Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes December 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Thursday January 4 2018 Daily News Digest

most funded fintech segments

News Comments Today’s main news: U.S. blocks Ant Financial from buying MoneyGram. Victory Park exits Prosper. Money360 closes $500M in CRE loans. Prosper appoints new marketing chief. Indian startup funding at 3-month low. LaLa World Global to launch token sale. Today’s main analysis: International P2P lending volumes for December 2017. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub to turn around in 2018. Top hedge […]

most funded fintech segments

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

European Union

International

Australia

India

Asia

Canada

Africa

News Summary

United States

The U.S. Is Blocking a Chinese Fintech Giant from Buying MoneyGram (Technology Review), Rated: AAA

American authorities have decided that Alibaba’s digital payment firm, Ant Financial, won’t be allowed to acquire the cash transfer company Moneygram.

Money360 Passes $ 500 Million in Commercial Real Estate Loans Closed (GlobeNewswire), Rated: AAA

Money360, a technology-enabled direct lender specializing in commercial real estate (CRE) loans, today announced it has surpassed half a billion dollars in loans closed since inception. This includes $357 million in loans closed for the year 2017.  The milestone comes on the heels of other recent successes for Money360, including the initiation of a partnership with Ten-X, the nation’s leading online real estate transaction marketplace, in which Money360 works to accelerate commercial real estate transactions for buyers, sellers and brokers by offering pre-approved financing for qualified properties and buyers.

Money360 specializes in bridge and permanent loans of $1 million to $20 million. Recent loans closed during the period include:

  • A $7.8 million bridge loan for an office property in Evansville, Indiana, brought to Money360 by Benjamin Kadish at Maverick Capital
  • A $7.5 million bridge loan for a full-service hotel in Cromwell, Connecticut, brought to Money360 by Rushi Shah at Conlon Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a nationwide portfolio of Pier 1 retail properties, brought to Money360 by Al Dannatt at Commercial Resource Capital
  • A $6.8 million bridge loan for a mixed-use center in Charleston, South Carolina, brought to Money360 by Dominick Scorzo at Ivenhoe Capital Advisors
  • A $4.4 million permanent loan for a retail center in Mount Olive, New Jersey, brought to Money360 through our partnership with Ten-X
  • A $4 million bridge loan for an office building in Amarillo, Texas, brought to Money360 by Steve States at States Mortgage
  • A $3.2 million bridge loan for a retail center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, brought to Money360 by Martin Chera at Express Mortgage

In addition to record loan generation activity and new partnerships, Money360 has taken a number of notable steps in 2017 to further position the company as a leader in commercial real estate and alternative investing, including:

  • Hired new top talent to support company growth.
  • Named a top five company in the real estate fintech industry by Deloitte based on total investment dollars received.
  • Gained backing and support from Ron Suber. Mr. Suber not only invested in Money360, but also joined the firm as a strategic advisor.

M360 Advisors surpasses $300M in Assets Under Management

Finally, Money360 announced that its affiliate, M360 Advisors (“M360”), surpassed $300 million in assets under management.

3 Turnaround Stocks to Consider in 2018 (The Motley Fool), Rated: AAA

One name that has been sold off very recently is Lending Club (NYSE:LC), the leader in the relatively new industry of FinTech personal lending.

Lending Club’s fee-based model depends on increasing volumes, so growth-oriented investors were likely scared off by the reduced targets.

However, I think the hate has gone too far. Lending Club is the largest and only publicly traded loan marketplace, which has made it the go-to for institutional investors looking for exposure to consumer loans. By tightening credit, Lending Club has demonstrated a long-term commitment to sound underwriting, which should deepen its relationships with these important investors.

And while Lending Club did reduce its near-term guidance, it still guided for roughly 20% revenue growth and increasing profitability next year, which isn’t too shabby. The market opportunity in U.S. credit card consolidation — Lending Club’s core business (though not its the only one) — is still large, at $300-$350 billion, which means Lending Club’s current $11.5 billion loans outstanding only amounts to about 3-4% of this market.

TOP HEDGE FUND INDUSTRY TRENDS FOR 2018 (All About Alpha), Rated: AAA

Despite the plethora of negative articles about the hedge fund industry, hedge fund assets have reached an all-time high 5 quarters in a row. Across the hedge fund investor landscape, we see a significant improvement in sentiment towards the industry. We forecast that industry assets will grow by 5.5% over the next 12 months.

Strategies that will gain assets include:

  • Quant
  • Asia long/short equity  – The IMF predicts that 2/3 of world growth will come from Asia over the next 5 years. Less than 5% of Hedge Fund industry assets are invested with Asia based managers.
  • Reinsurance
  • Higher turnover fixed income
  • Strategies that blur the lines between private equity and hedge funds – Most of these are private lending/specialty financing.

Strategies that will lose assets include:

  • Traditional long/short equity focusing on the developed markets.
  • High beta fixed income managers.

Arms race for Alpha

The industry is experiencing an information arms race with respect to how much information can be gathered and how quickly it can be processed.  Information advantages are often short-lived, and many managers are investing in a host of new technologies such as quantitative analytics, alternative data sources and Artificial Intelligence in an attempt to enhance their decision making and improve traditional investment processes. Information and technology are being used to increase efficiency and accuracy in sourcing information, researching ideas and executing investments.

Increase in hedge funds shutting down

The hedge fund industry remains over saturated with an estimated 15,000 funds. We believe approximately 90% of all hedge funds do not justify their fees, as evidenced by the mediocre returns of hedge fund indices. Fed-up with poor performance, investors are increasingly more likely to redeem from underperforming managers leading to an increase in fund closures.

Bullish on Cryptocurrency industry despite potentially one of the largest bubbles in capital markets history

Cryptocurrency is in its infancy stage and will continue to experience tremendous innovation, evolution and exponential growth over the next decade. There are already more than 120 hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies and block chain technology. We expect this number to increase 2 to 3 times in 2018.

Prosper Marketplace Appoints Former Bank of America Executive Justine Metz Head of Marketing (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Prosper Marketplace today announced it has appointed Justine Metz as Executive Vice President of Marketing.

Metz brings more than 25 years of marketing experience and joins Prosper from SRS Acquiom, a financial firm that specializes with M&A transactions. Prior to that, Justine served as Head of Global Wealth and Investment Management Marketing and Sales Support at Bank of America, where she was responsible for driving growth, profitability and loyalty for Bank of America’s Wealth Management business, Merrill Lynch and US Trust. She has also held senior positions at Fidelity Investments, Morgan Stanley and GE Capital (GEFA).

MoneyLion Secures $ 42 Million Investment to Accelerate Growth (BusinessWire), Rated: A

MoneyLion, the digital personal finance platform for the financial middle class, announced today it has secured a $42 million Series B funding, led by Edison Partners. Existing investors FinTech Collective and Grupo SURA, as well as new investors Greenspring Associates and Danhua Capital also participated in the round. All told, MoneyLion has now raised $67 million in equity financing.

The latest investment follows rapid growth of the MoneyLion platform, which has surpassed 1.5 million users and has experienced 178% compounded growth in revenue since 2015. The company, which is cash flow positive, plans on using the growth capital to increase investment in technology and continue to expand its product line.

How Tech Sends Clients Running Back to Human FAs (Financial Advisor IQ), Rated: A

While investors have been using digital tools as an entry into financial planning, they’re simply inundated by too much data and eventually turn to human advisors for help, Cerulli Associates says, according to the publication.

Nonetheless, investors’ appetite for digital advice isn’t subsiding: digital platforms were expected to reach $220 billion in client assets by the end 2017 and more than $600 billion by the end of 2022, according to the report cited by FA magazine.

 

Celsius to replace traditional future exchanges like CME and CBOT with crypto lenders (LeapRate), Rated: A

Celsius, a blockchain powered lending and borrowing platform, just announced that it aims to replace big banks and futures exchanges, like the CME and CBOT, with crypto coin holders who will earn returns through lending. Using its platform, which will launch in Q1 2018, Celsius members can easily borrow coins at significantly reduced rates compared to traditional financial institutions, while lenders can earn automatic interest by holding coins in the Celsius Wallet.

Dubbed as “The Wallet That Pays Back”, registrants who deposit coins into the Celsius Wallet will receive up to 7% per year on loaned coins.

Celsius plans to offer a variety of powerful financial tools for crypto asset holders, including:

  • Peer-to-Peer Lending 
  • Peer-to-Peer Borrowing 
  • Crypto Shorting: Network members will be able to short crypto assets by borrowing coins from lenders almost instantaneously.
  • Global Credit 
  • Capital Protection: Celsius will provide protection for all coins, by collecting a portion of the principal interest amount from borrowers.

Crypto P2P lender Celsius readies for launch (P2P Finance News), Rated: B

CELSIUS, an Ethereum-based peer-to-peer lending platform, is set to launch during this quarter.

Lenders will receive up to seven per cent year by depositing coins into the Celsius Wallet that are lent out to the platform’s network of members, according to LeapRate.com.

2018’s Best Credit Cards & $ 7.4B in Extra Interest Following Fed Hikes (WalletHub Email), Rated: A

With millions of people making a financially themed resolution for 2018 and recent Fed rate hikes expected to cost credit card users an extra  Best For… Card Name Travel Rewards

The Mastermind Behind Chase’s Industry-Changing Sapphire Reserve Card Sets Her Sights on Banking (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Pam Codispoti had a dilemma. She’d been brought on by JPMorgan Chase & Co.to develop a credit card for affluent millennials in 2014—a time when no one thought the group wanted credit cards.

Chase’s response was the Sapphire Reserve. The $450-a-year card came with a sign-up bonus of 100,000 reward points and allowed holders to use them at a wide variety of hotels, airlines, restaurants, and more. Holders were also rewarded extra for spending in those categories, and even given a $300 annual travel credit.

CFPB 2018 outlook: More deregulation, more upheaval (American Banker), Rated: A

The first 11 months alone under former CFPB Director Richard Cordray saw a steady stream of enforcement actions and regulatory policies that by itself would make the bureau’s year more eventful than that of other agencies. That span also saw the Trump administration’s challenges to Cordray’s leadership, and the congressional repeal of the CFPB arbitration rule.

Indiana lawmaker files bill to cap payday loan interest rates at 36 percent (rtv6), Rated: A

State Sen. Greg Walker (R-Columbus) filed on Tuesday the first of its kind legislation that would cap small loan finance charges at 36 percent.

Currently, the cap for payday loans in Indiana is 391 percent, according to Walker.

Indiana ranks 44th, among the worst in the nation, when it comes to bankruptcy and Hoosiers and their communities lose about $70 million a year in payday loan fees, according to the Indiana Institute for Working Families.

If in case you have debt, keep away from this massive mistake many debtors make (Kaplan Herald), Rated: B

In June, cumulative U.S. household debt reached $12.84 trillion, a $114 billion increase from the first quarter.

Four 4 in 5 Americans are in the red, according to data from a provided exclusively to CNBC.

United Kingdom

Victory Park Capital fund exits Prosper loans (AltFi), Rated: AAA

The £336.8m VPC Specialty Lending fund has sold its total holding in Prosper marketplace loans, representing 4.1 per cent of the Company’s net asset value [NAV].

Valuing Funding Circle (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Back in 2014, Lending Club and OnDeck were riding high. The American startups led a pack of online lending companies “disrupting” consumer and business loans respectively.

The hype reached fever-pitched as they floated within weeks of each other. Lending Club was valued at $5.4bn. OnDeck at $1.3bn.

So, hats off to Funding Circle, the British online lender that is preparing to follow in the footsteps of its struggling peers across the Atlantic.

Making the most of your money (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

AS INFLATION grows ahead of expectations, far too many savers are seeing the value of their hard-earned cash decline.

Recent research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) found that just under a third (30 per cent) of UK adults would not be able to cope if their mortgage repayments increased by £50 a month.

With the recent 0.25 per cent rate rise, it won’t be long before these households feel the squeeze.

The rise of P2P

UK savers and investors are also willing to back British businesses. Six in 10 (63 per cent) would be willing to lend to a business. Over a quarter (26 per cent) would lend to a business that could use their assets as security. A quarter (25 per cent) would lend to an established business that has been operating for a few years and 11 per cent would lend to a start-up business.

Click here for more information on ArchOver.

Folk2Folk Announces New CEO as Giles Cross Takes Over Leadership Role P2P Lending Platform (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Folk2Folk, a unique peer to peer lending platform that combines physical locations with an online platform matching investors with small business loans, has announced the appointment of Giles Cross  Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Cross joined Folk2Folk as Chief Marketing Officer in June 2017.

 

Property Lender Financed Around 1,800 UK Homes in 2017 (Landlord News), Rated: A

LendInvest, a leading specialist property lender, lent £500m to help professional property investors, developers and landlords buy, build or renovate around 1,800 UK homes during 2017.

This marks a 33% increase on the previous year’s £375m lending record.

LendInvest has now lent a total of over £1.2 billion to property investors and developers.

High touch meets high tech (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

FAIRNESS IS pivotal to Newable Lending’s ethos when it comes to lending – and it’s not afraid to nail its colours to the mast. The peer-to-peer business lender is a member of Responsible Finance, a trade body working to increase access to fair finance.

FCA financial advice director steps down (Mortgage Strategy), Rated: B

FCA director of life insurance and financial advice Linda Woodall has stepped down from the regulator.

The regulator understands she intends to retire. A replacement has yet to be appointed.

European Union

New EU financial market rules off to smooth start: Watchdog (Khaleej Times), Rated: AAA

The rollout of new European Union securities rules on Wednesday has been glitch-free so far, though disruptions in coming days and months cannot be ruled out, the bloc’s markets watchdog said.

But given the complexity and size of the reform, Esma could not rule out glitches in coming days or weeks, Maijoor said.

Rocky start for Europe’s financial market revamp (Handelsblatt Global), Rated: A

Even after a year-long delay, precious few experts fully understand the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II, Europe’s biggest financial markets reform in almost a decade.

Among other key changes, and in a belated nod to technological progress, telephone-based trading will be replaced with electronic platforms in bonds and off-exchange derivatives. And consumers should immediately see financial advice standards rise.

Analysts estimate that MiFid II will cost $6 billion (€5 billion) to implement in the first five years.

Exclusive Interview with Fast Invest CEO Simona Vaitkune (ChipIn), Rated: A

We recently sat down with the CEO of Fast Invest, Simona Vaitkune to have a chat with her about the project as well as finding out her thoughts and insights.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Fast Invest. Did you face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Fast Invest to fill?

Everything started when I wanted not only to save money but to earn from my savings, to get passive income. I began to search for a platform which would fit me, but I could not find anything because I wanted to do it easily and safely without investing a lot of money.

What do you think is the biggest problem Fast Invest will solve and why is the problem important to solve?

Fast Invest is solving a problem that I mentioned before – complexity and large entry point of investment platforms. With Fast Invest, you can start investing from 1 Euro, Zloty or Pound. On top of that, you do not need to worry about your money, because we offer BuyBack and default guarantees.

International

International P2P Lending Volumes December 2017 (P2P-Banking), Rated: AAA

Mintos finished a remarkable month fueled by the cashback promotion. The total volume for the reported marketplaces adds up to 582 million Euro.

This month I added PeerBerryLook&Fin and MyTripleA.

Source: P2P-Banking

Setting the Tone for 2018 in the Most Important Charts of 2017 (Let’s Talk Payments), Rated: AAA

In 2017, lending startups around the world scored almost $4 billion in total funding, followed by $3.55 billion gathered by InsurTech startups, $3.24 billion invested in payments, and, of course, $850 million pocketed by startups building blockchain-based solutions.

Keep shoppers, the planet, and your profits happy by allowing in-store returns (Biz Report), Rated: A

Reverse-logistics firm Optoro found that nearly half (45%) of people will begin sending back unwanted items no sooner than the ripped up wrapping paper has been balled and binned. UPS recently forecast that returns would peak at 1.4 million packages on Wednesday 3 January, 2018, up 8% on last year and the fourth consecutive yearly increase. UPS said consumers returned more than 1 million packages a day to retailers last month.

According to Optoro’s report, the majority of returns (91%) will take place in-store. While total returns account for more than $351 billion in lost sales for U.S. retailers (Appriss Retail) the fact that most of those returns are happening in store is good news. More than half (57%) of shoppers who return items to a physical store make additional purchases during the process.

Could blockchains replace banks in real estate lending? (American Banker), Rated: A

The startup Propy recently sold an apartment in the Ukraine through its blockchain, and in the last week of December it began letting Californians buy and sell properties on its blockchain using bitcoin. They will be able to use U.S. dollars next year.

ShelterZoom has built an Ethereum-based platform that went live Dec. 14. RealBlocks lets people invest in housing on its blockchain with fiat or digital currency (and starting in February 2018, its own tokens). It has completed seven deals so far.

RealBlocks lets people invest in rental properties like Section 8 housing over a blockchain.

It has also partnered with SALT Lending so that after February, participants will be able to take out a loan or line of credit using the tokens they buy from RealBlocks as collateral.

A blockchain could also facilitate crowdsourced mortgages. Instead of taking out a $200,000 loan from one lender, a borrower could get $2,000 each from 1,000 investors.

18 Blockchain Predictions for 2018 (Consensy), Rated: A

Bitcoin as a digital store of value is the least interesting use of blockchain … There, I said it.

A Loan

Source: Consensys

An Initial Public Offering or Crowdfunding

Source: Consensys

10. People will take control of their online identities

We will continue to see the growing trend wherein people, companies, and machines manage their identity self-sovereignly rather then by a third party service provider like a bank, Facebook, or another internet service provider.

Interestingly, governments will increasingly find themselves as attestors to these self-sovereign identities, similar to how Zug, Switzerland is attesting to citizens identity usage with uPort, Ethereum leading self-sovereign identity solution.

11. In 2018, governments and regulatory bodies will mandate the use of blockchain to track and trace high value assets.

Major Fortune 50 companies are already demanding public chain track and trace use cases for which they are using the Viant platform to build their solutions.

18. The total market cap of blockchain-based digital assets will exceed $2 trillion U.S. dollars by January 1, 2019.

The price of ether will exceed $2,000 in 2018. Ether will continue to outperform bitcoin, and the total market cap of ether will exceed that of bitcoin in 2018.

8 fintech trends on our radar for 2018 (O’Reilly Media), Rated: B

  1. AI will be implemented across the stack
  2. New products will make advanced analytics easier
  3. Blockchain technologies will be used in financial services products
  4. Data partnerships will increase
  5. We’ll see even greater regionalization and regulation in payments – This is an area where both startups and global companies are flourishing. The technologies, protocols, and players vary by region. I’m amazed by how widely used QR codes are in China (WeChat and Alipay) and the rest of the world (GoPay in Southeast Asia, Paytm in India). For companies operating in the EU, PSD2 is a new 2018 regulation aimed at fostering innovation and competition in the payments industry.
  6. Customer experience will be increasingly mobile
  7. There will be increased pressure around privacy and security
  8. More quants will be analyzing or trading cryptocurrencies
Australia

Can a fintech lending firm disrupt the big four? (Asiamoney), Rated: AAA

As CVs for Australian bankers go, Jason Yetton’s background doesn’t quite scream ‘disruptor’. High-flyer perhaps, certainly ambitious and across trends. But helming a startup?

Two years on from Westpac and now running SocietyOne, the Sydney-based loans fintech that is one of Australia’s more prominent financial startups, the mid-career Yetton seems to bite with near evangelistic fervour the very hand of establishment banking that once nourished him.

Australian banking is backward in many critical areas, Yetton tells Asiamoney. He wants to see a tech-led democratization that would revolutionize payments and settlement, as well as lending, data and information infrastructure, while allowing customers to switch banks without penalty.

The current system preserves the status quo, Yetton says, in which the formidable foursome control 80% to 85% of Australia’s banking market and from which they earned a collective A$32 billion ($24 billion) in the 2017 financial year.

India

Funds Raised By Indian Startups Hit Three-Month Low (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Funds raised by Indian startups hit a three-month low, as four startups together managed to raise just around $10 million last week. That compares with $36 million raised by 10 startups the week before in angel, seed or venture capital funding.

Online lending firm Lendingkart Finance Ltd. raised around $3.7 million (Rs 25 crore) from the country’s largest public sector bank State Bank of India to grow its loan books, the company said in a statement.

Indian start-up ecosystem on a growth path in 2018 (Outlook), Rated: A

India’s start-up eco-system has been growing at a rapid pace and has all the right ingredients to support the fast paced economic growth of the country. With an addition of 1000 start-ups in the year 2017, the start-ups have played a big role in the growth of the Indian economy, making it a major source of employment, innovation and industrialisation.

i2ifunding, India’s second largest P2P lending platform plans to expand its business across the country, instead of focussing on metro cities.

Asia

LaLa World Global to Launch $ 10M Public Token Sale Jan. 5 (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Blockchain startup LaLa World is pleased to announce the long anticipated launch of the Lala Token sale to commence on January 5, 2018 and to run through February 5, 2018. A total of 150 Million LALA Tokens will be released in an initial coin sale (ICO) starting this Friday.

LALA World Products from their Financial Ecosystem Include:

  1. LALA Transfer – A Peer-to-Peer local and global remittance backed by crypto as well as fiat.
  2. LALA Bill Pay – Local and International bill payments for you and your family.
  3. LALA Lends – Domestic and International peer-to-peer lending via crypto and fiat, individual and small businesses.
  4. LALA Card – Crypto and Fiat card synced to your Wallet and usable at millions of PoS globally.
  5. LALA Kit – Contains a mobile phone with pre-loaded LALA Wallet, LALA Insurance, LALA Card, partners’ products, etc.

LaLa World is a wholesome financial ecosystem for the unbanked, starting with migrants and their families back home. Investors can purchase LaLa Tokens here: 

8 promising Fintech Startups in Singapore to Watch in 2018 (Fintech News), Rated: A

  1. MyCash Online is an online marketplace designed for migrant workers in Malaysia and Singapore.
  2. Instarem is a remittance startup that aims to offer fast, safe and cost effective cross border money transfer services for individuals and businesses from countries including Hong Kong, Australia and Singapore to more than 25 countries.
  3. Singapore Life is a new life insurance firm which commenced its operations in 2017 by providing insurance solutions via its online platform.
  4. soCash has developed a solution that allows people to withdraw cash at small businesses part of its “Cashpoints” network. The solution plugs into the mobile apps of banks.
  5. Bluzelle Networks is a blockchain startup that’s building a decentralized, on-demand, scalable database for decentralized applications.
  6. TenX is a cryptocurrency payment platform that consists of a wallet, physical debit card, bank account, ATM access and more.
  7. AGDelta is a Singapore headquartered fintech software company specialized in digital wealth management.
  8. Flywire, formerly peerTransfer, is a provider of international payment solutions headquartered in Boston with operations in Singapore, China, Australia, Spain and the UK.
Canada

New payday loan rules still too soft, says group (CBC.ca), Rated: A

On Monday, New Brunswick became the eighth Canadian province to introduce regulations governing the payday loan industry.

Earlier this week, the Financial and Consumer Services Commission announced a new set of regulations, including mandatory licensing for payday lenders, requiring then to display posters showing their rates, and making insurance on loans optional.

Lenders are also prohibited from issuing more than one loan at a time to the same consumer, or lending more than 30 per cent of the consumer’s net pay.

Under the new rules, the commission is able to take action against unlicensed lenders and those that fail to comply with legislation.

Africa

Kenya most lucrative market for fintech top staff in Africa (Business Daily), Rated: AAA

Kenya is the most attractive market in Africa for workers in the fintech industry with new data showing that companies pay the highest salaries in comparison to their peers on the continent.

In a recent survey, the Digital Frontiers Institute (DFI) found that executives and senior managers working for Kenyan fintech companies earn each a base monthly salary of Sh2 million (Sh24.6 million or $238,509 annually) and Sh1.2 million (Sh14.2 million or $137,303 annually), respectively.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor