Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview

fintech sandboxes

When an industry develops at a breakneck speed, the law can take some time to catch up. Existing regulations usually do not fit new paradigms, and it can stifle innovation. A regulatory sandbox is the perfect solution because it allows for the testing of new innovations in a controlled environment. The term “sandbox” refers to […]

The post Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview appeared first on Lending Times.

fintech sandboxes

When an industry develops at a breakneck speed, the law can take some time to catch up. Existing regulations usually do not fit new paradigms, and it can stifle innovation. A regulatory sandbox is the perfect solution because it allows for the testing of new innovations in a controlled environment.

The term “sandbox” refers to the box of sand where small children play in a confined boundary. The term has received a new connotation in a commercial sense and refers to a closed environment used for experimenting and testing projects or new ideas. Regulatory sandboxes help in testing business proposals and prototypes under a regulator’s supervision. These testing grounds have an advantage of not being governed by current rules and, therefore, the business can explicitly experiment the validity of their projects without the danger of getting caught on the wrong side of existing law.

Such regulatory sandboxes are critical for the development of the alternative lending industry. The gist of having regulatory sandboxes in this sector is to comply with the regulatory directives that complement the growth of fintech companies without compromising on users’ safety and protection. The existence of suitable safeguards assists players in executing a live trial in the market without having to worry about the legal consequences.

The Dawn of the Regulatory Sandbox

Financial regulators across the globe understand the challenges and opportunities presented by innovations like digital-only banking, P2P lending, robo-advisors, and other fintech innovations. Some countries have taken the lead in ensuring that an ecosystem is created which helps startups experiment with their products and services without running afoul of current rules.

United Kingdom- The Pioneer

Seeing massive investor interest in this industry, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) proposed a regulatory sandbox as a part of its Project Innovate. It started accepting applications in mid-2016.

The UK has completed the successful testing of models from 18 out of 69 firms in the first phase and 24 out of 77 firms in the second phase. The sandbox has accepted 18 out of 61 firms for the third phase, and 29 out of 69 applications received qualified to the testing stage in the fuurth phase.

Participants in the UK sandbox came from sectors like retail banking, general insurance, retail lending, and wholesale lending. Around 35 percent of the participants in the secnd phase were from other countries, including the US and Singapore. The fourth cohort has almost 40 percent of startups experimenting with distributed ledger technology for disrupting traditional finance.

The UK regulatory sandbox includes:

  • A positive reaction from other global regulators.
  • The startup community’s eagerness is evident from each phase being oversubscribed.
  • It has reduced the time to get an idea to market. FCA claims that, during the first year itself, 90 percent of the firms were able to go for a commercial market launch of their product.
  • Also, many of the approved fintech companies were able to attract VC investment for their projects.

Singapore

The second jurisdiction to launch the concept of a regulatory sandbox is Singapore. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) introduced its sandbox in June 2016. It has launched a range of schemes for interested startups. Till date, the country has the maximum regulatory alliances and has entered into co-operation arrangements with eight countries including UK, Australia, and Japan.

Since its launch, the MAS has guided over 140 applicants from around the globe. About one in five applications has been approved for experimentation.

Startups in crowdfunding, financial advisory, artificial intelligence, cross-border funding, distributed ledgers, and more were able to experiment under the MAS scheme. The sandbox has helped Singapore attract overseas startups to come and do business in the country. And it is contributing positively in making Singapore a Smart Financial Hub by allowing these young startups to form partnerships with traditional financial institutions.

United States

The Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CPFB) initiated the concept of regulatory sandboxes to ensure global compliance and to stimulate innovation in the fintech industry.

Arizona became the first state to open a fintech sandbox in the US by passing a legislation to create a Regulatory Sandbox Program. This program will enable finetch players to test their financial products without being subjected to the licensing provisions of the state. The move will come under the supervision of the Arizona Attorney General. Another state, Illinois, also on the footsteps of Arizona, has a separate regulatory bill (currently on hold) on the horizon.

Along with the regulatory sandbox, the US has also launched an ‘office of innovation’, which primarily focuses on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies. The aim is to stimulate competition in the industry and expedite consumer advancement.

The participants included payment start-ups, financial technology companies, credit agencies, and lending companies.

The startups in the Arizona sandbox will be allowed to experiment with their financial products for a period of up to two years. The sandbox has promoted investment and job creation in the state. It will help improve the competitive position of the country in the global fintech industry. The concept has also helped early stage entrepreneurs surpass the legal hurdles with access to a trillion dollar opportunity.

Canada

The Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) launched its sandbox “LaunchPad” in February 2017. The government is said to create a “super sandbox” that will help foster communication between fintech players, financial institutions, regulators, and the government. It is a part of its 2016-2019 Business Plan to understand how technology affects the markets. An agency by the name Ontario Fintech Accelerator Office will also be instituted to provide assistance to start ups. The government plans to develop the retail payment and financial sector framework at the national level.

