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    Corporate payment processes are transforming rapidly amid explosive technological and economic change. What must financial institutions do to deliver?

    Recently, a client came to me with a request that speaks to the frustration building over the global payments system. This client, a major agricultural producer based in the U.S., had seen its business change dramatically in recent years. Where once it sourced the vast majority of its product from industrial-scale farming operations located within a thousand miles of its headquarters, it now found itself dealing with suppliers large and small in countries throughout the developed and emerging world—including small collectives of farmers in some of the remotest regions of East Africa.

     

    This shift was a by-product of the same megatrends that have transformed many of our clients’ businesses. Globalization has increasingly eliminated borders and brought people, ideas, cultures and commerce together in ways never seen before. At the same time, digitization has revolutionized how people consume products and services, the relationships companies have with their customers, and the composition of their supply chains by enabling ever smaller companies to participate in global markets. While these forces have disrupted business models, they have also created enormous opportunities to expand markets, increase efficiencies and speed up the pace of commerce. Except, unfortunately, when it comes to making and receiving payments.

     

    Even deep in the Kenyan highlands, most people today have cell phones. That connectivity had helped our client solve many of the logistical challenges involved in sourcing, pricing and transporting the high-quality wheat grown in the region. When it came to actually paying the farmers for their product, though, the company was at a loss. It couldn’t wire the farmers the money because the offices of the nearest wire services were hundreds of miles away. It couldn’t write them a check because most didn’t have bank accounts. The company finally resorted to physically shipping them cash, creating an enormous security risk for the company and its employees. Indeed, a violent raid on one of those cash shipments forced the company to double down on the heavily armed security details it hired to escort the payments to their destinations. In exasperation, the company came to our transaction services team and asked: “Can you help us get the guns out of payments?”

     

    As it turns out, while we had not couched it in those terms before, we had been devoting considerable time and resources to answering a similar question. Whether they are digital businesses born global or a generations-old agricultural conglomerate, companies throughout the world are seeing their supply chains rapidly digitize and elongate to include vendors that heretofore either did not have access to global markets or were too small to be dealt with directly. On the distribution side, the same forces are causing global payment volumes to explode and notional values simultaneously to decrease. These changes are demanding an evolution in the financial supply chains. Yet, at best, the core correspondent banking infrastructure has failed to evolve as quickly and, at worst, has moved in the opposite direction, as governments and regulators focus on fiscal policies, regulation and infrastructure investments meant to improve their local economies and not necessarily to facilitate cross-border commerce.

    Addressing these challenges requires an entirely new way of thinking about the treasury services value proposition and the role banks play in the global payments ecosystem

     

    Addressing these challenges requires an entirely new way of thinking about the treasury services value proposition and the role banks play in the global payments ecosystem. Companies are no longer looking to banks for traditional commoditized products. Rather, they are looking for broad commerce solutions that enable them to conduct business efficiently and safely globally yet in an increasingly localized and digitized world. Corporations need access to the best tool for the job, wherever the job may be, and the ability to access it seamlessly and digitally.


    THE IMPACT OF GLOBAL MEGATRENDS

    Banks’ support of cross-border trade and commerce has a deep history dating back to the financing of trade by the Phoenicians in 1000 B.C.1 In more modern times, banks’ product capabilities were created and delivered on the back of their international branches and correspondent networks. In the simplest transactions, where both parties banked with the same institutions, banks owned both ends of the value chain. Even where the parties banked with different institutions, banks’ value derived from navigating the complex regulatory and technical challenges inherent in moving money via correspondent partners across myriad local payments infrastructures, in addition to providing performance guarantees, credit in the form of trade finance and currency conversion services. At a certain level, most money still moves around the world in this way—with a bank in one of part of the world debiting the account of one of its clients, then debiting its own account with a correspondent in another part of the world so that correspondent can credit the account of its customer to complete the transaction.

     

    Of course, these networks and the communication systems that eventually grew up to support them—the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) is an example—have evolved considerably over years. Central clearing systems, such as the Automated Clearing House (ACH) in the U.S and BACS (formerly Bankers’ Automated Clearing Services) in Britain, emerged to net out settlements between payment institutions daily instead of for every transaction. Even faster and more efficient payment systems arose to handle low-value transactions and more easily support the settlement methods provided by electronic wallets, such as PayPal. However, at the same time many of these changes were occurring, a major paradigm shift, largely at odds with the very structure of the global payments system, was taking place in the global economy. Just how significant is this shift? Consider a few facts about some of the trends that are transforming the world into a digital on-demand society.

     

    • Today, 44 million people work cross-border online.2
    • On the Upwork network alone, 12 million freelancers from 180 countries connect with clients for web, mobile and software development, graphic design, marketing and other projects, each one of whom needs to be paid. 3
    • E-commerce comprises 12% of the global goods trade. 4
    • Cross-border data flows—a measure of how much of the value chain for all goods and services has moved online—contributed 3.6%, or $2.8 trillion, to global GDP in 2014. 5
    • 25% of Americans connect to the internet solely by smartphone. 6
    • By the end of 2014, more than 5.2 billion people had mobile phones– 73% of the global population. 7
    • Global shopping platforms are challenging traditional country-based retail models. Since 2012, the value of goods traded through the two largest online retailers has grown at a compound annual growth rate of 33% to $700 billion.8

     

    Companies are adapting rapidly to the new ecosystem. In less than a decade, some of the largest enterprise software companies went from an in-country CD distributor-based business model to a global cloudbased delivery model. Yet the system these companies rely on to pay developers and collect payments is still fundamentally a regional closedloop system requiring a time-consuming, opaque and expensive process for payments to move from one currency and jurisdiction to another. It is the equivalent of mailing a letter and having it translated and retranscribed on the other end versus sending an instant message. What’s more, to extend the coverage of its payment system, the same multinational company might work with five different banks, each using a slightly different version of the standard protocol for financial messages. Interoperability—the need to get these different protocols to talk to one another—further adds to the time delays, costs and reconciliation challenges, not to mention the risk that important information will get lost in translation.


    THE NEWLY NIMBLE COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT

     

    Compounding the challenge for banks is the fact that it’s not as if there aren’t credible alternatives emerging. As companies demand faster, cheaper and more efficient solutions, fintech disrupters are moving in. Investment in fintech companies increased from $1.8 billion in 2010 to $19 billion in 2015.9 These firms are nimbler than banks, able to develop solutions from a digitally clean slate less hindered by the regulatory constraints that place such large demands on banks’ technology investments. As a result, even the most technologically advanced banks struggle to out-innovate the fintechs.

    Fintech companies are nimbler than banks, able to develop solutions from a digitally clean slate less hindered by regulatory constraints. However, banks have their own advantages.

    However, banks have their own advantages. Fintechs will likely never approach the scale, breadth and depth of relationships that banks have with their customers. By partnering with a bank, a fintech can remove some of the risk from the equation for the shared client, and potentially provide a key new capability within the appropriate regulatory framework at greater scale and even more quickly and efficiently than it can on its own. Earthport, for example, has a growing network of 60+ countries where they deliver payments through local clearing systems. They work with bank partners, regulators and central banks to ensure the service is compliant and on pace with local developments. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has a strategic arrangement with Earthport that allows us to extend our global reach of payment services while maintaining a smaller international branch footprint.


    THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SWITCH

    The same forces transforming their clients’ businesses are transforming banks’ own business. Each year, core offerings from loans to investment management are being “vaporized,” with physical processes and records being replaced with invisible software that can be downloaded instantly anywhere at any time from any mobile device.10

    Today, the vaporized economy makes owning the switchboard potentially more valuable than owning any of the physical assets it connects

    In other industries, companies are gravitating toward a business model in which they become a switch–connecting and communicating with two sets of people across a network. In the early days of telecommunications, switchboard operators served as connectors and traffic routers. Today, the vaporized economy makes owning the switchboard potentially more valuable than owning any of the physical assets it connects.

