Things we are reading today - January 18th, 2024

Jio Financial servcies plans to focus on secured lending. JFSL is going into supply chain financing to address working capital needs for the suppliers and is planning to add LAS and mutual funds.

JFSL has partnered with 27 insurers (both life and general insurers) for insurance broking. In the payments business, it re-platformed to launch a digital savings bank account and did a soft launch of the debit card.

Climate change is a global crisis demanding rapid action. While India faces serious threats like water scarcity and extreme heat, it also holds immense potential for climate innovation and adaptation. Businesses have a crucial role to play, not just in reducing their carbon footprint, but also in mobilizing private capital for adaptation finance and fostering technology solutions.

Google Pay inks MoU with NPCI to expand UPI payments beyond India. This partnership opens doors for Indian travelers to ditch cash and international cards while paying abroad.

Google and NPCI aim to replicate UPI’s success globally, potentially revolutionizing international payments.

Zerodha Fund House has already gathered ₹240 crore in assets under management within two months of launch. The plan is to expand their product range to 5-6 by March and 10-15 in the next year, including large, mid, and small-cap ETFs, debt funds, and gold ETFs. Their focus is on simplicity, low cost, and digital accessibility to attract investors, especially from smaller towns.

SoftBank has fully exited PB Fintech, the parent of insurance marketplace PolicyBazaar, marking another divestment within its Indian portfolio. This sale netted them $650 million in returns, solidifying their strategy of exiting publicly listed startups through market deals.

This follows similar exits from Zomato and others, while several other ventures like FirstCry and Ola Electric are poised for IPOs. While SoftBank remains a crucial investor in India’s startup ecosystem, their focus seems to be shifting from established names to new opportunities.

Margin funding, where retail investors purchase stocks by paying 25% and brokers fund the rest for up to a year, hit an all-time high this week, when the broader market also climbed to a new peak.

The margin trading funding (MTF) book for the stockbroking industry has increased to ₹54,537 crore as on January 16, compared with ₹29,500 crore in January last year and about ₹7,100 crore in February 2020, according to data compiled by ratings firm ICRA.