It has given a push to Canada’s innovation market as earlier, due to the domination of a few financial companies in the industry, innovation was slow. Now, it has allowed Canadian fintech companies to come forward and grow both locally and internationally. The new idea will benefit Canadian SMEs who could not access funding from traditional lenders.

Global Integration

The concept of regulatory sandboxes is currently running in over 20 nations. Apart from the countries mentioned above, Australia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Denmark, and Thailand have sandboxes running to join the race. To promote interaction among participants at a global level, a GFIN (Global Financial Innovation Network) has been launched, aimed at knowledge sharing and facilitating cross-border testing of ideas. It is a joint effort of FCA and 11 other regulatory authorities. Organizations such as the US CFPB, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, UK FCA, MAS, and others, are a part of this network. The goal is to go past the idea of a sandbox and ensure that regulators are able to support the advancements in the fintech industry.

Authors:

Written by Heena Dhir.

The post Fintech Sandboxes: A Global Overview appeared first on Lending Times.

Singapore Fintech Market: Overview

southeast asia fintech lending

South East Asia (SEA) is finally embracing financial technology and marketplace lending is at the heart of this boom. The breadth and depth of solutions across FinTech Lending in the region is quite impressive and clearly signifies that a digital revolution is underway in the South East Asian lending industry. Top and Emerging Fintech Sectors in […]

southeast asia fintech lending

South East Asia (SEA) is finally embracing financial technology and marketplace lending is at the heart of this boom. The breadth and depth of solutions across FinTech Lending in the region is quite impressive and clearly signifies that a digital revolution is underway in the South East Asian lending industry.

Top and Emerging Fintech Sectors in South East Asia by Country

Singapore in particular has become a hub for the nascent fintech lending industry. It is the runaway leader in the region and holds 52% of the market share (both by number of deals and money invested). It is followed by Philippines which accounts for 14%, Thailand 13% and Indonesia 12%.

However, with so many different governments involved, SEA poses an overregulation risk. Already, P2P lenders here have to criss-cross through various layers of regulations that their competitors in other regions don’t have to face.

Singapore Fintech Market: Overview

Singapore has always been known as the technology capital of Asia; MNCs and financial institutions have considered it a natural choice as HQ for their Asian operations. Though Singapore has deep roots in technology and innovation but ironically it got on the Fintech bandwagon rather late. But with the support of regulators, Singapore has established itself as the “Fintech Hub” of South East Asia. Singapore fintech market crossed $83 million in deals during the second quarter of 2017. In 2016, investment in Singapore based fintech companies dropped by staggering 65 percent (US$605 million to US$214 million), as per KPMG International study- Pulse of Fintech. But interestingly the number of deals decreased by only two to 28 during the same period. The main reason for the fall was complicated authorization process for fintechs, but Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is working aggressively to streamline the authorization process, in order to attract more fintechs to Singapore.

Regulatory Ecosystem

“Over the longer term, MAS hopes to see more fintechs using Singapore as a base to pilot and then deploy solutions to other countries within South-east Asia, such as Indonesia and Thailand,” said Mr Chia Tek Yew, the head of financial services advisory at KPMG Singapore.

Monetary Authority of Singapore; the regulatory body has backed the fintech industry right from the get go and that is the reason why Singapore has become the leader in South East Asia. Some of those favorable regulations are mentioned below:

  • Last year, under the “FSTI” scheme, MAS committed S$225 million (US$164.2 million) over the next five years to foster the innovation ecosystem in Singapore.
  • It also developed the road map that showed the central bank’s move toward an open Application Programming Interface (API) architecture.
  • In association with National Research Foundation, it announced the establishment of a dedicated FinTech office to facilitate the use of technology and innovation in the financial sectors (FinTech office to review, align and enhance FinTech-related funding schemes across government agencies).
  • It also released a consultation paper on proposed guidelines for a ‘regulatory sandbox’ that will enable financial institutions (FIs) as well as non-financial players to experiment with financial technology (FinTech) solutions.
  • Struck partnership with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) to help FinTech companies from their respective countries scale into each other’s markets and help reduce regulatory uncertainty and time to market and it is trying to strike such more partnerships with other countries as well.
  • MAS have also announced it will be opening a fintech innovation hub “the looking glass” to promote innovation.
  • It also released a consultation paper on proposed changes to the payments regulatory framework and establishment of a National Payments Council, whose key initiatives are to promote interoperability and adoption of common standards.

This highlights that though the regulator was slow from the blocks, but has aggressively covered ground to create a supportive environment for the fintech lending community.

Leading players in the Singapore Market

Capital Match ( an online peer-to-peer lending marketplace for SMEs based in Singapore and Southeast Asia. It provides SMEs with affordable working capital from professional investors through its online platform. It was founded in 2014 by Arnaud Bailly, Kevin Lim, and Pawel Kuznicki. Since inception, it has facilitated over S$60 million in cumulative origination. It has raised S$1,000,000 from three investors; Innosight Ventures being the lead investor. It offers business and SME loans and invoice financing facilities of S$50,000- S$200,000 with loan duration ranging from 3-12 months.

