- Today’s main news: Wela pairs AI with financial advisors in mobile app. KBRA assigns prelim ratings to Avant Funding Trust 2017-A. Assetz Capital to launch property-only, longer-term accounts. Mint Bridging ups development as FC exits market. China Creation Ventures leads $16M IceKredit round.
- Today’s main analysis: Affordability of houses in U.S. cities relative to income.
- Today’s thought-provoking articles: List of Europe’s fastest-growing companies. China’s new illegal fundraising topped $36B last year. Mapping robos around the world.
- Wela launches mobile app pairing AI with real financial advisors. GP:”In online lending the equivalent would be mixing AI underwriting and human underwriting. “AT: “It won’t be long before everyone is managing their finances with mobile apps: Household income, investments, savings, college education expenses, you name it. Artificial intelligence will be a major part of that movement.”
- Kroll assigns preliminary ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A. GP:”Avant continues to securitize and the securitization continues to perform well. This is great news for Avant and their peers.”
- Affordability of houses in major U.S. cities relative to income. GP:”Afforability of housing, as it is the largest budget item in most people’s budget, is correlated with all kind of useful parameters like affordability,etc. However, the correlation is not always in the direction one would expect: if housing is cheap it could mean people have no credit/only expensive credit options/no good income , etc. “AT: “While interesting data, this says nothing about whether these markets are good investment markets for real estate. Rather, its says a lot more about whether John Q. Homeowner can afford to buy a home in these markets. Looking at median incomes, I’d say the majority of income earners all across the country would have a difficult time buying a home in most of these markets. But the data can also be misleading. For instance, in Dallas, the median house value is $162,300, but the average middle-class home purchaser can get a home for half that. Medians don’t give a realistic view of on-the-ground reality, in my opinion.”
- Upgrade to hire up to 300 in Phoenix. GP:”Renaud Laplanche is hiring up to 300 people after barely opening doors. Lending Club I believe has about 1,000 employees. In my personal experience in growing companies I made the mistake of hiring too many too fast and I now prefer to see what I can do with as few people as possible.” AT: “Upgrade is expanding fast. I wonder why they chose Phoenix.”
- Reliamax now services $275M in private student loans. GP:”A decent size portofolio. We encourage as much transparency as possible. I wish more companies published their portofolio size and numbers.”
- RIP MPL? AT: “This is an apologia for Misys, which I think is trying too hard to convince people that banks can compete with fintech companies on technology. One problem: They haven’t proven it yet, and it doesn’t appear as if they are working at it real hard. In order for the premise to be true, community banks will have to follow the larger banks in adopting emerging technologies, and very few of them are. I don’t even think it’s on their radars.”
- Lending Technologies introduces Leads2Lend. GP:”We have on our database close to 20 tech companies who provide platforms to lenders. How many more will enter this space? Is this a crowded space yet?”
- Banks to overhaul their technology. AT: “There are some valiant efforts here, but big banks are not agile. I don’t see these changes happening as rapidly as their digital competitors in fintech can operate.”
- How the CRE industry is adapting to fintech.
- Comparative look at REITs and MPL. GP:”REIT is very tax efficient.”
- Roostify names Frank Gelbart as CRO.
- Assetz Capital to launch property-only, longer-term accounts. GP:”I believe that listening to customer requests and needs is the way to go. A very good step if the customers demand this offering.”
- Mint Bridging ups development lending as FC exits. GP:”Funding Circle most likely exited the market due to bad performance of the product. I hope Mint Briging has considered this and is using a very strong underwriting and anti fraud model built on reliable large amounts of data. “AT: “I see more companies filling the gap with FC’s absence.”
- P2PGI keeps NAV growing through asset-backed market. GP:”Main reason: shit away from US and unsecured assets.”
- Growth Street reports rapid growth as 600 investors sign up in 5 months. GP:”Please keep in mind that Zopa never paid to acquire lenders in the p2p model as the numbers don’t add up. They always relied only on word of mouth.”
- An MBA grad left traditional banking to launch online lender. AT: “You have to move to where the opportunities are.”
- The House Crowd celebrates five years of property crowdfunding.
- Lend and earn up to 6% with Kuflink.
- 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe. AT: “Several are fintechs, including RateSetter, iZettle, Trustly, and Prepaid Financial Services.”
- China Creation Ventures leads $16M round for IceKredit. GP:”IceKredit applies machine learning algorithms and big data related technologies to make all-rounded credit evaluations for individuals and SMEs in China. The interesting part is that it’s hard to underwrite SMEs and individuals in a market like China. “
- China’s illegal fundraising topped $36B last year. AT: “That’s larger than some countries’ total fintech volume.”
- Dianrong prepares full blockchain integration. GP:”Keep in mind that Dianrong’s founder and CEO is a co-founder of Lending Club and an advisor of Renaud Laplanche’s Upgrade which is already using Blockchain for internal controls. “AT: “I’ll be anxious to see how this works out.”
- P2P lending news in China. GP:”We are not publishing part of our Chinese news in English and in Chinese. Today’s news: P2P lending fair in Chengdu, P2Ps may acquire bank like license in the future, cahs loans over 600bil RMB. “AT: “In English and Chinese.”
- Half-hearted crackdown dents case for Chinese P2P. AT: “I agree that the crackdown doesn’t seem to be as aggressive as initially presented.”
- E. Sun launches AI chatbot to offer financial advice.
- Mapping robo-advisors around the globe. GP:”Robos market is well correlated with online lending.” AT: “That the wealthiest nation in the world would lead in WealthTech funding is not surprising. But this is about investment. U.S. consumers have not adopted robo-advice as quickly as consumers in other nations, especially Asia.”
- Fintech patents jump, U.S. leads. GP:”I am surprised China comes in as #2.” AT: “I think U.S. creators care more about protecting their intellectual property than creators in other parts of the world, or it could be that the U.S. mechanism for protecting patents is much more sophisticated and effective than in other parts of the world. Either way, you can’t judge the size of the fintech sector by patents alone. Otherwise, the UK would be way down the list.”
- United States
- Wela Launches World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA
- KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA
- Affordability Of Houses In Major U.S. Cities (Relative To Income) (Investment Zen), Rated: AAA
- California finance startup opening downtown Phoenix office, hiring up to 300 (Biz Journals), Rated: A
- ReliaMax Now Services $ 275 Million in Private Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A
- Marketplace lending RIP? (Bankless Times), Rated: A
- Lending Technologies Corp Introduces Leads2Lend CAM Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A
- An omnichannel overhaul in 5 steps (American Banker), Rated: A
- How is the CRE Industry Adapting to the Emergence of Fintech Solutions? (NREI Online), Rated: A
- Comparative look into REITs and Marketplace Lending (Realty Biz News), Rated: B
- Roostify Names Frank Gelbart as Chief Revenue Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B
- United Kingdom
- Assetz Capital to launch property-only and longer-term accounts (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA
- Mint Bridging ups development lending as Funding Circle exits market (Financial Reporter), Rated: AAA
- P2PGI keeps NAV growing through UK asset-backed market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A
- Growth Street Reports Rapid Growth as 600 Investors Sign Up in Just 5 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A
- High earners log-on for robo-advice (Finextra), Rated: A
- An MBA Graduate Left Banking To Launch Online Lender Spotcap Overseas (BusinessBecause), Rated: A
- The House Crowd Celebrates Five Years of Property Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A
- Lend and earn annual returns of up to 6% with Kuflink (Property Investor Today), Rated: B
- European Union
- The FT 1000: The complete list of Europe’s fastest-growing companies (Financial Times), Rated: AAA
- China Creation Ventures Leads $ 16M Round In SME Credit Firm IceKredit (China Money Network), Rated: AAA
- China’s new illegal fundraising topped $ 36 billion last year (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA
- P2P Giant Dianrong is Preparing for Full Blockchain Integration (Coindesk), Rated: A
- P2P Lending News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A
- Half-hearted crackdown dents case for Chinese P2P (NASDAQ), Rated: A
- E.Sun launches new AI chabot to offer futuristic financial advice (The China Post), Rated: B
- Mapping Robo-Advisors Around The Globe (CB Insights), Rated: AAA
- Fintech patents jump in “arms race” between banks and startups: These are the 10 countries filing the most (City A.M.), Rated: B
- Fintech firms that walk the talk (The Australian), Rated: A
Wela Launches World’s First Financial Advice App Pairing Artificial Intelligence with Real Advisors (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA
Wela today announces its free mobile app changing the way financial advice is delivered by pairing real financial advisors with Artificial Intelligence (AI) through the personification of its digital advising algorithm, Benjamin. The first true digital advisor, Benjamin utilizes AI to track users’ daily, weekly and monthly spending habits and provides personalized advice based on their financial needs and goals. Unlike other free consumer finance apps on the market, Wela pairs AI capabilities with a human touch, offering access to real financial advisors via phone, video chat or in-person at no additional cost.
The Wela iOS app enables users to track all their financial accounts in one place, protecting user privacy by leveraging bank-level security, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption and two forms of secure authentication. Capable of aggregating data from more than 13,000 financial institutions, Wela’s digital advising algorithm, Benjamin, uses linked account information to run a complete analysis, helping users take steps toward financial health based on three main pillars: creating an emergency reserve, paying off debt, and implementing an investment strategy. In addition to Benjamin’s foundational metrics, the algorithm delivers custom insights on demand, helping users stay on track to reach their short- and long-term goals.
Wela’s in-app budgeting tool, Benjamin, makes budgeting tangible and prevalent on a day-to-day basis. Once Benjamin is activated, the onboarding process begins with the creation of a personalized ‘Daily Spend Limit’. Benjamin then compares that number to actual daily spending and other transactions so users can understand how they are progressing toward the customizable goals they have set for themselves within the app. With real-time analysis of daily spending, rather than an end-of-month review, users are empowered with a better budgeting method and reassurance in their progress.
“Wela is the first free app to give comprehensive financial advice in real time in real-world scenarios personalized for you,” said Matt Reiner, Wela CEO and co-founder.
KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: AAA
Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns preliminary ratings to three classes of notes issued by Avant Loans Funding Trust 2017-A (“AVNT 2017-A”). This is a $192.6 million consumer loan ABS transaction that is expected to close on May 4, 2017.
This transaction represents Avant, Inc.’s (“Avant”, the “Servicer” or the “Company”) fourth rated securitization collateralized by a trust certificate backed by unsecured consumer loans originated through its online marketplace lending platform (“Avant Platform”). There have been four prior unrated securitizations, in which Avant or Avant’s institutional investors were the sponsors and the collateral was unsecured consumer loans originated under the Avant Platform.
Avant has a strategic partnership with WebBank, whereby WebBank, a Utah chartered industrial bank, originates loans through the Avant Platform. Avant utilizes technology and customized scoring models to assign credit grades. The Avant website is designed to provide customers with an easy interface and quick online loan decisions at competitive rates compared to traditional lending platforms.
Avant retains a portion of loans originated through the Avant Platform. Avant does not fund loans through a peer-to-peer platform, but instead partners exclusively with institutional investors for whole loan sales.
Affordability Of Houses In Major U.S. Cities (Relative To Income) (Investment Zen), Rated: AAA
Using median income data from the U.S. census and median home prices from Zillow, this map shows how many years of median income it costs to purchase a median house in each of these cities.
- Median House Value: $38,200
- Median Household Income: $25,764
- Amount of Income Needed to Purchase: 1.5x
- Median House Value: $1,147,300
- Median Household Income: $81,294
- Amount of Income Needed to Purchase: 14.1x
California finance startup opening downtown Phoenix office, hiring up to 300 (Biz Journals), Rated: A
San Francisco-based financial services startup Upgrade Inc. is opening its first expansion office in downtown Phoenix, with plans to potentially hire up to 300 people.
The startup is opening an operations center in July on two floors of the Renaissance Square Building One at 2 N. Central Ave.
ReliaMax Now Services $ 275 Million in Private Student Loans (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A
ReliaMax, the complete private student lending solutions provider for banks, credit unions and alternative lenders, says it services $275 million in loans, an increase of nearly 670 percent from the close of 2015, driven by portfolio conversions that helped banks, credit unions and alternative lenders enter the private student loan asset class.
The ReliaMax loan servicing platform was built with the latest technology and exclusively for private student loans, making it unencumbered by the infrastructure constraints facing other student loan servicers whose platforms were designed to principally serve federal student loans or other consumer loans.
Marketplace lending RIP? (Bankless Times), Rated: A
Once banks master financial technology, the marketplace lending industry is in deep trouble, Jean-Cedric Jollant believes. And the bad news is that’s starting to happen.
“The (fintech) challengers made the move by trying to build a hybrid model where they may not own 100 per cent, 50 per cent or even zero per cent of a loan, but the need the technology to do that,” Mr. Jollant said. “They need new underwriting material and servicing software which they don’t necessarily have.”
Once more banks embrace new technology, they will be able to capitalize on a long list of advantages they have over marketplace lenders, Mr. Jollant said. Their abilities to process payments, service credit and onboard customers are superior. Close the technology gap and the banks can provide much better service at competitive rates.
“So (the marketplace lenders) are just intermediaries. Eventually they will not be able to compete with banks. The only difference between what the marketplace lenders are doing today and the banks really is the underwriting model and that gap will be breached really fast.”
Mr. Jollant believes the venture capital industry will soon begin to sour on marketplace lenders, possibly as soon as later this summer. Those surviving that will then have to withstand the next downturn, which many models have yet to be tested by.
Lending Technologies Corp Introduces Leads2Lend CAM Solution (PR Newswire), Rated: A
B2B fintech firm Lending Technologies Corp, a pioneer in loan origination technology, announces Leads2Lend, its new marketing platform for alternative lenders. Produced in cooperation with Lead One Marketing, Inc. the Leads2Lend program provides alternative finance companies with an all-in-one digital solution to identify and engage with potential new customers—ultimately leading to a stronger bottom line.
The Leads2Lend platform combines Lending Technologies Corp’s white-label customer acquisition management (CAM) technology with a digital marketing program that connects alternative finance firms with new clients. Using Lending Technologies Corp’s proprietary digital onboarding and loan building tools, designated agents can individually download leads and create bespoke lending solutions for the clients. Other functionalities include tools to expedite credit decisions and facilitate loan package construction.
Lending Technologies Corp’s white-labeled CAM technology, serving customers in the U.S. and Switzerland, provides a fully digital, mobile-responsive, end-to-end process for banks and alternative finance companies that allows lenders to save time and money while reducing the risk associated with underwriting loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Lending Technologies Corp provides a seamless, paperless solution to all users and gives loan officers the latest digital tools for lenders to issue credit decisions—all with a comprehensive back end.
An omnichannel overhaul in 5 steps (American Banker), Rated: A
U.S. Bank and Bank of Montreal have begun multiyear overhauls of their websites, mobile apps, call centers and ATMs.
Fix what’s broken. Both U.S. Bank and Toronto-based BMO are starting with the “dissatisfiers” — the things that vex customers or make them give up on one channel (say, mobile) and switch to another (such as the call center). JPMorgan also made this part of its approach when it rewrote its mobile app last year.
Make incremental enhancements.
U.S. Bank’s mobile app was improved 27 times in the past two years, with the help of so-called agile development methods.
BMO also has adopted agile development. “Gone are the days when our tech people took months and months and built detailed requirements,” Badarinath said.
Create a “unified customer experience.” For years, banks have talked about having a consistent experience across mobile apps, websites, branches, ATMs, video kiosks, call centers and text messages. Yet you would not want to talk with a teller the same way you tap on a mobile app or withdraw cash from an ATM.
This fits with recent Javelin research that found most consumers would prefer to apply for credit cards in digital channels: 48% said online, 13% mobile, and 34% said they would prefer a branch. For a checking account it was 41% online, 8% mobile and 49% in a branch.
Today, only 8% of successful applications start and finish in a smartphone or tablet.
Establish an innovation team.
BMO has a group whose job is to look for interesting fintechs the bank can partner with to augment his group’s work.
Test emerging technologies.
And it is exploring options for using chatbots to let people use text messages to request and perform transactions.
Gaston envisions using augmented reality to help customers who want to purchase a car, a house or a boat understand their options.
He foresees using machine learning in the bank’s decisions about online accounts.
How is the CRE Industry Adapting to the Emergence of Fintech Solutions? (NREI Online), Rated: A
NREI recently spoke with Frank Muhlon, head of transactions at CrediFi Corp., to hear more about what’s ahead for this segment of the market.
Frank Muhlon: For sales and financing, technology allows for faster and broader market reach, meaning you have the ability to get to multitudes of investors and lenders. Being able to get to those people faster is really helping to drive the business.
The other area is risk mitigation and the opportunity to reduce your risk, which goes hand-in-hand with more transparency and more information.
Frank Muhlon: At its heart, it has always been a people business and I really don’t foresee that changing. But tech and innovation have been a hallmark of commercial real estate for some time. Eight to 10 years ago we went through a significant and humbling downturn and going through that adversity brought innovation and numerous opportunities. Institutional capital, debt and equity capital got reshuffled, and it presented some opportunities in the marketplace.
I think there is a segment of our industry that is not completely convinced that tech is necessarily disrupting our business in the way that it is disrupting other industries.
Frank Muhlon: In the last five years, the crowdfunding space has grown. There were fewer than 10 pioneering real estate platforms focusing mostly on equity investment. Now there are arguably over 100 sites covering the entire capital stack.
Five years ago, crowdfunding as a whole was a few billion [dollars] in activity globally. In 2016, it was well over $50 billion. Real estate is a more modest piece of that, but it has grown substantially as well. There was about $3.5 billion in activity on real estate crowdfunding sites in 2016. That has been a tremendous growth market, and alternative financing and lending is seeing similar trends.
The online lending industry was about $40 billion last year and it could be upwards of $1 trillion in the next five years.
Frank Muhlon: CredifX is the first cloud-based and data-driven commercial real estate financing marketplace for borrowers, brokers and lenders. The platform focuses on loans of $1 million and up across all major property types nationally. We leverage technology to match loan applicants with financing based on their criteria and the extensive loan product offerings in our lender network.
Comparative look into REITs and Marketplace Lending (Realty Biz News), Rated: B
One reason to invest in REITs is the favorable tax treatment and dividend payouts. Unlike investing in businesses where you expect to see increasing profits from continued growth, 90% of the profits have to be issued in dividends from investments in REITs. Instead of waiting for a business venture to show profits before receiving a dividend, investors get their share quarterly or annually in regular dividend checks.
With Marketplace lending, investors can expect to receive monthly disbursements throughout the lifetime of the loan. Principal investments are typically returned to investors between 6 months to 24 months, depending on loan payoff dates and loan extensions. Servicing fees vary by marketplace lending platform, but typically range from 1% – 3%, compared to REIT management and servicing fees from 3% – 15%.
Finally, REITs instantly diversify your portfolio resulting in better returns. In one REIT you may be invested in a commercial building, an apartment building, and a couple of warehouse distribution centers. The more diverse the portfolio, the better the returns, and the better the hedge against volatility.
While this style of diversification may work to the benefit of experienced REIT investors. marketplace lending allows portfolio diversification controlled by the investor.
Roostify Names Frank Gelbart as Chief Revenue Officer (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: B
Roostify, a provider of automated mortgage transaction technology, today announced it has named Frank Gelbart as Chief Revenue Officer. Frank will be responsible for driving new and existing revenue streams as well as managing partner relationships for Roostify.
Assetz Capital to launch property-only and longer-term accounts (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA
ASSETZ Capital is launching two new investment accounts to capitalise on the surge of demand it has experienced on both the investor and the borrower side.
The peer-to-peer lending platform is expanding its account range to seven offerings, adding a longer-term and a purely property-backed account to its existing 30-day access, quick-access, green-energy, “great British business” and manual loan accounts, it told Peer-to-Peer Finance News.
The longer-term account will offer investors an interest rate of about 4.75 per cent over one-year investments, while the new specialist account, which caters for investors who want to focus exclusively on loans secured against property rather than other assets, will target returns of around five per cent.
Mint Bridging ups development lending as Funding Circle exits market (Financial Reporter), Rated: AAA
Mint Bridging has reported an “influx” of development finance business after Funding Circle announced plans to stop lending in this area earlier in the month.
Its product ranges can accommodate up to £5,000,000 at 80% LTV, with heavy refurbishment projects up to 100% of the purchase price & 100% of the refurbishment costs.
P2PGI keeps NAV growing through UK asset-backed market (P2P Finance News), Rated: A
P2P GLOBAL Investments (P2PGI) continued to shore up its finances in March, posting a 0.55 per cent increase in net asset value, from 0.38 per cent in February, which brings first-quarter growth to 1.17 per cent.
The P2P investor’s shift away from US and unsecured assets, as well as a share buyback last month, was the main driver of the improvement.
US consumer assets now dropped to 45.1 per cent of the London-listed fund’s portfolio, down from 46 per cent a month earlier and 48.4 per cent at the start of the year.
The firm is targeting a further reduction to 30 per cent of total investment, to boost its focus on UK property and asset-backed products, where it said new origination from partnering with P2P lenders has increased significantly in the last quarter
Growth Street Reports Rapid Growth as 600 Investors Sign Up in Just 5 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A
Peer to peer lender Growth Street is reporting solid growth. The online lender said it has captured over 600 investors since platform launch at the end of 2016. Growth Street is a platform that provides online financing options for UK SMEs. The company also touted its review on 4thWay that categorized the P2P lender as one of the lowest risk platforms in the industry.
High earners log-on for robo-advice (Finextra), Rated: A
The demand for robo-advice rises with income, despite it being widely seen as a low-cost financial advice solution, according to Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
Deloitte’s research shows over half (51%) of people earning £45,000 to £70,000 would use a robo-adviser for investments, compared with just 30% of those on incomes under £15,000.
Demand is highest amongst millennials, but the research suggests other age brackets could be interested in using robo-advice. Over two-fifths (43%) of 35-44 year old workers with a pension would use robo-advice on pensions, as would one-quarter (24%) for the 45-54 year olds and a fifth (21%) of those aged 55 and above. Also, 35% of defined contribution pension holders – more than three million people – would be willing to pay for robo-advice to invest their pension pots, with demand highest (45%) among those with the smallest pensions pots, many of whom cannot afford traditional advice.
An MBA Graduate Left Banking To Launch Online Lender Spotcap Overseas (BusinessBecause), Rated: A
When Niels Turfboer enrolled in the MBA program at IE Business School in Madrid, he looked beyond a traditional career in banking. He decided to join the fast-growing fintech industry instead.
Having worked at institutional lenders for over a decade, his MBA training enabled him to spot an opportunity in the business banking space. Four years after graduation, he joined fintech startup Spotcap as managing director.
Spotcap offers working capital lines of credit — up to £250,000 — to small and medium-sized companies online. Spotcap has a run rate of £100 million in loans per year. The company operates in Spain, the Netherlands and Australia. Spotcap also opened a branch in the UK last year, despite Brexit. The business employs 100 people and has raised €75 million in venture capital.
Q. Did you know you wanted to work in fintech before the MBA?
I’m a traditional banker. I worked for over a decade in the banking industry. But I wanted to be more entrepreneurial. There were opportunities to be entrepreneurial in banking, but after the crisis, this was gone. I chose a very particular school — IE — because it is known for having a strong focus on innovation and for being entrepreneurial. A large part of the MBA course is focused on teaching people to build and run a company.
Q. You’ve launched in the UK. After the Brexit uncertainty, are you reconsidering?
No. We moved in after Brexit. We were surprised at the result, but having analysed the situation, we concluded it’s not a negative. I see downsides, but not for our business model. We know there will be two years of deal making and uncertainty over trade barriers and freedom of movement. It tends to be bad for the economy, and this has had an impact. But we already had this knowledge moving into the market. We might be able to be more selective about lending to companies in industries that are hit hardest by the uncertainty. We are not going to do cherry picking, but we might take precautions in lending money. At the same time, during uncertainty banks are risk-averse and take a step back, and that opens up opportunities for the alternative finance sector to fill that gap.
Q. Is the MBA curriculum relevant to entrepreneurs?
Yes, at least the MBA I’ve done. At IE, 30% of the courses I did had an entrepreneurial focus.
The House Crowd Celebrates Five Years of Property Crowdfunding (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A
Manchester property crowdfunding, the House Crowd, is celebrating five years of operations having raised more than £44 million since it launched it 2012. According to the platform, the House Crowd now serves over 15,000 investors who have received over £9 million in returns. The House Crowd received the ‘Crowdfunding Platform of the Year’ award at this year’s inaugural Property Wire Awards, in recognition of its position in the alternative finance industry.
Lend and earn annual returns of up to 6% with Kuflink (Property Investor Today), Rated: B
The Kuflink Group is offering investors an opportunity to earn up to 6% a year through its peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform, while also providing short-term finance for those looking to invest in property.
When it comes to the option to lend against various properties on Kuflink’s P2P platform and earn up to 6% gross pa for short-terms, up to 12 months usually, interest is paid monthly.
Secondly, Kuflink offer short-term lending against property for business purposes for terms of up to 24 months.
The FT 1000: The complete list of Europe’s fastest-growing companies (Financial Times), Rated: AAA
|46||Epos Now||United Kingdom||Fintech||1,579%|
|335||Prepaid Financial Services||United Kingdom||Fintech||367%|
|763||Smart Currency Exchange||United Kingdom||Fintech||114%|
China Creation Ventures Leads $ 16M Round In SME Credit Firm IceKredit (China Money Network), Rated: AAA
China Creation Ventures, a newly founded venture firm established by several former KPCB executives, has led a RMB110 million (US$16 million) series A round in IceKredit Inc., a Shanghai-based credit assessment service provider catering to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Founded in 2015, IceKredit applies machine learning algorithms and big data related technologies to make all-rounded credit evaluations for individuals and SMEs in China.
Its products include an SMEs credit evaluation system and an individual credit assessment system, which consists of an anti-fraud engine, personal credit portrait and missing customer contact information restoration.
China’s new illegal fundraising topped $ 36 billion last year (Daily Mail), Rated: AAA
Chinese authorities vowed on Tuesday to step up a crackdown on illegal funding scams, after reporting 5,197 new criminal cases last year involving 251.1 billion yuan ($36.5 billion), state-run Shanghai Securities News reported.
More than 30 percent of illegal fundraising cases were related to private investment and financial intermediaries, including unlicensed investment advisers and providers of third-party wealth management products, the report said.
Moreover, financial fraud spread last year from China’s east to rural areas, where funds approached unsophisticated Chinese farmers, the office of the joint meeting said.
Last year China approved the arrest of 9,441 people on suspicion of illegal soliciting public deposits and prosecuted 14,745, according to a separate Shanghai Securities News report on Tuesday.
P2P Giant Dianrong is Preparing for Full Blockchain Integration (Coindesk), Rated: A
Already, Dianrong has co-founded a blockchain lending platform called Chained Finance; now, less than a week after the firm hired IPO expert Yawen Cui, he has revealed comprehensive plans to swap over much of the startup’s services to a blockchain.
By January of this year, Dianrong had released a statement showing that 3.62 million investors had originated a total of ¥16.2bn in loans last year alone, a 148% increase over the previous year, and its fourth year of growth.
Then, last month the firm revealed it had joined Taiwan-based Foxconn to launch Chained Finance, a blockchain trade finance platform built using technology from the Linux Foundation-led Hyperledger Project.
P2P Lending News (Xing Ping She Email), Rated: A
P2P Lending Funds Depository Cooperation Fair was held in Chengdu
On 24th April, “P2P Lending Funds Depository Cooperation Fair”was held in Chengdu by NIFA. The Fair is aiming at building bridges between P2P Lending institutions and banks.
Owing to the Fair, over 11 commercial banks, including Xingwang Bank, Ping An Bank, Beijing Bank, Shanghai Bank, Baoshang Bank, etc., reached agreements with over 50 P2P Lending institutions and five fintech companies. Officials from People’s Bank of China (Chengdu branch), Bureau of Finance of Sichuan Province, Chengdu financial services office and other relevant departments attended the Fair, with nearly 170 participants.
P2P Lending industry may acquire a bank-like license in the future
On April 22nd, China Fintech 50 Forum(CFT50) was found in Beijing. According to Yang Dong, the vice president of Renmin University Of China Law School and the director of Fintech and Internet Security Research Center（FTCS）, who involved in making CBRC Regulations on P2P lending industry, revealed that although P2P is currently playing the role of Internet information intermediary, it may develop to a bank-like institution acquiring a new type of license and the industry also has huge space in the future.
The scale of cash loan over 600billion RMB, who will be knocked down by regulations?
Due to the low threshold, lacking of supervision and disorderly development, problems such as violent collection, high commissions and usury, etc., cast a shadow on cash loan.
According to the instructions of the State Council and the requirements of Internet Financial Risk Special Rectification Office, cash loan has been incorporated into the rectification work of controlling Internet financial risk. In addition, Notice on carrying out the rectification work of “cash loan” business activities and its supplementary documents have been issued. Regulators also began to start the cash loan risk investigation.
Half-hearted crackdown dents case for Chinese P2P (NASDAQ), Rated: A
A half-hearted crackdown dents the investment case for Chinese peer-to-peer lending. While P2P lender China Rapid Finance is set for a $100 million initial public offering in New York, the timing looks bad. Sector heavyweight Lufax, last valued at $18.5 billion, is unlikely to list soon.
Instead, lending has accelerated and there are still more than 2,000 online platforms in operation, according to industry tracker Wangdaizhijia. Loan volumes in March hit a new record of 251 billion yuan ($36 billion), bringing the total outstanding to 921 billion yuan – up 83 percent in a year.
Shoddy local enforcement is the obvious culprit. Provinces and cities interpret the rules differently, according to an industry insider.
Investors are cautious too. China’s only U.S.-listed lender, Yirendai <YRD.N>, trades at just above 6 times forward earnings, down from more than 15 times last summer.
E.Sun launches new AI chabot to offer futuristic financial advice (The China Post), Rated: B
E.Sun Bank’s (玉山銀行) AI Chatbot (玉山小i) is the latest artificial intelligence financial advisor that Taiwan-based banks have launched to assist locals with any finance-related issues.
The AI Chatbot utilizes the IBM Watson Conversation Service to interpret commands and generate responses, local media reported.
At this stage, the AI Chatbot’s responses are limited to inquiries regarding exchange rates, mortgage assessments, and credit card recommendations. It has yet to acquire the knowledge to answer questions regarding personal financing.
Mapping Robo-Advisors Around The Globe (CB Insights), Rated: AAA
Since 2012, private robo-advisors have raised over $1.32B globally across 119 equity investments. Robo-advisors make up the largest sub-category of companies in wealth tech and account for roughly 30% of total funding.
Three of the earliest robo-advisors firms and largest in terms of total funding are Betterment, Personal Capital, and Wealthfront. Though they lead in the US, expanding internationally is a challenge because of the complex international regulatory environment, differing investment practices, and other barriers to entry.
US-based robo-advisors have received 57% of the global deal share since 2012. Germany took second with 9%, followed by the United Kingdom, and China.
The two largest robo-advisor deals outside the US went to Wacai, a robo-advisor and personal wealth management technology company based in China.
The third and fourth biggest deals went to UK-based Nutmeg, with a $37.5M Series C in Q4’16 preceded by a $32M Series B in Q2’14 that included Armada Investment Group, Balderton Capital, Pentech Ventures, and other investors.
Fintech patents jump in “arms race” between banks and startups: These are the 10 countries filing the most (City A.M.), Rated: B
Global fintech patents have grown by 49 per cent in the past five years, reaching 9,545 in 2016 according to official global filings.
The US led the way in terms of numbers of fintech patents with 4,523, more than double the number of the next country, China. The UK boasted more fintech patents than any other country in Europe, ranking seventh with 89 patents, in areas such as banking, exchanges, investment, insurance and payments architecture.
The top 10 countries filing fintech patents
Fintech firms that walk the talk (The Australian), Rated: A
The rush to judgment about the disruptive power of fintech is premature, given it’s not even clear which part of the financial services value chain will be most affected.
Also, no matter how you cut it, the fact remains that by the end of last year there were 39 fintech companies around the world with valuations in excess of $US1bn, including Xero, which offers cloud-based accounting software for small and medium-sized businesses and is the sole Australasian representative.
Not surprisingly, the dominant vertical where 16 of the 39 companies with valuations in excess of $US1bn ply their trade, is so-called alternative finance, which includes marketplace lending and crowd-funding.
“Consumer lending in the US is a $US1.5 trillion opportunity, and in Australia it’s $100bn and the leading players are yet to crack $1bn.