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VTB Bank Enters Agreement with Federal Tax Service of Russia to Offer Qualified Electronic Signatures via Physical Medium



VTB Bank (FRA: KYM1) has entered into an agreement with the Federal Tax Service of Russia in order to introduce a service for providing a qualified electronic signature (QES) via a physical medium.

The pilot initiative will begin in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the banking institution’s customers. During Q3 2021, the new service will be offered to legal organizations and practitioners across and regions where VTB is providing services.

The new service enables business owners to get a qualified digital signature, developed to securely exchange legally significant documents in electronic format. Customers may use the QES to send reports to the Federal Tax Service, interact with various government departments, gain access to the portal of public services, take care of electronic documentation, communicate with the bank, and also take part in electronic auctions, among various other functions.

VTB‘s customers, which reportedly include legal organizations and business owners, can remotely apply for the QES issuance through online or digital banking. They are also able to submit applications in-person at the bank’s physical branches. The data gets automatically checked in the State’s information system and, after getting confirmation, the applicant is able to complete registration at the bank’s branch.

The digital signature certificate is transferred/written to a certified secure physical medium (usb token). The issuing process takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Spartak Solonin, Head of the Corporate Digital Business Department, Senior VP at VTB, stated:

“We continue to work on services that help customers comfortably solve various issues for the successful launch and development of their businesses. One of the tasks that an entrepreneur faces at the start is obtaining a QES, which is an important tool for work. As part of the agreement with the Federal Tax Service of Russia, VTB is launching a service for issuing a QES certificate on a certified physical medium, which will simplify the process and further contribute to the development of paperless documentation management in the country.”

The QES issuance service will be offered to VTB clients free-of-cost. The new service is currently offered to legal practitioners and sole proprietors who may not be customers of the banking institution. The service may be provided via paid plans or free of charge when settlement and cash services are linked to VTB.

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SEC Outlines Regulatory Agenda, Exempt Securities Top the List Including Reg D, Accredited Investor Definition



The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has outlined its regulatory agenda for the coming months and at the top of the list are exempt securities that include Reg D and perhaps other exemptions such as Reg CF and Reg A+. Of note, is that the accredited investor definition may receive a change as well.

In a statement published on Friday, SEC Chairman Gary Gensler stated:

“To meet our mission of protecting investors, maintaining fair, orderly, and efficient markets, and facilitating capital formation, the SEC has a lot of regulatory work ahead of us. I look forward to collaborating with my fellow commissioners and the dedicated staff to propose and finalize rules that will strengthen our markets, increase transparency, and safeguard investors.”

The list includes both short and long-term regulatory actions that administrative agencies plan to take.

Exempt offerings will garner additional scrutiny. According to the abstract:

“The Division [of Corporate Finance] is considering recommending that the Commission seek public comment on ways to further update the Commission’s rules related to exempt offerings to more effectively promote investor protection, including updating the financial thresholds in the accredited investor definition, ensuring appropriate access to and enhancing the information available regarding Regulation D offerings, and amendments related to the integration framework for registered and exempt offerings.”

Reg D is the top securities exemption when it comes to early-stage ventures raising growth capital. The top two iterations are Reg D 506b and Reg D 506c – with the latter allowing for general solicitation or online capital formation (crowdfunding). Any changes made could impact access to capital for promising young firms as the exemption in its current iteration has been highly effective.

The definition of an accredited investor has long been criticized by many Fintech industry insiders as too restrictive, denying opportunity to all investors. Yet there are some policymakers that believe the current wealth metrics need to be made more stringent, thus limiting access to investors even more. It is not immediately clear, what exactly, the commission has in store for any change.

Another regulatory area of note is the topic of “Gamification” something some digital investment platforms, such as Robinhood, have received criticism and encouraging trading – perhaps to the detriment of investors.

The abstract states:

“The Division [of Trading and Markets] is considering recommending that the Commission seek public comment on potential rules related to gamification, behavioral prompts, predictive analytics, and differential marketing.”

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs), or blank check firms, have made the list as well as this sector of finance has boomed in the past year. As SPACs have increased, both regulators and elected officials have focused more of their attention on the method of taking a private firm public.

The SEC says:

“The Division [of Corporate Finance] is considering recommending that the Commission propose rule amendments related to special purpose acquisition companies.”

While any outcome is pure speculation at this time, the progress made during the last administration in areas such as access to capital and improvements to the exempt securities ecosystem could be at risk. Time will tell.

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, an individual well known for her support of innovation and smaller firms, Tweeted that the list may not be her “ideal list” but she is ready to work with her peers on the Commission.

There is plenty more on the SEC regulatory agenda.

The list is below or may be accessed here.

  • SEC Prerule Stage Exempt Offerings 3235-AM85
  • SEC Prerule Stage Third Party Service Providers 3235-AM95
  • SEC Prerule Stage Prohibition Against Fraud, Manipulation, and Deception in Connection With Security-Based Swaps 3235-AK77
  • SEC Prerule Stage Gamification 3235-AN00
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Listing Standards for Recovery of Erroneously Awarded Compensation 3235-AK99
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Corporate Board Diversity 3235-AL91
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Disclosure of Payments by Resource Extraction Issuers 3235-AM06
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Mandated Electronic Filings 3235-AM15
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Rule 10b5-1 3235-AM86
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Climate Change Disclosure 3235-AM87
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Human Capital Management Disclosure 3235-AM88
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Cybersecurity Risk Governance 3235-AM89
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Special Purpose Acquisition Companies 3235-AM90
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Rule 14a-8 Amendments 3235-AM91
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Proxy Voting Advice 3235-AM92
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Disclosure Regarding Beneficial Ownership and Swaps 3235-AM93
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Share Repurchase Disclosure Modernization 3235-AM94
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Reporting of Proxy Votes on Executive Compensation and Other Matters 3235-AK67
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Amendments to the Custody Rules for Investment Advisers 3235-AM32
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Amendments to Rule 17a-7 Under the Investment Company Act 3235-AM69
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Amendments to Form PF 3235-AM75
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Money Market Fund Reforms 3235-AM80
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Rules Related to Investment Companies and Investment Advisers to Address Matters Relating to Environmental, Social and Governance Factors 3235-AM96
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Electronic Submission of Applications for Orders Under the Advisers Act, Confidential Treatment Requests for Filings on Form 13F, and ADV-NR 3235-AM97
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Open-End Fund Liquidity and Dilution Management 3235-AM98
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Registration and Regulation of Security-Based Swap Execution Facilities 3235-AK93
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Prohibition Against Conflicts of Interest Relating to Certain Securitizations 3235-AL04
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Incentive-Based Compensation Arrangements 3235-AL06
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Broker-Dealer Liquidity Stress Testing, Early Warning, and Account Transfer Requirements 3235-AL50
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Transfer Agents 3235-AL55
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Electronic Filing of Broker-Dealer Reports 3235-AL85
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Electronic Filing of Form 1 and Form 1 Amendments; Form 19b-4(e) 3235-AM09
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Short Sale Disclosure Reforms 3235-AM34
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Market Structure Modernization 3235-AM57
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Portfolio Margining of Uncleared Swaps and Non-Cleared Security Based Swaps 3235-AM64
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Records to be Preserved by Certain Exchange Members, Brokers and Dealers 3235-AM76
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Trading Prohibitions Under the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act and Enhanced Listing Standards 3235-AM81
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Loan or Borrowing of Securities 3235-AN01
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Amendments to the Securities Transaction Settlement Cycle 3235-AN02
  • SEC Proposed Rule Stage Amendments to the Commission’s Whistleblower Program Rules 3235-AN03
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Pay Versus Performance 3235-AL00
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Universal Proxy 3235-AL84
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Filing Fee Disclosure and Payment Methods Modernization 3235-AL96
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Rule 144 Holding Period and Form 144 Filings 3235-AM78
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Tailored Shareholder Reports, Treatment of Annual Prospectus Updates for Existing Investors, and Improved Fee and Risk Disclosure for Mutual Funds and ETFs; Fee Information in Investment Company Ads 3235-AM52
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Exemption from the Definition of “Clearing Agency” for Certain Activities of Security-Based Swap Dealers and Security-Based Swap Execution Facilities 3235-AK74
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Establishing the Form and Manner With Which Security-Based Swap Data Repositories Must Make Security-Based Swap Data Available to the Commission 3235-AL72
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Regulation ATS for ATSs That Trade U.S. Government Securities 3235-AM45
  • SEC Final Rule Stage Amendments to NMS Plan for the Consolidated Audit Trail-Data Security 3235-AM62

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Lithuanian Financing Platform Debitum Reports that Over €10M in Investments Now Made via its Auto-Invest Tool



The team at Lithuania’s Debitum, which offers borderless SME financing services, notes that another month has passed and they would like to provide a platform update for May 2021.

Debitum’s management writes in a blog post that they’re pleased to report the positive sentiments in the market and are hoping their clients have been able to earn steady interest via their platform.

Debitum reveals that they have provided more than 30 million Euros worth of total investments via their platform and more than 10 million Euros worth of investments have been made by using their proprietary Auto-Invest tool. The Debitum community has now grown to nearly 7000 users, the company confirms.

During the month of May 2021, more than 200 investors reportedly joined the Debitum platform, increasing the total user base to over 6980 investors (and counting). This was “one of the highest increase in total number of investors over the last 12 months,” Debitum’s management claims.

But as previously reported, the activation rate of new users is “not as high as expected but Debitum team puts a lot of effort in the partnership with digital marketing specialists,” the company noted while adding that it’s working hard to attract more users.

Debitum further notes in its update:

“In terms of deposits…May was not the greatest month for Debitum platform. Even though our users were depositing quite well, the deposits were not converting well into investments. Quite a lot of investors decided to withdraw funds from the platform despite that they like investments on the platform.”

The company also mentioned that “the beginning of June has been showing that the negative effect of withdrawals will be felt in June, too.” Last month, Debitum managed to exceed 7.5 million EUR of deposits on the platform and “no one has ever lost [their] investment” on the platform, the company claims.

Debitum’s report continued:

“In May, Debitum provided the highest volume of investments since the beginning of the platform operations. We received assets from Evergreen Capital, Chain Finance, Triple Dragon, Flexidea, and Cube Funder. The total amount of provided investments climbed over 40 million EUR! As a result, our investors can choose from the highest number of investments throughout the whole history of Debitum.”

The Debitum team added that their platform investors will be able to invest in various opportunities that are “backed by a pool of loans or other collateral” which means that you can “diversify with ease.”

Last month, Debitum investors invested “a slightly higher amount of funds than in April,” the company revealed while adding that this increased the total amount of invested funds to more than 30 million EUR.

Debitum also noted that they’re pleased to see that “the overall investment facilitation rate stays above 75% but it went back to 66% in May and this shows that Debitum investors need to be more active on the platform.”

The company further noted:

“In May, Debitum investors invested in investments from 14 industries. Most of the investments went to the ITT, production, logistics, and construction sectors. Most of the assets in the logistics and production sectors were invoice financing loans that have high turnover. … most of the assets in the ITT sector were business loans with longer terms. Despite that, Debitum investors trust the loan originators who provide these loans and increase their investment in these companies.”

Debitum’s monthly report also mentioned:

“In May, similar to the overall invested volume on the platform, Debitum experienced a similar increase of automatic investments. 854,622 EUR were invested using the auto-invest tool. That is 50.27% of the total invested volume in May.”

The company claims that Debitum investors are “more willing to use the auto-invest tool as there are more and more different loans added on the platform.”

If an investor is looking to diversify their investment portfolio, the auto-invest tool is “one of the essentials, to begin with,” Debitum explains while noting that as more investments will be added to the platform, they are expecting to see “a positive trend” in June.

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Digital Money Firm Merchantrade Asia Partners LintraMax to Offer Digitized Payroll to Malaysian Plantation Workers



Earlier this week, Merchantrade Asia, a digital money services business operator and e-money issuer, teamed up with palm plantation management services provider LintraMax in order to digitize the payroll system for underserved plantations workers in Malaysia.

Through the partnership, Merchantrade Asia and LintraMax plan to reach out to the plantations’ workers in order to show them the benefits of using Merchantrade Money, a digital wallet offered by Merchantrade.

Merchantrade’s management noted that digital wages payment services may assist firms with lowering the overall risks associated with using or carrying physical cash. The solutions may also help with minimizing or eliminating the need to make physical contact during the COVID-19 health crisis while ensuring greater transparency of company payroll processes.

Through the digital wallet, workers should be able to get their wages and have improved access to virtual payments platforms, which should allow for convenient cashless purchases of provisions as well as being able to send funds back home to friends and family.

The firm further noted that migrant workers will find its online wallet solution ideal or well-suited for their needs as it comes with support in several different languages.

Additionally, they’ll  offer the Merchantrade’s digital payment solutions to oil palm plantations that have been using the Quarto plantation management system provided by LintraMax.

At present, there are around 100 plantation firms across Malaysia that are using the Quarto plantation management system offered by LintraMax.

Khor Kheng Khoon, Founder and Managing Director of LintraMax, stated:

“Payroll processing at plantations is the main pain point that we are trying to address through this partnership. Currently, many plantations still rely on cash and cheques to pay employee wages every month. These methods are not the most efficient or safest, so LintraMax hopes to turn these methods of wages payment into digital, such as through the use of digital wallets. This is where Merchantrade’s expertise is crucial for the mission, and we are excited to partner with them.”

Ramasamy K. Veeran, Merchantrade’s Founder and Managing Director, remarked:

“We are excited to partner with LintraMax to enable seamless digital experience into their growing ecosystem through our innovative Merchantrade Money e-wallet. We believe that this collaboration is a definite step in the right direction and will indeed benefit the plantation management space and drive digital payments adoption as it not only benefits plantation companies as well as directly impacts workers daily lives by encouraging digital experience.”

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Insurtech: Malaysia’s myTukar, a Car Purchasing, Selling Service Partners to Offer Insurance for Pre-Owned Cars



Malaysia-based myTukar, a pre-owned car purchasing and selling platform, has teamed up with Insurtech company in order to provide insurance policies for pre-owned automobile purchases.

Through the partnership, myTukar’s wholesale and retail clients may get timely insurance quotations along with convenient access to most of the established insurance services providers via its platform. The services support new car insurance and renewals as well.

myTukar is now the official partner of and is also one of the first online automobile retailers to offer insurance coverage from several different firms.

Some of the insurance providers that have onboarded with myTukar through PolicyStreet reportedly include Allianz General Insurance Company, AXA Affin General Insurance, Berjaya Sompo Insurance, Pacific and Orient Insurance Co., RHB Insurance, Syarikat Tafakul Malaysia Am, among several others.

Fong Hon Sum, CEO at myTukar, stated:

“We are extremely pleased to have found a like-minded partner to collaborate with us in our quest to spearhead the transformation of the pre-owned car industry. was born out of a need for change in the traditional century-old insurance industry, and aims to democratise insurance by making it Simple, Easy and Affordable – which is very much in line with myTukar’s mission of making pre-owned car buying and selling simple, convenient, efficient and transparent.”

Yen Ming Lee, CEO at, remarked:

“We are excited to be partnering with myTukar to deliver the transformation that myTukar is looking for in enabling seamless motor insurance purchase for all of myTukar’s customers. We do this by making insurance simple, easy and affordable.”

Polisea Pte. Ltd. is the holding company of PolicyStreet, an insurance tech company, advancing insurance and healthcare through innovative technologies.

The company says its goal is to “empower people to be sufficiently covered by insurance policies by making them simple, easy and accessible to people from all walks of life.”​

The firm’s management notes:

“PolicyStreet aims to democratize the insurance industry by making insurance sexy, fun and appealing to the millennials of today. We curate new products that fits the lifestyle needs because we believe existing products are just not enough. We work in an inclusive ecosystem where we enable customers to buy the policies direct from us whilst ensuring the best-in-class service levels.”

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