Daily Briefing: Standard Chartered's Ventures team hires more people amidst global layoffs; Centurion Corp hits its first close of global student accommodation fund

And here’s why the cryptocurrency crash offers a slap of reality for Singapore investors.

From eFinancial Careers:

Singapore’s Standard Chartered’s (SC) Ventures team is reportedly one of the best places to be in terms of banking tech jobs amidst the bank’s plans to axe senior roles globally in a bid to reduce costs.

Moreover, Ventures is hiring. It’s just taken on Fernn Lim, who was previously head of culture and fintech acceleration at The Open Vault, OCBC’s fintech lab, as a director. Lim joined OCBC in January 2016 after a brief stint as an innovation strategist at Accenture’s fintech and innovation lab in London.

Lim’s recent moves reflect a new trend in the banking sector: lab hopping. So many innovation labs have sprung up in major financial centres that it’s now possible to build a career purely within the sector – and move from lab to lab in the process.

SC Ventures is led by Alex Manson who joined Standard Chartered in 2012 and was latterly global head of transaction banking. Other recent senior transferees into the new unit include Gautam Jain (formerly global head of digitisation and client access for transaction banking), Sachin Rajat Sharma (who led pricing and portfolio, group deposits), and Maxime de Guillebon (ex-head of digital platforms).

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From Deal Street Asia:

Investment holding firm Centurion Corporation hit the first close of its second student accommodation fund at $70m which aims to invest in purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) assets globally.

The fund comprises a committed capital of $10 million (US$7.3 million) by Centurion Corp’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Centurion Overseas Investments, and the rest is committed by a third-party cornerstone investor which is a reputable educational institution, Centurion Corp said.

Centurion Corp added the fund has issued draw-down notices of $1.26 million (US$920,000) and $7.54 million (US$5.5 million) to the fund investors – Centurion Overseas Investments and the third-party investor, respectively. The capital contributions from the investors is expected to be received by 14 December, whereby Centurion Corp will hold about 14.29% stake in the fund.

In September, Centurion Corp has proposed to acquire a student accommodation asset in Nottingham, UK for US$13.3 million, following which its UK portfolio will increase to about 2,676 beds spread across 10 student accommodation assets in five cities.

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From Channel News Asia:

Cryptocurrency-related businesses and investors in Singapore have been brought down to reality after the likes of Bitcoin, XRP and Ethereum faced drastic price drops throughout 2018.

Ken Tan, an XRP investor, continued pumping money into the cryptocurrency over the course of this year even after the prices of cryptocurrencies had fallen from its peak between December 2017 and January.

With the value of XRP down 90% since its peak of $4.67 (US$3.40) in January, Tan’s portfolio has shrunk to over $30,000, resulting in a paper loss of about $70,000.

As of 7 December, one Bitcoin is valued at US$3,428 which is an 80% drop from its peak. Almost US$700 billion has been wiped off from global cryptocurrency markets since their peak.

The crash in cryptocurrency prices should not have come as a big surprise, given the earlier warnings issued by some well-known investors and financial experts.

Read more here.

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