In order to save or borrow money with a bank, it is necessary to have a savings account. Similarly, to invest in the stock market, you may open a dematerialization account.

Image Source – Demat Account

Understanding dematerialization [Demat] account

A dematerialization account, also known as a demat account, holds shares in an electronic format. It holds certificates of financial instruments that you have invested in, such as mutual funds, government securities, shares, and Exchange Traded Funds [ETFs], among others.

Benefits of having a dematerialization [Demat] account

You may open a demat account and enjoy the numerous benefits it has to offer. Following are five major advantages of holding shares in the dematerialized form.

  1. Through such an account, you may hold all your investments in a single account. It, therefore, acts as a common bank for your investments.
  2. Another major benefit is the automatic update facility. Since it is a common account, it eliminates the need to give out your personal details every time you make a transaction. Your personal information will automatically be made available to the companies you are transacting with.
  3. Holding shares in a physical format makes it susceptible to risks such as theft, loss of share certificates, or fake shares. Dematerialization, however, eliminates such risks. Upon approval of your trade, the securities get credited to your online demat account. Your securities are, therefore, safe and free from risks.
  4. Traditionally, it was necessary to pay stamp duty while transferring securities. This cost is eliminated while transacting through your dematerialization account.

You may, therefore, avail of the above-mentioned benefits of a dematerialization account.

Procedure of opening a dematerialization account

Quite contrary to the popular belief that the process of demat account opening is a cumbersome task, the same is not true.

You may follow the below-mentioned steps and open an account easily and quickly.

  1. The first step is to choose a Depository Participant (DP) of your choice.
  2. You may then submit a duly-filled application form in the prescribed format. Along with the application, it is mandated to provide supporting documents such as proof of identity, proof of address, and PAN card copy, among others.
  3. The next step is to sign an agreement on a stamp paper provided by your Depository Participant.
  4. Upon successful opening of a demat account online, you will be allocated a unique beneficial owner identification number. This number is to be used as a reference in all your future transactions.
  5. Once your dematerialization account is opened with the Central Depository Services (India) Ltd [CDSL], you may then trade securities using your unique demat account

A dematerialization account offers numerous benefits to traders who buy and sell securities on a regular basis. You may open such an account or even multiple accounts with the same DP or with different DPs. By doing so, you may execute transactions easily, and have full control over the transaction being executed.

India’s leading bitcoin and crypto-assets exchange, Unocoin announced the availability of TrueUSD on its Unodax platform. With the current ban on INR to Crypto transactions in India, Unocoin intends to provide its users on Unodax platform with a secure and legal way of investing in digital assets. TrueUSD is the first stable coin built on TrustToken platform and 1 TUSD can be redeemed for 1 USD. The TUSD coin is listed for trading on trading exchanges globally like Unodax and is paired with a few major crypto-assets like BTC, ETH, BNB, KRW, and USDT.

Commenting on the availability of TrueUSD, Sathvik Vishwanath, Co-founder and CEO, Unocoin said

Post the RBI banning bank transfers for crypto trading and investment, we were looking for the plausible solutions to help our users continue to HODL, without any disruptions and hassles. With TrueUSD, we are excited to present our users with a long-awaited stable trading plan for crypto-assets traders in our Unodax exchange. Crypto enthusiasts may use this stable coin as a medium of exchange for other crypto-assets and minimize their risks in a volatile market.

TrueUSD provides crypto-assets traders with a stable coin to hedge as an alternative, and minimize their exposure to BTC/ETH and INR, while entering the crypto market. Presenting an alternative to traditional currency methods, TrueUSD runs on scrutinized and monitored escrow accounts, bridging the gap between real-world assets and blockchain technology.

TUSD enables mainstream adoption of digital currencies, with all transactions being legit and secure, giving confidence to the ambitious crypto traders and investors to use TUSD as an INR alternative. Considering its stability, TUSD qualifies as a secure base currency to trade cryptocurrencies. In times of price volatility, TUSD will help users hold their assets value. This, in return, will boost the intermittent cryptocurrency trading experience in India. Beyond serving as a liquidity token on exchanges initially, TUSD may also be used for e-commerce, by being available for international transfers without exchange rate risk.

TrueUSD is currently available on Unodax exchange website and on the Unodax app as well.

About Unocoin

Started in 2013, Unocoin is a Bangalore based technology startup and is India’s first entrant into the crypto-assets industry. The company operates India’s largest crypto-assets exchanges, which enables Indians to buy, sell, store, use, and accept crypto-assets. It also offers a full-featured mobile app, with 24/7 access to real-time crypto-assets market prices and instantaneous trading transactions. With over 1,200,000 customers, Unocoin processes transactions worth more than INR 2B, every month.

In September 2016, Unocoin has raised $2 million in a Pre Series-A round, the highest total raised for a digital currency venture in Indian history. Funding was sourced from well-known Indian entities such as Blume Ventures, Mumbai Angels and ah! Ventures along with prominent international investors such as Digital Currency Group, Boost VC, Bank to the Future, Bitcoin Capital, Huiyin Ventures and FundersClub to move faster towards its vision of Making Money Simple through its mission Bringing Bitcoin to Billions. For more information, please visit Unocoin

NiYO Solutions Inc. [interaction with the NiYo founder here], a new-age digital banking solution for salaried employees, announced the launch of the Global Card, aimed at making international transactions safer and inexpensive. International travelers are always burdened with the high currency exchange rate charged by issuing banks for all transactions made outside the country. This rate can vary between 1~3% of the amount transacted. Banks also charge either a flat fee or a set percentage of the transaction amount, in addition to the currency exchange charge. In fact, travelers face a variety of issues with current multi-currency cards, starting from the difficulty in issuance, having to go to a branch to load/unload currency, challenges in tracking spending, etc.

The NiYO Global Card offers instant setup, convenient loading from any account via NEFT/IMPS, ZERO currency exchange premium, and zero international transaction fees on usage anywhere in the world. This makes present day multi-currency cards and traveler’s cheques redundant.

The card is supported by a cutting edge mobile banking app which gives users ability to lock and unlock either the full card or a payment channel anytime, anywhere. The app also provides real-time notifications on usage, exchange rates, and refunds, while helping users find convenient ATM locations, avail nearby offers, and much more.

If you are a business traveler, you can submit claims on-the-go by adding bills for each transaction right in the app. These claims can be instantaneously approved by your organization via the NiYO Corporate Portal. The NiYO Global Card is being launched in partnership with the DCB Bank and can be used at ATMs, POS terminals, and for online transactions in any country.

Features of the NiYO Global Card

  • Can be used at over 2 million VISA/MasterCard ATMs and over 35 million merchant outlets across the world
  • Load the card and check account balance in INR, no need to add international currency
  • For security, the card can be blocked using the NiYO mobile app and can be locked through the app when not in use
  • No minimum balance or low balance fines
  • Real time notification alerts of transactions
  • Users can reload the card instantly with ease from any bank account via NEFT/IMPS
  • Additional offers and benefits available at select outlets across the world
  • Features such as ATM locator and travel insurance included with the card

The United Nations World Tourism Organization [UNWTO] has estimated that by 2020, India will account for 50 million outbound tourists. With 65 million Indian passport holders and the ease of access in obtaining visa-on-arrival in more than 50 countries, it is no surprise that global spending by Indians is on the rise. According to the regulations by the Reserve Bank of India, Indian travellers are allowed to spend up to $250,000 outside the country in a year, in areas such as investments, education, medical expenses, property transactions, gifts, and donations.

By January 2018, Indian travellers had spent $1.2 billion abroad within 10 months. This has created immense opportunity for travel-friendly cards, and NiYO aims to be the market leader in this space. NiYO plans to issue 5 millions cards in next 2 years.

Vinay Bagri, CEO and Co-founder, NiYO said

I have seen people struggle with present day foreign currency solutions during travel and decided to make one of the best travel card solutions in the world. With the NiYO Global Card and App, we have achieved that. Our Mobile app, with path-breaking features like card control, channel control, and real-time notifications, and a card with zero markup and global acceptance, means that whether you are traveling for business or personal use, NiYO Global Card is the only card you need. 

About NiYO

Founded in 2015 by Vinay Bagri and Virender Bisht, NiYO’s mission is to increase cash flow for all salaried individuals by leveraging technology in the areas of payroll & benefits. NiYO features an integrated solution comprising of a Multi-Pocket Card, a Mobile App, and a digital account with multiple wallets.

Vinay has spent more than 18 years working with diverse organizations like Parle, 3M, ICICI Bank, SCB, ING, and Kotak Mahindra Bank. He combines a deep understanding of distribution and retail banking, having spent over a decade in leadership roles across unsecured lending, retail liabilities, corporate salary, and retail banking strategy.

Virender is a seasoned technology professional with 16 years of experience in creating world-class software products for companies like MobiKwik, Makemytrip [MMYT],, Exponential Inc, GE Medical Systems, and Tata Consultancy Services. Virender is a hands-on technologist and has a reputation for building scalable solutions for e-commerce and payments domain.

Generally, your investment decisions are based on your personal needs and experiences. Proper planning is crucial for the financial security of you and your family.

Image Source – Finance

There are several investment products to choose from. Making an accurate choice may be difficult and require enough time to conduct adequate research. Here are five financial decisions you must never delay to avoid issues in the future.

  1. Investing a small amount

If you are like most young adults, you would prefer spending your income rather than thinking about savings for the future. You may think that financial goals, such as retirement are far away and planning early for them is not important. However, the consequences of such a delay may be catastrophic.

When you delay your investment decision, you lose out on the opportunity of accumulating a huge corpus through the power of compounding. The amount you invest earns certain returns depending on the type of investing. This income earns additional returns through compounding, thereby helping you accumulate a huge corpus over the long term.

When you are young and at the start of your career, your income may not be high. Therefore, you may not have a huge disposable amount for saving. The smaller amount may discourage you from investing; however, you must remember that through compounding, even a small amount accumulates to a larger sum.

  1. Availing of life cover

A life insurance policy is important to ensure the financial security of your family in your absence. The life cover will pay the policy benefits to your beneficiaries in case of your premature demise. This money is able to ensure they are able to meet their expenses and sustain their lifestyle even in your absence.

It is recommended you avail of a coverage of at least six to seven times your annual income. However, you must not only consider your family’s financial needs but also take into account the outstanding loans while determining the insurance cover. When you consider life cover, consider certain goals, such as children’s education and marriage. A term insurance plan is an excellent way to procure higher coverage at an affordable premium.

You must not delay availing of life coverage because as you grow older, the risk of suffering from ailments increases. As a result, the premium on your policy also increases. It is recommended you compare different plans offered by various insurers to choose the best term insurance plan that suits your requirements.

  1. Appointing nominees

This is a commonly overlooked financial decision that many people put off. However, you must appoint nominees when you invest in financial products, buy an insurance policy or open a bank account. This ensures your family does not have to deal with the stress of distributing your assets in case of your demise at a time when they are already dealing with emotional trauma.

  1. Purchase critical illness coverage

You may be able to meet the fund requirements for a hospitalization or a surgery. However, if you are diagnosed with a critical illness, the treatment may take a long time and may be expensive. Therefore, you must purchase a critical illness cover in addition to your life and health insurance plan.

  1. Estate planning

Life is uncertain, and therefore, it is recommended you make a will to avoid any issues after your demise. You must also list down all your assets, liabilities, and investments. It is recommended you include important information, such as maturity dates, starting date, premium payment dates, and maturity benefits for your various investments. You must keep your family informed about this information, which must be safely stored.

Financial decisions are important to provide security. It is, therefore, crucial that you never delay such decisions to avoid complications in the future.

Denave, a global sales tech organization focused on driving revenue growth for its customers, recently unveiled its sales force automation solution DenSales. DenSales is Denave’s proprietary Sales Force Automation tool that is designed and developed to address all the existing as well as possible business challenges while implementing a feet-on-street strategy. It is a holistic solution for planning and managing the field force program, offering end-to-end visibility to all the stakeholders in the sales ecosystem.

Image Source – Denave

DenSales, available in both web and mobile interfaces, has been created to address pertinent sales process issues such as inaccurate process of capturing sales data, fraudulent reporting, limited stock visibility, absence of structured communication platform, limited first-hand market insights and more.

Commenting on the product launch, Prashant Rohatgi, Global Head – Technology, Denave said

DenSales is a definitive 360-degree sales force automation solution that not only gives an absolute control of the sales process to the stakeholders thus preventing sales leakage, but it is also pivotal towards increasing the productivity of the field team. It features sales force engagement and performance, fraud prevention, on-the-go training, closed loop issue management and market intelligence. It has unique combination of mobile app and web console to capture information faster and real-time dashboards and actionable reports to disseminate seamlessly.

Sharing his views on the product’s future roadmap, Snehashish Bhattacharjee, Global CEO, Denave, said

With DenSales, we aim to make Intelligent Sales Force Automation a reality – one that is intuitive and predictive. It will eventually act as an Executive Assistant to the stakeholders where it becomes their one-stop go-to-platform for all sales force-related business decisions. Most importantly, it will be a business essential for providing that critical last mile visibility, which in the current scenario is mostly missing. The reactions of our initial customers have been very heartening, and we are confident of DenSales becoming a business-essential and a market success soon.

Denave has been enabling sales for organizations since over 19 years now and has influenced more than 5 billion USD in revenues. Denave significantly diversified its service line in 2017 and introduced Digital Marketing and Sales Analytics as new services, contributing to revenue across all industry verticals including technology, telecom, ONG, Consumer Durables, FMCG, E-commerce, mobile wallets & more.

About Denave

Denave is a global sales enablement company focused on driving revenue growth for its customers through a wide range of service offerings. The company leverages latest technology trends and disruptive approach to create effective sales engines. Denave has built multi-industry expertise partnering with global businesses and takes a solution-conscious approach to deliver best practices in sales by leveraging people, processes, technology and innovation to drive revenue. Denave has reach across 5 continents, 50+ countries and 500+ cities globally. For more information, please visit Denave

Mindtree, a global technology services and digital transformation company, guiding its clients to achieve faster business outcomes, is using Artificial Intelligence [AI] and Machine Learning [ML] to help banks improve their ability to detect financial crimes and enhance reconciliation management. These service offerings are made possible through a partnership with Tookitaki’s machine-learning-powered platform.

Image Source – Mindtree

Banks and other financial institutions are challenged by both the rising sophistication of financial crimes worldwide and increasingly complex regulations requiring strict operating and reporting standards. The ongoing efforts to manually detect money laundering, dealing with false alarms and fragmented reconciliation processes are costly and time consuming. There is an urgent need for these institutions to automate many of these processes, reducing errors and accelerating their response times to incidents.

To address these challenges, Mindtree and Tookitaki are now offering these services

Smart Alert Management

A completely automated, dynamically-adaptive model based on artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to detect suspicious cases more accurately. It reduces false alerts, increases true positives [suspicious cases missed by rules/legacy systems], lowers costs, and enhances the productivity of analysts. Banks can improve the anti-money laundering process using machine learning.

Smart Reconciliation Management

An end-to-end automated approach to reconciliation management across business functions. Using machine learning and analytics, it increases match rates, resolves exceptions, recommends adjustment amounts and generates an audit trail for thorough business understanding. This shifts reconciliation from being subjective and error-prone to objective and more accurate. Banks can automatically handle exceptions and correct source systems while staying compliant.

Kamran Ozair, EVP & Head of Banking, Financial Services and Insurance at Mindtree, said

There is a compelling need for banks today to automate many traditionally manual, intensive, error-prone tasks. This partnership combines Tookitaki’s predictive modeling capabilities and Mindtree’s deep expertise in helping enterprise clients capitalize on artificial intelligence and machine learning to help banks run their business more efficiently.

Abhishek Chatterjee, Founder & CEO of Tookitaki, said

Rapid development in artificial intelligence and robotics technologies has brought in massive adoption of automated technologies across industries. For banks especially, who are dealing with strict regulations and little room for error, automation can drive quality, productivity and profitability. Our partnership with Mindtree has made it easier and more efficient for customers in the financial services industry to introduce artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities into the critical space of regulatory compliance.

About Mindtree

Mindtree is a global technology consulting and services company, helping Global 2000 corporations marry scale with agility to achieve competitive advantage. ‘Born digital’ in 1999, more than 340 enterprise clients rely on our deep domain knowledge to break down silos, make sense of digital complexity and bring new initiatives to market faster. Operating across 17 countries, Mindtree is consistently regarded as one of the best places to work, embodied every day by our winning culture made up of 19,000 entrepreneurial, collaborative and dedicated ‘Mindtree Minds’

Indian School of Business’s Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise conducted a research study Family Businesses: Promoters’ Skin in the Game 2001~2017, which reveals the pattern of increasing stake of promoters in NSE and BSE listed family firms. The research study, conducted by Dr. Nupur Pavan Bang, Prof. Kavil Ramachandran and Anierudh Vishwanathan of the Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise at ISB and Prof. Sougata Ray of IIM Calcutta, provides insights into the ownership pattern of family firms in comparison to the non-family firms and also explores the heterogeneity within family firms.

Image Source – Family Business

It is a first- of- its kind research study that presents and analyses the trends in equity ownership by various classes of shareholders for 4,615 firms listed on the National Stock Exchange [NSE] and the Bombay Stock Exchange [BSE] of India, across different ownership categories, for the period 2001~2017.

The research study attempted to give a bird’s eye view of the shareholding pattern of listed Indian firms. Dr Nupur Bang saied

We found that promoters of family firms have increased their stake in their companies over the last decade, while State owned Enterprises [SOEs], Other Business Group Firms [OBGFs] and Standalone Non-family Firms [NFs] have witnessed a decline in promoter shareholding. This reinforces the preeminent role of family-controlled businesses in India. It seems to imply that the engine of growth of Indian businesses will not be dependent on overseas or other promoter categories. Instead, promoters of family firms will continue to play a major role.

Professor Kavil Ramachandran, Executive Director, Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise said

The ownership pattern of listed businesses in India is fairly concentrated, especially in the case of family firms, SOEs and MNCs. While this has significant positive effects, there is also a need to keep close vigil on their governance practices.

Key findings of the study

Rising Promoters’ stake – The research study finds that while the concentration of promoters’ shareholding is decreasing in non-family firms, it is increasing in the family firms.  By steadily increasing their shareholding in the firm, the promoters of family firms, both family business group firms [FBGFs] and standalone family firms [SFFs], were signaling their growing confidence in the potential of their company, thereby instilling confidence among the investors. Promoters of MNCs have also increased their stake in their Indian subsidiary, probably indicating their belief in the ‘India story’.

The promoter stake in State Owned Enterprises [SOEs] has been steadily falling over the past decade. This is in line with the policies of the successive governments in India to divest their holding in the SOEs. Other business group firms [OBGFs] and standalone non-family firms [NFs] have also witnessed a decrease in promoter shareholding.

Rising Trend of Holding Shares Through Companies – In FBGFs, the preferred mode to hold shares is through holding companies, while in SFFs the family members prefer to hold shares directly as individuals or Hindu Undivided Family [HUF]. In FBGFs, holding companies or trusts that hold shares of all companies on behalf of the family members enable better resource allocation, control, realisation of synergies and tax planning within all group level firms and better management of ownership, inheritance and payouts at the family level.

It also enables the family to professionalize each of the firm while the family maintains a bird’s eye view at the group level. SFFs are younger with less complex structures both at the family and the business front. As they grow the complexities of inheritance, succession and growth would force them too to adopt better structures of ownership.  Entry of the next generation into the business and more interest in the business by the extended family with better performance and increased scale would point towards a need to streamline ownership and be prepared for future structure, governance and professionalization needs of the firm. Therefore, we see a gradual increase in shareholding through companies even in the case of SFFs.

Declining Institutional Shareholding in Family Firms – Non-promoter institutional shareholding is lower in family firms when compared with non-family firms and it has decreased further between 2007 to 2017. As a block holder, institutional shareholders influence the governance and strategy of the firm; if they refrain from investing in family firms, the pursuit of governance will take longer. Institutional investment is inversely proportional to promoter’s shareholding, especially in the case of family firms, higher preference is given to the firm where family ownership is lower.

Non-family firms in general have strong formal internal control mechanisms to keep the personal interests of managers out of the company’s functioning. Consequently, the probability of a strong and independent corporate governance mechanism is greater for a non-family firm. Institutional investors have a strong preference for firms with good governance. Thus, we see higher institutional shareholding in NFs and OBGFs.

Reluctant Non-Institutional Shareholders – Except NFs, our study shows a decline in the shareholding of non-promoter non-institutional shareholders. It suggests that investors’ preferences might have further shifted to alternative asset classes like real estate, gold, and fixed deposits or they might be investing through institutional investors like the mutual funds. Most of the decline is due to small investors with upto than Rs. 1 Lakh worth of shares. These small investors have reduced their holdings across all ownership categories. This may be due to the lack of disposable income in the hands of small investors.

Also, such investors are typically the last-in in a bull market and end up buying at a very high price and selling cheap when the market starts to stumble. Repeated such experiences make them wary of the market. FBGFs and SFFs have fairly large non-institutional shareholdings, even though it’s been on a decline. On deep diving, we find that the average shareholding may be skewed due to outliers. In the case of family firms, more so in SFFs, we find a large number of firms that report a very large percentage of shares being held by non-promoter non-institutional shareholders. On checking the websites of some of these companies, it is clear that these are family owned and controlled firms.

Moreover, for many of them, the number of such investors remains constant quarter after quarter. That is a very unlikely scenario in the case of small investors and leaves a lot to speculation. In a few cases, we find that the names of shareholders disclosed by the company under the category of non-institutional shareholders with shares in excess of Rs. 1 lakh, have the same surname as the promoters or surnames from the same community. This calls for the regulator to closely scrutinize the shareholders in this category to ensure that the law is obeyed in spirit and not just in letter.

About The Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise

The Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise was launched on February 7, 2015 with an aim to advance real-world and academic knowledge of family business. Since its inception, the Centre has been bringing together faculty and practitioners from India and abroad with the broad aim of combining theory and practice to enhance research and innovation in the field. Family businesses make a major contribution towards wealth creation, job generation, and increasing competitiveness in countries around the world. As such, the unique challenges and opportunities faced by them are rapidly becoming an important subject of management research.

Cognizant of these developments, a Chair was set up in 2006 at ISB, which later developed into a full-fledged Centre. It has been generously funded with support from Thomas Schmidheiny, Founder and Chairman of Spectrum Value Management, Ltd, Switzerland. The Centre has forged several collaborations with academic institutions and professional organizations at both the national as well as international level. These engagements have helped the Centre to contribute significantly to the growing body of research on various aspects of family business.

ACT Fibernet [Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd.] India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP* announced its partnership with Amazon Pay to create a quick and seamless bill payment channel for its customers. As part of the tie-up, ACT Fibernet will integrate Amazon Pay on its company website, portal and app, which will provide the users an additional channel to make online payments.

E-wallet has become ubiquitous owing to its benefits of being a convenient and secure mode of payment. With an aim to provide a holistic user experience with ACT Fibernet, this latest feature will help accelerate the transaction process and facilitate one tap bill payment. The e-wallet facility will be made available to all the 1.3 million registered customers across 14 cities where ACT Fibernet has presence.

Speaking on the partnership, Ravi Karthik, Head of Marketing, Atria Convergence Technologies Ltd said

Digital wallet payment has phenomenally transformed the way we make monetary transactions today. It is fast, secure and highly convenient. We are extremely happy to extend the e-wallet service to our customers via Amazon Pay – one of the most trusted consumer brands. We believe this easy payment option will amplify our users experience and add value to their lives.

Commenting on the partnership, Manesh Mahatme, Director – Acceptance and Merchant Payments, said

We are happy to partner with ACT Fibernet to extend the trusted and convenient Amazon Pay experience for customers. We understand our customers’ needs and continuously seek to enhance their payment experience across platforms they frequently use.  Our primary tenet of any partnership is to make digital payments the most trusted, convenient and rewarding choice for customers.

In addition to this, Amazon Pay will run exciting cashback offers for ACT Fibernet customers. Users making bill payment or applying for new connections through Amazon Pay on ACT Fibernet website portal or App in the month of August will be rewarded with exciting cashback offers – which could be used to purchase any product or service within the wallet.

About ACT Fibernet*

ACT Fibernet, India’s largest fiber-focused wired broadband ISP as on September 30, 2017 [in terms of number of fiber broadband internet subscribers from residential homes] [India Broadband Market Overview – 2017 dated February 19, 2018, prepared by Media Partners Asia]. Headquartered in Bengaluru, ACT Fibernet has operations in 14 Indian cities as on December 31, 2017 with approximately 1.3 million customers.