How Did Your Country Score?


Oct 18, 2022


Cindy Grazer


Oct 18, 2022


Cindy Grazer


The report cards are in for this years’ Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index and it's full of interesting data. The index compares 44 retirement income systems, covering 65% of the world’s population. A population that, for the first time in human history, has more people aged 65 and over than children aged 5 or younger!

If you are reading this newsletter in Iceland, the Netherlands or Denmark then retirement probably looks pretty good, with endless plates of raw herring, stegt flæsk, a few rounds of golf in the midnight sun, topped off with a cheeky bottle of Brennivín schnapps (these countries all scored A’s).

However, pension plans around the world are facing challenges not seen in the global economy in decades as they feel the effects of the pandemic, global conflicts, higher levels of inflation, and rising interest rates. Meanwhile, life expectancies continue to rise and individuals are being forced to take on more financial responsibility as the prevalence of defined contribution vs defined benefit pensions continue to increase around the world.

While the UK got a rare bit of good news finishing 10th, the U.S. came in 20th of the 44 countries surveyed, earning itself a solid ‘C+’ grade. Experts feel the U.S. lags behind its peers, primarily because its retirement system isn’t set up so that everyone has a chance at a financially secure retirement. While Americans have saved a combined $39t for their retirement, only 53% of U.S. workers have access to an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

It wasn't all doom and gloom though as Mexico, in 29th place, was singled out for improving its score significantly due to pension reforms.

As employers continue to step away from the financial security which has been offered in defined benefit plans, many individuals will no longer be able to rely on significant financial support from their previous employers and/or government for retirement. But can technology help households consider what the right balance is between receiving a steady income, and access to capital protection from future risks? Let's hope so, as taking on a rap career in our 70’s to pay the bills might not work out as well for us as it did for Pete and Bas - the UK’s drill grandfathers.

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Portfolio News

Mondu sets its sights on the Netherlands, marches on with €20m in VVRB-backed debt financing round - Mondu will use the capital to further develop its product lineup, as well as push forward with ongoing expansion plans. Specifically, the startup is targeting the Netherlands, and opening an office in Amsterdam later this month. Read more

Restaurant group D.ream partners with Qlub - The group, which looks after brands such as Nusr-Et, Zuma, Coya and Günaydin, will now use Qlub to allow customers to pay by scanning a QR code on the table. No app is required and splitting the bill is made easy. concepts and new experiences is pioneering new technology across the industry. Read more

Buhari confers national honors on Flutterwave CEO, others - President Muhammadu Buhari, this week, conferred national honors on CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga Agboola and 446 others in Abuja. The Act empowers the President to honor deserving citizens, who have contributed to the development of Nigeria in any field of endeavor. Agboola was conferred with the national honor of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) in recognition of his contribution to fintech growth in Africa. Read more

MetaStreet secures $10m for NFT loans in the Metaverse - The $10m capital raise — ahead of the launch of what MetaStreet dubs “PowerSweep” — brings the company’s one-year funding haul to $24m. The round received participation from existing investors from Dragonfly Capital, Nascent and Ethereal Ventures. New investors include Fintech Collective, DCG, TheLAO, Focus Labs, Mirana Ventures, Metaversal, OpenSea Ventures, Ledgerprime, Meta4 and Flying Falcon. Read more

Uniswap Labs valued at $1.66b in $165m new funding - The Series B funding was led by Polychain Capital, the startup said. Existing backers a16z crypto, Paradigm, SV Angel and Variant also participated in the new round. The decentralized exchange commands 64% of all DEX volumes, according to DeFi Llama, and in recent months, Uniswap Labs has shared plans to add “several new products.” One of the new offerings will allow customers to trade NFTs on Uniswap from a number of marketplaces and another is a wallet. Read more

CafecitoTalk interview with Mayor Suarez and Daisy - Daisy CEO Yotam Cohen spoke with Miami Mayor Suarez in an interview about the company's expansion into Miami. Read more

How Did Your Country Score?

These are the world’s best and worst pensions in 2022 - Iceland, the Netherlands and Denmark again took the top three rankings in this year’s Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index. But the report recommended that retirement ages need to be lifted almost everywhere in the face of mounting threats from aging populations, ballooning government debt and low birth rates. Read more

Mercer CFA Institute Global Pension Index 2022 highlights key challenges of defined contribution plans for retirees - The Index compares 44 retirement income systems, covering 65 percent of the world’s population. It benchmarks retirement income systems around the world, highlighting some shortcomings in each system, and suggests possible areas of reform that would help provide more adequate and sustainable retirement benefits. Read more

The U.S. retirement system gets a ‘C+’ grade, experts say - even though it’s worth $39t. Here’s why - There are shortcomings in the U.S. approach to retirement saving, such as a lack of 401(k) access. But improvements have been made in the past 15 or so years. Read more

Industry News

Apple partners with Goldman Sachs to introduce high-yield savings accounts for Apple Card holders - Apple is taking a big step toward offering more banking services to its customers. The company announced today it’s partnering with Goldman Sachs to soon launch a new Savings account feature for its Apple Card credit cardholders which will allow them to save and grow their “Daily Cash” — the cashback rewards that are earned from their Apple Card purchases. Read more

America’s oldest bank, BNY Mellon, will hold that crypto now - BNY Mellon won the approval of New York’s financial regulator earlier this fall to begin receiving select customers’ bitcoin and ether starting this week. The bank will store the keys required to access and transfer those assets, and provide the same bookkeeping services on those digital currencies that it offers to fund managers for their portfolios of stocks, bonds, commodities and other assets. Read more

Google selects Coinbase to take cloud payments with cryptocurrencies and will use its custody tool - The deal, announced at Google’s Cloud Next conference, might succeed in luring cutting-edge companies to Google in a fierce, fast-growing market, where Google’s top competitors do not currently permit clients to pay with digital currencies. Coinbase, which generates a majority of its revenue from retail transactions, will move data-related applications to Google from the market-leading Amazon Web Services cloud. Read more

PayPal says it never intended to fine users for ‘misinformation’ - The issue gained traction over the weekend after the company published policy updates prohibiting users from using the PayPal service for activities identified by the company as “the sending, posting, or publication of any messages, content, or materials” promoting misinformation, in an Acceptable Use Policy due to kick in on Nov. 3. A penalty of $2,500 could be imposed for each violation. Read more

Under pressure, Goldman CEO ditches dream of consumer domination - Cost overruns and missed profitability goals have set off a rising tide of discontent inside the firm, concerned questions from regulators and most worryingly, the dismay of shareholders. Now, the bank is restructuring and reorienting those operations. Rather than catering to just about anyone, Goldman will sling some of its key consumer products through its wealth-management business, augmenting what is already one of the bank’s strengths. Read more

Portugal to tax crypto gains in next year’s budget plan - Portugal currently does not tax crypto gains unless they come from professional or business activities. But that’s about to change. A provision in the country’s proposed 2023 budget would tax gains on crypto holdings held for less than one year at a rate of 28%, according to the plan submitted to parliament on Monday. Crypto assets held for longer than 365 days will continue to be exempt from taxes. Read more

Google selects Coinbase to take cloud payments with cryptocurrencies and will use its custody tool - Google said Tuesday that it will rely on Coinbase to start letting some customers pay for cloud services with cryptocurrencies early in 2023, while Coinbase said it would draw on Google’s cloud infrastructure. Read more

Adyen launches payment platform in Mexico - In a press release announcing the launch, Adyen said it has recently enabled full acquiring capabilities in Mexico, allowing it to offer the platform thanks to direct payment connections to local and global card and banking networks. Read more

Abu Dhabi’s IHC expands into Latin America, invests $200m in Lulo Colombia - Abu Dhabi based International Holding Company (IHC) has injected a capital investment of Dhs734m ($200m) in Lulo Colombia, the holding company of Colombia’s first regulated digital bank, Lulo Bank, through one of its subsidiaries. Founded by Colombian businessman Jaime Gilinski, Lulo Bank is Columbia’s first fully digitalized bank. Read more

PWC releases Q3 2022 Capital Markets Watch - PwC capital market analysts expect that Q3 economic activity will likely show a soft rebound in real GDP growth with inventory growth and net trade driving positive growth. While higher inflation continues to erode consumer purchasing power, consumer demand should remain a positive driver of growth over the next few quarters. However, with the Federal Reserve expected to continue hiking interest rates at a relatively aggressive pace, they expect economic growth to slow further in the near term. Read more

Select Financings

Arch - Decentralized finance company raised $5m in Seed funding led by Digital Currency Group. Read more

Astra - San Francisco based card-to-card funding service provider raised $10m in Series A funding led by FPV Ventures. Read more

Ayoconnect - Indonesia based finance API startup raised $13m in Series B extension funding led by SIG VC. Read more

Chronograph - New York based private markets technology company raised $20m in new funding led by Summit Partners. Read more

Elenas - Colombia based social commerce company raised $20m in Series B funding led by DILA Capital. Read more

Factorial - Barcelona based HR and payroll platform for SMBs raised $120m in Series C funding led by Atomico. Read more

Fintor - California based mobile real estate investing platform raised a $6.2m in Seed funding led by Public.com. Read more

FlapKap - Egypt based revenue-based financing company raised $3.6m in Seed funding led by QED. Read more

Flueid - Texas based real estate technology company raised $15m in Series B funding led by Aquiline. Read more

GoHenry - New York based prepaid debit card and financial education app for kids and teens raised $55m in Series B funding from investors including Edison Partners, Revaia, and Nexi. Read more

Magic Square - Tel Aviv based crypto app store company raised $4m in new funding led by Huobi Global. Read more

Moon Mortgage - Miami based crypto lending platform raised $3.5m in Seed funding led by CoinFund. Read more

Net Purpose - London based platform for sustainable investors raised $11m in Series A funding led by ETF Partners. Read more

NorthOne - New York based SMB banking startup raised $67m in Series B funding from investors including Battery Ventures, Don Griffith, Drew Brees, Ferst Capital Partners, FinTLV, Next Play Capital, Operator Stack, Redpoint Ventures, Tencent and Tom Williams. Read more

Northstar - Los Angeles based financial wellness benefit for employees raised $24.4m in Series B funding led by GGV Capital. Read more

nxyz - Stockholm based blockchain data infrastructure company raised $40m in growth funding led by Paradigm. Read more

OatFi - New York based B2B BNPL company raised $8m in new funding led by QED Investors. Read more

Otterspace - Berlin based DAO onboarding and management startup raised $3.7m in Seed funding led by Cherry Crypto. Read more

Payable - UK based payment operations automation firm raised $6m in Seed funding led by CRV. Read more

Pillow - Singapore based crypto investing platform raised $18m in Series A funding led by Accel. Read more

Scale3 Labs - California based web3 infrastructure company raised $5.3m in Seed funding led by Redpoint Ventures. Read more

SettleMint - Belgium based low-code blockchain platform raised €16m in Series A funding led by Molten Ventures. Read more

Tatum - Miami based blockchain developer platform raised $41.5m in growth funding led by Evolution Equity Partners. Read more

Telda - Egypt based consumer money app raised $20m in Seed funding led by Sequoia. Read more

Tugende - Uganda based MSME credit and asset-financing company raised $10m in Series B funding led by Partech. Read more

Xalts - Hong Kong based digital asset management firm raised $6m in Seed funding led by Citi Ventures. Read more

Zerion - San Francisco based crypto wallet company raised $12.3m in Series B funding led by Wintermute Ventures. Read more


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