Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday January 3 2018, Daily News Digest

ETFs Europe

News Comments Today’s main news: GreenSky raises $4.5B in equity, becomes most valuable online lender. Funding Circle has eye on IPO at 2B GBP valuation. P2P lenders in India blame lending limit on rising costs. GN Compass wants to disrupt lending liquidity in Canada. Today’s main analysis: Can Mifid II spur growth in European ETF market? Today’s thought-provoking […]

ETFs Europe

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

Who’s the Most Valuable Online Lender? After This Deal, It’s GreenSky (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Financial-technology firm GreenSky LLC raised new equity from Pacific Investment Management Co. in a deal that valued the digital lender at nearly $4.5 billion, said a person familiar with the matter.

It vaults GreenSky over Social Finance Inc. to become the most highly-valued online lender in the U.S. It also makes the Atlanta company the second most valuable privately held U.S. fintech company behind Stripe Inc., which processes payments for Internet businesses.

Pimco, the Newport Beach, Calif., money manager, invested at a valuation roughly 25% above the $3.6 billion GreenSky fetched in 2016.

What 2018 Will Mean For Marketplace Lenders (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

2017 was a tough year for some of the biggest names in alternative financial services in the U.S. – Prosper, OnDeck and LendingClub, in particular.

Breslow is hyping OnDeck’s future of partnerships with mainstream baking players – in particular, calling out a renewed partnership with JPMorgan Chase in August to expand the banks’ SMB lending reach.

Prosper, perhaps unsurprisingly, is focused on remaining prosperous, as measured by profitability and further developing its new securitization platform.

LendingClub finally got investors to show them some love – and after its record low following its analyst day earnings accounting, stock jumped 15 percent in mid-December and has managed to hold relatively stable.

Marketplace Lending Predictions for 2018 (Lend Academy), Rated: AAA

First, let’s review my predictions I made exactly one year ago.

  1. 2017 will be the year of the bank partnership
    I would say I was partially right on this one.
  2. The OCC Fintech Charter will receive a positive reception
    So, while many of the fintech platforms supported the charter there was no real positive movement this year.
  3. Lending platforms will offer banking products
    While we had a couple of platforms offering credit cards for the most part this prediction failed to materialize.
  4. One large platform will be acquired
    Student lender Earnest was acquired by Navient in a deal announced in early October.
  5. There will be no new IPOs this year
    I was almost right on this one but one US lending platform did have an IPO in 2017.
  6. China will become an important source of capital outside the USA
    I got this one right.
  7. Artificial intelligence will take center stage
    I think I read more articles about AI this year than in the previous five years combined.

My 2018 Marketplace Lending Predictions

  1. Five top 25 banks will launch their own online lending platforms
    Banks have realized that if you want to provide successful loan products today you need to have an online presence.
  2. Two new pieces of legislation will be passed that will benefit the industry
  3. One of the top five (non-bank) online lending platforms will be acquired
  4. A major lending platform will get hit with a cyber attack
    Here is the one prediction where I really hope I am wrong.
  5. The tech giants consolidate their positions in online lending
    Amazon, PayPal and Square have all started to roll out various online lending offerings to their huge customer bases.
  6. 2018 is the year of product line expansion
  7. Messaging apps start to get integrated into online lending

The Top 10 Most Important Marketplace Lending Stories of 2017 (Lend Academy), Rated: A

  1. Mike Cagney is Gone as CEO of SoFi Effective Immediately
  2. The Cleveland Fed Retracts Their Report on “P2P Lending”
  3. Prosper Finally Closes Their Big $5 Billion Deal
  4. Renaud Laplanche is Back with a New Consumer Lending Platform Called Upgrade 
  5. The New Breed of Small Business Lenders: Amazon, Paypal and Square
  6. The Fastest Consumer Lenders to $1 Billion in Originations
  7. CFPB Announces No-Action Letter to Upstart
  8. The OCC Publishes Details on the Fintech Charter
  9. Bills Being Introduced to “Fix” Decision in Madden v. Midland
  10. Takeaways From LendingClub’s First Ever Investor Day

Ex-Netflix Exec Thinks This Fintech Company Has Netflix-Like Potential (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

Netflix has completely disrupted the entertainment industry, sending large incumbents scrambling to compete with its vast global scale.

How did Netflix pull this off? Several reasons, but one is certainly Netflix’s unique culture, outlined in its now-famous Culture Deck.

That deck was constructed by Patty McCord, who spent 14 years as Netflix’s chief talent officer.

The company McCord joined is Lending Club (NYSE:LC).

In the press release, McCord stated:

I see a lot of parallels between where Netflix was as a company 10 years ago, where LendingClub is today, and where it can go in the next 10 years. I’m attracted to LendingClub for the stellar people and the way it exemplifies the concepts of freedom and responsibility. Culture can help drive innovation in companies that are paving new ground and transforming legacy industries, like Netflix did and like LendingClub is doing today. … In our innovative world, I see marketplaces like LendingClub as the future.

Ousted SoFi CEO is back with a new startup (Axios), Rated: A

Why it matters: If 2017 was the year in which VCs began to fire controversial execs, 2018 may be the year in which they’re forced to decide on quick-turn second acts.

Affirm’s big business for 2018 is marketing (Tearsheet), Rated: A

  • Affirm isn’t just a payment method or a personal loan anymore — it’s a marketing lever for merchants

  • Affirm sees every transaction at the point of sale — who is buying, what they’re buying and where; it’s a departure from the way credit is underwritten today, where lenders have no idea why borrowers need the money or how they’ll use it

Where Does Alternative Lending Go in 2018? (Hackernoon), Rated: A

When most people think of alternative lending, they immediately think of payday loans and other abusive loan products. In the tech world, the first thing that comes to mind are online lenders: those who take loans traditionally originated in person and move them online. That was the first wave of alternative lenders — think LendingClub, Prosper, OnDeck, to name a few.

Alt investments on the rise among RIAs (InvestmentNews), Rated: A

Based on the success of the RIA industry, the trend of breakaway advisers interested in exploring the independent channel continues to gain momentum.

Propagated by wirehouse branch management to keep their top producers in their seats, this false campaign is now being revealed as its exact opposite; there are more customizable solutions for RIAs to access and deploy alternative investments for their high net worth clients than ever before.

For example, to access alternatives on their own, RIAs in the past typically would be looking at $25 million AUM minimums just to reach cost-effective scale, and many alternative managers have $10 million individual minimums themselves.

5 fintech charts that surprised us this year (Tearsheet), Rated: A

Loyalty and rewards incentives may not be enough to make consumers like mobile payments, and it could be on retailers to find what would keep people coming back to their mobile wallets. Mobile payment adoption among Apple, Android and Samsung Pay today is low. Paying with cash or card works just fine for them, customers say.

Transparency is the big sticking point when it comes to why small businesses still prefer banks to online lenders.

What Silicon Valley Misunderstands About Banking & Fintech (The Financial Brand), Rated: A

There are some relevant lessons learned about behavioral finance and digital adoption discussed in the book “FinTech Innovation.” One of the most important lessons is the distinction between digital banking winners and laggards over time.

  • Disruptive innovation is ultimately less important than sustaining innovation.
  • Digital is a ‘pull’ technology, while much of financial serves are ‘push’ market places.
  • Platforms win on digital: bundling is more important than unbundling.

The Distinction Between ‘Push’ and ‘Pull’ Marketplaces

Digital brings many benefits to streamline the processes in financial services, but front office disintermediation could easily create financial exclusion in the Western world because many households operate in a ‘push’ modality. Only the few self-directed consumers are comfortable enough to ‘pull’ financial products.

This is the reason why the growth of first mover Robo-Advisor solutions were initially very promising but then faltered, while firms like Vanguard and Charles Schwab can still grow fast on digital.

Being a ‘pull’ marketplace means using digital with a purpose, like looking for a specific product on Amazon. However, very few households would google for the next investment fund or business loan. Instead, the majority would ask a friend, a banking organization or an advisor about their recommendations.

Will tomorrow’s core banking systems run on open-source software? (American Banker), Rated: A

Banks, long committed to keeping customer data private and their own code proprietary, are now opening up to fintechs and third-party developers in new ways.

Open-source projects are underway at Deutsche Bank, which made code from its Autobahn commercial banking software publicly available this fall, and at JPMorgan Chase, whose Quorum blockchain software is available in the open-source software repository GitHub.

For fintech owned by a CUSO, will banks buy? (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

Morales, CEO of QCash Financial, a credit union service organization (CUSO) owned by WSECU (formerly Washington State Employee Credit Union), says that constraint may be lessening based on the final ruling on payday lending issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in October.

Credit unions, however, are interested in the QCash small-dollar lending platform. Morales says that nine credit unions have signed up for the product and five are currently live with it.

Fintech Predictions For 2018 (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Identity verification will be a priority in 2018, with 60 percent of online marketplaces and other websites adopting technologies and techniques for verifying new users’ identities, the company predicts.

Bankers anxious as Trump mulls credit union regulator for CFPB (American Banker), Rated: B

The Trump administration’s consideration of J. Mark McWatters to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is stoking fears among bankers that he will show favor to credit unions once in office.

United Kingdom

UK’s Largest P2P Lender Funding Circle Said to be Planning IPO at £2 Billion Valuation (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Funding Circle, a UK based peer to peer lender, is reportedly planning an initial public offering (IPO) for 2018. The news of the new listing is courtesy of SkyNews that reports Funding Circle will begin meeting with investment banks during Q1 of 2018 as they sign up underwriters for the deal. Shares are expected to list at some point in late 2018. If Funding Circle trades on an exchange it will become the first UK P2P lender to do so thus representing a seminal event in the online lending industry.

Urban Jungle Raises £1M in Seed Funding (FinSMEs), Rated: A

Urban Jungle, a London, UK-based insurtech startup, completed a £1m seed funding round.

Moneywise reveals top 2018 financial resolutions for UK adults (London School of Business & Finance), Rated: A

Research from financial advice website Moneywise has revealed the top financial goals of its users for 2018.

Moneywise found that cutting down on unnecessary spending was the top financial resolution for 2018, with 18 per cent citing this as their main priority.

Starting or boosting cash savings was voted the second most popular financial resolution for 2018, with this goal being set by 11 per cent of Moneywise users, whilst 10 per cent plan to start investing for the first time or boosting investments in a Stocks and Shares Isa.

When IFAs fight back against digital investment management (WhatInvestment.co.uk), Rated: A

More robo-advice platforms are on the market than ever before, and the number will grow rapidly during 2018. A joint report from the FCA and the Treasury, published last June, found that 100 robo firms are either on the market already or in active development.

IFAs may well find this frustrating – even with professional credentials and years of experience, they are subject to more distrust and scrutiny than a number of untested algorithms. Worse, these algorithms may come to represent their primary competition: they offer lower prices, they open up access to financial advice, and there is a range of options available for customers minded to use them, with more to come.

Proplend Looks Back on 2017 P2P Successes & Announces 2018 Plans (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On Tuesday, online platform Proplend gave its 2017 peer-to-peer lending year in review.

  • The majority of platforms gained full Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) authorization
  • Many platforms sought ISA Manager Status to launch Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) – with Proplend being among the early adopters.
  • LendInvest withdrew FCA approval application and stepped down from the Peer to Peer Finance Association as it moved from all P2P activity
  • RateSetter’s wholesale lending practices notably proved costly. The lender eventually withdrew from the P2PFA after breathing the association’s operating principles

The lender went on to note its plans for 2018:

  • The redesign of Lender Dashboards, Proplend.com website and the launch of our Auto-Invest product
  • Initially Proplend Auto-Invest will be a low-risk (Tranche A), three-year, Innovative Finance ISA product targeting returns of c.5% each year
  • The lender has built a “healthy” loan pipeline which will be available on the platform from early 2018, subject to due diligence, valuations, and legals.

5 alternative investments to the stock market (BM Magazine), Rated: B

  1. Real Estate
  2. Gold and other Precious Metals
  3. Backing and Staking in Poker
  4. Peer-to-Peer Lending
  5. Equity Crowdfunding

Could 2018 be a bumper year for tech IPOs? (Computer Business Review), Rated: B

After a couple of quiet years on the IPO front, the market could be ready to bounce back with Funding Circle said to be the first targeting flotation.

In January 2017 the P2P site surpassed a £1bn valuation thanks to an £82m funding round, led by the likes of Accel.

With distribution deals with the likes of the Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander, Funding Circle lent more than £1.7bn in 2017.

The London Stock Exchange revealed that 106 companies floated on its markets in 2017, raising £15bn, up 63% by number and 164% by value on 2016. These numbers mean that the LSE surpassed all European exchanges in the year by both IPO number and by money raised.

European Union

ETF providers hope Mifid II will spur European growth (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

ETF trading has since spread to 25 exchanges across Europe, but no accurate record of activity has been required by regulators. About 70 per cent of ETF trading in Europe goes unreported because it occurs via private bilateral over-the-counter transactions.

This should begin to end from Wednesday with the introduction of sweeping European rules designed to strengthen protection for investors and improve transparency across the continent’s financial markets. The package of regulations, known as Mifid II, requires comprehensive, detailed reporting of ETF trades.

Source: Financial Times

The passive investment industry, which is dominated by BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard, are betting Mifid II will set their European businesses on a growth path akin to the US, where usage has spread far more widely and deeply. Assets held in US-listed ETFs stood at $3.5tn at the end of November, compared with just $790bn across all European-listed ETFs, according to ETFGI.

Source: Financial Times
International

The FinTech outlook for 2018 (The Finanser), Rated: AAA

There are four big things for 2018 from a FinTech viewpoint that are obvious to me however, which are:

  1. Getting down to business with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  2. Rationalising and cleansing core data structures
  3. Continuing the digital drive
  4. Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) continues to rise

Therefore, rather than me making predictions, I thought it interesting to review the views of other commentators.

Jim also wrote another piece that nicely summarises Forrester’s predictions for 2018 which include:

  1. Banks not embracing Open Banking, but increasing partnerships with start-ups;
  2. Faster moves to embrace Digital Banking whilst losing focus on face-to-face communications; and
  3. Focus on back office transformation.

 

Saxo Bank’s Payments business sent me a press release with their top three predictions, which are:

  • The demise of traditional, slow, expensive cross border payments
  • Payment Service Providers (PSPs) will help merchants to expand internationally
  • Tech giants move into banking

Top 10 Companies of the Blockchain Industry in 2017 (Coin Telegraph), Rated: A

The total market capitalization of all the cryptocurrencies hit the $600 bln mark in December.

Source: Coin Telegraph

Coinbase is one of the top digital currency wallet and platform for exchange. Market capitalization: $2 bln (GDAX)

Ripple is a real-time gross settlement and currency exchange. Its main goal is to make an entire system devoted to money transferring. Market capitalization: $30 bln

India

P2P players blame lending limit for rising costs (Business Standard), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms have seen a rise in traffic as well as investor interest after registering themselves with the  But they argue the Rs 1-million limit placed on across all platforms is restrictive.

“With time, these limits are going to be relaxed by the  These have been imposed in order to avoid rapid growth that could lead to systemic risk,” said Ekmeet Singh, CEO, Lendbox.

Industry players want the to raise the limit for individual borrowers and remove the limit for institutional 

P2P lender AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr, tech firm Imanis raise funds (Deal Street Asia), Rated: A

While Spice Digital is investing up to $3.9 million in AnyTimeLoan, prop-tech startup Foyr has raised $3.8 million from JLL and others. Also, Wipro has put in an additional $2 million in US-based tech firm Imanis.

Asia

Crowdo Recaps 2017 Milestones: 3,500+ Projects Funded (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Crowdo, a South East Asian online marketplace for P2P lending and crowdfunding, posted an infographic citing its 2017 milestones.

Canada

Meet GN Compass: The ICO Attempting to Disrupt Liquidity In The Lending Market (Equities.com), Rated: AAA

Collins: I left the railway, cashed out my pension and started my own lending company; Great North Capital Inc. We have successfully funded approximately 100 loans; primarily focusing on high risk clients. Based on my accumulative knowledge and experience in both banking and running Great North Capital, I started to develop the idea for a peer-to-peer lending solution where there is very limited risk to the investors (lenders) while making loans liquid. Also by having our own credit system for borrowers, they have the opportunity to improve their credit rating on the platform by making timely payments and having no delinquencies. At the same time, I was learning more about cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. I quickly realized the huge potential of the blockchain and how it can solve the liquidity problem as well as securing an investor’s principal capital; which are the main issues of current peer-to-peer lending platforms. I got in touch with Jean Pierre Rukebesha who immediately liked the idea and decided to come on board as co-founder and CFO. Hence GN Compass (Great North Compass) was born.

Older Canadians still leery of fintech despite flood of services, RateHub finds (IT Business), Rated: A

Between last year’s official release of Android Pay, the increasing ubiquity of artificial intelligence (AI)-powered support platforms such as Sun Life’s Ella, and the ongoing digital transformation of Canada’s banks, Canadians have more opportunities than ever to integrate fintech into their lives – but according to financial comparison platform developer Ratehub.ca, the eldest among us aren’t taking advantage.

According to the company’s 2017 Digital Money Trends Report, released last month, fewer than half of baby boomers reported trusting robo-advisors, mobile payments, marketplace and peer-to-peer lenders, and rate comparison website, while in many cases millennials and generation X-ers were nearly twice as likely to do so.

Other findings from the report include:

  • Nearly twice as many millennials (44 per cent) and generation X-ers (42 per cent) reported trusting robo-advisors compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • Nearly twice as many millennials (71 per cent) said they trust mobile payments compared to boomers (38 per cent). (62 per cent of generation X-ers said they trust mobile payments.)
  • Twice as many millennials (47 per cent) and generation X-ers (48 per cent) trust marketplace lenders compared to boomers (23 per cent).
  • 58 per cent of millennials and 53 per cent of generation X-ers trust peer-to-peer lenders, versus only 32 per cent of boomers.
  • 63 per cent of millennials and 60 per cent of generation X-ers trust rate comparison websites, versus 42 per cent of boomers.
Africa

Internet firm Opera bets on Kenyan to steer Africa Fintech (Business Daily), Rated: A

Internet browser company Opera has picked Eddie Ndichu to drive its Fintech strategy in Africa even as it prepares to set up an office in Nairobi.

Opera has said that it is investing Sh10.3 billion ($100 million) in Africa’s digital economy over the next two years and OPay is part of those investments.

In a statement Tuesday, Opera said that it had appointed Mr Ndichu as the managing director and vice president for Fintech in Africa.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday August 24 2017, Daily News Digest

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments Today’s main news: Walmart getting closer to a deal with Afffirm. AutoFi raises $10M. Zopa reports diminishing losses, rising revenues for 2016. Landbay closes 2.4M GBP round on Seedrs. USAmeriBank goes live on Finastra. Today’s main analysis: After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize. Today’s thought-provoking articles: A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending. What’s behind […]

corporate bond credit spreads

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Walmart reportedly closes in on pilot deal to offer Affirm loans (Retail Dive), Rated: AAA

Walmart reportedly is closing in on an agreement with loan services startup Affirm for a pilot program under which Affirm would offer the retailer’s customers installment loans for purchases, sources familiar with the matter told The Wall Street Journal.The pilot could start as early as this fall.

Why are retailers so enamored with Affirm? Giving customers the option to take out an installment loan to finance a purchase gives customers more choices, making it more likely that they actually will make the purchase. Millenials and other younger demographioc consumers are often loathe to carry mountains of personal debt that way previous generations have.

However, it also has to do with the inflexible and sometimes excessive terms of store credit cards, which generally charge higher interest rates than the lowest portion of Affirm’s rate range. Still interest revenue and late fees from store cred cards contribute a significant amount of money to retailers’ bottom lines, making it difficult for them to commit to giving their customers more financing choices.

Overall though, retailers, banks and credit card companies are all starting to understand that at a time of massive change in how and where people shop, they need to make it easier for shoppers to close the deal. Mastercard may recognize this as well as Walmart does. The card network aligned with Verifone late last year to begin offering instant installment financing at the point of sale.

You can now buy 0 pants with a subprime loan (The Outline), Rated: A

Affirm may be a relatively new company, but the service it offers isn’t particularly innovative: It’s taking the concept of layaway, a type of no-interest payment plan that became popular during the Great Depression that lets you pay for things in fixed installments and take them home once you’ve paid for it in full, and twisting it for millennials.  Unlike layaway, Affirm delivers your purchases instantly — but the cost of instant gratification is interest rates as high as 30 percent.  The service is basically a cross between credit cards and layaway, combining the worst aspects of both.

Once your Affirm loan is approved, you can choose to pay it off in 3, 6, or 12 months, and interest rates range from 10 to 30 percent. The average customer takes out a $750 loan with a 21-percent interest rate and pays it back in nine months. Compared to credit cards, which have an average APR of 17 percent, and personal loans that typically have interest rates ranging from 5 to 36 percent, Affirm isn’t a particularly good deal.


Wal-Mart Stores To Exacerbate Synchrony Financial Woes With Affirm Deal (Baystreet), Rated: A

Affirm and Walmart have been in discussion about the possibility of teaming up since last year. Talks appear to have picked pace this year as the retailer continues to explore ways of giving customers access to a wide range of financing options to boost sales and shrug off competition posed by e-commerce platforms.

However, the move would also spell trouble for Synchrony Financial (NYSE:SYF) which is the retailer’s exclusive U.S card issuer.

The fact that Affirm offers loans could significantly reduce the number of people who apply for Synchrony credit cards.

After shallow sell-off, corporate credit spreads stabilize (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Credit spreads in the corporate bond market stabilized last week after a brief sell-off the prior week pushed spreads higher. The average spread of the Morningstar Corporate Bond Index (our proxy for the investment-grade bond market) tightened 2 basis points to +113, and the average credit spread of the BankAmerica Merrill Lynch High Yield Master Index tightened 2 basis points to +398.

Earlier this month, British American Tobacco (BBB, stable) decided to issue $17.25 billion worth of bonds to fund its acquisition of Reynolds Tobacco. This transaction is the second-largest corporate bond deal Page 3 of 22 Morningstar Corporate Credit Research Highlights | 21 August 2017 | See Important Disclosures at the end of this report. Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 Page 3 of 22 issued this year, surpassed only by AT&T’s (BBB/UR-) $22.5 billion transaction, which itself was the third-largest corporate bond deal in history. The proceeds from the AT&T transaction will be used as the final installment for the permanent financing of its pending acquisition of Time Warner (rating: BBB+/UR-). In addition, McCormick & Co. (A+/UR-) had issued $2.5 billion of new bonds two weeks ago to finance its acquisition of Reckitt Benckiser’s food division.

Through the week ended Wednesday, Aug. 16, investors pulled $2.3 billion of assets out of the highyield market. Among the open-end funds, investors withdrew $1.0 billion of funds, and across the highyield exchange-traded funds, there was $1.3 billion of net units redeemed.

AutoFi Raises $ 10 Million Series A To Make It Easier To Get A Car Loan (Forbes), Rated: AAA

AutoFi has raised $10 million in its quest to make it easier to take out a car loan.

The San Francisco-based financial technology company said on Thursday it has completed a Series A funding round, with investors including Crosslink Capital, Ford Motor Credit Company and Lerer Hippeau Ventures.

AutoFi makes a white-label technology platform that allows car dealers to offer faster, online financing to customers. It recently partnered with Ford Motor Credit and is in the midst of launching at select Ford and Lincoln dealerships.

How TD Ameritrade tackles security in Facebook Messenger chatbot (Financial-Planning), Rated: A

A common refrain in financial services these days is that companies need to go where customers are, not wait for people to come to a banking app or brokerage website.

TD Ameritrade is following that advice with a Facebook Messenger chatbot that will give customers instant updates on their portfolios and trades. The bot, unveiled Tuesday, will require the unit of Toronto-Dominion Bank to work through the privacy and security issues financial firms face whenever they communicate with customers via third-party platforms such as Messenger and Amazon’s Alexa.

The Future of Simple (Simple.com), Rated: A

Over the last few years, we have been focused on rebuilding Simple’s technology on our new partner bank, Compass. Our focus on infrastructure and supporting customer growth means we haven’t been fully invested in building new technology that helps people feel confident that they’re doing money right. We have not made good on our promise to change an industry that is failing them.

We have been focused on growth instead of innovation. We have been acting like a bank instead of a technology company. And that changes today.

Today, we are recommitting to being a technology company that is completely focused on product. We are re-designing our team so that everything we do is in support of this focus. We will be ruthlessly dedicated to identifying customer problems and building products that solve them.

SuperMoney’s Auto Loan Offer Engine Will Change the Way You Buy A Car (Supermoney), Rated: A

After debuting its personal loan offer engine at Finovate in April 2017, SuperMoney today unveiled an automotive focused loan offer engine where its lending partners compete in real-time with customized auto loan offers.

The new auto loan offer engine allows borrowers to submit a single, easy, online application and receive multiple auto loan offers back. The tool makes apples to apples comparisons easy when shopping for the best auto financing rates, fees, and terms.

Only 31.6% of car buyers negotiate the interest rate on their loan

A recent survey by the Federal Reserve reported that 76.1% of car buyers negotiated the purchase price with the seller, but only 31.6% negotiated the interest rate on their loan. It gets worse. 27.1% of car buyers considered the monthly payment on their auto loan as the most important factor, but only 6.1% considered the interest rate on the loan as the most important factor (source).

 

 

Lending as a service (LaaS) and why it matters (CIO), Rated: A

Banks today are turning away more loan applicants than in recent memory thanks to stricter regulations and lingering memories of the recent financial crisis. Younger entrepreneurs who have little or no credit history often find themselves rejected from these financing options.

Even when they are accepted, the loan process can be arduous and needlessly complicated, taking longer than business owners can afford. Applications take several visits to the bank, credit checks, records requests and weeks’ worth of back-and-forth communications just to reach the underwriting phase.

The major catalyst for this new lending paradigm has been the rapid pace of online technology innovation over the last decade. Improvements in cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence systems enable fintech companies to create reliable evaluation and matching systems for loans. Companies can now examine a potential borrower’s financial records in minutes instead of weeks. Thanks to this compressed timeline, approval can now happen in as little as one day.

Instead of multiple meetings with bank lenders over the course of many weeks to compare options, users can often be approved in under a day by a reputable LaaS company.

LaaS platforms such as Ezbob promise to approve a business loan for companies and deliver funds in under thirty minutes. The company’s algorithm examines more than credit scores, evaluating company financials and records to quickly distribute capital to those that require it most.

New Report on Fintech from the World Economic Forum (Lend Academy), Rated: A

Today, the World Economic Forum released a report titled, Beyond Fintech: A Pragmatic Assessment Of Disruptive Potential In Financial Services, that was the result of those and many other discussions they had with leaders from around the world. The report aims to answer the question about whether fintech companies will really change the financial landscape.

Below are some of the key findings from the report:

  • Fintech start-ups have so far fallen short of their ambitions to upend the competitive landscape in finance, driving innovation but struggling to capture market share in mature markets.
  • What fintechs have done is define the direction and speed of innovation across most areas of financial services; they have also set new and higher bars for user experience.
  • Large technology firms like Amazon and Google may represent the largest competitive threat to financial institutions, as their AI and cloud computing services become more central to the sector, and customer data rises in importance.
  • Models of financial services innovation around the world are diverging, benefitting local firms and making it harder to co-ordinate a regulatory response.

Douugh Rises to Challenge with AI-Powered Banking (Paybefore), Rated: A

Banking challenger Douugh has unveiled its artificial intelligence (AI)-powered financial platform, guided by “Sophie”—a 24/7 personal assistant for finances, reports Paybefore sister publication Banking Technology.

Douugh plans to use Sophie to help consumers make better financial decisions by:

  • Connecting a user’s existing bank accounts and credit cards, Sophie will collate, organize and inform on spending habits all in one place;
  • Using Sophie as their own personal banker to perform transactional tasks—such as paying and splitting bills, requesting money, saving, tracking and management of spending and savings goals;
  • Integrating with Alexa and Siri for voice activation.

Rebundling financial services is aspiration of startup Douugh (American Banker), Rated: A

“You are 0% of the way to your retirement goal! You have plenty of time, keep up the good work.”

This message I recently received from the Wela app reminded me to kick my retirement saving efforts into gear. It’s an example of the kind of personalized financial advice many banks and fintechs are trying to provide right now, often with artificial intelligence engines analyzing customers’ account data, predicting future trends and making recommendations.

Based in San Francisco, Douugh strives to use artificial intelligence to help the 25-to-35-year-old set reduce their credit card and student loan debt and make better spending and saving decisions.

Ripple- Just As Good If Not Better (Investing.com), Rated: A

If you could buy a wristwatch that is the same quality as a Rolex or a Cartier for $350, would you wear it?

A company called Filippo Loreti aims to deliver just that. The level of support that the young company is receiving from alternative investors is truly inspiring.

Thanks to the power of the Internet this watchmaker has already raised $6 million in two rounds of funding making it one of the most successful crowdfunding projects in history.

Smart Solutions for Smart Cities (JD Supra), Rated: B

Property “consumers” will be able to compare real-time information on a wide range of variables affecting property assets – for example, energy efficiency, connectivity and traffic noise.  Banks will no longer be the only source of funds, with fast availability of internet peer-to-peer lending speeding up the time taken to put a deal together.

Blockchain or distributed ledger technology raises a number of opportunities in this field, from mortgage valuations, to rental and service charge payment systems. Smart contracts will replace the traditional approach to conveyancing – the main incentives being that the technology will expedite the process, reduce fraud and offer total transparency.

SCORE: Dos and don’ts for crowdfunding small businesses (PostBulletin), Rated: B

To help make a rewards-based crowdfunding effort successful, Dargie offers these dos and don’ts:

Do:

  • Understand the differences between rewards-based crowdfunding, equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.
  • Pick the right platform for your rewards-based campaign.
  • Follow through on your promises. Watchdog groups and state and federal consumer protection bureaus have begun to shift their attention to deceptive crowdfunding campaigns.

Don’t:

  • Fail to manage the expectations of your campaign’s backers.
  • Launch a campaign without the liability protection of a properly formed business entity.
  • Forget about taxes.

“When We Decided to Sell the Company, it Became Apparent that RealtyShares Was the Right Choice” (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Last month, Real estate crowdfunding platform RealtyShares announced it acquired technology-first, marketplace platform Acquire Real Estate.

Now, less than 30-days later, Director of Business Development at RealtyShares and former CEO of Acquire, Josh Klimkiewicz, is sharing more details about the acquisition.

“The mission doesn’t end here. I will join the RealtyShares team as the director of commercial business development to lead that channel as RealtyShares continues to scale. In my new role, I will concentrate on building long-term relationships between RealtyShares and real estate owners across the country.”

Wealth Management vs. Financial Advice: They’re Not the Same (Kiplinger), Rated: B

Wealth management is one of the terms that is most overused, and it’s often misunderstood. But it’s actually pretty straightforward. Wealth management takes things up a notch, with an adviser or advisory team providing a full range of services for the client in three distinct ways.

  1. Investment consulting
  2. Advanced planning
    • Wealth enhancement: This is the use of strategies to deal with cash-flow issues and liquidity concerns, mitigate taxes and maximize growth.
    • Wealth transfer: Advisers look for the most efficient ways to pass your wealth on to your heirs in a way that lets your beneficiaries keep most or all of the money.
    • Wealth protection: For those who are subject to a lot of liabilities, there are strategies that can help protect hard-earned savings and avoid any blind spots.
    • Charitable giving: With proper planning, donating to a charity or charities can be a win-win, maximizing support for a favorite cause while making the most of certain tax advantages.
  3. Relationship management

How to Win an Argument (Mental Floss), Rated: B

To persuasively drive your point home, follow the tips below, provided by online lender CashNetUSA’s SavingSpot blog and spotted by Entrepreneur.

United Kingdom

Zopa Reports Diminishing Loss as Revenues Rise for 2016 (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Zopa, the first peer to peer lender to set up shop in the UK, has filed its annual accounts for 2016, and according to their numbers business is looking better.

Top line revenue improved by 61% jumping to £33.2 million for 2016. The operating loss stood at £5.9 million for the year, an improvement over the £8.9 million from year prior.

A call for more considered critiques of P2P lending (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Between RateSetter’s wholesale lending saga and subsequent withdrawal from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, Zopa’s heightened loss expectations, and Funding Circlesignalling an end to manual investment, industry detractors are hardly short of fuel for their fires.

And yet we continue to endure spurious headlines that seem to be born of a broad desire to bash P2P, on the basis of seemingly anything.

Anyway. The latest episode of this kind comes courtesy of The Financial Times, which reported on Monday that peer-to-peer lending websites are “struggling to attract UK customers who want to borrow money”.

Source: AltFi

Landbay Closes £2.4M Crowdfunding Round on Seedrs (Finsmes), Rated: AAA

Landbay, a London, UK-based buy-to-let mortgage lender, has closed a £2.4m crowdfunding round.

The funds were raised via Seedrs.

The company, which has raised approx. £7m to date via the crowdfunding platform, intends to use the funds to continue to expand operations and launch new products.

IFAs still most influential source of financial advice (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INDEPENDENT financial advisers (IFAs) are the most trusted source of external investment advice, but investors are still more likely to trust their own judgement, new research claims.

A survey by property finance firm Minerva Lending found that almost three quarters (72 per cent) of active investors prefer to take the advice of an IFA. However, the vast majority of active investors (77 per cent) said that they would rather trust their own judgement. Three in five (60 per cent) said that they would be more likely to trust word of mouth.

The survey also found that investors still prefer traditional investment advice over newer fintech solutions. Only 12 per cent of the investors surveyed said that they would trust a robo-adviser to offer financial guidance, and just 22 per cent would trust a standalone piece of software.

Should more banks form partnerships with alternative lenders? (Bridging and Commercial), Rated: A

More banks should be forming partnerships with alternative lenders, one business finance provider has stated.

In the bank referral scheme, the UK’s biggest banks pass on the details of SMEs that have been turned down for loans to three SME finance platforms, which then share their details with alternative finance providers.

Almost £4m of funding was accessed by 230 SMEs under the matchmaking scheme.

Chirag Shah, CEO of Nucleus Commercial Finance, felt there were clear benefits to the collaboration between banks and alternative lenders, but also urged for transparency.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths (City A.M.), Rated: A

So let’s look at some of the common arguments raised and try to filter out the fact from the fiction.

P2P will suffer in an economic downturn

Yet the oldest UK platform Zopa – which launched in 2005 – managed to survive during the financial collapse of 2008.

Admittedly the default rates jumped to 4.2 per cent from 0.4 per cent the year before, but figures from Zopa show that investors were still able to earn a four per cent annual return during the financial crash, compared to six per cent in 2007.

P2P platform Landbay commissioned an independent report in 2015 to find out how it would perform in poor economic conditions.

While the loss rate on Landbay’s loans is 0.03 per cent in normal economic conditions, the loss rate was estimated to hit 0.48 per cent if times got tough – that is, if GDP was down 3.5 per cent, unemployment rose to nine per cent, and UK house prices fell by 20 per cent. So even if the economy shrinks, investors would not have lost money.

An interest rate rise will kill the P2P industry

But Lucy Bott, head of customer operations at RateSetter, points out that interest rates on P2P platforms are not set by the banks, but by the supply of and demand for money.

P2P is for young people

He points to a report from Nesta, which found that more than half of P2P lending investors are aged 55 and over, while a third of lenders are aged 35 to 54, and just 12 per cent of investors are under 35.

P2P Lending Sites Not Quite Wooing UK Customers (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Among 1,100 British consumers polled by consultancy firm EY, only 7 percent indicated they had used such a service to borrow money this year. A separate poll of 1,050 Brits by Blumberg Capital revealed just 4 percent of them had utilized alternative lending platforms over the previous year, according to the Financial Times.

Where FinTech firms worldwide attracted $20 billion in investments over the first half of 2016, that number dropped to just $12 billion during the first six months of 2017.

The lower funding amounts could be attributed to banks having joined the peer-to-peer lending landscape, creating their own technologies or joining forces with startups to stay current, thus broadening the competitive field.

China

Fintech in China: What’s Behind the Boom? (Brink News), Rated: AAA

The country makes some of the world’s largest investments in the sector, and it has adopted fintech technologies faster than anywhere else. Companies such as Alipay, Lufax and ZhongAn Insurance have made their names across the globe by using fintech to develop some of the most disruptive business models. These players have enjoyed the fruits of fintech’s unprecedented growth by filling the gaps in China’s structurally imbalanced financial system in an open regulatory environment.

We believe the development of fintech in China has reached an inflection point. From this point, technology will be the key driver of value-chain disruption in an increasingly data-driven industry.

For example, it took four years for peer-to-peer transaction volume to exceed $5 billion in the U.S., while it took only two years in China. Lufax, a Chinese peer-to-peer lending platform founded in 2011, reached an annual loan origination amount of 9 billion yuan in just two years, compared to five years for Lending Club, the biggest peer-to-peer lending company in the U.S.

A global block chain summit was spot inspected, caused shock on ICO market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

Recently, the Market Supervision Bureau of Shanghai Pudong New District has raided a global block chain summit that is suspected of false propaganda. According to the investigation, 35 companies set up booth to promote technology and financial products on the spot, and nearly 2,000 people attended the summit. The organizer is a Shanghai-based software technology company. The company referred to “bitcoin” technology and has developed a digital cryptocurrency ETP (entropy) on its own, which was traded on its platform.

On the spot, Law enforcement officials ordered the meeting to be halted immediately and interviewed with the parties involved. And in the same day, this news triggered a nearly 200% shock in the value of related tokens on some trading platforms, reflecting the growing risk of the ICO market. Now the company is still under investigation for alleged violations.

European Union

Klarna co-founder seeks to spur European tech giving (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

In the US, technology magnates from Microsoft’s Bill Gates to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg have started a long line of high-profile, high-minded initiatives often aimed at combating disease and helping the poor.

But in Europe, where many of the unicorns — start-ups valued at more than $1bn — are of a more recent vintage, many founders are still thinking of how to make money rather than spend it.

Two years ago, Mr Adalberth had become bored with what he describes as “the constant chasing of the next goal or achievement” at Klarna. So he stepped aside from the group and its relentless attempt to conquer the digital payment world by becoming a bank and attracting Visa in as an investor.

Instead, Mr Adalberth became one of the first of the recent crop of European tech founders to think about giving away money. The result is Norrsken Foundation, which has a triple-pronged approach aimed at encouraging social entrepreneurship. His venture is risky but is likely to be closely watched by the growing ranks of multi-millionaire European founders to see if it can provide some kind of blueprint. “There is a trend in the US to give something back. This trend has come to Sweden and maybe Europe as well,” he says.

Rabobank constructs physical model to understand IT architecture (Finextra), Rated: A

Rabobank has built a 3D model of its own organisation and supporting IT systems to help visualise improvements that can be made as it embarks on its digital transformation programme.

As a banking co-operative operating at both local and regional levels, the Dutch bank runs a complex network of independent IT platforms often performing the same functions depending on local practices.

International

USAmeriBank live on Finastra hosted payments hub (Finextra), Rated: AAA

USAmeriBank selected Finastra’s hosted solution in order to have the flexibility to quickly add new payments rails and services, future-proofing its technology investment, while improving customer service and increasing straight-through processing.

In addition to quick time-to-market and ease of implementation, another benefit of using a hosted solution is a reduction of maintenance effort and total cost of ownership, as the technology and business services are maintained by Finastra.

In the coming months, the bank plans to add US ACH, and eventually real-time payments components, completing the bank’s journey to a fully-outsourced payment processing model.

AI Is the New UI – Exclusive Interview With Jake Tyler, CEO of Finn.AI (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: A

 

LTP: Give us a high-level paragraph pitch for your company.

JT: The Finn Virtual Banking Assistant is a personal banking and financial management assistant, powered by artificial intelligence.

Finn delivers a personal banker within a customer’s favorite channels, including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SMS, iOS and Android apps, and web chat. We believe that AI is the new UI.

LTP: In a sentence or two, what specific problems are you solving today?

JT: We help banks connect with customers where they already are (in major instant messaging and voice platforms), adapt to a new paradigm of consumer expectations set by Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook where deep personalization and simple conversational interfaces are the norm, and reduce costs by augmenting human customer care agents with AI.

LTP: What are the biggest challenges you face when building with AI and ML, being nascent technologies? How have you overcome, or are you overcoming, those challenges?

JT: The biggest challenge is data, both quantity and quality. We address this by going deep in one core vertical – banking. We have a large, pre-existing data model in this domain that grows daily as consumers use our assistant. As new banks adopt Finn they are able to leverage this data model to deploy a high-quality assistant with proven features much faster than they would otherwise be able to do.

India

RBI to harmonise NBFC regulations (India Times), Rated: AAA

There is scope for harmonisation of regulations covering non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and the Reserve Bank is moving in that direction, Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan said today.

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Guernsey consultation to update regs governing ‘non-regulated’ financial businesses (International Investment), Rated: A

The 103-page Lending, Credit & Finance Consultation Paper  is aimed jointly at enabling Guernsey to accommodate the growing number of “innovative, often digitally-enabled, financial services which don’t neatly fit into the boxes marked banking, insurance, investment or fiduciary covered by current laws”, as well as to better protect Guernsey consumers and investors, “particularly those who are less financially able, from unscrupulous lending practises”, the GFSC says, in a summary of the LC&FCP‘s contents.

The proposed legislation would replace this existing NRFSB Law.

To read and download the consultation paper, click here.

Asia

He also said there is a need to create some new types of NBFCs to cater to the needs of the growing economy.

Read more at:

The future of banking in Southeast Asia is in Cryptocurrency (Hero Email), Rated: B

There are an estimated two (2) billion people in the world who remain unbanked and underbanked. That’s roughly a quarter of the entire planet’s population who have little to no direct access to financial services most commonly found in banks and formal lending institutions.

In Southeast Asia, approximately only twenty-seven (27%) of the entire region are financially included, leaving the rest with little to no defense in times of economic crises.

Hero will build a blockchain-based credit algorithm and lending platform. Hero will be launching its own cryptocurrency coin called Hero Token through an upcoming token sale.

The majority of populations who suffer from financial exclusion live in emerging countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and their neighbors in Southeast Asia. A notable fact about this region [SEA] is that it is the fastest growing Internet region in the world and is also the fourth largest.

Backed by an award winning group of experts, the organization started operating in the Philippines in 2015 as PawnHero, offering collateralized loans using an online platform, and since then has been helping thousands of Filipinos obtain access to affordable credit.

There will also be a ‘pre-sale’ wherein people can buy tokens prior to the actual token sale and get bonuses. During the pre-sale, Hero will offer 80% of all tokens to be created for purchase by the public in the Hero Initial Coin Offering under the ticker symbol Hero. The remaining 20% of all Hero tokens will be distributed to early believers, advisors and founders.

To participate in the Hero token sale people can send the following currencies – Ethereum (ETH), ETH Classic, BitCoin (BTC), Ripple, LiteCoin, and Waves from a wallet they directly control to the Hero wallet. Aside from these, extra tokens will be offered to those who commit early. Bounties are provided when the crowdsale ends. All payments received for Hero tokens in connection with this token sale will be held in escrow in a multi-signature address, with a multi-key structure.

For more information go to .

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Friday March 31 2017, Daily News Digest

Kabbage On Deck

News Comments Today’s main news: BlackRock bets on robots to improve stock picking. Orca launches beta platform to stream P2P market investment. Quint raises 10M GBP for recapitalization. Monzo raises 2.5M GBP via Crowdcube. RegTech Association launches in Australia. Lending fraud trial begins in China. Yirendai announces intent on performance bond agreement with PICC P&C. Today’s main analysis: The strategic case […]

Kabbage On Deck

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

Australia

China

Asia

News Summary

United States

BlackRock Bets on Robots to Improve Its Stock Picking (WSJ), Rated: AAA

BlackRock Inc. BLK +0.96% has started a shake-up of its stock picking business, relying more on robots rather than humans to make decisions on what to buy and sell.

Seven stock portfolio managers are among several dozen employees who are expected to leave the firm as part of the revamp, a person familiar with the matter said.

The changes are the most significant attempt yet to rejuvenate a unit that has long lagged behind rivals in performance. Clients have pulled money from the actively managed stock business in three of the past four years even as BlackRock’s total assets climbed to a record $5.1 trillion. BlackRock had $275.1 billion in active stock assets under management at the end of December, down from $317.3 billion three years earlier.

The Strategic Case For a Kabbage/On Deck Deal (Market Intelligence), Rated: AAA

On Deck Capital Inc. is unlikely to be tempted by a takeout offer from privately held competitor Kabbage, but a combination of the two digital lenders could make strategic sense.

A combination of these two companies would create the largest digital lender focused on small and medium enterprises in the U.S., with an estimated combined 2016 loan origination amount of $3.82 billion.

While a few years ago this would have seemed like an odd pairing, recent changes to On Deck’s business model have moved it closer to Kabbage. On Deck itself has had a tough time as a publicly traded company, with shares falling about 80% since its IPO. The company has struggled to rework its business strategy and create a clear path for profitability, despite growing annual originations from an estimated $15.9 million in 2008 to $2.40 billion in 2016.

By leveraging their existing technology to develop white-label solutions for banks, both companies have found a new source of higher-margin revenue. A combination of what are arguably the most advanced underwriting systems in the SME lending space would only accelerate licensing deals, which could eventually become a significant portion of revenue.

Appeals Court May Tackle `True Lender’ Debate Affecting Fintechs, Online Lenders (Bloomberg BNA), Rated: AAA

A federal appeals court may offer guidance on “true lender” analysis and how it affects bank partnerships with marketplace lenders and fintech companies ( Cons. Fin. Protection Bureau v. CashCall Inc. , 9th Cir., 17-cv-80006, petition for interlocutory appeal 1/13/17 ).

At issue is a petition by CashCall Inc., an online lender based in Orange, Calif., that’s now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. CashCall wants the Ninth Circuit to hear a mid-case appeal from an August ruling in a deceptive practices case that said it was the “true lender” in an arrangement with Western Sky Financial, a self-described tribal loan company.

In general, “true lender” analysis scrutinizes relationships between banks and nonbanks to discern which party actually makes the loan to a consumer.

PeerStreet Integrates with Wealthfront via Quovo to Provide Improved Access and Transparency (Yahoo! Finance), Rated: A

PeerStreet, an award-winning platform for investing in real estate backed loans, has announced an integration with Wealthfront, the most trusted automated investment service among young people with nearly $6 billion assets under management. This integration was made possible by the rollout of Wealthfront’s new financial planning experience, Path, which allows Wealthfront clients to receive financial advice and planning for all of their accounts.

As customers’ financial lives become increasingly complex, having all investments across platforms in one place provides consumers with more comprehensive information. PeerStreet users have sought out integrations with platforms like Wealthfront. Both PeerStreet and Wealthfront were able to quickly respond to their clients’ needs using Quovo, the industry leader in financial account connectivity. Using its account aggregation engine, customers investing on both platforms can view their PeerStreet positions within the context of their greater Wealthfront investment portfolio.

How crowdfunding is democratizing real estate investing (Marketplace.org), Rated: A

Rodrigo Niño is founder and CEO of a platform called Prodigy Network, which uses crowdfunding to build commercial real estate, like the tallest skyscraper in his home country of Colombia. Marketplace’s Molly Wood talked with Niño about crowdfunding.

Niño: I have to say that it is different because you would argue that traditional equity funding is easier because you deal only with one institution that gives you a check for the total equity that you require for a building, and you don’t need to deal with thousands of investors like we do. On the other hand, the top-down approach was one of the bigger issues in the crisis of 2007. We learned that the model of giving your money to experts that would know better didn’t work. So we like to believe that we act as curators of that collective wisdom of the crowd, and that they need to understand what they do.

Niño: I think that the model will spread and because this industry was ripe for disruption. You know, I think that the commercial real estate industry in the United States is even larger than the stock market. And now, thanks to technology and the JOBS Act, I believe that the public has access to incredible assets because it’s very understandable and very predictable. If you think about it, people cheat and lie and bricks don’t. So, that was exclusive to a select few, and now it is available to everybody.

This Real Estate Startup Is Exploiting Zillow And Airbnb’s Blind Spot (Forbes), Rated: A

Airbnb currently lists over 2.3 million homes, averaging more than 500,000 nightly stays across 65,000 cities. In 2016, the home-sharing giant snatched headlines after raising over $555 million from Google Capital and Technology Crossover Ventures, in pursuit of a reported $850 million round, raising the company’s valuation to $30 billion. This valuation positioned Airbnb as the second most profitable tech startup after Uber.

Founded in 2011 by Bill Lyons, Revestor is a digital real estate search engine that uses proprietary data and live listings to help sync realtors and potential investors with desired residential properties. While other services allow users to search real estate based on specific property details, Revestor lets users search based on investment criteria. This approach works to ensure the most profitable use of available funds, helping homebuyers track the projected resale value of their property over time. Thus, real estate investors can use various tools to determine whether a property matches their firm investing goals.

Bill Lyons: Per a 2016 National Association of Realtor’s study, 51% of home buyers found their home without using an agent. Additionally, over 90% used the internet to research the home they were buying.

Bill Lyons: The riches are in the niches. Everyone has their niche, and Revestor’s niche is that 25% of the business is investors.

Bill Lyons: Crowd funding for real estate is on the rise with companies like Patch of Land and RealtyMogul. I can see Revestor playing a key role in analyzing investments for private groups of individuals.

Investors Want Financial Advice From Both Robots and Humans, Says Accenture (Fortune), Rated: A

But a new study by consulting firm Accenture finds that clients across all ages and economic brackets want robots and humans together, not one instead of the other.

The findings follow news on Tuesday that BlackRock (BHK, +0.08%), the world’s biggest money manager, was laying off some portfolio managers in favor of spending more on data-mining techniques that could improve investment performance.

However, the market is changing so rapidly that study respondents said online tools they considered to be “bells and whistles two years ago” are now expected, Thompson said.

Robos Advisors Face Potential Collapse, Says FinTech CEO (FA Mag), Rated: A

John Ndege, founder and CEO of Pocket Risk, is predicting a collapse in the world of robo-advisors.

On Tuesday, Ndege announced a complete re-launch of his software, Pocket Risk 2, a digital risk tolerance questionnaire that attempts to holistically measure an individual’s risk tolerance and capacity.

Rather than an engine of efficiency, Ndege presents Pocket Risk as a tool to make financial advice more effective. According to Ndege, trust and awareness are the largest barriers between the advice industry and new client acquisition, not technology. Thus, advisors would be better served focusing on delivering financial plans rather than building the next great client portal or onboarding application.

Garnet Capital Advisors Announces $ 100 Million Consumer Loan Sale (Newswire), Rated: A

Garnet Capital Advisors, LLC is announcing the launch of a sale of $100 million of consumer loans on behalf of the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Clarity Trends Report Presents the Evolution of the Subprime Market (Clarity Services), Rated: B

Clarity Services, the subprime industry’s largest credit reporting agency, today announced the release of its 2017 Subprime Lending Trends report. More than just a demographics report, it offers exclusive insight into emerging consumer trends that can help lenders reach the consumer where they are.

The report is based on a dataset containing exclusive performance data on 16 million loans from the past four years.

United Kingdom

Orca Makes a Splash: Launches Beta Platform to Streamline P2P Market Investment (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Orca, an independent data, research and analysis provider in the UK P2P lending market, launched a new platform which aims to help financial advisers and sophisticated investors to better “seize” opportunities within the P2P market. The platform, by offering unique standardized metrics to compare P2P investments, will allow users to perform in-depth due diligence on P2P investments, benchmark them, and make risk-adjusted, informed investment decisions or recommendations.

The Belfast-based platform noted that the P2P market has seen tremendous growth in the past two years, increasing by 40% in 2016 and estimates that by 2020 around 2.7 million people will be investing in P2P.

Through Orca’s relationships with UK P2P lending providers, the platform has translated millions of loans, covering 90% of the UK P2P professional market.

Quint raises £10 million to fund recapitalisation (Finextra), Rated: AAA

NORTH West headquartered Quint Group, a leading international, highly innovative fintech group operating in the consumer finance market, has secured a £10m financing deal from Manchester based Tosca Debt Capital to fund its recapitalisation.

Quint is the company behind the UK’s fastest growing consumer price comparison site MoneyGuru.com*. It also owns and operates a portfolio of mutually beneficial and strategically aligned financial technology businesses in the consumer credit sector, including business-to-business lending marketplace and platform, Monevo, consumer credit reporting and financial management services such as Credit Angel, as well as its data business, Monevo Data Services which develops and provides cutting edge credit, risk, marketing and analytical data to the financial services sector.

Digital Bank Monzo Raises £2.5 Million backed by 6,800+ Investors via Crowdcube (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Digital bank Monzo has broken a platform record on Crowdcube. The challenger bank has raised £2.46 million supported by 6,800 plus investors. The offer on Crowdcube is for 2.83% equity at a valuation of £84.75 million. The number of investors that have participated in the Monzo offer is the most ever on Crowdcube.

The challenger bank is raising a total of £22 million in the Series C investment round, including a £19.5 million investment from Thrive Capital, £5 million from Passion Capital and £1.5 million from Orange Digital Ventures, alongside the £2.5 million of equity crowdfunding on Crowdcube.

Saving Stream Rebrands as Lendy (P2P-Banking), Rated: A

What was formerly Saving Stream is now called Lendy. The operator of the marketplace has been Lendy Ltd. already, it was just trading as Saving Stream for investors. Now under the new domain Lendy.co.uk the company has brought together its services for investors and borrowers citing feedback by users.

The announcement email sent, reads:

Following feedback from users, we are integrating the Saving Stream platform under the Lendy brand. This is in order to simplify the brand and make accessing the crowdfunding platform easier for all our clients.

Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance, Says Triggering of Article 50 Puts Fintech at Risk (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Theresa May has signed the letter that will formally separate the UK from its 43 year membership in the European Union. As the UK initiates Article 50, Lawrence Wintermeyer, CEO of Innovate Finance – the advocacy group that supports all things Fintech – is out with a cautionary statement. Wintermeyer fears that Brexit may undermine the UK’s dominance in disruptive finance as it may be unable to attract the necessary skills to remain the global leader in financial innovation.

Editor’s note: The EU was organized on November 1, 1993, making it 23 years old.

25% Of Singles Think They’ll Never Be Able To Retire (Grazia Daily), Rated: A

If you want to feel thoroughly depressed about your future financial prospects, we have a disheartening new stat for you: according to a new survey from peer-to-peer lending platform Lending Works, 24 percent of single adults believe that they will never be financially secure enough to retire in their old age.

After surveying over 1,500 UK adults who are yet to reach retirement age, Lending Works found that financial security is more of a worry for those of us who aren’t in a relationship.

19 percent of those who are married or living with their partner reported the same concern. More drastically, 40 percent of the singles said they are currently unable to save money each month to plan for the future, in comparison to 29 percent of those who are married or co-habiting.

Extra! Extra! Daily Mail teams up with IFA to launch advice firm (Citywire), Rated: A

National advice firm Alexander House has partnered with the parent company of The Daily Mail to launch a new firm called Timber Finance.

According to the website Timber will charge an initial fee of 1% with a minimum amount of £750. It will also charge an ongoing fee of 1% per years for advice.

Insurtech the Rising Star of the FinTech Movement (Huffington Post), Rated: A

A recent report released by the lab examines the insurtech sector specifically, and explores the investment landscape in the sector.  The report analyzed over 450 deals conducted over the last three years, and reveals a particular focus in the sector on technologies such as AI and IoT.  Indeed, deals in these two areas alone increased by 79% in 2016.

The insurance industry is targeting technologies such as AI and the IoT specifically to help it deliver more personalized service to increasingly demanding customers.  The technologies both help provide insurers with more data to assess risk, and then help them do the calculations to underpin that assessment.

What to expect from the NACFB CFE 2017 (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: B

The NACFB has revealed that both Funding Circle and LeaseTeam Solutions Ltd will be supporting the event as the Association celebrates its 25th anniversary.

LendInvest’s property development academy expands to the North (Development Finance Today), Rated: B

Academy courses will now be held for the first time in Manchester on 25-26th May, Edinburgh on 22-23rd June, Birmingham on 7-8th September and Bristol on 9-10th November.

European Union

Prosper President Ron Suber Shares Insight & Perspective with French Fintech Industry (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Ron Suber, the President of the US marketplace lender Prosper, was interviewed today by Cédric Teissier, the CEO of the French factoring platform Finexkap, at the annual conference of the  France Fintech association, titled “Fintech Revolution 2017 – Here to Stay”. Cédric Teissier asked Ron Suber as head of a worldwide pioneering and leading online lender to share his advice and his vision for the benefit of French fintech startups.

Asked about consolidation in the US market. Ron Suber pointed out that there are 3,000 online lenders in China and 300 in the US. These lenders serve diverse categories of borrowers from student to larger SMEs, from super-prime to subprime. Consolidation will happen because it is all but easy to master the three legs of online lending: the investors, the borrowers and the platform’s operational efficiency in risk management.

There are 14 different ways to find borrowers such as direct mail, partnerships, promotion etc. But out of ten prospects, only two will come to loan origination. Startups must focus on conversion efficiency to start making money. Prosper is 10 years old and next quarter will be its first profitable quarter. Generating cash is the most powerful way to dissipate doubts.

“My vision of where we are going is that of a portal where any of us can go to invest in any currency and any country, a portal similar to the Amazon or Priceline of finance. We are only in the first or second inning of this revolution. I used to buy CDs. My kids never do. Soon they will say: “I can’t believe that you used to go to the bank to get money.”

Compliance for Fintech Companies: What Your Website Visitors Have a Right to Know (Martindale), Rated: AAA

Between 2010 and 2015, total global investment in FinTech amounted to $49.7 billion. The most popular FinTech areas are those of payment and lending services (consumer and retail), block-chain services, such as bitcoin, and cybersecurity and cloud-based services, such as market monitoring and tracking.

Compliance with the Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services Directive is regulated by the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA). Failure to comply with the provisions in the Distance Marketing of Consumer Financial Services Directive may result in an administrative fine of up to €93,000 on the supplier, or the manager, secretary, director or other person responsible for the supplier’s activity.

Under the Electronic Commerce (General) Regulations, implemented through S.L. 426.02 in Malta, the financial institution shall only send direct marketing by electronic means if certain conditions are met.

The First Hall of the Civil Court in Malta may fine up to €4,658.75 for any breach of the provisions relating to comparative and misleading advertising.

Financial institution websites must ensure compliance with the Data Protection Act and the EU Directive on the Protection of Personal Data, and the Directive on Privacy and Electronic Communications. In Malta, the Data Protection Commissioner may impose fines of up to €23,300 for breach of any provisions within the Data Protection Act, and €50 for each day the violation persists, and/or to imprisonment of up to six months.

Australia

Catching FinTech Winds, RegTech Association Launches in Australia (Cryptocoins News), Rated: AAA

The RegTech Association has officially launched in Australia and is aiming to aid the regulation technology sector just like fintech is changing financial services.

According to a report from Finder, the Association will promote good corporate practice in compliance management and boost regulatory compliance outcomes.

Fintech investment in Australia increased in 2016 while the rest of the globe saw a decrease in funding. In a report from KPMG, last year saw total fintech investment amount to $US656 million across 25 deals compared to $US185 million across 23 deals in 2015.

The rise of regtech – the ‘little sister’ of fintech (Finder), Rated: A

The RegTech Association, which aims to shine a light on regulation technology, officially launched last night with an industry-first event in Sydney for key industry influencers including stakeholders from major banks, start-ups and industry regulators.

“What we’re really looking to do is facilitate collaboration between a group of Australian financial services stakeholders who we think can use these new technologies, and this growing crop of innovators who are building regtech businesses. And we hope that by bringing them together we can create a bit of an ecosystem in Australia around regtech,” Symons said.

China

1.5b yuan lending fraud trial begins (Shanghai Daily), Rated: AAA

A high-profile financial fraud trial — involving 1.5 billion yuan (US$220 million) of investor savings — started at Xuhui District People’s Court of Shanghai yesterday.

Fifteen former employees of the now-defunct online peer-to-peer lender Jinxing Investment were on trial. Ji Jianhua, the company’s chief financial officer, was accused of illegally raising funds, and 14 senior managers have been accused of illegally absorbing public savings.

Prosecutors said there were still 400 million yuan of repayments that weren’t made in the wake of the case being exposed.

More than 200 investors gathered in court in Xuhui for the hearing yesterday, many of them elderly investors. Trials of the 14 senior managers would be held at a later date, the court said.

Yirendai Announces Agreement of Intent on Performance Bond With PICC P&C (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Chinese marketplace lending platform Yirendai (NYSE: YRD) announced on Thursday it has entered into an agreement of intent with the Beijing branch of PICC Property and Casualty Company Limited (PICC P&C).

Yirendai reported that under this new agreement, PICC P&C would provide Yirendai with a performance bond for certain loans facilitated through the online marketplace. PICC P&C will also reimburse lenders within the agreed scope should any losses incur due to the Company’s failure to perform adequate due diligence during the credit underwriting process.

Financial Inclusion, Regulatory Protection, and My Recent Trip to China (Orchard Platform), Rated: A

by Matt Burton, Co-Founder & CEO, Orchard Platform

Let me just begin by saying that I’m no expert on China or Southeast Asia, but I am committed to learning and keeping up. The market is incredibly complex and is advancing very fast. Based on my last two trips, I’m floored by how quickly the market is developing.

It’s also pretty clear that the development in the region, particularly in the financial services and technology sectors, is happening at a staggering pace and scale. As of September 2016, China had 8 of the 27 current fintech “unicorns” at an estimated US$96.4 billion total valuation with US$9.4 billion in capital raised—including the four largest valuations globally: Ant Financial (US$60 billion), Lufax (US$18.5 billion), JD Finance (US$7 billion), and Qufenqi (US$5.9 billion). To help put those numbers in perspective, the U.S. is home to 14 fintech “unicorns” at an estimated US$31 billion combined valuation with US$5.7 billion in capital raised.

The region is also seemingly light-years ahead in terms of innovation and adoption of these new technologies by a large base of underbanked and unbanked consumers—something I learned first-hand by being on the receiving end of scowls from the various vendors I interacted with when I tried to pay with cash. Mobile payment is everywhere, and is the preferred method of transacting at the point of sale.

China’s approach to fintech has been to focus on financial inclusion over financial protection, and this has led to rapid innovation and incredible growth.

Another takeaway? A significant area where the U.S. is ahead of China in this space is on the capital markets side. Most lending platforms in China are still funding loans using the peer-to-peer model. However, in my discussions with lenders, that does seem like something that is shifting. Some of the bigger platforms indicated that they are now seeing 20% to 30% of their originations purchased by institutional investors.

Asia

Now seek financial advice from Marvelstone Capital’s ‘robo advisor’ (Techseen), Rated: A

Marvelstone Capital, a Singapore-based data-driven asset management company, has announced the launch of a licensed ‘robo advisor’ platform for family offices in Asia in Q3 this year. The platform is being developed in partnership with Smartfolios, a Singapore-based fintech startup and will be available on desktop and mobile for Marvelstone’s clients.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor