI capabilities. NewCo will have greater agility to design, run and modernize the infrastructure of the world’s most important organizations.”
“Both companies will be on an improved growth trajectory with greater ability to partner and capture new opportunities – creating value for clients and shareholders,” he added.
IBM shares were marked 7.5% higher in early trading following news of the division sale to change hands at $133.62 each, the highest since early June.
IBM’s second quarter cloud revenues rose 30% to $6.3 billion. as well as solid sales from its cloud and cognitive software division, following a re-focus of business operations and reporting strucures announced last year.
Free cash flow generation also impressed, growing 15% year-on-year and snapping several quarters of decline under the previous executive team, while margins and cash collections improved.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. surged to a record high after the Indian giant announced a share buyback of as much as 160 billion rupees ($2.2 billion) and said technology spending was recovering faster than anticipated.
Asia’s largest software outsourcing provider reported a larger-than-expected 7% fall in net income to 74.7 billion rupees in the September quarter. But Chief Executive Officer Rajesh Gopinathan said IT budgets were bouncing back and growth should accelerate as clients spend on digital services such as cloud migration, security and work tools to trim costs and adjust to a post-pandemic environment.
Like Infosys Ltd. and Wipro Ltd., TCS is struggling to serve global financial services giants and corporate clients after a nationwide lockdown forced hundreds of thousands of their employees to work from home. But spending is loosening as lockdowns ease globally and their customers build out their digital infrastructure. TCS’s shares gained as much as 5.2% Thursday, becoming the best performer on the benchmark Sensex, after brokerages including Dalal & Broacha and IDBI Capital raised their recommendations on the stock.
“The recovery is happening a quarter earlier than we expected, it is sustainable and has strong legs,” Gopinathan said during a post-earnings briefing. “But we are not fully out of the woods and need to be careful on the economic and health fronts.”
TCS Earnings Signal More Upside for India’s IT Names: Analysts
What Bloomberg Intelligence Says
Tata Consultancy Services is poised to see growth recover over the next 2-3 quarters as discretionary IT spending rebounds, especially among banking clients. A boost in spending on digital transformations and a need to save more on their total IT costs will be the main drivers. Tata’s unique culture,
(Bloomberg) — Daisuke Sasaki has seen his cloud-based accounting company’s valuation swell to $3.7 billion despite having yet to show a profit, but he’s not letting that pressure him.
Shares of Freee K.K. have quadrupled since going public on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in December, along with rising demand for cloud services amid the remote-working trend.
“We don’t have a set timeframe for when the company will swing to profits,” Sasaki, founder and chief executive of Freee, said in an interview on Aug. 17. “Our business is about subscription.”
The Tokyo-based firm’s stock is one of the many technology names that have surged during Covid-19, fueled by investor euphoria over stay-at-home and DIY themes. While the pandemic roiled the outlook for companies around the world, U.S. accounting software giant Intuit Inc. beat recent earnings estimates, helped by better-than-expected growth for its cloud-based service for small businesses.
Freee has the top shares of the Japanese cloud accounting and human-resources software markets, according to an August report from Daiwa Securities Co., with competitors including Money Forward Inc. Subscriptions to Freee’s flagship accounting service stand at over 220,000, having grown at more than 50% annually over the past five years. Its sales surged 53% in the year ended June 30.
Acquiring new users takes priority over near-term earnings, said Sasaki. He estimates that Japan has a total of about six million small- to medium-sized enterprises, with only 15% of them currently using cloud-based accounting. Freee’s goal is to outpace market growth to be the dominant player.
“We’re still extremely small in terms of where we could be,” Sasaki said, whose resume includes stints in marketing at Google and as an analyst at CLSA.
Market expert views on Freee are