     

    Industries from retail to lodging to transportation have shown the way that vaporization can transform business. Some of the world’s current fastest-growing companies all act as switchboards, connecting buyers and sellers, rather than doing the buying and selling themselves.

    To transform their businesses to compete in an age of vaporization requires that banks explore how to leverage their physical assets and correspondent relationships with digital assets they don’t own and will never own. The core of the strategy is predicated on vaporizing as much of their physical infrastructure as possible to gain efficiency, scalability and flexibility, while becoming the switch enabling efficient cross-border commerce using all relevant payment rails and mechanisms. In the new banking model, the endpoint of the banking relationship is as likely to be a digital wallet like PayPal or the mobile-phone-based M-PESA, a credit card network or an electronic purchase order as it is to be another bank. And transaction messages are as likely to spend as much time travelling along new, digital rails as they are over SWIFT, ACH or a bank’s own systems.

     

    As the media has widely reported, blockchain could very well be a key component of this new model. The technology has the potential to help eliminate most of the inefficiency plaguing cross-border payments. As important, in delivering all the pertinent data about a transaction within the payment itself, it can also reduce paper processes and friction. It becomes, in the words of The Economist, a “trust machine,”11 a cryptographically pure mechanism to transfer transaction information, store it, verify it and establish ownership.12

     

    However, blockchain is hardly the only technology advance that is furthering digitization across the transaction services business. Existing technologies used in new combinations may prove to be just as important, particularly for handling low-value high-volume transfers. All these technologies are about taking manual or semi-manual processes and making them simpler, faster, more self-contained and, ultimately, more intelligent and self-actualizing. In many ways, this is the ultimate “new bank value” in the bank value stack: the ability to utilize the information we already derive every day and organize it to provide greater insight and value for clients.

    However, blockchain is hardly the only technology advance that is furthering digitization across the transaction services business. Existing technologies used in new combinations may prove to be just as important, particularly for handling low-value high-volume transfers.

    Consider the many forms of payment data that banks collect today, including payment instructions, remittance information, timing, frequency, client type and location. One can easily imagine scenarios in which banks use the new data-rich pipes to extract a deeper level of analysis that can help a client develop more effective cash-flow forecasts, manage its liquidity or improve its spending patterns compared with competitors.13 Similar services could be used to partner with fintechs to identify other sorts of patterns among clients and industries to predict the likelihood of fraud. The new global currency isn’t necessarily bitcoin, per se. It’s data, and it appreciates in value by the type of actionable insights it provides to clients. Banks, given the existing depth of their relationships with their clients, are well positioned to leverage their new role as switchboard to become top providers.

    GOING THE DISTANCE

    These new technologies present tremendous opportunities for a global switchboard of payments, in which banks move from the periphery of the transaction services value chain into the middle.

    This new financial supply chain will not simply move money. Rather, it will enable participants to extract value in the form of data insights, financing, liquidity and risk mitigation.

    At Bank of America Merrill Lynch, we are working toward a vision where we are a digital switch through which our clients and their trading partners and customers can conduct cross-border commerce in a safe, regulatory-compliant, fast, seamless and data-rich way.This new financial supply chain will not simply move money. Rather, it will enable participants to extract value in the form of data insights, financing, liquidity and risk mitigation.

    Moreover, the capabilities provided will not be solely those of our bank but will harness the best of breed capabilities of fintech companies as well as traditional local banks. To use an analogy, smartphone adoption has not taken off just because of the capabilities of the device. It has exploded because of the partnerships with the carriers and the ecosystem of application developers, banks and myriad other innovators. We aim to bring digitization to cross-border commerce much like smartphones have brought it to our everyday lives. In the not-too-distant future, as we continue to patch disparate payment systems into our switchboard, we expect payments to be able to move seamlessly and digitally from the bank accounts of a Fortune 500 agricultural conglomerate based in the U.S. into the M-PESA accounts of farmers in the Kenyan highlands. So, can we help our client get the guns out of payments? Absolutely.


    Sources:

     

    1. International Economics, Finance and Trade: International Economics, Vol.1, Edited by Pasquale M. Sgro (2009)

    2. Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, McKinsey Global Institute (2016).

    3. Upwork user data as of 8/29/2016.

    4. Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, McKinsey Global Institute (2016).

    5. Digital Globalization: The New Era of Global Flows, McKinsey Global Institute (2016).

    6. Tercek, Robert. Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World, LifeTree Media, Ltd. (2015).

    7. 2015 Internet Trends, KPCB.

    8. BCG Perspectives: What You Need to Know about Globalization’s Radical New Phase (July 20, 2016).

    9. Digital Disruption: How Fin Tech is Forcing Banking to a Tipping Point, Citi (2016).

    10. Tercek, Robert. Vaporized: Solid Strategies for Success in a Dematerialized World, LifeTree Media, Ltd. (2015).

    11. “The promise of the blockchain: The trust machine,” The Economist, (Oct. 29, 2015).

    12. “The promise of the blockchain: The trust machine,” The Economist, (Oct. 29, 2015).

    13. Payment Analytics–Gaining Insights and Creating Competitive Advantages, Aite (Sept. 23, 2015).


    AUTHORED BY:

    Ather Williams III

    Managing Director, Head of Global Transaction Services

    Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Key Takeaways

    • Forces such as globalization and digitization have disrupted business models, creating new opportunities and efficiencies except when it comes to payments
    • Companies are gravitating towards business models in which they become a switch – connecting with people across a network
    • The new value in the bank value stack is using information we already have and organizing it to provide greater value

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    Unless specifically identified as an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy, under no circumstances should any information on the Sites be used as or considered to be an offer to sell or a solicitation of any offer to buy the securities or any other instruments of Bank of America or any other issuer. Offers can only be made where lawful under applicable law. Any information, services, or securities offered via the Sites are intended to be available only to residents of Argentina, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Italy, Korea, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United States and the United Kingdom. The viewing or distribution of the Sites may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions. Persons using the Sites are required to inform themselves about and observe any legal restrictions on the use of the Sites and any restrictions set forth in the Sites. The Sites do not constitute an offer of, or a solicitation to purchase any securities in any jurisdiction in which such offer or invitation would be unlawful. If you wish to obtain further details about any information contained through the Sites, there are several areas on the Sites that will provide you with contact information.

    DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

    Affiliates of Bank of America may make a market or deal as principal in the securities mentioned in these Sites or in options based thereon. In addition, Bank of America or its Affiliates, their shareholders, directors, officers and/or employees, may from time to time have long or short positions in such securities or in options, futures or other derivative instruments based thereon. One or more directors, officers and/or employees of Bank of America or its Affiliates may be a director of the issuer of the securities mentioned at these Sites. Bank of America or its Affiliates may have managed or co-managed a public offering of, or acted as initial purchaser or placement agent for a private placement of, any of the securities of any issuer mentioned on the Sites, or may from time to time perform consulting, advisory, lease, loan solicitation, investment banking or other services for, or solicit investment banking or other business from, mentioned companies.

    ACCOUNT INFORMATION

    Certain information from Client’s account(s) at Bank of America or its Affiliates is accessible on the Sites and can be downloaded by Client ("Account Information"). While Bank of America and its Affiliates believe that this Account Information will be accurate at the time of access and/or downloading by Client, this information may have certain technical flaws, typographical errors or other inaccuracies. Additionally, the Account Information is subject to immediate change resulting from market conditions, price fluctuations and other related factors. Bank of America and its Affiliates expressly disclaim any responsibility or liability for the accuracy or use of such Account Information upon its being downloaded by Client and will not be liable for any difficulty, damage or inaccessibility of such information due to hardware or software incompatibility.

    PRICING AND MARKET INFORMATION

    Actual prices can be obtained only on a real-time, expressly agreed-upon basis. Any indicative valuations on the Sites are provided for information only. They are not an offer to enter into, transfer and assign or terminate any transaction, or a commitment by Bank of America or its Affiliates to make such an offer. An indicative valuation may differ substantially from an actual value. Such estimates do not necessarily reflect Bank of America’s or its Affiliates’ internal bookkeeping or theoretical model-based valuations. Certain factors, which may not have been assessed for purposes of these valuations, including, for example, notional amounts, credit spreads, underlying volatility, costs of carry or use of capital and profit, may substantially affect a stated valuation. Indicative valuations may vary significantly from indicative valuations available from other sources. While Bank of America and its Affiliates have obtained the information on which these evaluations are based from sources they believe are reliable, Bank of America and its Affiliates make no representations or warranties with respect to any indicative valuations. Prior to the execution of a Transaction based upon the Content of these Sites, Client is advised to consult with its broker or other financial representative to verify pricing information.

    HYPOTHETICAL OR PAST PERFORMANCE

    Hypothetical or simulated performance results have inherent limitations. Unlike an actual performance record, simulated results do not represent actual trading. Also, since the trades have not actually been executed, the results may have under or over-compensated for the impact, if any, of certain market factors, such as lack of liquidity. Simulated trading programs in general are designed with the benefit of hindsight. Past performance is not indicative of future results; no representation is being made that any account will or is likely to achieve profits or losses similar to those shown.

    MATERIAL IN ITS ENTIRETY

    All materials at these Sites are meant to be reviewed in their entirety, including any footnotes, legal disclaimers, restrictions or disclosures, or any copyright or proprietary notices. Any disclaimers, restrictions, disclosure or hedge clauses apply to any partial document or material in the same manner as they do to the whole, and will be deemed incorporated in the portion of any material or document that you consult or download.

    LINKED SITES

    Certain hyperlinks on the Sites may link websites maintained by the Affiliates, which are not to be considered a part of the Sites. Certain other links on the Sites to non-affiliated third-party sites may contain information over which we have no control. We take no responsibility for the content, accuracy, content, completeness, timeliness, current value or any aspect of the information on these sites and disclaim any liability to Client for it or for any consequence of your decision to use the links provided or your use of such information. Links to non–Bank of America sites do not imply any endorsement of or responsibility for the opinions, ideas, products, information or services offered at such sites, or any representation regarding the content at such sites. We also disclaim all liability and make no representations or warranties for any products or services sold or provided to Bank of America or its Affiliates by any third party. Your purchase of products or services through one of those other sites is subject to agreements and/or the terms and conditions in effect between Client and the providers of products and services at those other sites. Client agrees that it shall not bring a suit or claim against Bank of America or its Affiliates arising from or based on your purchase or use of products or services through those other sites. Links do not imply that Bank of America, its Affiliates or the Sites sponsors, endorses, is affiliated or associated with, or is legally authorized to use any trademark, trade name, logo or copyright symbol displayed in or accessible through the links, or that any linked sites is authorized to use any trademark, trade name, logo or copyright symbol of Bank of America or its Affiliates.

    CONTENT AND SERVICE AVAILABILITY

    Bank of America or its Affiliates may make changes to the Sites and reserves the right to do so without prior notice to you. Client acknowledges that not all products and services listed or discussed in the Sites are available in all geographic areas. Your eligibility for particular products and services is subject to final determination and acceptance by Bank of America or its Affiliates.

    CONSENT TO ELECTRONIC DELIVERY

    You agree to receive certain documents and information provided by Bank of America and its Affiliates through the Sites and/or through email provided to you via the Sites. This delivery will generally consist of certain Content on the Sites, and certain other documents relating to Bank of America and its Affiliate’s business. This electronic provision and delivery will be regarded by you as appropriate delivery pursuant to any delivery requirements under the various statutes and rules, where applicable, of the Securities and Exchange Commission, the National Association of Securities Dealers and any state or other jurisdiction. You acknowledge that you have the appropriate technological equipment to use the Sites and to receive email via the Internet and understand that your use of the Internet may incur certain operational costs such as monthly fees for a service provider. You agree to notify Bank of America or the applicable Affiliate in the event that you no longer desire to receive content through this delivery procedure and will allow a reasonable amount of time to permit proper delivery to you through other means.

    NO WARRANTY

    Client acknowledges that any information provided through the Sites is not intended to be a recommendation, offer or solicitation of any particular products or services. In addition, all research, analysis and similar market information from non-affiliated third parties provided represent the views and opinions solely of the author or the indicated source. Bank of America and its Affiliates do not independently verify the accuracy or completeness of such information, nor does Bank of America and its Affiliates endorse any particular views expressed therein. Except for offering memoranda, Bank of America and its Affiliates disclaim any liability to Client for this information or for any consequence of your decision to use it. Client agrees that it shall independently confirm any such information presented through the Sites before relying on such information. Bank of America, its Affiliates and their respective employees, contractors, agents and various contributors to the Sites have no duty to correct or update any inaccurate or out-of-date information on the Sites.

    Client acknowledges that it is acting for its own account, and it has made its own independent decisions to enter into a Transaction and as to whether a Transaction is appropriate or proper for it based upon its own judgment and upon advice from such advisors as it has deemed necessary. Client is not relying on any communication (written or oral) of Bank of America or its Affiliates as investment advice or as a recommendation to enter into a Transaction; it being understood that information and explanations related to the terms and conditions of a Transaction shall not be considered investment advice or a recommendation to enter into that Transaction. Further, Client has not received from Bank of America or its Affiliates any assurance or guarantee as to the expected results of a Transaction.

    COMPLIANCE WITH LAWS AND INDEMNITY

    The Sites may be used only for lawful purposes. Client’s conduct may be subject to local, state, national and international laws. Client agrees that it and any of its Authorized Persons shall comply with this Agreement, applicable laws, rules, regulations, ordinances and other similar national and international requirements of the country, state and province in which you are accessing and using the Sites.

    Client agrees to abide by applicable export control laws and not to transfer, by electronic transmission or otherwise, any content on the Sites subject to restrictions under such laws to a national destination prohibited under such laws, without first obtaining, and then complying with, any requisites government authorization. Client further agrees not to upload to the Sites any data or software that cannot be exported without prior written government authorization, including, but not limited to, certain encryption software. This assurance and commitment shall survive termination of these Terms and Conditions. Offices, residents and operations of your organization in Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Sudan, Syria and any other countries that are the subject of sanctions by the United States Office of Foreign Asset Control or other general U.S. embargo restrictions are not permitted to access and use the Sites, and any such access and use is a violation of these Terms and Conditions.

    Upon request by Bank of America or its Affiliates, you agree to defend, indemnify and hold harmless Bank of America, its Affiliates, their officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors or other suppliers from all liabilities, claims and expenses, including attorneys fees, that arise from a breach of these Terms and Conditions for which you are responsible, or from third-party claims arising from your use of the Sites. Bank of America and its Affiliates reserve the right to assume the exclusive defense and control of any matter otherwise subject to indemnification by you. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you are not required to indemnify Bank of America or its Affiliates for its own violations of applicable laws.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF BRAZIL:

      The information contained here does not constitute a public offering or distribution of securities in Brazil and no registration or filing with respect to any securities or financial products available on the Sites has been made with Commisao de Valores Mobiliarios.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF CANADA:

      The information contained here does not constitute a public offering or distribution of securities in Canada or any of its provinces. No registration or filing with respect to any securities or financial products available on the Sites has been made with any regulatory agency thereof.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF FRANCE:

      The Sites do not constitute a solicitation to enter into a transaction involving financial instruments, is not being distributed in the context of a public offer in France within the meaning of Article L. 411–1 of the Monetary and Financial Code, and has thus not been submitted to the COB for prior approval and clearance procedure. Any offers, sales or distribution of financial instruments through the Sites shall only be made in France to qualified investors (investisseurs qualifi?s) as defined in and in accordance with Article L. 411-2 of the Monetary and Financial Code and d?cret no. 98–880 dated 1st October, 1998. The contents of the Sites may not be redistributed or reproduced (in whole or in part) by any User. The Sites are made available with the understanding that Users will make investment decisions for their own account with the conditions set out in d?cret no. 98–880 dated 1st October, 1998. By using the Sites, Users undertake not to transfer, directly or indirectly, any financial instrument acquired through the Sites to the public in France, other than in compliance with applicable laws and regulation. Services hereunder may be provided by Banc of America Securities, Limited, as agent or otherwise.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF GERMANY:

      The Sites are made available only to professional investors as such term is defined in the Securities Sales Prospectus Act.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF HONG KONG:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to institutional investors. No information or material contained in the Sites is or should be construed as amounting to an offer to enter into any transaction or investment whatsoever. The information on these Sites is provided by the Hong Kong branch of Bank of America, N.A., and is compiled from information prepared by subsidiaries and affiliates of Bank of America Corporation. Your agreement for the use of this Site is with the Hong Kong branch of Bank of America, N.A.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF IRELAND:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to professional investors.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF ITALY:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to professional investors as defined in article 31 of CONSOB regulation no. 11522 of July 1, 1998.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF JAPAN:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to financial institutions as defined under the Law Concerning Foreign Securities Firms.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF KOREA:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to professional investors with a valid password. The information contained here does not constitute a public offering or distribution of securities in Korea.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF NETHERLANDS:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to professional market parties as defined in the Dutch Securities Transactions Supervision Act 1995. Securities or other instruments on these Sites are only offered to professional market parties.

    • FOR RESIDENTS OF SINGAPORE:

      Access to the Sites is by invitation only to institutional investors. The information contained here does not constitute a public offering or distribution of securities in Singapore. The information in these Sites is provided by Bank of America Singapore Limited and is compiled from information prepared by subsidiaries and affiliates of Bank of America Corporation. Your agreement for the use of these Sites is with Bank of America Singapore Limited.

    LIMITATION OF LIABILITY

    THE FOLLOWING LIMITATIONS OF LIABILITY IN THIS SECTION SHALL NOT APPLY TO VIOLATIONS OF LAWS RELATING TO THE OFFER AND SALE OF SECURITIES. YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT NEITHER Bank of America, ITS AFFILIATES NOR THEIR OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, CONTRACTORS OR OTHER SUPPLIERS MAKES ANY WARRANTIES OR GUARANTEES WITH RESPECT TO THE SITES, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, WARRANTIES REGARDING THE ACCURACY OR COMPLETENESS OF ANY CONTENT, OR WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, NON-INFRINGEMENT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, TITLE OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. Bank of America, ITS AFFILIATES AND SUCH PERSONS SHALL NOT BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY LOSS, COST, DAMAGE OR OTHER INJURY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE, ARISING OUT OF OR CAUSED IN WHOLE OR IN PART BY (I) CLIENT’S USE OF OR RELIANCE ON THE SITES, OR (II) Bank of America’s PERFORMANCE OF ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER OR IN CONNECTION WITH THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS. Bank of America DOES NOT REPRESENT, WARRANT OR GUARANTEE THAT THE SITES WILL BE FREE FROM ERRORS OR WILL BE AVAILABLE. FURTHERMORE, Bank of America WILL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY DELAY, DIFFICULTY IN USE, INACCURACY OF INFORMATION, COMPUTER VIRUSES, MALICIOUS CODE OR OTHER DEFECT IN THE SITES, OR FOR THE INCOMPATIBILITY BETWEEN THE SITES AND FILES AND THE USER’S BROWSER OR OTHER SITES ACCESSING PROGRAM. NOR WILL Bank of America BE LIABLE FOR ANY OTHER PROBLEMS EXPERIENCED BY THE USER DUE TO CAUSES BEYOND THE Bank of America’s CONTROL. IN NO EVENT WILL Bank of America, ITS OFFICERS, DIRECTORS, EMPLOYEES, AGENTS, CONTRACTORS OR OTHER SUPPLIERS BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL OR SIMILAR DAMAGES, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.

    Because some states or jurisdictions do not allow the exclusion or limitation of liability for certain damages, in such states or jurisdictions, the liability of the Bank of America, its officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors or other suppliers shall be limited in accordance with this agreement to the extent permitted by law.

    Neither Bank of America, its Affiliates nor any of their officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors or other suppliers shall be liable in any way, and you agree to indemnify and hold harmless Bank of America, its Affiliates and such persons for (1) any inaccuracy, error, or delay in, or omission of (a) any information on the Sites, or (b) the transmission or delivery of any information on the Sites; (2) any loss or damage arising from or occasioned by (a) any such inaccuracy, error, delay, or omission, (b) non-performance, (c) interruption of use of the Sites due either to any negligent act or omission by Bank of America, its Affiliates, their officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors or other suppliers or to any "force majeure" (i.e., flood, extraordinary weather conditions, earthquake, or other act of God, fire, war, insurrection, riot, labor dispute, accident, action of government, communications, power failure, or equipment or software malfunction) or any other cause beyond the control of the Bank of America, its Affiliates, their officers, directors, employees, agents, contractors or other suppliers. You understand that Bank of America accepts no responsibility for security of information on the Internet.

    UK CONDITIONS

    Banc of America Securities Limited has approved the Sites for the purpose of Section 57 of the Financial Services Act of 1986. Banc of America Securities Limited is regulated for the conduct of investment business in the United Kingdom by the Securities and Futures Authority Limited. No access to the Sites shall be given in the United Kingdom to Private Customers, as that term is defined under the rules of The Securities and Futures Authority Limited; and any investments will not be made by us to any Private Customer.

    CHANGES TO AGREEMENT

    Bank of America may make changes to this Agreement at any time, without prior notice to you. Your continued use of the Sites indicates your continued agreement to be bound by this Agreement, as changed from time to time. You should view these Terms and Conditions often to stay informed of changes that may affect you.

    GOVERNING LAW

    This Agreement shall be governed by and construed under the law of the State of New York and the Federal law of the United States. You hereby consent and submit to jurisdiction in the Federal or state courts of the State of New York, U.S.A. You hereby irrevocably waive your rights to a jury trial.

    THIRD-PARTY LICENSORS

    The Sites may, from time to time, provide Client with various licensed programs ("Licensed Programs") from third-party vendors ("Vendors") which have been licensed by Bank of America for Client use and/or which require Client to sign a third-party license agreement ("License Agreement"). In using the Licensed Programs, Client agrees that it will

    • protect any confidential information of Bank of America, its Affiliates or Vendors contained in the Licensed Programs;
    • restrict the use of the Licensed Programs by Client solely to conditions agreed upon in the Agreement and the License Agreement;
    • restrict the copying of Licensed Programs to that number reasonably required for Client use and backup purposes
    • include Bank of America and Vendor copyright and all other proprietary notices in the use of all Licensed Programs;
    • prohibit the sale, relicensing, leasing, rental, lending and transferring of Licensed Programs;
    • prohibit, and take reasonable measures to prevent, the decompiling, disassembly, reverse engineering or modification of Licensed Programs;
    • comply with all export laws in respect of Licensed programs;
    • disclaim any liability on the part of Vendors for damages, liabilities, costs or expenses incurred by Client in the use of License Programs; and
    • make all vendors a third-party beneficiary of all Client waivers, disclaimers, limitation of liabilities, confidentiality and IP provisions contained in the Agreement.

    MERRILL LYNCH, PIERCE, FENNER & SMITH – FURTHER INFORMATION

    "Bank of America Merrill Lynch" is the marketing name for the global banking and global markets businesses of Bank of America Corporation. Lending, derivatives and other commercial banking activities are performed globally by banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation, including Bank of America, N.A., member FDIC. Securities, strategic advisory, and other investment banking activities are performed globally by investment banking affiliates of Bank of America Corporation ("Investment Banking Affiliates"), including, in the United States, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp., both of which are registered as broker-dealers and members of FINRA and SIPC, and, in other jurisdictions, by locally registered entities. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated and Merrill Lynch Professional Clearing Corp are registered as futures commission merchants with the CFTC and are members of the NFA. Investment products offered by Investment Banking Affiliates: Are Not FDIC Insured • May Lose Value • Are Not Bank Guaranteed.

    © 2017 Bank of America Corporation

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