Minterest ()- Minterest is a peer-to-business financial technology platform founded by a team of former bankers with more than 120 years of collective experience in corporate and structured finance. It was founded in 2016 by Charis Liau, Ronnie Chia, and Wei Choong Loo. It offers various flexible funding options with interest rate as low as 1% and loan terms ranges from 3-12 months.

SmartFunding ( is a platform that provides trustworthy alternative financing solutions that are 100% focused on small and medium businesses. It was founded in 2016 and raised S$700,000 as seed funding. It offers invoice financing to SMEs.

FinAccel ( FinAccel is a financial technology company creating products for the retail credit sector for Southeast Asia. With an all-star team of investors, founders and employees, FinAccel is currently focused on disruption in the unsecured lending space. It was founded in 2015 by Akshay Garg, Alie Tan, and Umang Rustagi. It raised S$1,100,000 from various rounds of funding. Kredivo is the flagship product developed by the company; it gives ecommerce shoppers instant credit financing based on real-time decisioning. Jungle Ventures led the funding round in the company.

InvoiceInterchange ( is a peer-to-peer invoice-trading marketplace that provides working capital solutions to fund growth for small- to medium-sized enterprises. It offers both selective invoice discounting and the whole turnover invoice discounting to SMEs. It was founded in 2015 by Brian Teng and Nalinee Chinowuthichai. Investor fee is typically between 0.8% – 1.5% (per 30-days) of the advanced amount. Transaction fee is typically between 1.0%-1.5% of invoice amount.

Conclusion

Singapore has emerged as an undisputed leader in the SEA region but considering it has always been the gateway to Asia, it will certainly want to have a bigger share of the fintech lending pie. The MAS has laid out a well-thought out road map to attract startups and investments. With a massive demand-supply mismatch in credit, Singapore is poised to witness a marketplace-lending boom.

Author:

Written by Heena Dhir.

Monday August 7 2017, Daily News Digest

LendingClub

News Comments Today’s main news: SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups. Prosper’s valuation dives 70%. Fundrise drops minimum investment to $500 for New Starter Portfolio Offering. UK P2P lenders asked to reveal past defaults. Hargreaves Lansdown cancels special dividend. FinMason expands into Prague. PledgeMe close to profitability. Today’s main analysis: LendingClub is looking beleaguered. Australian fintech update. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Surge […]

LendingClub

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

Barbados

News Summary

United States

SoFi Ventures to support financial services startups (Pitchbook), Rated: AAA

SoFi, a provider of online lending and wealth management services, has launched a strategic VC arm led by 

Surge in FinTech Financings; PeerIQ Closes Series A (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past week featured a slate of fintech venture financings. Kabbage (Series F: $250M), Dianrong (Series D: $220M), Bread (Series B: $126M), and Juvo (Series B: $40M) all announced major financings.

And last, but not least, , led by TransUnion, Hearst Financial Venture Fund, and Macquarie Group.

For PeerIQ, it means continuing to execute upon the vision we shared at our seed financing just over two years ago. This fall, we will be launching our first products uniting TransUnion’s dataset with the PeerIQ analytics platform.

Along with its investment, Hearst brings several major holding companies, including auto data provider, BlackBook, and Fitch Ratings, the global ratings provider, which opens up many new value propositions for our customers. Finally, we are working hand in hand with Macquarie, a major provider of capital to the fintech space, to improve tools for warehouse lenders and their borrowers alike.

Lending Club Is Looking Beleaguered Heading Into Q2’s Do-Or-Die Earnings (Seeking Alpha), Rated: AAA

Source: Thomson Reuters Eikon, image made by James Brumley

Fast forward to Monday. That’s when Lending Club is expected to log another progressive quarter, cranking revenue up to $136.2 million, and whittle the per-share loss back to only one cent; the company lost nine cents per share on $103.4 million in sales for the same quarter a year earlier. Not only is revenue expected to keep growing beyond that, Lending Club is expected to swing back to a profit in Q3, of two cents per share.

Fintech lender Prosper’s valuation dives 70% in latest funding round (Biz Journals), Rated: AAA

San Francisco fintech Prosper is about to close on $50 million in funding, in a round that slashes its value 70 percent to $550 million, The Information reports .

That a steep decrease from the $1.9 billion valuation the second-largest online lender saw just last year.

Fundrise Drops Minimum Investment to $ 500 in New Starter Portfolio Offering (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

The Fundrise Starter Portfolio starts with a $500 minimum and includes a 9.25% annual dividend yield and zero advisory fees through the end of the year. If you want to try it out the Starter Portfolio comes with a 90 day guarantee. If you have a change of heart, Fundrise will purchase your investment back at the original investment amount. Not a bad deal to test the waters.

Online Lender Prosper in Talks on Deal That Would Slash Its Value (WSJ), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace Inc. is in talks to sell a roughly 10% stake to a Chinese conglomerate in a deal that could reduce the online lender’s valuation by more than two-thirds, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the terms of the proposed transaction, Linca would invest $50 million in Prosper at a valuation of about $550 million. No deal has been finalized, however, and there was no guarantee the parties would come to an agreement, the people said.

David Kimball, who took over as Prosper’s CEO last December, has been focused on making the company profitable. In February, to ensure a funding source for the company’s loans, Mr. Kimball agreed to sell $5 billion worth of Prosper’s loans to a consortium of investors over the next two years along with warrants to purchase shares representing 35% of the company, The Wall Street Journal previously reported.

Small Change Completes First Real Estate Crowdfunding Offer Under Reg CF (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Real estate investment crowdfunding site Small Change has closed its first real estate offering available to everyone – not just accredited investors.

Small Change reports that investors have funded projects via their platform in cities including Pittsburgh, Los Angeles, New Orleans, and Washington D.C. These projects are as diverse as the cities in which they’ve been built. They include Pittsburgh’s first tiny house, a historic main street mixed-use conversion, and affordable housing in Washington, D.C. with the largest residential solar install in the country.

Small Change has now completed its first offering open to all investors — a Starter Home Two project by architect Jonathan Tate.

WSFS Introduces Private Student Lending Solutions (WSFS), Rated: A

WSFS Financial Corporation (Nasdaq:WSFS), the parent company of WSFS Bank, today announced that it is now offering Private Student Lending Solutions, expanding its consumer lending product line to bridge the funding gap that exists between the actual cost of higher education and the federal aid, grants and scholarships available.

WSFS is partnering with LendKey.

SoFi to finally file for IPO? (Housingwire), Rated: A

Social Finance, better known as SoFi, first teased it would file for an initial public offering nearly three years ago.

SoFi CEO Mike Cagney appears to be interested in filing for an IPO again.

If SoFi did file for an IPO, it would mark the second major IPO for a housing-related company after a dry spell the last few years.

According to an article in Reuters by Lisa Lambert, “Last year IPOs in the United States fell by more than a third from 2015, and many of those 102 share offerings ended up trading below their debut price.”

Renters Insurance: PolicyGenius vs. Lemonade (Coverager), Rated: A

Yesterday, NYC-based digital broker PolicyGenius announced its expansion to renters insurance. The product is delivered in collaboration with Stillwater.

Another thing happened yesterday. Lemonade announced its renters and homeowner’s insurance is now available to folks in NJ, joining those residing in CA, IL and NY.

The result: Stillwater was 40% more expensive than Lemonade, all else equal.

Fluid Strikes Strategic Partnership with Nomad Credit (LendIt), Rated: B

Fintech and adtech startup Fluid announced a strategic partnership with Nomad Credit, a financial marketplace for international students in the US; the partnership looks to offer better credit options to this underserved market; together the companies will deliver better financial literacy, credit building tools and more cost effective financial products.

Here’s how start-ups get funded before they’re ready for venture capital (CNBC), Rated: B

Fledgling businesses rarely command seed or venture funding right out of the gate. But they still need cash to get started.

In reality, there’s a big difference between securing a loan for your business and winning over backers on a site like Kickstarter. Meanwhile, equity crowdfunding, enabled by sites like AngelList, CircleUp and SeedInvest, is generally for businesses that are further along.

Here are the real ways that most entrepreneurs get money at the very start.

  • Personal savings
  • Wages
  • Credit cards
  • Loans
  • Crowdfunding

Countering West Coast Pull, by Helping Finance Start-Ups Sell in New York (The New York Times), Rated: A

Nine of the 15 United States financial technology “unicorns” — companies worth $1 billion or more, as tracked by CB Insights — are in the San Francisco area. These Bay Area companies, which are not public, include the online payments processor Stripe, the online lender Social Finance and the finance website Credit Karma.

For the last seven years, a New York business-backed program — the FinTech Innovation Lab — has been working to stem that West Coast tide by helping financial services start-ups sell their services in New York in an industry where the city clearly dominates: big banks and other finance companies.

Make Delaware the financial technology capital (Delaware Online), Rated: A

One such “industry of the future” that Delaware should be working to attract is the financial technology sector, or what some affectionately call “FinTech. Empowered by mobile computing, these companies use technology to bring better, cheaper, more efficient financial services to citizens. Mobile apps that allow you to send money quickly to friends or family are examples of FinTech products.

For a number of reasons, Delaware is well-suited to become the nation’s FinTech capital. First, the financial services industry has served as a core portion of Delaware’s economy for over 40 years. Individuals with skills and expertise are ready and waiting.

Second, banks, of which many call Delaware home, are leading the way in partnering with startups large and small to develop new solutions and businesses in the space.

Third, Delaware’s nimble government and business community make it a flexible, attractive place for innovation.

Is an Online Business Loan Your Best Option? (Nav), Rated: B

There should be no surprise that with the growth of the internet and online banking that online lending would be close to follow. Over time, banks began to accept loan applications online and eventually began to offer full-service lending through the web.

While online loans may be tempting, it is important to consider every option when borrowing a large sum. Comparison shopping is your friend. There are more than 44 different kinds of business financing — that’s a large ocean to navigate before finding the lowest-cost option that fits your business profile and approval chances.

Nonbank lenders typically lend from their own funds or look to the financial markets to raise millions or billions of dollars to lend in smaller increments.

Here are some questions to ask yourself to get started:

  • How much money do you need to borrow?
  • Do you need an in-person experience or are you comfortable online?
  • What are the best interest rates available today?
  • What origination fees are you willing to pay?
United Kingdom

UK’s peer-to-peer lenders to be asked to reveal past defaults (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

The FCA is expected to announce new measures later this year, including forcing P2P groups to give extra information on the past performance of loans and on how much due diligence they have done on the borrowers’ past performance.

P2P lenders — which had collectively facilitated loans of £7.3bn in the UK by the end of last year, according to research from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) — have had plenty of time to prepare for tighter regulation.

The FCA’s latest review is the second in two years, and any measures are unlikely to come in before mid-2018, since the industry will be given between three and six months to respond to the proposals the authority puts forward later this year.

Hargreaves Lansdown Cancels Special Dividend After Regulator Warns on Capital (The New York Times), Rated: AAA

Fund supermarket Hargreaves Lansdown cancelled a planned special dividend on Friday after Britain’s financial regulator said the company needed to shore up its capital base, sending its shares lower.

The company plans to launch its HL Savings product later in the year, a cash deposit service supported by marketplace lending, and this year also launched Lifetime ISAs, or individual savings accounts eligible for a government bonus.

Distribution still keeping the wheels of credit turning (Computer Weekly), Rated: A

A recent survey revealed a third of SMEs in the IT sector have missed out on business opportunities because of a lack of finance. Distributors have long been a major source of credit for SME resellers but with consolidation taking place in distribution through mergers and acquisitions, the sources of credit available to resellers are being reduced.

One distributor that has publicly taken the initiative on credit is Exertis. The company recently introduced a programme called Credit Xtra with the intention of doubling the credit limit for more than 1,650 of its SMB accounts. There is also the option to increase the limit further if resellers remain within the distributor’s credit terms.

Dow believes that it is especially important to offer extra credit at this time of year, when resellers are targeting the peak summertime buying period in education.

LendInvest closes retail bond offer early (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINVEST has closed its bond offer early, due to strong demand from both retail and institutional investors.

The online mortgage lender launched the five-year notes on 19 July and the offer was scheduled to close at noon on Friday. However, it closed the offer at 11.30am on Thursday.

It said estimated net proceeds from the offer would be just under £49m and confirmed that the issue date will be 10 August.

Kantox raises £4.6 million from investors as it targets profitability (Business Insider), Rated: A

Foreign exchange fintech company Kantox has raised £4.6 million from its existing investors as it aims for profitability.

Filings with Companies House show Kantox raised the sum at the end of July.

Kantox, founded in 2011, made an operating loss of £258,538 on revenues of £2.3 million in 2015, the most recent year accounts are available for.

LendingCrowd offers cashback incentive (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

LENDINGCROWD has launched a £150 cashback offer to investors when adding £2,500 or more amid surging demand from borrowers for business loans.

The offer, which runs until 31 August, is available to new and existing investors and can be used in its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA.)

Competition regulator confirms P2P business lenders exempt from APR rules (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

NEW pricing rules on business loans will not apply to peer-to-peer lenders, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has confirmed.

From today, all providers of unsecured loans and overdrafts worth up to £25,000 to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), will have to publish and clearly display the annual percentage rates (APRs.)

It had previously been unclear if this would apply to P2P and alternative finance lenders but the CMA confirmed to Peer2Peer Finance News this morning that it would not.

Can P2P Lending Kill NBFCs? (TechBullion), Rated: A

NBFCs, on the other hand, are the Non-Banking Financial Companies.

Does P2P lending offer such a serious threatto NBFCs and can P2P lending kill NBFCs? We write an informative review to let you know!

While NBFCs mostly deal with the unbanked population, P2P concentrate on the businesses that are usually locked out by traditional lenders and also on the tech-savvy individuals.

While P2P platforms have embraced the use of modern technology, NBFCs have failed in the use of technology. This has really affected their growth as they cannot really compete efficiently in the modern world.

Should you go with the crowd? (MoneyWeek), Rated: B

The returns available to investors aren’t as high as they used to be, but they’re still much, much more than you’d get putting your money in a deposit account. But there’s a very good reason for that. It’s an awful lot riskier too. You’re not covered by the financial services compensation scheme – which safeguards up to £85,000 of your savings if your bank goes bust. That means you cold lose everything.

China

Hexindai Partners with China UnionPay to Launch a Mobile Payment Function to Its App (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Hexindai Inc. (“Hexindai” or “the Company”), a fast-growing consumer lending marketplace in China, today announced that it has partnered with China UnionPay to launch its “Quick Pass” app on Hexindai’s mobile platform. The app will allow investors on the Company’s platform to use surplus funds that have not been lent out to pay for goods and services provided by stores partnered with China UnionPay by scanning a QR code created by the app.

Huge Internet finance firms to be assessed (Shanghai Daily), Rated: A

CHINA will explore methods to include large Internet financial businesses of systemic importance in its macro prudential assessment, said a central bank report issued late Friday.

The first peer-to-peer lending platform opened in 2007, and exploded in popularity, with the number of such platforms increasing 18-fold between 2012 and 2015 and the combined transaction volume jumping about 40 times over the period, said the State Information Center.

Inclusive finance to lift fintech firms (China Daily), Rated: A

Financial technology or fintech companies, particularly those focused on credit analysis, will greatly reduce cost of lending and also reduce credit risks. So, they are likely to experience fast growth on market demand as commercial banks are joining the inclusive finance market.

That market is currently dominated by smaller, private financial institutions, such as peer-to-peer or P2P lending platforms and consumer finance platforms.

In China, only 30 percent of citizens are covered by existing credit reporting system, while in mature markets the percentage could be 70 percent or higher.

By the end of July, the five biggest banks in China-Industrial & Commercial Bank of China, Agricultural Bank of China, China Construction Bank, Bank of Communications and Bank of China-had launched inclusive finance arms, just two months after the authorities concerned called for better financial services for a wider group of people across China.

European Union

FinMason Announces International Expansion: Opens Operations in Prague (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Boston-based fintech and investment analytics firm, FinMason, announced its international expansion plans and the opening of a new operations center based in Prague. The company stated the initial expansion will include the hiring of twenty software engineers to keep pace with the rapid growth and development needs of the company.

The company shared that FinMason Europe, s.r.o., opened August 1st and the first employees have already started.

Vendorly Adds Three New Companies to Vendor Oversight Platform (Markets Insider), Rated: AAA

Vendorly, an innovative vendor oversight platform for financial institutions, today announced the continued expansion of its platform through the addition of three new third-party oversight integrations available on the Vendorly™ platform. These additions further enable our customers to enhance their compliance management framework and help them maintain the high oversight standards required in today’s marketplace.

Continuing this momentum, the new vendor oversight additions to the Vendorly platform include:

  • Dun & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB)— Vendorly customers now have access to Dun & Bradstreet data to help make smarter decisions about their current and prospective vendor network.
  • The ID Co. — With DirectID, Vendorly customers now have the ability to conduct bank verification for current and prospective vendors in their network, to reduce fraud and misrepresentation prior to payment.
  • TINCheck — Vendorly customers now have the ability to validate the tax ID of all organizations in their current and prospective vendor network.

iFunded Tackles Large Project With Bond Issue (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

A new entrant in German online real estate lending, iFunded wants to address the market of larger property development projects that lie beyond the scope of real estate crowdfunding. Partnering with umbrella investment bank NFS Netfonds Financial Service, the platform is launching its first €10 million real estate bond issue, to be listed on the open market of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. With this, iFunded leads, for the real estate online funding segment, the Fintech startup trend that consists in moving from exemption/sandbox status to a fully regulated financial environment.

According to Crowdfunding.de, in the first half of 2017, German online real estate crowdlending platforms raised €58 million, 45% more than in the entire year of 2016.

In July 2017, iFunded launched its first public bond offering, what motivated you as a company to add the classical fundraising channel to your online real estate platform?

Real estate crowdfunding in Germany has grown very significantly recently and will reach between €100 and €120 million by the end of 2017. However, it still is small.

Our first project Eisenzahnstrasse Berlin is a €10 million bond issue (ISIN: DE000A2E4FQ5) with a 3.5-year maturity and 5.5% interest rate. It is destined to transform an exi property into 281 flats, including a penthouse, and 2,400 sqm commercial space. The total estimated budget is €49.6 million and the expected income €67 million.

Robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects profitability by 2019 (Citywire), Rated: A

European robo-adviser Moneyfarm expects to become profitable by 2019 as it looks to bring to market new products in the coming months.

The Italian firm filed its 2016 financial statements this morning, announcing expansion to 10,000 customers in the UK and £260 million in global assets under management (AUM), which renders it the second largest robo-adviser in Europe.

The firm has reported total losses of £6.4 million in 2016, but claims this was in line with its agreed targets.

Kildare businesses raise over €1m through Linked Finance (Leinster Leader), Rated: B

Linked Finance, Ireland’s leading peer-to-peer (P2P) lending company has raised over €1m for Kildare-based businesses.

36 Kildare businesses including well-known businesses Kelly’s Mountain Brew, Celbridge Playzone, and The Academy Barber, have used the Linked Finance platform to raise funds and facilitate business growth.

International

Analog Regulations Built for the Traditional Banking Space are not Conducive to Fostering Innovation in Financial Services (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Mueller notes that Singapore and the UK were the early leaders in Fintech innovation as the respective governments determined it was of strategic importance. With government backing, Fintech flourished.

But there are many challenges for this transformation that is occurring at a breakneck speed. And as Mueller says;

“analog regulations built for the traditional banking space are not conducive to fostering innovation in a financial services industry turned digital.”

Mueller bullets out intrinsic challenges to the existing regulatory ecosystem:

  • Fear of failure has resulted in some regulators taking a go slow approach instead of being proactive. When things go wrong – who gets the blame?
  • Complexity in Fintech requires new skills. Regulatory agencies are typically populated with people entrenched in well defined processes. There is a lack of proper skills and staffing.
  • Internal culture may not be willing to adapt. Changing processes is always a challenge. A cohesive policy strategy is missing.
  • Fintech innovators may struggle to engage and communicate with a regulator. Fear of engagement harms us all

Yes, some countries are blazing trails in Fintech and the list of countries pursuing a Fintech Hub status is growing. Without acknowledging the elephant in the room that the US is not at the top of this list (even though it is the leading global financial center) is telling about the regulatory morass elected officials have allowed to persist.

Read the full report here.

FinTech and the world of investment banking (Brave New Coin), Rated: A

Global banks and investment banks are far more complex creatures than their high street counterparts, which is why we’ve seen far less disruption in corporate, commercial and wholesale banking that we are seeing in retail, but don’t be complacent or closed here. There are things happening in the more complex areas too.

While fintech covers a diverse array of companies, business models, and technologies, companies generally fall into several key verticals, including:

Lending tech: Lending companies on the list include primarily peer-to-peer lending platforms as well as underwriter and lending platforms using machine learning technologies and algorithms to assess creditworthiness.

Payments/billing tech: Payments and billing tech companies span from solutions to facilitate payments processing to payment card developers to subscription billing software tools.

Personal finance/wealth management: Tech companies that help individuals manage their personal bills, accounts and/or credit, as well as manage their personal assets and investments.

Money transfer/remittance: Money transfer companies include primarily peer-to-peer platforms to transfer money between individuals across countries.

Blockchain/bitcoin: Companies here span key software or technology firms in the distributed ledger space, ranging from bitcoin wallets to security providers to sidechains.

Institutional/capital markets tech: Companies either providing tools to financial institutions such as banks, hedge funds, mutual funds, or other institutional investors. These range from alternative trading systems to financial modelling and analysis software.

Equity crowdfunding: Platforms that allow a collection of individuals to provide monetary contributions for projects or companies provisioned in the form of equity.

Insurance tech: Companies creating new underwriting, claims, distribution and brokerage platforms, enhanced customer experience offerings, and software-as-a-service to help insurers deal with legacy IT issues

Source: Brave New Coin

Meantime, rather than ignoring these changes, the biggest banks are investing in them. Since 2012, the ten largest US banks by assets participated in 72 rounds of investment totalling $3.6 billion in 56 FinTech companies whilst, in Europe, Banco Santander leads with the most number of unique investments to FinTech startups. The firm has made 13 investments to 12 unique fintech startups. The largest investment was a $135 million in Q3 2015 to small business lender Kabbage, that also included participation from ING among other investors.

Alt-Lending Enjoys Sudden Investment Revival (PYMNTS), Rated: A

This week alone saw two examples of those concerns in action: One U.S. lawmaker, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) sent a letter to five alternative small business lenders operating in the country, inquiring about their business practices.

This week also saw one alternative lender in the U.K., DueCourse, fall into administration.

All of this makes it even more surprising that alternative lending startups, by far, secured the greatest amount of investment this week – pushing half a billion dollars, in fact.

PYMNTS breaks down the major AltFin investment rounds, plus covers the other B2B FinTechs that were able to secure new funding.

Australia/New Zealand

PledgeMe closes in on profitability in 2017, weighs up new product development (NZ Herald), Rated: AAA

PledgeMe came within cooee of turning a profit in the 2017 financial year, boosting revenue from fees to use its equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform while also clamping down on costs, and is considering adding another string to its bow which that could need another capital injection.

The Wellington-based company narrowed its annual loss to $11,228 in the 12 months ended March 31 from $398,611 a year earlier as revenue climbed 55 per cent to $268,473 and operating costs were slashed 48 per cent to $288,502.

Fintech Australia Shares 2017 Australian Fintech Update (Infographic) (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

On Saturday, Fintech Australia released a new infographic that revealed more details about the Australian fintech industry’s successes so far this year.

 

Non-bank loans gain momentum in tough lending regime (The Sydney Morning Herald), Rated: A

We have seen demand for construction loans between $10 million and $30 million spike 20 per cent per cent over the last six months as Tier 1 banks are quickly tightening both pre-sales thresholds and loan-to-valuation ratios on new developments.

One area of the greatest demand for non-bank finance is coming from Chinese property developers, who do not have the track record or Australian assets to provide comfort to the major lenders.

Peer-to-peer lending models, like that of Chifley Securities, allow us to access investor funds to progress these developments, as we are applying different, more nuanced assessment of the risks associated with these loans.

Will property crowdfunding take off in Australia? (Your Investment Property), Rated: A

A new study conducted by the University of South Australia (UniSA) in partnership with DomaCom, suggests that crowdfunding could become a viable new vehicle for investors trying to make headway into the country’s increasingly challenging property market.

Braam Lowies, the study’s lead researcher, noted that while the concept was relatively new in Australia, it had been successful in the United States and United Kingdom for approximately seven years.

India

Wadhawan Global takes second UK bet, invests Rs 175 crore (India Times), Rated: A

Wadhawan Global Capital (WGC), which owns 38% of Dewan Housing FinanceBSE 0.07 %, has invested Rs 175 crore in London-based mortgage financer Neyber, marking it’s second investment through the newly set up UK arm as it seeks to expand its global footprint.

Why PPF is like a safety jacket for investors of P2P lending (India Times), Rated: A

Those who do not back the idea of PPF believe investors should carry the risk of loss as the principal idea of P2P Lending is to offer investors an “alternative investment route”. The P2P Lending platform, at best, can try to strengthen the risk-assessment processes by making the optimal use of technological innovations.

While the other camp which is in favour of PPF opines that it is not a luxury but a necessity at the moment as it will only instill confidence among the investors. And, it’s not about disbelieving one’s capabilities.

Asia

Consultation by MAS on the provision of robo-advisory services in Singapore (Lexology), Rated: AAA

A summary of the proposals put forward by MAS in the Consultation Paper is set out below.

  1. Expansion of licensing exemptions

    (a) Expansion of licensing exemption for dealings in securities other than CIS

    (b) Expansion of licensing exemption for provision of fund management services incidental to advisory activities

  2. Dispensation with prior client approval for each and every rebalancing transaction
  3. Case-by-case exemption from collecting full information on the financial circumstances of clients
  4. Relaxation of criteria for CMS licences in fund management for digital advisers
  5. Development, monitoring and testing of client-facing tools
  6. Provision of information on algorithms and conflicts of interest
  7. Responsibility of the board and senior management

MAS Establishes Payments Council (LATTICE80 Email), Rated: A

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced on 2 August that it will establish a Payments Council, comprising 20 leaders from banks, payment service providers, businesses,and trade  associations. Members are appointed for a two-year term and chaired by Mr Ravi Menon, Managing Director, MAS. The Payment Council marks the vision of an e-payments society, fostering collaboration between providers and users of payment services in Singapore.

Green Packet an emerging fintech play (The Star), Rated: A

Communication and technology services company Green Packet Bhd is eyeing an expansion into a new growth area – the mobile payment solutions segment, an area poised for disruptions through technology.

According to the 2016 Visa Consumer Payment Attitudes survey, 74% of Malaysians prefer to make electronic payments instead of cash, an increase of 8% compared with 2015. In fact, Visa indicated in a separate study that seven in ten Malaysians are willing to use mobile wallets.

Hyperintelligent banking in the fickle era of social media (Inquirer.net), Rated: A

Such is the case of American banking giant Citi, which sees itself as a technology company with a banking license, having introduced video banking recently in India.

Video banking is seen suitable especially in wealth management, which is part of the regional consumer business led by Selva. This is a segment where customers need trust and constant advice.

Citi receives 70 million calls a year, almost half of which are answered by a phone agent. The bank usually spends about 30 to 45 seconds validating the call, asking the client his or her mother’s maiden name, date of birth and details about the last transaction.

In the Philippines, Citi now implements voice-enabled biometrics for easier client verification. Citi is likewise moving toward facial recognition.

Fintech Buys Stake in Exchange (finews), Rated: B

GSX, which owns and operates the Gibraltar Stock Exchange, said on Friday that Cyberhub Fintech Holdings Limited is a new strategic shareholder. Cyberhub is a unit of Broctagon, a derivatives trading technology provider.

The stock exchange also wants to become the world’s first to fully integrate blockchain technology.

Africa

The role of financial advisers in raising national savings levels (Biz Community), Rated: A

According to the 2017 Old Mutual Savings & Investment Monitor, working South Africans allocate only 15% of their incometowards savings.

Naidoo explained that these statistics emphasise the extent of the national savings deficit and the large gap that exists between targeted economic growth of 5.4% per year, as per the NDP, and the ability of the South African economy to fund that growth.

Naidoo believes that financial services providers and advisers have a vital responsibility to promote a savings culture via collaborative advice and financial literacy efforts.

Barbados

Carilend seeing ‘phenomenal’ growth (Loop News Barbados), Rated: AAA

Just three months in and Barbados’ sole peer-to-peer lending company, Carilend, is seeing tremendous success with 100 percent of its loans.

With over 900 registered users on the site to date, the team at Carilend has been amazed at the response they have received.

Carilend reported their “average” Borrower is borrowing $8,617 for 43 months at an average interest rate of 11.34%. Whilst all applications receive an answer in one working day, Carilend recently approved a brand new Borrower in 2 hours; 22 minutes from receipt of their initial application.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor