Tuesday December 12 2017, Daily News Digest

P2P investors

News Comments Today’s main news: Affirm raises $200M at almost $2B valuation. Elastic Line of Credit surpasses $1B in funding. Klarna signs 500 online retailers in U.S. Zopa makes changes to Isa. Mintos adds first Russian loan originator. Flexiti offers online financing for e-tailers in Canada. Today’s main analysis: UK alternative finance is still healthy. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Cross River […]

P2P investors

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Asia

Russia

Africa

Canada

News Summary

United States

Max Levchin’s Affirm raises $ 200 million at a nearly $ 2 billion valuation (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

The San Francisco-based company confirmed that it’s raising $200 million, led by GIC, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund. Existing investors Khosla Ventures and Spark Capital are also participating.

Affirm’s valuation is estimated to be between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal. Investors are betting on Max Levchin, the PayPal co-founder who runs Affirm.

Elastic Line of Credit Surpasses $ 1 Billion in Total Funding (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Elevate Credit, Inc., a tech-enabled provider of innovative and responsible online credit solutions for non-prime consumers, today announced the Elastic product has originated more than $1 billion, and has served over 200,000 customers since 2013.

Elastic, a bank-issued line of credit offered by Republic Bank & Trust Company (“Republic Bank”), currently has more than $260 million in total principal outstandings across over 150,000 open accounts.

Klarna North America Sees Surge In U.S. Merchant And Consumer Adoption Of Its ‘Smoooth’ Financing Solution (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna introduced its financing solution in the U.S. in October 2016, 500 online retailers have already enrolled in the simple and ‘smoooth’ credit solution that is fully integrated into the online checkout process. Available in 10 countries via a single API, retailers include powerhouse global brands like Microsoft, TaylorMade, Overstock and Lenovo.

Why Cross River Bank and Mastercard are collaborating on cardless ATM access (Tearsheet), Rated: AAA

Cross River Bank, the bank of fintech startups, is working with Mastercard to give consumers cardless access to ATMs through an offering called Mastercard Cash Pick-Up. It allows businesses or individuals to send cash payments by logging in to the Cash Pick-Up platform via their bank’s website or mobile app and entering the necessary transaction and recipient. When they’ve done that, recipients receive a text message with the order number, PIN and a link that helps them locate a participating ATM nearby.

The offering highlights the role of mobile phones in banking’s new normal — mobile is more than just a channel, it’s the thing that’s guiding both financial incumbents and consumers alike through  the shift from physical to digital banking, which still hasn’t been fully realized.

For now, Mastercard Cash Pick-Up is only available at enabled ATMs in the U.S., where the postal service plays far too big a role in payments, particularly low dollar disbursements, Isaacson said.

 

Once Shunned, Regulated Industries Now a Lure for Some Investors (Xconomy), Rated: AAA

Niehenke theorized that consumers whose trust in traditional banks had eroded might become a willing customer base for financial technology startups. But it was a bumpy time for tech companies entering the highly regulated financial sector.

Among those startups was Prosper, a peer-to-peer lending startup that had been temporarily shut down in 2008 by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC maintained that the company was, in effect, selling securities rather than merely functioning as a marketplace connecting lenders and borrowers, TechCrunch reported.

CAN Capital Makes Three Strategic Hires to Strengthen Sales and Technology Teams (PR Newswire), Rated: A

CAN Capital, a small business specialty finance company, today announced three strategic hires as the company continues to invest in its technology and growth strategies. Mike Dodson, Vice President, Technology, Michael O’Brien, Director, Business Development, and Liping Deng, Director, Modeling & Analytics, have joined CAN Capital to focus on accelerating the company’s expansion.

China’s JD partners with accelerator program Plug and Play to reach US startups (TechCrunch), Rated: A

E-commerce giant JD.com, the closest rival to Alibaba in China, is broadening its presence in Silicon Valley after it announced a collaboration with accelerator firm Plug and Play to seek out and work with promising U.S. startups.

Robo-advisors hit lull in everything but VC backing as reality fragments their identity (RIABiz), Rated: A

Last summer, Sallie Krawcheck took a seat before 18 venture capitalists to raise capital for Ellevest Inc., her New York-based robo-advisor for women. See: Sallie Krawcheck astonishes industry observers by raising another $32.5 million for her robo-advisor — perhaps on strength of ‘unit economics’.

The role reversal reflects broader changes occurring across automated advice. BlackRock Inc. originally bought San Francisco-based FutureAdvisor as a retail product, then made it into a B-to-B offering. See: Why FutureAdvisor orphaned its B2C book of business, how post-Invesco Jemstep is doing and other learnings at CFA Society’s robo-panel in San Francisco

News out of Betterment has slowed to a crawl.

Wealthfront Inc.‘s Andy Rachleff leaned into the irony of robo-advisors moving away from digital-only in a September blog post.

Yet, in an autumn largely devoid of news from robo-advisors, Acorns had a blistering announcement of a much deeper integration with one of its VC backers, PayPal, which has 218 million users. See: As Acorns grapples with monetizing 1.1 million micro-accounts, the laid-back LA robo-advisor brings Wealthfront’s former chief exec onto its board.

In the case of Irvine, Calif.-based Acorns, the nudging took the form of A/B-style testing of giving investors choices of how much to invest.

Robo-adviser launches using chatbot technology (FT Adviser), Rated: A

Nuvo has launched what it describes as an “artificially intelligent digital broker powered by chatbot technology”.

The launch of the robo-adviser, which uses AI to learn about customers to pick prices for mortgages and protection products tailored to them in less than a minute, comes just days after a US company claimed to be the first in the world offering financial advice with artificial intelligence.

US Banks Look to Silicon Valley as Fintech Booms (PaymentsJournal), Rated: A

More than eight out of ten (82%) US commercial banks have pledged to increase fintech investment over the next three years as the sector continues to expand, with 86% of senior managers planning an imminent rise in investment.

The in-depth research commissioned by global Fintech provider Fraedom, polled decision-makers in commercial banks including shareholders, middle managers and senior managers.

The study also found that more than seven out of ten (71%) respondents believe that the rise of technology within commercial banking threatens traditional one to one bank and customer relationships. This disruptive impact was felt greatest by shareholders (95%) as opposed to 67% of middle managers.

Need a Shot of Capital for Business Growth? Here’s How to Find a Working Capital Loan This Year (AllBusiness.com), Rated: A

Startup founders know to look for grants, crowdfunding, and angel investors, and established small business owners understand the ins and outs of bank loans. However, another form of financing for established small businesses—working capital loans—is a little less familiar to many owners, yet working capital loans can be the ideal financial tool to handle opportunities (or problems) that present themselves in the shorter term.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • You don’t need to lay out a detailed plan of what you want to do with the money. Paperwork is minimal.
  • If your credit score is at least 500, you’ll need to show an annual profit of $50,000; if your credit score is at least 600, that gets cut in half to $25,000. If you’ve been denied a bank loan, your chances may still be good for a working capital loan.
  • You have the flexibility of choosing the type of working capital loan that best meets your needs: a term loan, cash advance, invoice factoring, revolving line of credit, or purchase order advance.

Today In Data: Consumer Spend, Venture Capital And Bitcoin Reach Record Highs (PYMNTS), Rated: A

$682 billion | Amount that consumers are expected to spend on presents and other holiday preparations this holiday shoppingseason, with retailers going the extra mile to meet them where they are in a simpler and faster way. That means upping mobile and online shopping experiences, offering a buy online pick up in-store model and launching services like curbside pickup and better shipping options.

Broker-Dealer Firms Raise Alarms That SEC’s CAT Database Isn’t Secure (Financial Advisor), Rated: A

Broker-dealer firms aren’t confident the SEC’s consolidated audit trail (CAT) – a single, comprehensive database expected to store an unprecedented amount of sensitive trade data and personal identifiable information (PII) – is secure, according to testimony delivered before the U.S. House of Representatives.

National securities exchanges, Finra, alternative trading systems and broker-dealer firms have been required to submit information on trading activities – including customer information and prices – to the CAT daily since November 15 of this year. Large broker-dealers will be required to start submitting information to the CAT by November 15, 2018, while small broker-dealers are expected to do so by November 15, 2019.

The CAT is expected to take in 58 billion records daily – including orders, cancellations, modifications, executions and quotes for the equities and options markets – and maintain data for more than 100 million customer accounts and their unique customer information, according to parties involved in the CAT.

.46 Billion in Extra Credit Card Charges Due to Upcoming Fed Rate Hike (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

Forecasts call for a 99%+ chance of a Federal Reserve rate hike on Wednesday, which would make three for 2017. The move couldn’t come at a worse time for consumers, according to WalletHub’s 

Use your 2017 budget before you lose it (LendIt), Rated: B

Having an exhibitor booth or sponsoring this event is your best chance to do business with companies shaping the fintech industry. 100+ companies have picked their spot. Download the sponsorship brochure today now and our team will help you seal the deal before your budget runs out.

Take advantage of the current ticket price and save $1,200 vs. the standard ticket.

Angie Herbers Launches Online FA Education Platform (Financial Advisor), Rated: B

Financial advisor consultancy founder Angie Herbers has launched an online training platform aimed at helping advisors grow their firms.

Beyond U offers advisor education via videos, online seminars and assessments, covering such topics as operations, management, sales and marketing, client services, compensation and more, according to a press release from the firm.

United Kingdom

Zopa announces changes to its Isa (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

Zopa investors can now redirect their repayments into an Isa, allowing investors to gradually transfer their funds into an Isa without having to sell loans or pay fees throughout the process.

The UK alternative finance market is still healthy (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

The UK’s alternative finance market — including marketplace lending, crowdfunding, and invoice trading — grew 43% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016, from £3.2 billion ($4.3 billion) to £4.58 billion ($6.17 billion), according to a recently released study from the 

Source: Business Insider

UK positioned to win in fintech, despite Brexit uncertainty (AltFi), Rated: AAA

Just this week the 

Small Businesses Drive 43 Percent Growth In UK Alternative Finance (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Researchers said about 72 percent of market volume in 2016 can be traced back to demand for lending options among startups and small businesses, up from 50 percent the year before. That amounts to more than $4.4 billion driven by startups and SMBs in 2016.

Peer-to-peer businesses lending was 2016’s largest alternative finance market segment, which saw 36 percent year-over-year growth.

Squirrel Extends Crowdcube Campaign After Achieving £400,000 Funding Target (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Squirrel, a personal finance app designed to help users have more control over their money, has successfully secured its initial £400,000 funding target from 450 investors through its equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Downing enters property development space with Funding Circle hires (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

DOWNING has hired two real estate experts from Funding Circle’s property division as it enters the property development space through its crowd bonds platform.

Investors on Downing’s crowd bonds platform are being offered returns of five per cent for one year or six per cent for two years by investing in Downing Development Finance (DDF) through the DDF Property Bond.

 

Investors put trust in Scotland’s canniness (The Scotsman), Rated: B

Edinburgh Worldwide is another Baillie Gifford managed trust, though rather obscured by the group’s better known trusts. Notable performers (not a Scottish name among them) were Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a gene silencing company, LendingTree, an online loan marketplace, and IPG Photonics, a manufacturer of fibre-lasers used in metal processing.

China

 

How asset managers like FinEx Asia are using AI to disrupt traditional bank lending (SCMP), Rated: AAA

Banking disintermediation – essentially, taking out the middle man – has taken a new twist. While in recent years peer-to-peer (P2P) lending has become the poster-child for threatening banks’ lending business, a new type of hybrid disrupter is apparently starting to emerge: asset managers backed by financial technology.

One such firm attempting to cut banks out of the consumer-lending equation is FinEx Asia. The newly-licensed asset manager connects Asian investors with American consumer-credit assets, using artificial intelligence to select the loans based on risk appetite.

Founder and chief executive Maggie Ng said the company’s three funds now have US$100 million under management. They are backed by a portfolio of more than 10,000 US-based borrowers who have obtained loans from multiple online lending platforms, she said without specifying which ones.

Thomson Reuters platform to help further develop Hong Kong’s fintech offerings (SCMP), Rated: A

Thomson Reuters, the news and market data giant, is partnering with a Hong Kong government-backed body to help the city’s banks and fintech firms develop new technology, cut costs and create new products.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in Hong Kong next year, the new arrangement will see Thomson Reuters offer its platform to financial firms to distribute their products as well as use its technology, tools and data to create products, for free.

International

Growth of Investor Numbers on P2P Lending Platforms (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Today I take a look at how investor numbers are developing at several platforms.

Source: P2P-Banking

FinTech Startup Nanopay Is For Banks, Not Against Them (PYMNTS), Rated: A

Whether bank customers are consumers or businesses, chances are good that they do at least some of their banking online. This month, startup nanopay is announcing a partnership with Canadian nonprofit interbank network Interac to help businesses manage the complexity of working across borders.

The partnership creates access for any bank account holder in the country to send funds to or receive funds from any other bank account served by nanopay. So far, that’s a short list including just India. But, according to nanopay CEO Laurence Cooke, coverage will be supported in the U.S. and China as well in Q1 of 2018.

The First Social P2P Cryptobank Datarius to Launch a Pre-Sale on December 12 (Coinspeaker), Rated: B

The Datarius main characteristics are the use of blockchain, artificial intelligence, cryptocurrency operations and a special designer of the customer-adapted tariffs.

P2P lending is another characteristic of Datarius. It provides millions of people around the world with the possibility to receive and make loans using a Personal Account in the browser or through a smartphone application. It is a fast, reliable and easy way to get a loan wherever a person is. This is an opportunity to earn without involving brokers.

The pre-ITO round starts on December 12 on the official website of the Datarius Cryptobank and will last till December 31. 1 DTRC token = $ 1, but during the Pre-sale every buyer receives a 35% bonus. Soft Cap: $ 125,000.

Asia

ANNOUNCING THE LAUNCH OF THE iFX EXPO ASIA 2018 (NewsBTC), Rated: B

CONVERSION PROS, a marketing agency within the retail finance sector and founding company behind the iFX EXPO series of financial B2B events, has announced their next event, the iFX EXPO Asia 2018, which will take place in Hong Kong from the 23rd to the 25th January 2018 at the HKCEC (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre).

This event holds special significance, according to Gal Ron, CEO of CONVERSION PROS:

“This will be our 12th show to date and we expect to showcase this steady growth as we present an expanded floor plan with more exhibitor and sponsor areas tailored to the needs of our attendees. We are also placing special focus on Crypto as well as Peer to Peer lending as we are sure that this is part of the future of the online trading industry.”

Russia

Mintos, an Online Marketplace for Loans, Adds First Russian Loan Originator to Platform. (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Mintos marketplace for loans has added its first Russia based loan originator: EcoFinance. The online lender offers investments in unsecured personal loans issued in Russia under its CreditPlus brand. Mintos reports that EcoFinance loans on its marketplace will initially be listed in Euros with investors able to earn up to 11% annually.

Africa

Kiakia — get real-time capital as a business owner or working class (Techpoint), Rated: AAA

It’s no longer news that many individuals and SMEs in Nigeria have limited access to finance, especially from commercial banks.

Kiakia, an AI and machine learning powered alternative credit scoring, customer service, direct and a P2P lending platform has launched a virtual agent called “Mr K” to help working adults and SMEs access credit.

According to the Co-founder, Olajide Abiola (who also doubles as the Chief Data Scientist), millions of naira in loans have been successfully granted to and repaid by hundreds of borrowers across 22 States in Nigeria. This comes with a loss/default/NPL ratio of below 2.3%, which is consistently maintained over a 12-month period, all thanks to Kiakia’s algorithm.

Canada

FLEXITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCES ONLINE FINANCING TO GROW E-COMMERCE SALES FOR CANADIAN RETAILERS (Flexiti Financial), Rated: AAA

Flexiti Financial, a provider of Point-Of-Sale (POS) financing and payment technology, announced today that its award-winning POS consumer lending platform is now available for online transactions. Retailers across Canada now have access to a powerful, online financing platform that easily integrates into any e-commerce engine, offering a low-cost solution. This is a critical new offering for Canadian retailers as it overcomes two key hurdles – speed of implementation and cost – as e-commerce continues to grow as a critical sales channel.

Flexiti Financial’s POS lending platform offers low rates for retailers who want to offer their customers flexible payment options, such as 0% interest financing. Customers do not require an existing credit card to apply.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Tuesday September 19 2017, Daily News Digest

Multifamily REITs

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cans two executives. Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring tool. Funding Circle’s new lending options now in effect. Wealthsimple expands into the UK. HighRadius raises $50M. ID Finance launches Mexico operations. Today’s main analysis: Multifamily REITs reduce leverage, development pipelines. Today’s thought-provoking articles: The next crisis will start in Silicon Valley. RateSetter’s Rhydian Lewis […]

Multifamily REITs

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

India

Asia

Africa

Latin America

News Summary

United States

Equifax hack claims two executives (American Banker), Rated: AAA

The Equifax data breach has claimed its first two executives. The company late Friday announced the immediate retirement of David Webb, its chief information officer, and Susan Mauldin, its head security officer. They will be replaced, respectively, by Mark Rohrwasser, who joined Equifax last year as head of the company’s International IT operations, and Russ Ayres, most recently vice president of IT.

Credit Karma to launch free ID monitoring following Equifax hack (Reuters), Rated: AAA

Credit Karma Inc is launching a new free service that will alert customers if their identity data has been compromised in hacks, the San Francisco-based fintech company said on Friday in the wake of massive breach at credit monitoring agency Equifax Inc(EFX.N).

The new ID monitoring service is being tested and will be available in October, the company said on Friday.

CreditKarma saw a 50 percent spike in sign-ups to its platform in the weekend after the hack, it said.

Multifamily REITs Reduce Leverage and Development Pipelines as Fundamentals Downshift and Supply Peaks (Morningstar), Rated: AAA

Key takeaways:

  • Stronger credit profiles and balance sheets provide the multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar Credit Ratings, with flexibility to withstand substantial market disruptions.
  • New apartment supply is pressuring multifamily fundamentals, and REITs on average are lowering their exposure to new construction.
  • Morningstar expects net operating income among multifamily REITs to moderate after years of solid gains.
  • Since 2016, Net Operating Income (NOI) growth has slowed amid additional supply.
  • Multifamily REITs rated by Morningstar reduced their leverage and their exposure to new construction, positioning themselves for the impending completions and an environment where borrowing rates are expected to rise.
  • Rental growth among multifamily properties should be subdued for the next two years. While fundamentals remain sound, surplus inventory of new units likely will keep rent increases in check.
Source; Morningstar
Source: Morningstar

Read the full report here.

