Thursday September 21 2017, Daily News Digest

RateSetter

News Comments Today’s main news: RateSetter surpasses $150M in loans. New York AG requests cybersecurity safeguards from Experian, TransUnion. Point72 Ventures leads AlphaFlow’s $4.1M seed round. Cross River appoints VP of Government Affairs to focus on regulatory framework. Clarity Money passes 500,000 user milestone. MarketInvoice’s losses doubled last year. Raisin expands into the UK with acquisition. Today’s main analysis: Millennial investors don’t […]

RateSetter

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

International

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Real estate investment platform AlphaFlow picks up $ 4.1 mln seed (PE Hub Network), Rated: AAA

AlphaFlow, an automated alternative investment platform for real estate, announced today the closing of a $4.1 million seed round funding, led by Resolute Ventures and Point72 Ventures, the venture capital arm of Steve Cohen’s Point72 Asset Management. Other investment partners include Upside Partnership, Social Capital, Y Combinator, Clocktower Technology Ventures, an affiliate of Drobny Capital, Red Swan Ventures, and more.

AlphaFlow’s seed round comes two years after the company was established by CEO and former RealtyShares Co-Founder, Ray Sturm. AlphaFlow plans to use the funding to continue scaling successful partnerships with lenders and investors, both accredited individuals and investment managers.

AlphaFlow Optimized Portfolios are available for investment professionals such as endowments, pension funds, RIAs, and wealth managers, as well as by independent investors seeking uncorrelated returns through short‐term, higher‐yielding real estate loans backed by properties.

To date, AlphaFlow’s flagship product, AlphaFlow Optimized Portfolios, boasts broad diversification across hundreds of loans in 29 states, average LTV of 72%, and target net returns between 8 to 10%. With this seed round funding, AlphaFlow intends to continue to innovate in the application of sophisticated finance mechanisms to scale within the investment industry.

Another Study Confirms It – Millennial Investors Don’t Know What They Are Doing (ValueWalk), Rated: AAA

Millennial investors are woefully underprepared for the next financial crisis according to a survey conducted by online real estate crowdfunding service Fundrise.

The Fundrise survey suggests that 67.2% of millennial investors are not prepared for the next crisis, and 47.1% feel that there is nothing that they can do to prepare for it. With 83 million millennials in the US holding an average of $75,500 in assets, this means the largest generation is at risk of losing $3.1 trillion in the next financial crisis assuming a repeat of the 50% drawdown seen last time around.

According to an annual study by Charles Schwab, 56% of millennial investors say ETFs are their investment of choice, compared to only 23% of seniors.

77.8% of respondents said that they had no interest in investing outside of the stock market while 42% of millennials surveyed said that they did not know whether it was important to invest outside of the stock market.

Source: ValueWalk

Cross River Appoints VP of Government Affairs (PR Newswire), Rated: AAA

Cross River, the financial services organization that merges the established expertise of a bank with the innovation and product offering of a technology company, announced today the appointment of Phil Goldfeder as VP of Government Affairs. Goldfeder will lead a team at Cross River working with regulatory agencies and policy makers in Washington, D.C., as well as state governments across the U.S., to implement appropriate regulatory frameworks that will encourage innovation while ensuring consumer protection.

Clarity Money Passes 500,000 User Milestone (BusinessWire), Rated: AAA

Clarity Money, the personal finance app that acts as the “Champion of your Money,” today announced that it reached 500,000 users on September 4, 2017, less than seven months after launching on iOS.

This milestone builds upon Clarity Money’s tremendous momentum in 2017, which has included:

  • Two successful rounds of funding, from noted investors such as Citi Ventures and Soros Capital
  • A nomination for the 21st Annual Webby Awards in the financial and banking services categories for mobile apps
  • Being a featured personal finance app on the Apple App Store and debuting as Apple’s #1 app under “New Apps We Love” in the Apple Store days after launching

NY AG Wants To Know About TransUnion, Experian Cybersecurity (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

TransUnion and Experian, two of The Big Three credit reporting companies, have received letters from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman inquring them about their cybersecurity safeguards in the wake of the massive data breach at rival Equifax.

According to a news report in The Associated Press, the attorney general wants the two companies to describe what security systems they have in place and what changes they are implementing since data on 143 million U.S. customers at Equifax was breached.

New York’s attorney general wants to know if the companies would waive fees for consumers that needed credit freezes because of the hack.

Equifax breach has banks tightening their defenses, counseling customers (Information Management), Rated: A

Asking bankers to comment on the Equifax data breach generally evokes a cone of silenceforged out of a combination of sympathy and fear — I’m not going to speak about it because it could happen to me.

A few, though, will acknowledge the toll the breach has taken on their customers and their security departments, which have scrambled to ensure they won’t share (or haven’t shared) Equifax’s fate.

Another banker, Jim Hanlon, the chief technology officer at Dedham Savings Bank in Boston, was astounded that Equifax did not catch its breach more quickly.

“We have 60,000 customers,” he said. “If somebody came into our network and was looking at 100 files, that would raise a flag with us. If somebody’s accessing millions of records, how is something not alerting them to that fact? That’s the concerning piece to me. The documentation said they take network security seriously. But there should have been a red flag somewhere.”

Equifax’s security team detected and blocked suspicious network traffic associated with its U.S. online dispute portal web application on July 29. But the company’s investigation found that hackers had access to certain files containing personal information from May 13 through July 30.

The Equifax Breach: What You Need to Do Now (Parade), Rated: A

While I don’t have all the answers, financial/debt attorney and author of Life & Debt Leslie H. Tayne of Tayne Law Group, P.C., has some great suggestions.

Q: What can consumers affected by the breach do now to protect their information?

A: For starters, sign up for credit monitoring so that future account fraud and identify theft attempts will be noted and immediately brought to your attention. Next, get in the habit of regularly monitoring your bank and credit cards on your end for any suspicious activity. While you’re online, update your account passwords using long, strong, unique passwords for every single account.

Q: Should you freeze your credit so that no one can use your information illegally?

A: There are pros and cons to freezing your credit. The biggest pro of freezing your credit is that no one can apply for credit in your name. But that no one includes yourself, meaning it could create delays and problems when credit is needed quickly in the case of applying for a loan, credit cards or jobs or if seeking insurance, looking to buy or rent a home or contracting with a utility company during the freeze period. Yes, you can unfreeze your credit at any time, but this is also time consuming and may involve having to pay a fee.

Q: It doesn’t sound like freezing your credit is the best option right now.

A: With these types of drawbacks, a better avenue to consider may be signing up for a fraud alert.

Q: What else do consumers need to know or be on the lookout for going forward?

A: A key concern emerging from the Equifax security breach that consumers need to watch out for are cons and phishing scams. They need be wary of anyone who may approach them impersonating financial or government institutions or general companies who may come across offering support in resolving their data breach.

To Survival: Listen, Learn, Repeat (PYMNTS), Rated: AAA

While it may not be the oldest credit union around, the Boeing Employees Credit Union (BECU) of Tukwila, Washington, has been in business since the days of the Great Depression. Founded in 1935, BECU began as a credit union for employees of the Boeing Company aircraft manufacturing firm. Today, at 82 years old, BECU is looking pretty fit for its age. It currently holds more than $17.2 billion in assets and services more than 1 million members, placing it in among the top five U.S. credit unions for cash assets — and that’s without a steady diet of kale and spinach smoothies.

But, a common element with which older financial institutions must contend is new players arriving on the scene and throwing older players’ relevance into question.

Should older institutions treat these younger upstarts as rivals or as potential partners?

Doug Marshall, BECU’s senior vice president of retail, recently told PYMNTS that BECU has chosen the latter approach.

BECU has approached approximately 60 organizations in the FinTech space to explore opportunities for collaboration, Marshall said. Among the companies approached is Even, a supply-side marketplace lending company. An official partnership has not yet been established, but BECU turned to the company to explore innovations for the credit union’s own lending habits and to help members “smooth their cash flow.”

A few years ago, BECU launched an updated mobile app in partnership with MX, a technology solutions provider for financial services companies. Marshall said BECU was excited to see how members would embrace the newly-launched app. When it went live, however, it became clear they weren’t thrilled.

“We did quite [a lot] of research before we deployed,” Marshall said. “But, in some ways, we didn’t ask one of the most fundamental questions.”

According to Marshall, one of the important lessons that younger FinTechs can teach older credit unions about staying relevant is to not be afraid to fail.

“Lesson three is pivot quickly,” Marshall said. “That’s the magic of a FinTech partnership. We were able to respond and [quickly] deploy a fix.”

Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor tells advisers to embrace technology (Investment News), Rated: A

Imagine financial technology that can create personal portfolio indexes for individual investors or a computer program that can assign forward-looking performance ratings for mutual funds and ETFs.

That’s the way Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor thinks when he imagines where technology is heading, and why he believes financial advisers need to run toward technological innovation to avoid being left in the digital dust.

He compared the initial fear of robo-advice platforms to fears from the threat of online brokerage trading in the 1990s.

“The online trading platforms were supposed to put everyone out of business, but they were just absorbed into the mainstream,” he said.

Impact Housing REIT, LLC Launches $ 35 Million Equity Crowdfunding Opportunity Focused Housing Crisis in America (BusinessWire), Rated: A

Impact Housing REIT, LLC (ImpactHousing.com), a new apartment real estate investment trust led by Edward (“Eddie”) P. Lorin, a 30-year multifamily real estate veteran, is pleased to announce that its $35 million direct public offering under Regulation A+ has been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and is now open for investment. All investors – accredited and unaccredited, domestic and international – can invest directly in Impact Housing REIT Series A equity round for as little as $1,000.

Poor housing conditions due to a rising economy, extreme weather conditions, and poverty is effecting our health, quality of life, and country, as a whole. Impact Housing is the first REIT in the country using the new equity crowdfunding laws to focus on America’s housing crisis, specifically on creating affordable, livable, distinctive multifamily communities for America’s working people and their families.

Employing a strategy that Mr. Lorin has refined over decades, Impact Housing plans to buy neglected, poorly managed apartment buildings throughout the U.S., and transform them into thriving, healthy, family-oriented communities. Upgrades typically include new amenities, refreshed and upgraded interiors, resort style pools, playgrounds, state-of-the-art fitness centers, BBQs, dog parks, community gardens and open space social areas.

The technology enabling this online investment offering is backed by CrowdStreet, a leading provider of real estate fundraising and investor management solutions.

HOW AI APPS FOR BANKS ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF THE FINANCIAL SECTOR (TechGenix), Rated: A

Long before chatbots popped up as interesting business-use cases, long before mobile banking applications offered military-grade secure transactions, and much before focused analytics tools for banking made themselves known, AI apps for banks augmented by machine learning and deep learning began creating an impact in the world of banking.

The following factors make the financial sector a highly targeted market for all kinds of AI apps for banks:

  • Massive amounts of structured data from the past.
  • Consistency in data recording and archiving practices across financial institutions.
  • Quantitative nature of finance and banking business practices and operations.
  • Accuracy in data records.

AI apps for banks: Smart portfolio management for end users

These applications help banks build an online accessible tool that considers user preferences, personal demographic information, earning power, and wealth sources, and then matches these with their financial goals. In parallel, these systems take real-time market data and factor in parameters like a customer’s credit history, risk aversion, and lifestyle practices, creating a very robust portfolio of investment and saving instruments across asset classes.

Mobile banking applications like Moven and Simple leverage the idea of using algorithms that grow smarter with time. More precisely, they grow smarter by handling more data and measuring more results.

These AI-based applications can integrate with a user’s online bank accounts, debit and credit cards, and e-wallets to track their expenses, present advice on better expense management practices, and help them choose more suitable financial products that sit well with their financial habits, liquidity requirements, and short-term saving goals.

Automated hedge fund management

These models collate inputs from several sources of real-time financial information from the major financial markets of the world. Also, these models incorporate quantified inputs regarding sentiments in the financial markets.

Self-learning security systems for fraud detection

AI-based fraud detections tools of today leverage the principles of deep learning and machine learning, and are already beginning to incorporate the benefits of neural learning, and hence have tremendous potential in cybersecurity, particularly for the banking sector.

PeerStreet Named One of the Top Ten Startups to Work For in Los Angeles (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

Real estate crowdfunding platform PeerStreet announced on Tuesday it was named one of the Top Ten Startups to Work For in Los Angeles. The list was created by Zippia, an online startup career platform.

LendUp Appoints Jotaka Eaddy As New VP of Policy, Strategic Engagement & Impact (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

LendUp, a socially responsible online lender on a mission to redefine financial services for the emerging middle class, announced on Wednesday it has appointed Jotaka Eaddy as its new Vice President of Policy, Strategic Engagement, and Impact. Eaddy previously served as LendUp’s Head of Government Affairs.

LendUp has now saved borrowers nearly $135 million in interest and fees. The lender expects to surpass $200 million by the end of the year.

Need Money Fast? 4 Options for Small Business Owners (Entrepreneur), Rated: B

There’s an extremely fine line you have to walk when scaling. If you expand too quickly, hire too many employees, and order excess inventory, you could deplete your financial resources and crash. But if you don’t take any chances or prepare your business for growth, you won’t be able to respond in an efficient manner when you finally get the big break you’ve been waiting for.

So, what, exactly, can you do when you are ready and need money to expand? Here are four options.

1. Online lenders

If you need a sizable loan, you’ll still need to go through a traditional bank or lender. However, if you need only a modest amount of cash, online lending msy be the way to go.

2. Personal installment loans

If you’re really in a bind and need some quick cash, a personal installment loan might be the way to go. A lender simply checks your credit score and processes your request.

3. Line-of-credit loans

With a line of credit, your business gets approved for a certain amount of money for a specified period of time — typically one year.

4. Receivable financing (factoring)

The factor advances a portion of the receivables — likely 75 to 90 percent of the value — and then holds on to the remaining portion. It’s a good solution for businesses that have orders coming in, but don’t have the money to fill those orders.

United Kingdom

MarketInvoice’s losses doubled in 2016 (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

MARKETINVOICE saw its losses double during 2016, as the peer-to-peer invoice finance platform continues to use funds to scale up.

Its latest accounts on Companies House for 2016 showed a loss before taxation of £6m, increasing from £3.1m in 2015.

This is despite turnover increasing from £4.1m to £4.4m and an increasing number of invoices getting funded, at £442m, compared with £328m a year before.

Deposit marketplace fintech enters UK via acquisition (AltFi), Rated: AAA

A leading European deposit marketplace has acquired Manchester-based fintech PBF Solutions as part of its entry into the UK market. Raisin will target UK savers with its marketplace of savings accounts, while also offering an end-to-end deposit raising solution for UK banks and other firms.

Founded in Berlin in 2013, Raisin is already partnered with 40 banks and financial institutions across Europe. In the past four years the firm has also attracted over €4.3bn in what it calls “marketplace deposits”.

PBF will become Raisin UK, and will significantly increase the size of its UK-based operations over the coming months. CEO Kevin Mountford will take charge of Raisin’s UK expansion.

Lendable: the next generation lending platform that can give borrowers a small loan within two hours (Independent), Rated: A

By taking advantage of the large amount of data available in the UK at a time when consumer lending was evolving fast, Kissinger and his team conceived of a new kind of online lending that they claim is faster and more efficient than larger peer-to-peer lenders Zopa and Ratesetter.

Since 2014, they have built the third largest unsecured consumer lending platform in the UK by 2016 volume, even though – at 4.6 per cent – their market share is still small. So far it has lent a comparatively small £80m to around 20,000 borrowers. Zopa, by comparison, has approved £2.62bn in loans since 2005.

But with a growth rate of 430 per cent in the last year, Lendable is expanding quickly. It aims to be the fastest lender to decide on applications and transfer cash in the market, getting funds of between £1,000 and £15,000 in the borrower’s account in as little as two hours.

Power to the people: Meet the P2P lender that uses a centuries-old way of lending (City A.M.), Rated: A

But for many rural businesses, Folk2Folk has been a saving grace. The peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform has helped struggling companies in a time of need, and in some cases prevented an entire community from caving in on itself.

“We don’t exist as a platform that wants to talk solely about interest rates,” says Giles Cross, the company’s chief marketing officer. “Rather, our purpose is to sustain local and rural communities around the UK – where people want to club together to make a difference.”

A large proportion of the businesses that use Folk2Folk are startups that have been starved of funding, largely because they don’t have a long-standing track record.

The House Crowd Says Investor Confidence at Record High (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

The House Crowd, a UK property crowdfunding platform, is reporting “record levels of investor confidence”. According to the platform, the House Crowd is experiencing high demand for its property-backed peer-to-peer lending products, with over 1,270 people having invested in one. The House Crowd states that 66% of its investors now repeatedly reinvesting their capital through the business.

FCA’s Bailey calls for govt action on debt crisis (FT Adviser), Rated: B

Higher UK interest rates could spark a consumer debt crisis unless the government intervenes, according to Andrew Bailey, chief executive of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

More than 8.3m adults in the UK are struggling under the burden of debt – a higher proportion of the population than in 2016, according to figures from the Money Advice Service.

Its data revealed 15.9 per cent of the UK population is living with a debt problem, up from 15.4 per cent in 2016.

China

Social Media Giant Tencent Gets Into Old-School Finance (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Tencent Holdings Ltd., China’s largest social media firm, is entering the traditional finance industry by investing in CICC International Capital Corp., a move that may help the investment bank’s expansion in wealth management.

Shares of CICC jumped by a record after it said Tencent is paying HK$2.9 billion ($372 million) for roughly 5 percent of China’s oldest investment bank. The companies will team up on marketing and data analysis, according to an exchange filing.

Source: Bloomberg Technology

Ping An Securities deploys Finastra technology to boost revenue and enter new markets (The Asset), Rated: A

Ping An Securities has implemented FusionCapital from Finastra throughout its operations in Greater China.

The business, part of China’s Ping An Group, is now using the flexible Finastra platform to help extend its securities brokerage capabilities on a global scale – meaning it can boost revenues as it enters new markets.

Ping An Bank launched intelligent investment services (01Caijing), Rated: A

China Ping An “simple life” conference held in Shanghai. Ping An Bank mobile banking business – “safe pocket bank” launched a smart investment service (referred to as “safe intellectual investment”), the first open to ordinary investors to use. The service uses the Black-Litterman model (BL model) and the quantitative asset allocation method, which are widely used by overseas investment bankers, and develop personalized investment plan according to the customer’s risk appetite.

International

Japan wants to roll back regulations for financial technology startups — here’s why it could be bad for the US (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Japan’s push to attract innovative financial technology startups to the country could spell trouble for the US.

On Wednesday at the New York Stock Exchange, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was moving forward with a plan to roll back regulations on some fintech startups to help spur the development of emerging technology and drive growth in the country.

As such, Abe is pushing for a regulatory sandbox program that would allow fintechs, startups looking to automate or digitize aspects of financial services, to operate and scale without meeting existing regulations.

While such an environment is understood to exist in Silicon Valley more broadly, Berenguer said, those hoping to break through specifically in the financial industry in the US are often required to subscribe to the same regulations as their much larger peers.

That often means paying lawyers to ensure compliance, costs that can force entrepreneurs to put off investing in their product and team. This creates a sort of Catch-22 for some startups. Venture-capital backers are less likely to give entrepreneurs money without a product, but it’s more difficult to create a product with less money when also paying legal costs. Berenguer says this has made financial technology harder to break into relative to the overall tech industry.

Singapore, UK sandbox

Some companies, he said, are seeking greener pastures in Singapore and the UK, where a sandbox program has existed for some time.

Where the huge SoftBank-Saudi tech fund is investing (Money), Rated: AAA

The Softbank Vision Fund was unveiled less than a year ago, backed by Saudi Arabia and Japan’s SoftBank (SFTBF). By May it had raised $93 billion, out of a planned $100 billion, to spend on technology businesses of the future.

Saudi Arabia is the biggest Vision Fund investor, followed by SoftBank. Other investors include Apple (AAPLTech30), Qualcomm (QCOMTech30), Foxconn, Shar (SHCAY)p and Mubadala, the sovereign wealth fund of the United Arab Emirates.

It’s already invested in 10 firms, leading funding rounds worth at least $7.7 billion.

Here’s what it has backed so far this year:

  • Slack
  • OYO
  • Fanatics
  • WeWork
  • Roivant
  • Guardant Health
  • Nvidia
  • Flipkart
  • Brain Corp
  • Plenty
Australia

P2P lender surpasses $ 150m in loans (Broker News), Rated: AAA

Peer-to-peer lender RateSetter has now reached the $150m mark in loans facilitated thanks to a rapid influx of lenders into the platform.

Millennial investors have helped to drive this growth, especially in RateSetter’s one-month market where these younger demographics make up 72% of the lender’s investors since the firm launched in 2014. This is followed by the one-year market where Millennials make up 40% of all investors.

Investment in the platform has risen by 50% over the last five months alone after RateSetter hit the $100m loan milestone in March. There are now more than 7,700 investors registered with the platform, making RateSetter the largest P2P lender in Australia.

For the one-month market, the average amount invested has increased from $3,777 two years ago to $11,483 today.

Source: Broker News
India

In Game Of Loans, RBI Arms A New Player (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Amit Parker, 26, needed money for his father’s heart surgery. Banks refused to lend as he had delayed repayments on a motorcycle loan three years ago. The travel firm executive tried his luck at Lenden Club (Lenden is Hindi for give-and-take), an online portal that connects individual borrowers with lenders. He managed to get Rs 70,000.

Most of these are small-ticket transactions, and the market is small. A few hundred such loans are disbursed a month with only the young with poor credit record or the tech-savvy borrowing, Rajiv Raj, co-founder of credit-scoring platform CreditVidya, told BloombergQuint. Adoption could improve once the central bank comes out with guidelines.

The Reserve Bank of India on Wednesday provided that clarity, bringing P2P lending platforms on a par with non-bank finance companies. And the opportunity is huge. More than 30 such startups have come up in the last four years, including Faircent, i2ifunding, Lenden Club and Billionloans.

Yet, since it involves lending to people with poor credit scores, interest rates can go as high as 28 percent. That didn’t deter Parker from taking another Rs 1.5-lakh loan on Lenden Club. He wishes to continue borrowing on the platform.

Millennials are the most active lenders and borrowers, Rajat Gandhi, co-founder of Faircent, said over the phone. About 60 percent of its 18,000 members are below 35 years. For its Mumbai-based rival Lenden Club, more than two-thirds of its users are 30-40 years old.

They largely borrow to improve lifestyle.

Loan marketplace Rubique targetting 250 pct growth in disbursement, 300 pct in revenue (Financial Express), Rated: A

Does the launch of your mobile app mean that you are shifting your focus to individual borrowers from SMEs?

From day one, we have maintained that our take on the opportunity in the financial space is not focused on retail or SME. The Indian financial sector is largely influencer-driven. Whenever, someone wants a loan, they go through an influencer, whether a chartered accountant or a financial advisor.

How much have you disbursed through your platform so far in FY18?

Last year, we did Rs 1,000 crore in disbursements, of which 60% was in the SME category and 40% in the retail category. This year, as a company, in the first four months (April-July), we did Rs 500 crore worth of disbursements and we have been clocking very healthy revenue. This month, we are touching around Rs 3 crore in revenue. We had been going at a monthly average of about Rs 2 crore in revenues so far. This year, we are targeting almost 250% growth over last year (in disbursements) and a healthy revenue growth. Last year, the revenue was Rs 15.5 crore. This year, we are targeting an almost 300% jump and we expect to cross `45 crore.

Buying a car this festive season? Consider these factors when comparing car loans (India Times), Rated: A

Many people wait for the festival season to make big-ticket purchases like buying a car. That is because banks and non-banking finances companies (NBFCs) usually lower their lending rates on car loans and even have offers such as writing off processing fees.

Source: India Times

“The only benefit of availing a car loan through the dealer is the slight convenience. Dealers tend to push the customer towards their captive finance arms or towards banks where they get higher commissions. So, when a customer compares the offer from the dealer with more banks or at online marketplaces, they will typically find lower interest rates and better terms than those offered by the car dealer,” says Gaurav Gupta, CEO, MyLoanCare.in, an online loans marketplace.

Source: India Times

Remittance firms should consider fintech start-ups as partners rather than competitors (The National), Rated: A

A recent Statista report estimates that fintech will be worth around US$20 billion by 2017.

For instance, 2016 GCC-wide figures by Statista showed that a full 57 per cent of banks and financial services providers saw fintech startups in their operational space as potential partners, while only 22 per cent saw them as competition.

Fintech start-ups tend to be technologically led. They harness mobile tech, social networks and a well-designed user interface to bring services directly to customers. But this technology-first model is most useful in the first and last mile fulfilment, ie, when a customer requests a transaction, or is notified of its completion. When it comes to actual transaction processing, fintech startups often lack the size, scale and well-developed treasury functions needed to fulfil global requests.

But mutually beneficial fintech partnerships can be a game changer. We are heading for what might be called a hybrid model – where a transaction is initiated in-app but is then handled by conventional partners through systems that are already compliant with regulations and have a robust track record of transaction fulfilment.

Asia

Used-car dealer taps fintech for one-stop ease (SGSME.sg), Rated: A

A USED-CAR dealership has tapped fintech to offer a paperless and hassle-free one-stop service to buyers, who can make an electronic deposit for a preferred model and submit an online car loan application, complete with insurance cover.

Orchard Credit, best known for its four decades in the vehicle financing business, recently set up a dedicated used-car showroom to provide the full range of car services to its customers.

Orchard Credit also pioneered the car loan aggregator. It is the only dealer which offers online car loans from nine banks and financial institutions – DBS, Hitachi Capital, HL Bank, Maybank, OCBC, Standard Chartered, Sing Investments and Finance, Tokyo Century and UOB.

INDONESIAN peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup KoinWorks launches a new programme under its KoinPintar category of loans in collaboration with Binus Online Learning.

Benedicto says that KoinWorks will cover a maximum of 80% of the fees based an applicant’s finances. Loans with a flat interest rate between 9% to 12.5% will be offered to cover the rest.

How technology is changing equity trading (The Asset), Rated: A

The widespread use of algorithmic trading has lessened the need for interaction between the buyside and sellside, and brought with it increased reliability, faster speeds and lower costs. However, it also brings technology-related risks and a lack of transparency.

The widespread use of algorithmic trading – basically the process of using computers programmed to follow a defined set of instructions for placing a trade – means that it is no longer necessary for the buyside traders to speak to their counterparts every time they make a trade.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday September 6 2017, Daily News Digest

fintech bank investment map

News Comments Today’s main news: Upgrade appoints Western Union exec at general counsel. Assetz Capital now claims to be second largest P2P lender in the UK. Perseus has the solution for EU cyber threats. Amartha partners with Jamkrindo in Indonesia. Today’s main analysis: How banks are investing in fintech. Today’s thought-provoking articles: LendingClub CEO Scott Sanborn interviews with […]

fintech bank investment map

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

Australia

India

Asia

News Summary

United States

Upgrade, Inc. Appoints Western Union Executive as General Counsel (Upgrade Email), Rated: AAA

Upgrade, Inc. (), the new consumer credit platform launched by LendingClub founder Renaud Laplanche earlier this year, today announced the appointment of John Dye as General Counsel. Prior to joining Upgrade, John was Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary of The Western Union Company. He was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Western Union Foundation.

Before joining Western Union in November 2011, John was Senior Vice President, Interim General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Freddie Mac from July 2011. From 2007 to July 2011, John served as Senior Vice President, Principal Deputy General Counsel, Corporate Affairs of Freddie Mac, where he worked on corporate transactions and managed attorneys in the areas of corporate disclosure, securities, intellectual property, contracts and human resources.

Prior to joining Freddie Mac, John spent 13 years at Citigroup Inc. in New York City, where he held senior leadership positions, and served as Senior Vice President and Senior Counsel at Salomon Smith Barney.

Upgrade also hired Louis Shansky, a partner on the securitization team at the law firm of Mayer Brown, as Deputy General Counsel.

Back and Better Positioned than Ever—CEO Scott Sanborn Interviews with Bloomberg (LendingClub), Rated: AAA

  • The macroeconomic backdrop: While macro trends are generally positive—low unemployment, low interest rates, low inflation and low oil prices with an increase in consumer confidence—credit card debt levels are near all-time highs. Today, there is more than $1 trillion in outstanding credit card debt in the U.S.
  • Borrowers are not alone: LendingClub borrowers are not alone in seeking a lower interest rate solution: credit card debt in the U.S. is at an all-time high1 and credit cards tend to carry high interest rates. Sixty to 70% of our customers are currently taking advantage of our personal loans to pay off credit cards which helps them to get on the path to financial success.
  • LendingClub is enabling more new investors access to an old asset: Fifteen percent of our investor base still invests directly through the retail website, with the balance accessing the asset through other means.
  • Institutions want more: In Q2 2017, we had record high subscription from more than 100 institutional investors participating on the platform. Banks were 44% of our overall investor mix last quarter, attributed to LendingClub’s assets offering solid returns with a short duration.
  • Reaching new investors through securitization: More than 20 new investors engaged with LendingClub via the first deal, which demonstrated high demand for the asset.

The Top Fintech Trends Driving the Next Decade (ABA Banking Journal), Rated: AAA

Here is a glimpse at the technologies driving bank innovation today—as well as a look ahead to the technologies coming down the pipeline that will change the way banking is done over the next 10 years.

  1. Digital Lending (here and now) – Unsecured consumer lending is the first market where digital lending has made an impact and is by far the most mature. Today, the two leading consumer lending platforms (Lending Club and Prosper) originate roughly $2.5 billion in loans quarterly. Small business lending has quickly followed and is rapidly digitizing. ABA has endorsed the digital commercial lending solutions offered by Akouba, providing banks of all sizes the use of these platforms to enhance customer service and significantly reduce underwriting costs.
  2. Biometrics (1-2 years) – Passwords are only secure to the extent that they are kept private and cannot be guessed by a keen observer. The problem is that these passwords often rely on observable pieces of our life like our birth date, our children’s names, or our pets (my personal favorite), which are all readily available to criminals using social media and public databases. A 2015 study by TeleSign indicated that one in five people use passwords that are over 10 years old, with 73 percent of accounts being secured by the same password. Compounding this problem is the fact that we now have so many accounts that require a password, that it is impossible to keep them straight.
  3. Customer Data (1-3 years) – Today, customer data at banks is often unstructured—housed in systems that are inconsistent and may not talk to each other. A single customer may have multiple accounts with a bank that are all housed in different systems, with inconsistent identifiers. A number of banks, as well as core processors, are working to reconcile these systems. Some are working to build additional data warehouses that aggregate disparate customer data to create a unified view of customers.
  4. Regtech (3-5 years) – Regulatory reporting is one area that seems ripe for digital disruption. Today, filing call reports is a quarterly activity that requires significant time. It would not be hard to imagine a software solution that was tied into a bank’s back-end systems and prepopulated all of the key reporting fields. Moreover, it would be possible for regulators to receive a steady feed of data from a bank that would give them an ongoing view into the bank and may reduce the frequency with which exams are necessary.
  5. Artificial Intelligence (5-10 years) – One way this could help bankers is by improving fraud detection. Traditional fraud monitoring systems rely on specific non-personal rules (like geography) to detect fraudulent transactions. Machine learning could be applied to analyze the transactions of each customer, flagging transactions that are out of their normal habits.
  6. Internet of Things (8-10 years) – For example, banks may be able to use internet-connected devices to make better loans and monitor collateral. Inventory or livestock for a small business can be monitored in real time. This would allow a bank to monitor a customer’s balance sheet on an ongoing basis, giving it the tools to make better decisions about lending or adjusting credit lines in real time.

The biggest long-term impact that IoT is likely to have is in payments. Connected devices are already able to talk to each other, but will also require the ability to make payments back and forth. Today, this may be as simple as using your smart watch to settle a bill, but could evolve to the point at which your refrigerator pays for groceries that are running low. A number of auto makers are experimenting with enabling cars to make payments.

Scott Zoldi of FICO (Lend Academy), Rated: A

The Chief Analytics Officer at FICO talks about their use of artificial intelligence in credit models, fraud, alternative data, financial inclusion and more.

In this podcast you will learn:

  • Why his background in theoretical physics was perfect for studying fraud and credit risk.
  • What the company FICO actually does and how it interacts with the credit bureaus.
  • What his role as Chief Analytics Officer entails.
  • Some examples of the 130+ patents that FICO has been granted.
  • The importance of being able to explain how a credit model works.
  • How their advanced machine learning models can be explained to regulators.
  • How FICO has been using artificial intelligence for decades.
  • What Scott thinks about the sudden embrace of artificial intelligence in the last couple of years.
  • What he worries about with so many new companies coming into the AI fray.
  • How Scott views alternative data and using new data sources.
  • His thoughts on disparate impact and the use of alternative data.
  • How the FICO XD score helps expand access to credit.
  • How FICO’s fraud product called Falcon became the industry standard for banks.
  • Scott’s views on how a 700 FICO score today compares with the same score 10 years ago.
  • What Scott is most excited about today in his work at FICO.

Citizens Financial Starts Robo-Adviser With SigFig Partnership (Bloomberg), Rated: A

Citizens Financial Group Inc. is the latest bank to start a robo-advisory product as part of its larger push into wealth management.

Citizens, a regional bank based in Providence, Rhode Island, is providing the technology to customers beginning Wednesday through a previously announced partnership with SigFig Wealth Management LLC, which uses algorithms to provide financial advice at lower fees than traditional human advisers.

The minimum initial investment in the Citizens offering will be $5,000, according to the firm. The annual asset-management fee is 50 basis points, or about half the typical cost of a traditionally advised account.

Real Estate Crowdfunding Shows Signs of Maturation (Real Estate Tech News), Rated: A

Last month, crowdfunding giant RealtyShares bought smaller rival Acquire Real Estate. This news was a significant in the multibillion-dollar sector, which is not even five years old. It begged the question as to whether this deal was a product of synergies between two platforms or a case of a larger player protecting its turf by taking a smaller rival off the board?

Whatever the answer, one thing is clear: We are likely looking at the start of a push toward consolidation in real estate crowdfunding. While there are hundreds of platforms now vying for a capital pool that is almost halfway to 12 figures, some clear-cut market leaders have emerged, and a movement toward economies of scale would signal continued maturation. Over the next year or so, it would not be surprising to see companies like FundriseCrowdStreet and Patch of Land join the market for acquisitions, especially as the space continues to establish mainstream legitimacy.

MPL Market Shows Growing Origination Volume, With Tightening Credit Stance (dv01 Digest/LendIt), Rated: A

Looking at origination characteristics for the four largest MPL originators, we see origination volume continue to rise: 21% for 2Q17 over 1Q17, and up 52% over 2Q16. Loan coupons have risen from a 14.20% GWAC for the 2Q16 vintage to a 14.31% GWAC for the 2Q17 vintage, while the two year treasury has rallied approximately 50bps over the course of the year. PTI is relatively unchanged, coming in at 9.05% for 2Q17 versus 8.99% for the 2Q16 vintage.

Average FICO has increased significantly: 703 for the 2Q16 vintage to 711 in 2Q17.

Prosper closed its second $500MM Consortium securitization, PMIT 2017-2, on which dv01 was loan data agent. Data from PMIT 2017-2 is available for accredited investors through dv01’s Securitization Explorer, and is updated monthly.

Download and read the full report (with charts) here.

Debit cards, a trillion in debt, and millennials: What could go wrong? (American Banker), Rated: A

Fifth Third Bancorp is borrowing inspiration from the fintech world as part of its effort to woo millennial customers and compete with megabanks for consumer deposits.

The Cincinnati bank on Tuesday is scheduled to roll out a stand-alone app designed to help its customers pay student loan debt. The app, called Momentum, lets customers link Fifth Third debit cards to student loan accounts held by more than 30 servicers. Customers can have their debit card purchases rounded up to the next dollar, or have a dollar added to every purchase; the money is applied weekly to the balances on designated loans once a minimum of $5 is contributed.

“I see Momentum as being complementary” to apps such as Acorns and Digit, she said. “This [millennial] generation is sitting on $1.3 trillion of [student loan] debt. We wanted to take a relatively simple concept and offer something to help them in their day-to-day life.”

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (American Banker), Rated: A

The U.S. captured 54% of the $127 billionin global venture capital invested in 2016. This access to capital has allowed some American fintech startups to succeed despite the regulatory burdens. Yet, the U.S. underperforms in fintech venture capital compared to our share of overall venture capital. In 2016, the U.S. obtained only 33% of the $13.6 billion in worldwide fintech venture capital investment.

I am working with Arizona policymakers to introduce a sandbox in Arizona that would reduce entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry without sacrificing core consumer safeguards. This would be the first state sandbox in the United States.

Op-Ed: Regulatory Sandboxes Can Help States Advance Fintech (Arizona Attorney General), Rated: B

Attorney General Mark Brnovich is calling for Arizona to become the first state in the country to adopt a “sandbox” like regulatory environment that would reduce fintech entrepreneurs’ barriers to entry into local markets in a new op-ed penned for American Banker magazine. Key to creating sandbox regulatory systems is ensuring core consumer safeguards are not sacrificed. Sandboxes have already been implemented in countries such as the United Kingdom, Singapore, UAE, Malaysia, and Australia.

‘Fintech’ Loans: A Sometimes Costly Lifeline for Small Business (KQED News), Rated: A

Che Al-Barri remembers feeling like he was drowning in debt last year. He had taken out a $70,000 loan for his small cleaning company, but was struggling to repay it.

The lender, a financial technology — or fintech — company, automatically collected $331 from his bank account daily, Monday through Friday. The frequent hits depleted his income and took a toll on his business, he said.

For Al-Barri, taking a big loan seemed like a great opportunity at first. Large clients were taking months to pay him, he said, and he wanted to buy equipment and hire employees to expand. But he underestimated how much he would earn, making it very difficult to repay the loan plus the $30,000 in interest he owed.

Stanford study examining Airbnb users and data suggests that reputation can offset social bias (Stanford.edu), Rated: A

new Stanford study analyzing Airbnb users and data suggests measures that enhance a user’s reputation, like stars or reviews, can counteract these harmful prejudices. The results, the researchers said, indicate sites that use reputational tools create a fairer and more diverse online marketplace.

The share economy, also referred to as “collaborative consumption” and “peer-to-peer lending,” has allowed everyday citizens to turn into entrepreneurs, taking advantage of an industry that’s projected to grow to $335 billion by 2025, according to the Brookings Institution.

The researchers in this study focused on a certain type of bias called homophily, a natural tendency to develop trustful relationships with people similar to themselves, and how best to counteract it. The study is part of a broader research project analyzing trust and technology at Stanford.

The 36k-population neighborhood that’s hot for real estate investors (Mortgage Professional America), Rated: A

Data from real estate crowdfunding firm Sharestates says there has been a 650% increase in demand from investors wanting to put their cash into property in Fishtown.

That’s because of an attractive 11.8% return on investment and the ratio of the total loan amount compared with after repair value is 14%.

Cordray Remains Mum About Political Plans in Ohio Speech (Credit Union Times), Rated: B

Speaking at an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, Cordray did not address one of the most—if not the most—crucial issue facing the agency—whether Cordray will resign to run for the Democratic nomination for governor in the Buckeye State.

And when questioned afterward, he declined to comment on his intentions.

The CFPB is working on its most high profile set of rules—those governing the payday lending industry. The bureau is believed to be planning to release those final rules this month.

LendingTree Partners With Benzinga to Award $ 10,000 to Winner Of Fintech Innovation Challenge At The Benzinga Fintech Summit (Baystreet), Rated: B

Benzinga, a leading financial media and events company, announced Thursday that it will team up with the nation’s leading online loan marketplace LendingTree to award $10,000 to the winner of an on-site fintech demo competition at the inaugural Benzinga Fintech Summit in San Francisco September 28.

The Fintech Innovation Challenge Presented by LendingTree will award $10,000 to the company whose product best demonstrates scalable, material innovation to the Summit’s audience.

United Kingdom

Assetz Capital Now Second Largest UK P2P Lender (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Assetz Capital, one of the largest peer-to-peer lending platforms in the UK, has announced it has received full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).  Additionally, Assetz Capital has claimed second place in the ranking of UK’s largest P2P lenders as it reports lending in excess of £25 million per month on average to SMEs throughout the UK.

To date, Assetz Capital has lent over £316 million to businesses across the UK.

£17m invested into Innovative Finance Isas (Bridging&Commercial), Rated: AAA

HMRC has revealed that 2,000 Innovative Finance individual savings accounts (IFIsas) were opened during the last tax year.
The average investment into IFIsas during 2016/17 was £8,500 which meant £17m was invested collectively.

HMRC also reported that the amount invested in cash Isas had fallen from £58.7bn in 2015/16 to £39.2bn in 2016/17, while investment in stocks and shares Isas edged up from £21.1bn to £22.3bn.

Peer-to-peer Isas failed to gain much popularity in their first year, with just 2,000 Innovative Finance Isa (IF Isas) accounts opened in the tax year 2016/2017, according to the latest statistics from HMRC.

The biggest problem is that many peer-to-peer platforms have struggled to gain approval from regulators to become IF Isa providers. There are currently around 60 firms that have received approval from financial regulators, with most of these only starting to operate within the past few months.

Across the 2,000 IF Isa accounts opened, £17 million worth was subscribed. The average subscription per account was £8,500 – about the same as the average stocks and shares Isa account subscription.

Peer-to-peer platform Abundance claims it sold the majority of IF Isas in the last tax year. It says 1,436 Abundance IF Isas were opened, representing 72% of all IF Isa products opened last year.

Overall, the amount held in Isas in 2016/17 fell to £61.5 billion, compared with £80 billion the previous tax year. This decline was largely driven by a steep fall in the amount held in Cash Isas. In 2015/16, a total of £58.7 billion was held in Cash Isas; in the latest tax year this fell by a third to £39 billion.

Lucky Generals bangs out a new tune for Funding Circle (More About Advertising), Rated: A


The theme of the campaign seems to be “for those made to do more.” Here’s another in the campaign, not quite so striking.

If peer-to-peer lenders lack anything, it is not ambition (The Times), Rated: A

Samir Desai, co-founder and chief executive of Funding Circle, Britain’s largest peer-to-peer lender, says that his business, which has arranged $2.7 billion of loans to small companies, could be lending at least $100 billion within a decade.

Peter Behrens, co-founder of Ratesetter, one of Funding Circle’s main rivals, believes that his platform could double its annual loans within the next two years to £4 billion.

China

China’s fintech firms eye overseas IPOs to fund growth as regulations tighten at home (South China Morning Post), Rated: AAA

The A-share market, due to its profitability requirements, remains off-limits to most Chinese fintech firms, particularly peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms that were once regarded as an important part of the mainland’s reform of the banking system.

The increasing demand for financing has prompted a clutch of fintech firms to kick off their overseas IPO processes, most of which plan to complete fundraising in the next 12 months.

Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, China’s first online-only insurer, is seeking to raise as much as US$1.5 billion via a Hong Kong IPO.

After five years in business, Zhong An has developed a customer base of about 500 million people.

Views on China’s coin fundraising ban: someone still have an illusion (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

The Chinese regulators’ ban on ICO has heightened, and the financing of various tokens of the virtual currency has been put to death. In a consequence, the ICO asset value has evaporated nearly $20 billion, and more than 100,000 investors may be affected.

However, some ICO initiators still don’t want to stop. ”I don’t think the central bank’s oversight of ICO is going to be that severe,” a charger of the Digital Currency Asset Exchange said, ”and we would wait and see the specific notice of the local financial office and then decide what to do with it.” But in some communities of the ICO, we can see initiators start to announce the withdrawal of investors’ assets.

European Union

Perseus start-up seeks to shield German SMEs from cyber threats (Banking Technology), Rated: AAA

According to fintech incubator FinLeap, which is behind the venture, more than 70% of German companies were affected by cybercrime activities within the last two years, but only one out of ten SMEs holds an insurance policy that covers the resulting damages. Because Perseus offers a platform, it can connect services and offer “best-of-fit” tech solutions.

There is no specific date yet, but it also plans to add an industry-specific cyber insurance proposition to its portfolio of services.

Irish P2P lender GRID Finance rules out UK as part of growth plans (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

IRISH peer-to-peer lending platform GRID Finance has ruled out the UK as part of its current expansion plans.

The business lender announced it had received €3m (£2.7m) of finance yesterday that will help to fund expansion into new markets, but chief executive Derek Butler says the UK market is already very competitive.

He said he was focusing on scaling the business in Ireland first and competing with the country’s two main banks, Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland.

Fintech Pushes EU to Explore Changes to Bank Software Rules (The New York Times), Rated: A

EU banking rules treat software as a cost rather than an investment, forcing lenders to cover expenditure on digital applications with an equal amount of capital.

If expenditure on software, which amounts to roughly half of banks’ total digital investment, were treated in the EU as it is in the U.S. it could free up more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion)in capital this year alone, one banking lobbyist said.

Many European banks have been slow to invest in adapting to rapid changes in the way consumers use technology for finance, with so-called fintech firms starting to steal market share in a variety of sectors from payments to lending.

Timing problem with Klarna and possibly other payment providers (Our Umbraco), Rated: A

There are cases when the authorization callback from Klarna doesn’t get processed until after the user arrives at the confirmation page. The reason is that the callback and the redirect are made almost simultaneously by Klarna, so it’s a bit random which wins.

Workaround: If currentOrder is null, sleep for 500 ms and try again (GetCurrentFinalizedOrder). Repeat for 10 seconds.

CrowdExplorer Wins Fintech Award at Digitale Innovations Competition (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: B

CrowdExplorer, a marketplace for “Crowd-investing”, has won the special prize for “Fintech” at this year’s “Digitale Innovations” competition.

CrowdExplorer is designed to provide investors with a platform to compare access to the international Crowd Investments. CrowdExplorer has launched with the following four categories: Equity, Real Estate, Loans and P2P lending.

Index Ventures is coming in force to TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin this December (TechCrunch), Rated: B

Index Ventures started as a European firm in 1996, but 20 years on, it has a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic and has backed startups in 39 cities in 24 countries.

Among well-known Index-backed companies are Dropbox, Slack, Farfetch, Funding Circle, Adyen, Squarespace, Deliveroo, Just Eat, King and Supercell.

Australia

Spotcap launches $ 10,000 Fintech Scholarship program (Finder), Rated: AAA

Online lender Spotcap has this week announced the launch of a Fintech Scholarship program, with $10,000 being awarded to an Australian student attending university in a fintech-related field. The lender launched the program with the aim of supporting local fintech talent and ensuring the longevity of financial innovation in Australia.

Spotcap is also offering one paid internship placement at its offices in Sydney alongside the program.

Tech-tock, the tech clock is ticking (Bluenotes), Rated: AAA

The Bank for International Settlements – known as the ‘central banks’ central bank’ – says the rapid adoption of financial technology or ‘fintech’ and the emergence of new business models pose an increasing challenge to incumbent banks “in almost all the scenarios considered”.

According to the venture capital analysis group CB Insights non-technology companies now invest more in technology than tech companies.

In the firm’s recent report into fintech investments by major US banks, six – Bank of America, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Wells Fargo — have made strategic investments in 30 fintech companies since 2009.

The key sectors banks are investing in – and this is true across the globe, to differing degrees – are payments, data analytics, personal technology, distributed ledgers and/or digital currencies and peer-to-peer lending.

India

Here’s why smart Investors in India should opt for P2P lending (Money Control), Rated: A

Peer-to-peer loans are the perfect alternative investment instrument for income-seeking investors. It enables you to offer personal loans to borrowers for an array of purposes while eliminating intermediaries such as banks, NBFCs, and unorganised lenders.

Furthermore, a good P2P lending platform can make available all the relevant information on borrowers to lenders, assisting them in assessing the credit profile of a borrower in an efficient manner. It can provide each lender with a customized dashboard with relevant informatics and data to help make an informed decision.

As per our research, lenders on our platform can earn gross returns to the tune of 18 to 24 percent p.a on an average by building a diversified borrower portfolio. These returns are not merely comparable, but often preferable to returns from other investment instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, real estate, bank deposits, and gold. Income-seeking investors who specifically want to diversify their investments get good returns at the end of the day. As a rule of thumb, at least 20 percent of total investments should be in alternative investments like art, commodity, P2P lending etc.

Asia

Peer to Peer Lender Amartha Partners with Largest State Owned Micro-credit Company in Indonesia (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Peer to peer lender Amartha has formed a partnership with the largest state-owned micro credit guarantee company in Indonesia, Perum Jamkrindo. This follows a similar partnership with Bank Mandiri. Amartha is an online lender designed to connect Micro Businesses and SMEs that seek affordable working capital with investors who want to fund their business based on credit risk and expected return. This is a significant agreement for Amartha. Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world and support of small business is vital to the economy.

Jamkrindo is a state-owned enterprise that has been given a special mandate by the Government to guarantee credit and financing, as well as financial transactions particularly in the SME and micro segments. Jamkrindo is the largest credit guarantee company in Indonesia with total guarantee value of more than Rp 270 Trillion and 8 Million credit.

Regulatory ‘Sandboxes’ in Asia Can Foster Fintech Innovation (Brink), Rated: AAA

Two years ago the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK launched the first formal global regulatory sandbox.

There are a few technologies in fintech that haven’t launched but are being tested around the world—these include using bitcoin as a remittance channel, using electronic health records for life insurance underwriting and a financial robo-adviser/wallet that has a holistic view of an individual’s finances.

Things are altogether different in Asia’s developing economies. First, in these countries, the infrastructure is developing. Apart from India, the concept of digital identity is only evolving in countries such as the Philippines and Indonesia. Moreover, in these countries, bureaucracy is generally a bottleneck since multiple government agencies work in silos with differing incentives.

Developing Asian countries need to prioritize different issues depending on their economies. For example, remittances are of utmost importance in the Philippines and Bangladesh.

For example, robo-advisers are a great way to enable the burgeoning middle class to put their savings into equities with a view toward investing and long-term retirement preparation; Thailand has none of those at the moment. There are international brokerages such as interactive brokers that enable robo-advisers to operate in other parts of the world and are licensed in Thailand. However, there are no traditional Thai banks/ brokerages that provide these new services to their consumers. Elsewhere in Asia, Indonesia is a great example of where the regulators have worked with new businesses to create regulations around peer-to-peer (P2P) lending.

Source: Brink

Senturia Capital Announces Partnership With Funding Societies to Expand Alternative Financing Access to Malaysian Businesses (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

Private equity fund manager Senturia Capital has reportedly announced a partnership with peer-to-peer financing platform Funding Societies to expand alternative financing access and capital solutions for Malaysian businesses.

MUFG plans ‘fintech’ unit to focus on cashless settlements, automation (Japan Times), Rated: A

Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. will launch a financial technologies unit Oct. 1 in collaboration with 32 regional banks nationwide.

MUFG will put up ¥3 billion in capital to start Japan Digital Design Inc., which is expected to develop new services including those for cashless settlements using smartphones at small shops. It will also promote the automation of operations through artificial intelligence.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor