News In Brief

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Welcome to our ‘News In Brief’ column in which we digest all the news releases for you in no more than five paragraphs. Below are snippets of all the media releases that we received from Aug 22 till the end of the week.

DWS Appoints Adam Willis

Adam Willis.

Sydney, Aug 23: DWS today announced that it has hired Adam Willis as Senior Client Coverage Specialist in its Client Coverage Division to cover the Australian and New Zealand markets.
He is Sydney-based and reports to Lidia Tomova, Head of Client Coverage Division, Australia and New Zealand.
“I’m excited to join DWS, a firm whose investment capabilities I’ve long admired,” Willis said.
With more than 20 years of industry experience, Adam’s most recent position was with Research Affiliates where he was responsible for the distribution of the firm’s solutions to Australia-based institutional & wealth investors and their advisors.
Prior to this, Adam worked in London for Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM) as its Head of Index & Multi-Asset Distribution and at MSCI as Executive Director.

Sydney Observatory Launches New Late Program

Sydney Observatory.

Sydney, Aug 23: Powerhouse today announced the launch of an exciting new monthly program presented under the stars at the Sydney Observatory.
This free program will feature talks from leading astronomers, music and performance with drinks and food from leading NSW producers.
The first program on Saturday 8 October will feature the launch of the 2023 Australasian Sky Guide.
Built in 1858, Sydney Observatory is positioned on the highest point of Sydney Cove. The Observatory plays a central role in the history of timekeeping, meteorology and astronomy in Australia.
For over 160 years it has kept time for New South Wales, established one of the longest continuous weather records in Australia and catalogued 430,000 stars in the southern sky.

Sydney skyline.

Other Sydney Observatory dates are:
• Saturday 8 October 2023 Australasian Sky Guide launch
• Tuesday 8 November, Total Lunar Eclipse
• Sunday 22 January, Lunar New Year
• Wednesday 22 February, World Pride
• Saturday 25 March, Earth Hour
• Thursday 20 April, Partial Solar Eclipse (daytime event)
• Saturday 6 May, Full Moon
• Friday 22 June, Winter Solstice
Address: Sydney Observatory, 1003 Upper Fort St, Millers Point NSW 2000.
Rugs and chairs: provided, attendees are also permitted to bring their own.
Suitable for all ages.

Money Lost Over Awkward Conversations

Guy Pearson. Image supplied.

Australia, Aug 24: According to 97 per cent of accountants and bookkeepers surveyed in a new report, unrecovered out-of-scope work is costing Australian firms on average over $100,000 each year. What’s more, by putting off awkward client conversations, 43 per se their mental health has suffered.
The new findings in the ‘2022 State of Client Engagement’ report released by Ignition, the world’s first client engagement and commerce platform, shine a light on the financial and human cost to accounting and bookkeeping firms by avoiding or delaying awkward client conversations.
Conducted by YouGov, the study interviewed 557 key decision makers in accounting and bookkeeping firms with 1-50 employees in Australia.
“As a former accountant, I’ve experienced my fair share of awkward client conversations,” Guy Pearson, co-founder and CEO at Ignition said.
“For many accountants and bookkeepers, the fear of losing a client and the potential impact to the firm causes them to put off having these awkward conversations.
“We now know this has the opposite effect, with detrimental impacts to their firm, their people and their health and wellbeing.”

Kenanga Investment Launches Wealth SuperApp

Derrick Loi General Manager of International Business of ANT Group; Lee Kok Khee, Executive Director and Head of Group Equity Broking Business of Kenanga; Datuk Chay Wai Leong, Group Managing Director of Kenanga; Geoff Jiang, President of Digital Technology Business Group of ANT Group; Ian Lloyd, Chief Digital Officer of Kenanga.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 24: Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad, Malaysia’s largest independent investment bank, today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ant Group. Under the terms of the MOU, Kenanga will leverage mPaaS, a mobile development platform from Ant Group’s digital technology unit, to launch Malaysia’s first Wealth SuperApp.
The SuperApp is geared to revolutionise how Malaysians approach wealth generation and management, by integrating a suite of financial solutions, such as stock trading, digital investment management, e-wallet, crypto trading and foreign currency exchange, onto a single platform and ecosystem.
“Having spent the year conceptualising and designing the SuperApp, we are thrilled to partner with Ant Group, a globally recognised and experienced infrastructure and platform provider, to develop this platform and bring it to life,” Datuk Chay Wai Leong, Group Managing Director, Kenanga Investment Bank said. 
“We look forward to not only unifying a broad spectrum of financial offerings under one roof but more importantly, to make wealth creation more accessible by democratising financial services for the millions of Malaysians around the country who want better, swifter and cheaper access to financial products and solutions.”

GHL Expand Digital Payment Services

     GHL Systems Berhad, ASEAN’s leading payment solutions provider is excited to join synergies and expertise in the fintech industry with Ablr to further help in expanding digital payment options for both B2B and B2C transactions across our markets.

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 24: As part of its continued efforts in leading the region’s cashless revolution, ASEAN’s payment solutions provider, GHL Systems Berhad (GHL) has joined hands with Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) player, Ablr, to offer enhanced payment solutions to the growing number of GHL merchants and consumers, providing even greater choice and flexibility when paying for goods and services.
By leveraging Ablr’s white-label proprietary platform, GHL will provide flexible payment terms in the market to deliver more financing options for its customers.
Through this partnership, GHL’s merchant network is able to provide both Businesses and Consumers with additional flexible payment options, without charging them any additional interest.
“This strategic collaboration between GHL and Ablr aims to deliver an enhanced payment experience that caters to both our merchants and consumers. With Ablr, our merchants will now have access to alternative payment methods which can scale their business by enabling bigger ticket purchases and build loyalty through value-added offers and deals,” Sean Hesh, GHL Group CEO said.

Perfect Corp. Launches AI Face Simulator 

Advanced AI face reshaping technology allows aestheticians, beauticians, and Med Spa professionals to deliver accurate digital visualisations of treatments on the customer’s face.

New York, Aug 24: Perfect Corp., the leading artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) beauty and fashion tech solutions provider, today introduced a groundbreaking AI simulation technology for aestheticians, beauticians, and Med Spa professionals. 
The new AI Face Reshape Simulator solution will allow customers to visualize the results of various beautification treatments through advanced AI simulation technology.
Perfect Corp.’s new AI Face Reshape Simulator technology allows aestheticians, beauticians, and Med Spa professionals to deliver accurate digital visualizations of treatments on the customer’s face.
The technology delivers highly-precise simulations for eyebrow lifts, cheek and lip filler treatments, jaw reshaping, eyelid treatments, and nose reshaping.
The solution provides a realistic preview of cosmetic treatment results, supercharging marketing efforts, enriching communication, helping to manage consumer expectations, and increasing result satisfaction. The highly flexible setup offers cross-platform support, with both web and mobile app capabilities, increasing customer interest and making experimentation instantly accessible to prospective clients online, or during in-person consultations. 
To learn more about the new AI Face Reshaping technology go here.

Software Vulnerabilities Cause Cyber Incidents

Malaysia, Aug 24: According to a new report from Palo Alto Networks (NASDAQ: PANW), the global cybersecurity leader, the heavy use of software vulnerabilities matches the opportunistic behaviour of threat actors who scour the internet for vulnerabilities and weak points on which to focus. 
The 2022 Unit 42 Incident Response Report offers a multitude of insights gleaned from Unit 42 by Palo Alto Networks’ extensive incident response (IR) work, leveraging a sampling of over 600 Unit 42 IR cases, to help CISOs and security teams understand the greatest security risks they face, and where to prioritise resources to reduce them.
In the report, Unit 42 identified the top three initial access vectors used by threat actors were phishing, exploitation of known software vulnerabilities and brute-force credential attacks focused primarily on the remote desktop protocol (RDP). 
Combined, these attack vectors make up 77 per cent of the suspected root causes for intrusions.
Among the software vulnerabilities, ProxyShell accounted for more than half of the exploitation for initial access at 55 per cent, followed by Log4J (14 per cent), SonicWall ( seven per cent), ProxyLogon (five per cent) and Zoho ManageEngine ADSelfService Plus (four per cent).

SMART Innovation Centre Awarded Grant

Singapore, Aug 25:  The Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART), MIT’s research enterprise in Singapore, today announces a five-year grant awarded to the SMART Innovation Centre by the National Research Foundation Singapore (NRF) as part of the Research, Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2025 Plan.
The SMART Innovation Centre plays a key role in accelerating innovation and entrepreneurship in Singapore and will channel the grant towards refining and commercialising developments in the field of deep technologies through financial support and training.
Singapore has recently expanded its innovation ecosystem to hone deep technologies to solve complex problems in areas of pivotal importance.
While there has been increased support for deep tech here, with investments in deep tech startups surging from US$324M in 2020 to US$861M in 2021, startups of this nature tend to take a longer time to scale, get acquired or get publicly listed due to increased time, manpower and capital needed.
By providing researchers with financial and strategic support from the early stages of their research and development, the SMART Innovation Centre hopes to accelerate this process and help bring new and disruptive technologies to the market.

Helping B40 Students

Heriot-Watt University Malaysia, Manipal International University Collaborate to Create and Donate Affordable Computers to B40 Students.

Putrajaya, Aug 25: As part of its EmPOWER programme, Heriot-Watt University Malaysia (“HWUM”) collaborated with Manipal International University (“MIU”) on the PCs for B40 (“PC4B40”) initiative to donate affordable computers to students from B40 communities in Malaysia.
The objective of PC4B40, which kickstarted in October 2021, was to ensure equal access to education for students from underserved communities. In addition, the project aimed to equip these students with information technology (“IT”) skills to enable the continuity of their education online.
Guided by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 4 (Quality Education) and 10 (Reduced Inequality), 26 HWUM students raised a total of RM17,000 through their EmPOWER crowdfunding projects called “Fiesta O Rama” and “AirFunding.”
As part of PC4B40, HWUM students worked together with MIU to program and assemble compact-sized computer boards for 16 units of Raspberry PI computers.
Eight units of the Raspberry PI computers were donated to Persatuan Pembangunan Jayadiri Selangor while the remaining eight were donated to deserving families.

MR D.I.Y. Aids Kota Marudu, Baling

From right, MR D.I.Y. Group Human Resource Management Manager, Bukhari Mokhtar, Head of Human Resource Management, Zaleha Mohd Mydin, Soroptimist International Region of Malaysia (SIROM) President, Dr. Saradha Narayan,  (in white t-shirt – holding the contribution) Chairman of the Women’s Association of Kg. Gana, Laysia, and (in the blue shirt – holding the contribution) Chairman of the Village Development and Security Committee (JPKK), Lina Jalis with the women of Kampung Gana. 

Kuala Lumpur, Aug 25: MR D.I.Y. has teamed up with Yayasan Food Bank Malaysia to distribute dry food and ready-to-cook canned food to support 109 families who were displaced by the floods.
This time, the retailer’s corporate social responsibility team, MR.DIY Cares, went all the way to Kampung Gana in Kota Marudu, Sabah, to distribute everyday essentials to 40 families in the village.
The MR.DIY Cares team partnered with women & children empowerment non-government organisation Soroptimist International Club of Damansara (SID) to travel to Sabah by air and then a further 2.5 hours by road, to deliver washing powder, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, body ink soap and sanitary pads to the community.
MR D.I.Y. also contributed gardening tools such as pails, gardening hoses, shovels and garden gloves for the village organic farming project, which helps the community generate a sustainable income.
In a separate programme, MR.DIY Cares volunteers reached out to flood victims in Baling, Kedah, who was recently hit by some of the worst floods in the history of southeast Kedah.

Australia Has 250,000 Vacancies To Fill

Sydney, Aug 26: The National Skills Week held on Aug 22 till 28 has emphasised the importance of young people and job seekers acquiring digital skills to lay the groundwork for a satisfying and successful career.
The federal government estimates that 87 per cent of today’s jobs across every sector and industry in Australia now require digital literacy.
Adding to this, the government’s Digital Economy Strategy 2030 predicts that 250,000 new jobs will be created by 2025 due to digitalisation.
The government is investing in the settings, infrastructure and incentives to grow Australia’s digital economy.
The Digital Skills Organisation (DSO) is working in collaboration with employers, trainers and learners to create more open and consistent digital skill-based pathways to create a better digital future.

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