The Next Crisis Will Start in Silicon Valley (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

It has been 10 years since the last financial crisis, and some have already started to predict that the next one is near. But when it comes, it will likely have its roots in Silicon Valley, not Wall Street.

Since 2007, a tremendous wave of innovation has swept across the financial sector, affecting almost every aspect of finance. New robo-adviser startups like Betterment and Wealthfront have begun dispensing financial advice based on algorithmic calculations, with little to no human input. Crowdfunding firms like Kickstarter and Lending Club have created new ways for companies and individuals to raise money from dispersed networks of individuals. New virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum have radically changed our understanding of how money can and should work.

But revolutions often end in destruction. And the fintech revolution has created an environment ripe for instability and disruption. It does so in three ways.

First, fintech companies are more vulnerable to rapid, adverse shocks than typical Wall Street banks.

Second, fintech companies are more difficult to monitor than conventional financial firms.

Third, fintech has not developed the set of unwritten norms and expectations that guide more traditional financial institutions.

Enova Announces $ 25 Million Share Repurchase Program (PR Newswire), Rated: A

Enova International (NYSE: ENVA), a financial technology company offering consumer and small business loans and financing, today announced that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase plan for up to $25 million of its common stock through December 31, 2019.

Prime Meridian Ranks High on the Prestigious INC5000 List as one of Fastest Growing Companies in America (PRWeb), Rated: A

Inc. magazine ranked Prime Meridian Capital Management 554 on its 2017 annual Inc. 5000, which ranks the fastest growing private US companies in all industries. Amongst asset managers in the finance industry, Prime Meridian ranks near the very top of the list. The list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the American economy’s most dynamic segment— its independent small and midsized businesses. Companies such as Microsoft, Dell, Domino’s Pizza, Pandora, Timberland, LinkedIn, Yelp, Zillow, and many other well-known names gained their first national exposure as honorees of the Inc. 5000.

The 2017 Inc. 5000, unveiled online at Inc.com is the most competitive crop in the list’s history. The average company on the list achieved a mind-boggling three-year average growth of 481%. The Inc. 5000’s aggregate revenue is $206 billion, and the companies on the list collectively generated 619,500 jobs over the past three years.

60-Second Market Review and Insights (Credit Chronometer), Rated: A

Regulatory uncertainty will continue to be a significant challenge going forward. Practices will be shaped by the standards imposed on fintech and other non-bank entities, which in turn, depends in part on the outcome of the tussle between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which has begun offering a special purpose national charter, and state regulators who believe they are best suited to protect consumers.  The industry may soon also be impacted by legislation introduced recently in the Senate and the House that would overrule the 2nd Circuit’s Midland v. Madden decision denying purchasers of high-interest loans the benefit of preemption of state usury laws afforded their sellers under federal law.  Despite the ongoing debates, there appears to be momentum for more uniform and streamlined laws in the future that will provide greater certainty and, consequently, cost advantages for marketplace lenders.

dv01 Launches Cashflows for Securitizations (Business Insider), Rated: A

dv01, the data management, reporting, and analytics platform that offers institutional investors transparency and insight into lending markets, today announced the launch of a cashflow engine for securitizations, with full waterfall and collateral model support. dv01’s cashflow engine is available for a library of 30 consumer unsecured, student, and small business deals, covering over $10 billion of securitizations from originators including Avant, Lending Club, Marlette, Prosper, SoFi, and Upstart.

dv01’s cashflow engine is powered by deal waterfall models that operate on loan level data sourced directly from originators. All projections are performed at the loan level and tied out to trustee reports, ensuring accuracy across the entire waterfall, down to the residual.

Within the cashflow engine, investors have access to full deal structure models to generate tranche and residual cashflow projections. This includes a wide array of functionality, including cohort-level control over assumptions; price, yield, and spread re-computation directly from the results screen; and price-yield matrix calculations. The output computations include a projected paydown chart and cumulative prepay/loss plots, all of which show both historic actuals and projected values.

The cashflow engine is integrated directly into dv01’s Securitizations solution, which offers investors 24/7 access to a reporting and analytics portal populated with loan level securitization data. When analyzing a securitization, users have access to deal-specific detail, collateral, and performance pages, as well as the ability to download updated loan tapes to track the evolution of a pool over time. Additionally, users can use dv01’s Pool Explorer to construct curves using historical platform data.

Fintechs get another alternative to IPOs (Business Insider), Rated: A

US-based VC firm Social Capital — whose portfolio includes fintechs Wealthfront, CommonBond, Jetty, and Cover — has 

Source: Business Insider

Small Business Crowdlending Fund Offers Startups Loan Opportunities (WYSO), Rated: A

Mom and pop business owners often struggle to find enough capital to get their ideas off the ground and succeed, research shows. Kiva Dayton’s recently launched crowdlending platform aims to help solve this problem.

Now, the Downtown Dayton Partnership is offering to commit the first 20 percent of each Kiva loan to help potential business owners build buzz and raise more funds through the platform.

According to a study by the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, inadequate capital is the major obstacle facing small businesses when it comes to growth, expansion and wealth creation.

All Kiva loans are zero percent interest and they’re small, with no loans over $10,000.

Younger Americans More Likely to Invest in Bitcoin (Coindesk), Rated: B

New survey data from online student loan marketplace LendEDU suggests that younger consumers in the United States are more interested in investing in bitcoin.

Of those between the ages of 18 and 24, 35.9% said they plan on investing in bitcoin, versus 43.5% who said no and 20.5% who weren’t sure. For the 25-34 age group, the “yes” figure grew to 40.4%, with 31.7% of respondents in that demographic saying no.

United Kingdom

Funding Circle New Lending Options Go Into Effect (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Less than a month after Funding Circle announced the new versions of its existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, the online lender revealed the new changes have officially gone into effect.

As previously reported, as part of these changes, Funding Circle will be eliminating the option to manually choose which businesses an investor may lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn. This is a significant shift in operation of the peer to peer lending platform as it begins to operate more like a fund.

Wealthsimple Brings Simple, Accessible Investment Advice to the UK (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Wealthsimple, a digital wealth manager, continues to make smart investing accessible and low-cost to more people with today’s announcement of the company’s expansion to the United Kingdom. UK residents can now open an account and have access to diversified investment portfolios in less than five minutes on wealthsimple.com or by downloading the iOS or Android app.

At launch, clients are able to open ISAs (Individual Savings Account), JISAs (for children) and personal accounts with a 0.7% management fee.

The London-based team is led by Fintech entrepreneur Toby Triebel, the former CEO and co-founder of the global online lending platform Spotcap. Triebel joined the Wealthsimple team in September 2016, leading the company through regulatory approval and initial beta testing, which saw over five thousand people sign up for early access to Wealthsimple through an online waitlist.

In May, Wealthsimple raised an additional C$50 million from Power Financial group of companies, a strategic partner, bringing Power’s total investment to C$100 million thus far in support of Wealthsimple’s global ambitions.

Rhydian Lewis on ‘dinosaur’ banks and making RateSetter the ‘crowdsourced Libor’ (SpearsWMS.com), Rated: AAA

Since he and co-founder Peter Behrens set up the online exchange from a flat in 2010, it has handled the loans of £2 billion.

‘I’ve come to realise the importance of emotional intelligence to give other forms of intelligence the chance to come out right.’

It makes so much more sense for lending to be funded by investment as opposed to by an instrument called the deposit’ – not least because of the strictures imposed by regulators.

So far, 50,000 people have lent money through RateSetter, with £1.3 billion of loans repaid. Turnover this year should be £30 million; the headcount is 260. ‘Our ambition is that in due course the rates exchanged on RateSetter will be seen as benchmark rates,’ he says. And one day he would like peer-to-peer lending be ‘a crowd-sourced Libor’.

Clever Lending partners with LendInvest (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: A

Clever Lending has been made a strategic partner of bridging specialist LendInvest.

The firm will be able to distribute LendInvest’s specialist bridging and development finance products.

Brokers can now deal directly with Clever Lending to gain access to LendInvest’s range.

Pollen Street completes merger with MW Eaglewood (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

POLLEN Street Capital has completed its acquisition of a controlling stake in MW Eaglewood, creating one of Europe’s biggest alternative finance-focused investment managers.

The deal, first announced in May, sees Honeycomb Investment Trust manager Pollen Street become the majority shareholder of the combined group, which has assets of around £2bn.

Downing-backed report tackles ‘misconceptions’ over debt-based securities (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

A REPORT has been published that aims to tackle advisers’ confusion and misunderstanding of debt-based securities (DBS), following their acceptance into the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) in 2016.

The CPD-accredited report, published by Intelligent Partnership, identifies some of the opportunities in the market and the role DBS can play in a diversified portfolio.

The term is used to describe a variety of different models for deploying capital, usually involving a borrower, lender and interest rate over an agreed period. DBS are increasingly arranged through crowdfunding platforms.

The report explains the investment types available, how to evaluate risks in varying market conditions, tax wrapper options, fees and returns, the difference between DBS and peer-to-peer lending, and due diligence issues.

‘Vital advisers understand debt-based securities’ – report (Professional Adviser), Rated: B

Alternative debt-based securities (DBS) will become more popular thanks to regulatory pressure and greater demand for diversification, therefore it is vital advisers understand the products, research provider Intelligent Partnership has said.

Time is running out to save this iconic Welsh pub from closure (Wales Online), Rated: A

A Welsh community has just weeks to raise enough money to save an iconic pub after the current owners set a deadline for when they intend to pull their last pints.

Despite raising £130,400 of an initial target of £300,000 so far – including £50,000 in the first few weeks of the campaign – time is now running out after a deadline was set of Saturday, October 28.

In a fresh attempt to raise more money, a Peer to Peer (P2P) lending scheme is being proposed whereby people can loan £5,000 to the scheme which, the group say, would generate a 4% gross interest return per annum.

China

Too Little, Too Late? China Can’t Seem to Get a Grip on Fintech Regulation (WSJ), Rated: AAA

In recent weeks, Chinese central bank officials, banking and securities regulators have tightened oversight of a range of investing and technology platforms used by individuals to trade virtual currencies, invest in online loans and rapidly shift cash in and out of mutual funds.

A surge of Chinese investment—possibly more than $600 billion in the past two years—has gone into these so-called retail products, according to data from online platforms, financial information aggregators and cryptocurrency research houses.

In August, regulators placed limits on the growth of mutual funds made wildly popular via China’s mobile-payment platforms.

More than 700 online-loan platforms, known as peer-to-peer lenders, closed in the last year ahead of new caps on their operations that take effect this month that dimmed their prospects for profitability.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

HK needs crowdfunding-friendly regulatory regime (EJ Insight), Rated: A

However, despite the fact that Hong Kong is one of the major global financial hubs, so far we still don’t have clear guidelines or any specific regulatory regime for crowdfunding, thereby hindering the development of our tech industry.

As far as equity crowdfunding and P2P lending are concerned, since they involve financial returns and yields, they are usually subject to legal regulation. Yet, in order to ride the global crowdfunding wave, major financial markets such as the US, Britain, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Australia have all eased restrictions on crowdfunding in recent years.

At present, Hong Kong doesn’t have a single and comprehensive piece of legislation that deals specifically with crowdfunding. Instead, it is regulated separately by different existing laws such as the Securities and Futures Ordinance, the Money Lenders Ordinance as well as the Companies Ordinance.

Nevertheless, according to the same study, Hong Kong is lagging far behind other major financial centers when it comes to crowdfunding volume. In 2015, we raised a mere US$9.3 million (HK$72 million) through crowdfunding compared to US$28.4 billion, US$4.33 billion, US$360 million and US$240 million in the US, Britain, Japan and Australia, respectively.

As such, I suggest that the new regulatory framework for crowdfunding be more flexible. For example, the administration can consider exempting crowdfunding initiatives that involve less than HK$20 million from certain requirements that currently apply to public companies such as the need to submit a prospectus to the Securities and Futures Commission for scrutiny before launching any investment offering for sale to the public.

China hit by financial scam ‘epidemic’ (BBC), Rated: A

Li Wenxing was starting a new life. In May, the young university graduate left his home in rural China on the offer of work with a software company in the city of Tianjin.

But the job was a scam and Mr Li was swept into the web of a gang running a pyramid scheme.

Two months later he was dead.

The tragedy, which is being investigated, sparked national outrage and has illuminated the growing problem of financial fraud and its devastating impact on communities in China.

Pyramid schemes

Pyramid schemes are flourishing in parts of the country where education levels are low.

Peer-to-peer lending and virtual currencies have fuelled the spread of other investing scams, luring victims with little financial knowledge.

Government crackdown

As part of the crackdown, more than 100 arrests were made in southern China last month, targeting individuals over their suspected links to a 360m yuan (£42.3m) pyramid scheme.

Authorities had at least one major bust last year – breaking up a 50bn yuan online finance scam which was suspected of defrauding 900,000 investors.

European Union

Peer-to-peer lending: Information externalities, social networks, and loan substitution (VOXEU.org), Rated: AAA

The evaporation of trust in the banking system following the financial crisis fostered the growth of digital platforms offering peer-to-peer investment opportunities in the US, Europe, and China. In Europe, as the debate about the capital market union progresses (European Commission 2017), policymakers see the possibilities for the digital investment and lending industry to help foster a unified capital market, which has been missing for so long.

Data show instead that over the years, default rates in the platforms have decreased steadily and are much lower than those in the traditional banking system. Lending rates have gone down (though still remaining attractive for investors), and trade volumes have steadily increased.

Brexit Raises Doubts Over Britain’s Fintech Future (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Britain’s impending exit from the European Union has put a “question mark” over the country’s attractiveness to financial technology firms, according to the head of France’s biggest peer-to-peer lender.

The French firm, Younited Credit, has just raised an additional 40 million euros ($48 million) to finance its expansion into another seven European countries, only to postpone its decision on entering the U.K. until the economic consequences of Brexit become clearer.

Maiden PE ICO Light on the Blockchain (Invezz), Rated: A

A new private equity ICO resembles a typical PE fund structure more than it does any blockchain innovation. Ethereum-based FundCoin (FND), which was developed by Dutch fund of hedge fund manager Finles Capital, is scheduled to make its debut as the industry’s maiden private equity token ICO on Sept. 30.

FundCoin, which is targeting EUR 100 million in its ICO, describes itself as bridging the gap between the blockchain and private equity, but there’s one problem. FundCoin doesn’t appear to have attached itself to any blockchain innovation.

Citing a lack of clarity on the designation of digital tokens as securities, U.S., Singaporean and EU investors are excluded from the FundCoin crowdsale, as per the white paper. Finles Capital says the ban will be revisited as regulation takes shape.

Monthly origination summary for August 2017 (Bondora), Rated: B

Loans issued in August 2017 came in at €2,926,457. The figure is well above the running average for the year. August was the third strongest month for originations in 2017 outpaced by only January and March.

As usual Estonia was the leader on loans issued amounts. However, the total share of the country was slightly lower than many previous months. The country represented less than 60% of the total share reaching 59.91%. Meanwhile, Spain came in at 17.57% and Finland represented nearly a quarter of the total with 22.51%.

Source: Bondora

 

International

Alpha Payments Cloud rebrands as Alpha Fintech (Finextra), Rated: B

Alpha Payments Cloud is unveiling its comprehensive rebranding and new corporate identity as Alpha Fintech.

The rebrand aims to crystalize Alpha’s positioning as fintech‘s first end-to-end middleware, connecting the merchant buyer and vendor supplier across the entire payments, risk and commerce spectrum through a single API and UI.

India

HighRadius Raises $ 50 mn (YourStory), Rated: AAA

Hyderabad-based HighRadius, a player in cloud-based integrated receivables software space, announced that it had raised $50 million in growth funding from Susquehanna Growth Equity. Founded in 2006, this is the first external funding round that HighRadius has raised in its journey and the company aims to leverage it to grow its global footprint and also expand the team.

Fastforward to 2017, HighRadius works with hundreds of Global 2000 companies, including brands like Adidas, Starbucks, Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Warner Bros. Their integrated receivables platform optimizes cash flow through automation of receivables and payments processes across 6 categories- credit, collections, cash application, deductions, electronic billing and payment processing.

HighRadius currently employs over 500 people across US, India, and Europe. Narahari explained that USA is currently their largest market, with about 90 percent of their business concentrated there and a small percentage in Europe.

Asia

China’s JD.com announces $ 500M e-commerce and fintech joint ventures in Thailand (TechCrunch), Rated: AAA

Following on from Alibaba’s $1 billion deal with Lazada and a $1.1 billion round in Tokopedia led by Alibaba, rival Chinese e-commerce firm JD.com has announced a $500 million investment that will create e-commerce and fintech businesses in Thailand.

Southeast Asia, a region of 600 million consumers, is forecast to see its internet economy grow to $200 billion by 2025 thanks to rising internet access. That potential has attracted investment dollars from Chinese giants lie Tencent and Alibaba, and now JD.com is upping its own efforts.

Africa

Fintech defines new trends in financial services offerings for farmers (AFGRI), Rated: A

For agriculture, the rise of Fintech means easier access to funds, new competitors in financial services and a global reach. Selling cattle or produce? Fintech and digital markets can now connect farmers directly to buyers on a mobile platform, doing away with the middleman. Important to note is that Fintech not only minimises the dependency on traditional banks as the middlemen, but increases the use of peer-to-peer lending, growing and strengthening the sharing economy model. Good examples are M-Pesa and FarmDrive in Kenya, where FarmDrive connects smallholder farmers to loans and financial management tools through their mobile phones.

In Mozambique, the Institute of Cereals of Mozambique (ICM), which is responsible for regulating and promoting agricultural production and commercialisation under the remit of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, recently joined forces with FinComEco to link agriculture to the latest financial technology.

Latin America

ID Finance grows footprint in Latin America with launch of Mexico operations (ID Finance Email), Rated: AAA

19th September 2017 – 

Mexico readies bill to regulate fast-growing fintech industry (Reuters), Rated: A

Mexico would regulate its fast-growing financial technology sector, including firms that use crypto-currencies like bitcoin, to protect consumers and spur competition, under a proposed bill seen by Reuters.

The proposed legislation, which Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said this month would be unveiled in the Senate before Sept. 20, seeks to ensure financial stability and defend against money laundering and financing of extremists.

Financial services firms envisage massive potential growth in Latin America’s No. 2 economy by reaching the more than 50 percent of Mexico’s roughly 120 million citizens without bank accounts.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor