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The CEO of Denmark’s largest bank resigned after a money laundering investigation found $230B worth of laundered transactions. The Hustle Sponsored by Danske CEO resigns in $234B laundering scandal -- the largest in European history CEO of Danske Bank Thomas...
By: Wes Schlagenhauf
September 20, 2018
The CEO of Denmark’s largest bank resigned after a money laundering investigation found $230B worth of laundered transactions.
Danske CEO resigns in $234B laundering scandal -- the largest in European history
CEO of Danske Bank Thomas Borgen resigned after investigators discovered the bank processed $234B worth of illegal payments in the largest money laundering scandal in European history.
Borgen maintains he knew nothing about the post-Soviet-era crimes, but shares in Denmark’s largest bank plummeted as international regulators determine a punishment.
The best place to weather a debt crisis is the laundromat
From 2007 to 2015, Danske’s tiny Estonian branch processed $234B in payments (26x the Estonian government’s annual budget), mostly from non-Estonian accounts.
About 250 of these foreign accounts belonged to ex-Soviet states laundering illicit funds. While Danske agents should have audited these accounts, 42 allegedly colluded with launderers.
As neighboring banks limped through Europe’s debt crisis with returns ranging from 6% to 70%, Danske’s Estonian branch delivered returns of 402%. Over 9 years of laundering, Estonian funds accounted for up to 10% of the Danske’s pre-tax profits.
But karma is good at sniffing out dirty laundry...
After Borgen took the reins at Danske in 2013, shares at the bank doubled. But since the scandal, Danske stock has fallen 50% from its high, falling 8% yesterday alone.
Whether or not he was involved, Borgen covered Danske’s butt: Danske ignored whistleblower warnings in 2007 and 2010, and after authorities put Danske’s dirty drawers on display, he waited 3 years to launch an investigation.
Danske has pledged $274m to a foundation to fight international financial crime, and Denmark plans to tighten laundering laws as the investigation continues (only 6.2k of 15k Estonian accounts have been audited).
But the damage to Danske -- and Denmark -- isn’t done
In addition to its stock losses, Danske has now lowered profit forecasts from $3.12B to $2.67B. But the penalties could be worst: Analysts estimate fines could range from $6B to $8.3B.
Worst of all, since both the US and Estonia plan to launch criminal investigations, analysts expect reduced investment in the Danish economy. Denmark’s economy is roughly the same size as the sum of money laundered through Danske -- or at least it used to be.
Danske-ing with the devil
156-year old insurer John Hancock now requires customers to use health wearables
John Hancock, a life insurance company that was founded during the Civil War, announced yesterday that it will require all policyholders to record fitness and health data using wearable devices.
A new lease on life
Hancock has offered “interactive policies” since 2015, offering discounts for healthy behaviors such as exercising or buying healthy foods -- saving itself money by paying out fewer claims.
To run the new program, Hancock partnered with Vitality Group, a platform that already operates widely in South Africa and the UK. Vitality claims policyholders using wearables live 13 to 21 years longer than “normally” insured couch potatoes.
As other insurers roll out wearable discounts, critics warn that wearable incentives could disadvantage some people -- like anyone with an existing condition or anyone without an Apple Watch.
But Apple is excited about health -- and healthy profit margins
John Hancock offers financing for health wearables -- incentivizing companies like Apple and Fitbit to ramp up production to capitalize on insurance’s data-driven future.
Last week, Apple rolled out a new Watch with an EKG designed to offer new health-monitoring options -- and just yesterday morning, Fitbit launched a program called Fitbit Care that provides medical coaching that integrates with doctors and insurers.
So now more than ever, the wearables industry is really one to Watch: Forecasters expect the market for wearables to increase to $25B by next year, thanks in part to increased demand driven by insurers.
Amazon is on pace to become the 3rd-largest digital ad platform by the end of 2018
According to a new eMarketer study, Amazon’s ad business will bring in $4.6B this year -- up an insane 60% from its previously projected $2.89B in March.
Axios reports that, in recent years, Amazon’s ad biz has swiftly expanded into one of its fastest growing sectors as they invest more in video, sales staff, and ad technology.
Amazon knows a thing or two about scaling
They’ve doubled down on video ads for some of their larger streaming platforms like Twitch -- and oh boy, do they have a bulletproof sales pitch for advertisers…
Amazon claims to be more “brand safe” than the likes of the bigger, harder to regulate, social platforms like YouTube and Facebook (who’ve both dealt with advertiser disputes over questionable ad placement in the past year).
That said, according to eMarketer, certain “accounting changes” at Amazon contributed to the bulk of their updated projection (on growth alone, the forecaster still puts Amazon’s market share in 4th place, ahead of Verizon).
There’s still some catching up to do
While the new projection puts them in front of Microsoft in US digital ad market share, 3rd place is still miles behind Google and Facebook.
The powerhouses collectively control 58% of the market today, hauling in over $64B combined. However, some analysts believe Amazon’s market share is growing so astonishingly fast that it stands to close the gap.
Salesforce launches new ‘corporate’ voice assistant, Einstein Voice
These days, if you’re a tech giant and you don’t have a voice assistant in your roadmap, you may as well cancel your Q4 milestone of taking over the world.
Just ask Salesforce. Yesterday, the company jumped into the smart speaker fold, unsheathing Einstein Voice, an extension of its Einstein artificial intelligence platform. The new product will allow sales managers to dictate memos and operate cloud services hands-free.
The bottom line is, nobody wants to type anymore, especially sales people, who need to be ready to close deals -- and bang sales gongs -- at any moment.
But, this is more than just a transcribing tool. The bot also keeps calendars, allows employees to conversationally enter notes about meetings, and keeps track of daily briefings.
According to Venturebeat, Einstein’s most alluring feature from a marketing aspect is how easily customizable it is.
The Einstein platform will soon allow customers to build their own, company-specific voice bots through the Einstein computing system.
Why didn’t you think of that, Amazon?
In a press release detailing the announcement of the pilot initiative, Salesforce pointed to a pair of studies showing that 47.3m Americans use smart speakers, and estimate that number to grow by 10% over the next 3 years.
And, as more people become dependent on their personal C-3POs at home, it’s only a matter of time before everyday is bring-your-bot-to-work day.
STREAM: Season 5 of “The Great British Baking Show,” Netflix
We know, we know. Not what you’d expect from our ‘edgy’ newsletter, but the wholesomeness of this show warms our cold, dead hearts. Season 5 features two new hosts, a new judge, and more signature British politeness.
DIP: A chip in this “bitchin’” almond spread, $5.99
Take a fistful of almonds, secret seasoning, and throw them in a blender and you’ve got Bitchin’ Sauce. It’s like hummus’s older cooler cousin who rides a Harley, tastes like heaven, and swears like a sailor. The discovery of this sauce was an impulse buy, but it’s now an in-home staple.
RESERVE: Your seat for The Hustle’s 2X New York, 15% off
2X is hopping the continental divide. On September 26th, join us as we celebrate 8 badass women from different industries and disciplines as they share their personal stories with just 10 minutes on the clock. Come to laugh, cry, and network -- leave inspired. Click the link below to save 15% off the ticket price.
LEGITIMIZE: Your 3-person operation in the garage, 10% off
That idea you had 3 months ago just made its first dollar. Congrats! Now it’s time to make it official. LegalZoom is on a mission to bring legal help to entrepreneurs of all shapes and wallet sizes. Form your business in the eyes of the law fast. Use code HUSTLE for 10% off (valid through 10/20/18).
The legal limit is 0.08% BAC. Know what that feels like? Nope, nobody does. The BACtrack C8 personal breathalyzer gives you police-grade BAC readouts, syncs with an app to tell you when you’ll be sober again -- and even helps you call an Uber if you’ve had too much. Use code HUSTLE for 35% off.