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 […]

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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

Monday September 11 2017, Daily News Digest

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

News Comments Today’s main news: Equifax cybersecurity breach. Goldman to take on UK retail banks. China cracks down on online lenders, cryptocurrency dealers. Klarna is testing credit cards with employeees. Today’s main analysis: CECL overview. Today’s thought-provoking articles: Consumers who go to Equifax for help after data breach may not be able to sue. The data behind Zopa’s lowered return […]

Zopa trailing 12-month net return

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United States

United Kingdom

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International

Australia/New Zealand

India

APAC

News Summary

United States

Equifax Cyber Incident (Equifax Email), Rated: AAA

At Equifax, we recognize that consumers and customers expect us to provide superior data security, and we work hard to do that every day. Unfortunately, on September 7th, 2017, we announced a cybersecurity incident involving consumer information.  This cybersecurity incident strikes at the heart of who we are and what we do.  Above all else, our first priority is to support consumers and you, our customers, by doing what we can to make this right.

What happened?

On July 29, 2017, Equifax identified a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Equifax discovered the unauthorized access and acted immediately to stop the intrusion. We promptly engaged a leading, independent cybersecurity firm that has been conducting a comprehensive forensic review to determine the scope of the intrusion, including the specific data impacted. We also reported the criminal access to law enforcement and continue to work with authorities.

What information may be impacted?

The information accessed primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. Criminals also accessed credit card numbers for approximately 209,000 U.S. consumers, and certain dispute documents with personal identifying information for approximately 182,000 U.S. consumers.

Additional Information:

We have found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases.  In addition, we have found no evidence that this cybersecurity incident impacted Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases, including,  ACRO, Workforce Solutions, including The Work Number payroll data, NCTUE, IXI and  CFN.

Where can I learn more?

We have set up a dedicated website at www.equifaxsecurity2017.com:

  • To see if you are potentially impacted, you can click on the Potential Impact Tab
  • To enroll in complimentary identity theft protection and credit file monitoring services and how to find out if your personal information may have been impacted, you can click on the Enroll Tab.
  • To learn more about the complimentary offering, you can click on TrustedID Premier Tab. TrustedID Premier provides you with copies of your Equifax credit report; the ability to lock your Equifax credit report; 3-Bureau credit monitoring of your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; Internet scanning for your Social Security number; and identity theft insurance.

To speak to someone directly, we have also established a call center at 866-447-7559, available every day (including weekends) from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. EST, for individuals to ask questions.

Consumers Who Go to Equifax for Help After Data Breach May Lose Their Right to Sue (Money), Rated: AAA

On Thursday credit bureau Equifax said a data breach put personal information of 143 million people at risk. Now its response is drawing more outrage, as lawmakers and others accuse it of encouraging consumers who come to it seeking answers to sign away their chance to seek recourse in the courts.

Following the breach, which compromised tens of millions of Social Security numbers and other valuable data, Equifax set up a website to help worried consumers determine whether or not their information was at risk. That website encouraged visitors to sign up for a program known as TrustedID Premier, the company’s credit monitoring service, which provides automated alerts to credit changes and up to $1 million in ID theft insurance. That’s where the trouble began.

TrustedID’s terms of service include an arbitration clause, insisting that customers agree “all claims, disputes, or controversies…shall be finally settled by arbitration” rather than a court of law. Such clauses aren’t unusual for credit monitoring services — or indeed many other consumer products. But in this circumstance, it created the impression that Equifax was asking consumers it had harmed to surrender their legal rights — including becoming part of a class-action law suit — before it would agree to help them.

One key legal avenue that arbitration clauses typically close off for consumers is the class-action lawsuit. That could be significant for Equifax — at least on one proposed class-action lawsuit was already filed against the company late Thursday, according to Bloomberg.

Equifax free credit monitoring service has some concerned (News Channel 6 Now), Rated: A

The 143 million Americans whose information was compromised by the Equifax data breach may still be on edge even with the free credit monitoring service being offered by the company.

Everything from names, addresses, social security numbers and credit card numbers were hacked in the Equifax data breach.

Kuehner said right now the company is sending out letters letting people know if they have been potentially affected. They can also check online at equifaxsecurity2017.com.

However, it is not only the breach that has consumers concerned, it is the company’s response.

“We’re taking unprecedent step of offering every U.S consumer in the country a comprehensive package of identity theft protection, ecredit file monitoring at no cost,” said Rick Smith, Equifax Chairman, and CEO, in a statement released online.

CECL Overview (PeerIQ), Rated: AAA

This past Wednesday, FASB released an update to the current expected credit losses methodology (CECL) for estimating credit loss allowances. This new accounting standard, which was initially published in June 2016 (in conjunction with regulators such as the FDIC, OCC, and NCUA), will apply to financial assets carried at amortized cost, including loans held for investment and held-to-maturity debt. Once in place, these assets must be held on the balance sheet net of an expected loss account. Changes are effective for fiscal years beginning after Dec 15, 2019, for all for-profit companies that file with the SEC.

Once firms adopt CECL, management will have increased discretion around forecasts and ultimately net asset carrying value. This represents a dichotomy for investors. Assets should be carried at more accurate levels and better reflect the organization’s financial position. However, management estimates will significantly affect the balance sheet and income statement.

The major change with the CECL methodology is that organizations are expected to include forward looking information when determining credit losses. Banks will need to calculate expected credit loss at the loan level for the entire life of the loan and then aggregate with similar instruments.

Since ECL is calculated for the life of the financial asset, rather than the annual rate, almost all held-to-maturity instruments that are not risk-free will have a credit loss allowance. These long-dated assets may appear more volatile than financial statement users are accustomed to because their impairment has large implications for the balance sheet and income statement. Under the new regulation it will be more important to have correct, auditable, and explainable expected credit losses.

Source: PeerIQ, FASB, FDIC

Overall, we applaud the coming changes to US GAAP and expect investors to respond favorably.

Square Becoming a Bank Is Brilliant. Here’s Why (Inc.), Rated: A

However, there is much more to this story. In fact, this strategic decision could be one of the best moves the company has made. Square’s decision could start a revolution and revamp the entire financial institution structure to address the changes in the transaction and lending environment.

Square essentially is proving how the traditional bank is no longer necessary. By becoming their own bank, they do not have to seek out a separate institution as a strategic partner. They don’t have to add specific business banking services to their portfolio.

Although the banking sector has tried, most banks still have too many fees and capital requirements to provide business accounts with their needs. Numerous freelancers or startups just can’t satisfy those requirements because banks are still designed with the larger business in mind.

More small businesses need smaller sized loans to tap into for their launches and expansion. Recognizing how peer-to-peer lending has grown together as an entire industry illustrates how ripe the financial industry is for more competition. Peer-to-peer lending is more personal, with a much needed boost to the financial sector in watching to find new ways to provide the much-needed financial support of smaller entities and businesses.

With these products, it makes sense that the company could become a one-stop shop for financial needs. To become a one-stop service requires obtaining a bank charter, which is what the company has now applied for under the moniker, Square Financial Services Inc.

King of fintech defined by optimism (San Francisco Business Times/Ron Suber Email), Rated: A

Source: San Francisco Business Times

PeerStreet – Real Estate Investing for Rich Millennials (Nanalyze), Rated: A

While your average American doesn’t have much in the way of savings, the younger “millennial generation” is actually saving at a higher rate than any other generation. More than 80% of those “investment professionals” will then go on to underperform the market and get paid anyway.

If all of this sounds too daunting already and you want the easy way out, use Betterment.

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles startup PeerStreet has taken in just over $21 million in funding from investors that include Andreessen Horowitz to build “a marketplace that provides unprecedented access to high quality real estate loan investments“. Before you start getting too excited, take note that you’re going to need some cash to bring to the table. PeerStreet shows you some dropdown boxes when you create your account and unless you choose the one that says you make $300,000 a year or the one that says you have $1 million in assets, you’re not going to be allowed in. Those of you who were smart enough to major in a STEM subject are more likely to be squared away here while those of you who majored in underwater basket weaving should probably just stop reading right now.

Right away we can see that this is a property that is out of reach for the majority of Americans with a hefty $3.78 million price tag.

This means that the amount of money we could get from selling our property falls to around $3 million which still makes it very easy to pay off a $2 million loan. In fact, the only point we would start to worry is if property prices fell more than -53% over an 18-month period. This would represent a “black swan” type of event which has a very low probability of occurring. Of course there’s always the risk of PeerStreet going under but then you still have the property as collateral for the loan and you are first in line to receive payback should their property portfolio be liquidated. For providing everyone with this great service, PeerStreet takes a reasonable .75% fee which is paid each month alongside the interest payments.

The first thing to note here is that the price of entry is an extremely attractive $1,000. You’d be joining the 295 other investors who have already plunked down an average amount of $6,169 which brings the loan up to 91% funded. If you then went out and found 9 other properties to invest in, you’d have a nice little diversified portfolio of 10 various property investments that are transparent and relatively simple to understand (provided you took the time to understand the risks as we have done with this example), all for just $10,000.

Source: Nanalyze

Lend360: Fintech is No longer a Boutique Financing Option, but a Key Component of Lending Market (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The early days of peer to peer lending have morphed into a far more complex and data driven credit service that is competing against not just innovative Fintech startups but traditional lenders seeking to maintain relevance. Crowdfund Insider recently asked Lend360 organizers a few questions on their perspective of the online lending industry and what has changed – and what they expect going forward.

What has changed in the lending environment in the past 12 months?

The biggest change is that Fintech is no longer just viewed as a boutique financing option, but a key component of today’s lending market. For proof of this change one only needs to look at the push for a national Fintech charter.

Where do you see current opportunities?

As long as there is a demand for credit, there will be an opportunity for Fintechs to step up and fill the void.

 

Unexpected expenses hit non-prime Boomers hard (Banking Exchange), Rated: A

New research, “The unGolden Years: Non-prime Baby Boomers,” from the Elevate Center for the New Middle Class indicates that non-prime Boomers are borrowing against their 401k accounts three times as frequently as prime Boomers do. The survey found that 4% of prime Boomers have 401k loans, while 13% of non-prime Boomers have borrowed against these retirement plans.

Less than half—43%—of the non-prime Boomers in the company’s research feel comfortable with their ability to manage their day-to-day finances, let alone prepare for retirement. Not that prime Boomers all feel confident, either, with 76% saying they can manage daily financial needs.

Elevate’s study, based on a survey of over 1,000 prime and nonprime consumers, found that non-prime Boomers are 14 times as likely as prime Boomers to have difficulty predicting monthly income—and 4 in 10 say they live paycheck to paycheck. They also tend to have difficulty predicting monthly expenses and are therefore more likely to experience unexpected expenses, the research says.

Among non-prime boomers, 7 in 10 run out of money at least once a year, in spite of generally decent employment levels—frequently, in fact, with more than one job apiece.

The study asked respondents how they would meet an emergency need for $1,200. Among the non-prime Boomer respondents, nearly half had difficulty coming up with a source of funds—1 in 8 could think of no solution at all.

  • 22% of non-prime Boomers could cover the $1,200 surprise through savings—about half of the portion of prime Boomers who could do so.
  • 22% said they could use a credit card to cover the surprise, but less than a third said they could pay off that borrowing before it began to accrue interest.
  • 11% said they could tap family or friends for the money. Interestingly, only 2% of prime Boomers would go that way.
  • A small portion—4.4%—of non-prime Boomers would use payday lenders, deposit advances, or overdraft programs. Interestingly, in a separate question, 13% of non-prime Boomers said they’d used a payday loan in the previous 12 months.

HedgeCoVest Rebrands, Pivots Toward a TAMP (Wealth Management), Rated: A

HedgeCoVest is pivoting away from being a platform to help investors access hedge funds in favor of being a turnkey asset management platform. To reflect the change, the company is rebranding as SmartX Advisory Solutions.

And as part of the change, SmartX is bringing on 27 new investment strategies from firms like Blackrock, Morningstar Investment Management and Nasdaq Dorsey Wright. The models will cover strategies including ETFs, income portfolios, international equities, global/macro investing and U.S. equity strategies.

RIA in a Box Introduces Trade Monitoring

The technology company has a new employee trade-monitoring tool for its MyRIACompliance software platform that RIA in a Box says will help firms comply with Rule 204A-11, which requires the submission of securities holdings and transaction reports. The new tool digitizes the process, provides an interface for employees to electronically link applicable personal brokerage accounts, and provides chief compliance officers with supervision, administration and reporting capabilities.

Cryptocurrency IRAs

CoinIRA, a subsidiary of Goldco focused on digital currencies, is launching Digital IRA Bundles, new investment products that come prepackaged with combinations of popular cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum.

Commonwealth Selects Quovo for Aggregation 

Commonwealth Financial Network announced the completion of an upgrade to the account-aggregation features within Investor360 using Quovo.

Don’t Fall for Loan Sharks Just Because They Have Hip Branding  (Lifehacker), Rated: A

We all know payday lenders, loan sharks, and credit cards profit when you go into debt and, therefore, they can be dangerous. But many of these companies conceal their danger with clever marketing. Beware: a debt trap by any other branding is just as dangerous.

Over at the Outline, writer Gaby Del Valle discusses one such company, Affirm. v

The difference between this service and a typical subprime loan seems to mostly lie in the marketing. Unlike other loans, Affirm is a bit more upfront about the terms you’re getting into.

Everyone is picking on Affirm here, but the issue is not unique to them. This reminds me of the recent fiasco with Navient, the student loan servicer that was sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) over shady business practices like misapplying student loan payments. In the lawsuit, Navient said they have no obligation to act in their customers’ best interest. But that’s not exactly the message that comes across on their “Financial Tips Blog.” These companies use financial literacy to hook you into making bad financial moves.

How to Use a Peer-to-Peer Loan to Pay off High-Interest Debt (Forbes), Rated: A

High-interest debt, such as credit cards, sometimes seems impossible to pay off.

Peer-to-peer loans are unsecured — you don’t have to tie any collateral to them. They’re attractive to borrowers with high-interest rate debt because they provide concrete payoff dates and an option for a fixed — and potentially lower — interest rate.

In fact, according to peer-to-peer platform Lending Club, its borrowers — on average — secure a 24% lower interest rate when using its peer-to-peer loans to consolidate debt.

SS&C Announces Major New Release of Precision LM Loan Management Solution (Business Insider), Rated: A

SS&C Technologies Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq:SSNC), a global provider of financial services software and software-enabled services, today announced the availability of Precision LM™ 3.0, the latest version of the company’s loan origination, servicing, accounting and asset management solution. The new version marks the culmination of significant input and engagement from Precision LM clients as well as SS&C’s proven ability to execute on its comprehensive development roadmap.

Pefin, a fintech start-up, is using A.I. to offer financial advice. Just don’t call it a ‘robo advisor.’ (CNBC), Rated: A

Automated financial advice is becoming more commonplace in the hunt for bigger returns, yet Pefin bills itself as “the world’s first [artificial intelligence] financial advisor.” The company aims to use machine learning to deliver a range of financial planning and investment advice via a chat interface.

“I started Pefin mainly because when you think about less affluent people, there’s really no access to financial advice aside from robos,” Joseph told CNBC in an interview recently.

“Robos are trying to execute a transaction, while we are trying to manage your finances. Investing is optional with us, and we’ll help you if we think it’s the right move for you” rather than generating fees for the company, she told CNBC.

Pefin Welcomes Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer (Benzinga), Rated: A

Pefin, the world’s first Artificial Intelligence (AI) financial advisor, welcomed Catherine Flax as Chief Executive Officer today.

Flax has had a multi-decade, distinguished career on Wall Street, as the Managing Director and Head of Commodity Derivatives, Americas at BNP Paribas and as Chief Marketing Officer of J.P. Morgan. She was named the Most Influential Woman in European Investment Banking in 2012 and one of the 100 most influential women in European Financial Markets in 2010 and 2011. Flax has been a leader in the FinTech space, as a Board Member of leading blockchain company, Digital Asset Holdings, and for the last two years, as an Advisor to Pefin in matters of Marketing, Regulation, Business Development and International Growth.

CoverWallet, Benzinga Fintech Award Winner, Appoints OnDeck’s Paul Rosen As COO (Benzinga), Rated: B

CoverWallet, the winner of Best Insurtech Solution at the 2017 Benzinga Global Fintech Awards, has hired Paul Rosen, formerly the chief sales officer at On Deck Capital Inc ONDK, as its chief operating officer.

Insurtech reminds Rosen of what fintech looked like five to six years ago, he told Benzinga.

Former OnDeck Director Joins Pearl Capital as Chief Revenue Officer (Monitor Daily), Rated: B

Pearl Capital Business Funding, a provider of direct financing to small and midsize businesses, announced Jared Kogan joined the company as chief revenue officer.

Kogan joined Pearl following a 10 year career in the fintech space, most recently serving as the director of OnDeck’s broker division where he funded 10,000 loans for over $650 million in volume and was able to grow production from $14 million to over $40 million per month. Prior to OnDeck, Kogan served as vice president at Newtek, the largest non-bank SBA lender in the country.

Bad Credit? Business Loan Options For Entrepreneurs (Business Computing World), Rated: B

Online Lending Platforms

Typically, these lenders operate only on the web and promise quick assessment and disbursal with less bureaucracy. Some specialist bad credit lenders are ready to structure loans according to your convenience. You can also look at peer-to-peer lending platforms that give you access to individuals who are looking to invest their money in different ventures. Again, these platforms can get cash relatively more quickly into the system.

United Kingdom

Goldman Sachs to take on UK retail banks (Financial Times), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs is looking to expand its retail banking business to the UK, replicating its mass-market offering in the US, as it continues a steady march from Wall Street to Main Street.

The New York-based investment bank began to pivot in the US about 18 months ago, offering high-interest online savings accounts for a deposit of as little as $1. Last October it took a step further by launching Marcus by Goldman, a digital consumer-lending platform that seeks to rival the San Francisco trio of Lending Club, Prosper and SoFi.

Now Goldman is taking it international, aiming to launch an online deposit business in the UK about the middle of next year. According to Stephen Scherr, the bank’s head of strategy, the lender plans a greenfield start in the UK under the Marcus brand, but could look to buy a book of deposits — as it did in the US — if the opportunity came its way.

The data behind Zopa’s lowered return projections (AltFi Data Email), Rated: AAA

Zopa has an enviable track record of delivering net returns as evidenced by a more than 10 year track record of delivering 4-7% returns  (after losses and fees).

Source: AltFi Data
Source: AltFi Data

Investors value projected returns over track record (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

INVESTORS rank the expected rate of return as the most important factor when choosing an investment provider, research shows.

Analysis by bond provider Minerva Lending, based on a poll of 1,000 adults with more than £50,000 to invest, found 61 per cent consider the rate of return as the most important factor when choosing who to trust their money with.

The research, released on Friday, does not refer to peer-to-peer lending but investors appear to be looking for many factors that P2P firms offer.

Zopa’s Andrews warns on post-Brexit skills shortage (P2P Finance News), Rated: A

THE UK is facing a technology skills shortage that may worsen because of Brexit, Zopa’s co-founder and chairman has warned.

Giles Andrews (pictured) said that the peer-to-peer consumer lender’s decision to open a hub in Barcelona was partly due to a concern that it would be harder to recruit top tech talent following the UK’s departure from the EU.

Assetz signs for Manchester Green office (North West Place), Rated: B

Assetz Capital, part of the Manchester-based Assetz Group, has relocated from Newby Road in Hazel Grove where it occupied 3,000 sq ft of a 6,000 building, to take the newly refurbished Building 3 on a 10-year lease.

China

Cryptocurrency dealers and online lenders feel heat in China (Nikkei), Rated: AAA

On Friday, Caixin, a Chinese business news outlet, reported that financial authorities have decided to shut down virtual currency exchanges.

Beijing appears eager to eliminate money laundering and choke off capital outflows by shutting down bitcoin exchanges and other virtual currency trading platforms. It is also tightening its grip on peer-to-peer lending, in which individuals privately contract to borrow and lend.

Some exchanges have temporarily halted trading in response to the report. Investors rushed to sell their digital currencies for cash, sending bitcoin about 20% lower versus the yuan at one point on Saturday, compared with the day before, to below 24,000 yuan ($3,703).

Report Casts Doubt on Future of China’s Bitcoin Exchanges (Coindesk), Rated: A

Regulators in China are said to be considering a move to close all domestic bitcoin and cryptocurrency exchanges.

As of now, no official announcements from regulators have been seen. However, there are reasons to believe the report may be authentic.

The work group was first launched by China’s State Department in 2016 to tackle market risks in the country’s financial technology industry such as p2p lending.

Emerging Digital Payments are Crowding out the Banking Market (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

According to report from the Central Bank, in the second quarter of 2017, banking financial institutions have handled 36.247 billion electronic payment services, amounting to 545.58 trillion RMB, which was down about 4.4% from the same period of last year.

Actually, non-bank payments including Alipay and wechat Pay are growing rapidly. The Central Bank’s data also shew that in the second quarter of 2017, the scale of non-bank payment market reached to 570.95 trillion RMB. Compared to the amount of 23.35 trillion in the same period last year, it has significantly increased 34.87 percent.

 

WeiyangX Fintech Review (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China.

On September 6th, Zhao Jianjun, deputy director of the Department of Finance at Ministry of Education, announced at a press conference that online marketplace lenders are banned from lending to college students in China. According to WeChat Pay, users of the new product will be able to make payments and transfer, send Hongbao, pay back credit card debt and be awarded with interest on their digital wallet balances.

As response to the latest regulation, NEO Council announced it would offer refunds for NEO purchased through its ICO.

On September 4th, China’s leading digital payment service Alipay announced to expand its operation to Norway.

Early this week, Proptech BBT announced that the platform had managed to secure RMB 60 million Pre-A funding from Hongdao Capital at the beginning of August.

European Union

Klarna is reportedly testing its own credit cards among employees (Business Insider), Rated: AAA

Since Klarna received its full banking license this summer, there have been many questions as to how exactly it would be leveraged. One among many speculative scenarios includes launching the company’s very own credit- and bank cards.

Now there are some initial reports indicating that the credit card rumours are for real. Referring to internal documents it has been able to access, Breakit reports that the Swedish e-invoicing giant, valued at $2,5 bn, is testing credit cards in-house.

A memo sent through the company’s intranet has supposedly given Klarna’s Swedish employees the opportunity to test proprietary payment cards for a limited amount of time.

Knowledge is power in Grid Finance’s revolution (Independent.ie), Rated: A

SME lender Grid Finance is expanding its offering to include a digital pension product targeted at the owners of small businesses. The company has engaged Conexim to provide the back office infrastructure on the product – as well as the regulatory umbrella – while Grid will act as distributor.

It is the latest piece of innovation being undertaken by the company, which is looking to build what chief executive Derek F Butler calls “a small business bank in all but name”.

10 Swiss Fintech Startups to Watch (LinkedIn), Rated: A

The 10 selected entrepreneurs reflect the acceleration of the Swiss fintech scene in the recent years and the impressive quality of its startups. They will join the intense journey taking place from September 10 – 16 in New York.

  • Advanon, Phil Lojacono: Advanon in its basic version is an online platform that allows SMEs to pre-finance their open invoices directly through financial investors.
  • Algo Trader, Andy Flury: The startup provides an algorithmic trading software that allows automation of complex, quantitative trading strategies.
  • Creditgate24, Teddy Amberg: CreditGate24 is an independent Swiss company and a fully automated platform for lenders and borrowers which offers efficient, transparent and scalable credit processing at high quality.
  • KiWi (eBOP), Christian Sinobas: KiWi transforms merchant’s phone into a smart point of sale.
  • Monito (Global Impact Finance), François Briod: Sending money abroad? Monito is the Booking.com for money transfers, helping migrants and expatriates find, review and compare money transfer services.
  • OneVisage, Christophe Remillet: OneVisage is a leading cyber-security company developing biometric solutions to help financial services eliminating identity theft and increasing user’s digital experience.
  • SONECT, Sandipan Chakraborty: SONECT enables every shop in the neighborhood to act as a virtual ATM.

Should you let a ‘robot’ manage your retirement savings? (BBC.com), Rated: A

Consultancy firm Accenture found that 68% of global consumers would be happy to use robo-advice to plan for retirement, with many feeling it would be faster, cheaper, and more impartial than human advice.

Joe Ziemer, vice president of communications at Betterment, a US robo-adviser with more than $9bn under management, says: “The Betterment service takes your information and uses a series of algorithms to create an asset allocation plan, which might be, for example, 90% equities and 10% bonds for a retirement saver.”

Wealth Wizards, for example, typically charges £65 for investments up to £30,000, and 0.30%, or £300, on a £100,000 investment pot. Betterment charges 0.25% a year.

That’s peanuts compared to human advisers’ fees, which come in at about £580 for advice on a £200-a-month pension contribution, or £1,000-£2,000 for guidance on what to do with your £100,000 pot when your retire, according to UK adviser network Unbiased.

Robo.cash Reports Steady Growth in European P2P Lending (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

The young lender says the total amount of investments now exceed €1.8 million. Approximately €400,000 in loans were added in August. The average invested amount per investor gained 2.2% to the previous month at €3,270 in August. In regards to the number of investors using the platform, in August Robo.cash added 188 users. Currently, there are more than 900 investors in total who have joined the platform in the first six months of operation.

Source: Crowdfund Insider
International

Mitek Unveils Mobile Verify® for Lending (Globe Newswire), Rated: A

For the first time at FinovateFall, Mitek (NASDAQ:MITK) (www.miteksystems.com), a global leader in mobile capture and identity verification software solutions, will demonstrate Mobile Verify® for Lending. This new, five step digital lending experience enables lenders to verify identity and bank account information in real time for fast loan decisions with a simple process for borrowers.

When applying for a consumer loan from a desktop computer, the borrower will first log into their online bank account and agree to have their account information shared with the lender. A text message is then sent to the borrower’s smartphone directing them on how to take four photos: front and back of their driver’s license, a selfie and a photo of their pay stub or other trailing document, to complete the loan application process. This new digital experience is quick and easy for the borrower and provides the lender with real-time identity and bank account verification.

Moroku lands on the BNP Paribas Radar (Moroku Email), Rated: A

Dear friends

Last week Moroku was identified as one of the top 4 Fintech’s globally best positioned to take on the battle for Millennials 

Fintech has transformed payments but not savings, says BlackRock’s chief executive (SCMP), Rated: A

The financial technology boom has transformed the way over a billion people engage with financial services, particularly when it comes to making payments, but Larry Fink, chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, said that no company has yet managed to use technology successfully to get people investing for the long term.

Both in China, and in Europe and North America, a plethora of investment platforms and robo advisory services are evolving, but none has yet reached critical mass.

Memorandum of Understanding Signed with GoldMint (LSE), Rated: B

Eurasia, the platinum, palladium, iridium, rhodium and gold production company, is pleased to announce it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with GoldMint PTE (“GoldMint”), a Singapore based Limited Company.

Australia/New Zealand

Broker numbers to swell in SME space (AustralianBroker), Rated: A

More brokers will diversify into the SME loan space due to increased competition in traditional markets and growing demand from clients, the lender’s head of sales Michael Burke said.

“Brokers are not only looking to move into online lending because of the speed and ease of doing business it offers, but because their time-poor customers are demanding a more convenient solution involving faster turnaround times.”

As well as providing a digital platform to facilitate the loan process, OnDeck’s underwriting policy also helps ease the broker’s burden, Burke told Australian Broker.

PledgeMe joins Equitise in eyeing Australian market (Scoop), Rated: A

PledgeMe, the equity crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform, has joined rival Equitise in signalling plans to enter the Australian market ahead of a law change coming into effect across the Tasman this month.

Co-founder Anna Guenther will relocate to Brisbane for six months to establish the Wellington-based company’s Australian arm, according to a PledgeMe blog post. PledgeMe will participate in the Queensland government’s HotDesQ programme, which provides networks, support, and funding for companies to relocate to the state.

India

SoftBank Vision Fund makes second bet in two months; fintech remains investors’ favourite baby (Yourstory), Rated: A

SoftBank Vision Fund, the world’s largest pool of private capital, placed its second major bet on an Indian startup in a span of two months with its investment in OYO Rooms. The $250-million funding has taken OYO’s valuation from $460 million in August last year to between $850 million and $900 million.

APAC

This Not-for-profit Fintech Hub Wants To Impact The Unbanked Population (BLLNR), Rated: A

Allow me to set the scene: in the wider region of Southeast Asia that surrounds Singapore, where Lattice80, our not-for-profit fintech hub that we launched last year is based, there is a huge unbanked population. KPMG estimates put the number at about 438 million. In poor countries like Cambodia, the population with a bank account falls to just 5 percent.

McKinsey did a similar study in 2010 on the world’s 2.5 billion unbanked. Asia’s emerging markets were identified as a hotbed of unbanked. The same study suggests that reaching the unbanked population in ASEAN could increase the economic contribution of the region from US$17 billion to US$52 billion by 2030.

Multi-asset funds offer ‘all-in-one solutions’ (Straits Times), Rated: A

Q WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF MULTI-ASSET INVESTING?

It is the ability to combine a range of asset classes with different and largely independent economic drivers in order to achieve consistent return and reduce downside risk.

Years of central bank intervention in markets have depressed interest rates and left investors hunting for reliable yield. More asset classes beyond traditional equities and bonds have become more accessible in the past decade.

Q WHAT IS THE COMPOSITION OF YOUR MULTI-ASSET PORTFOLIOS?

More recently, we added peer-to-peer lending, mortgage and corporate funds that offer excess return over corporate bonds for a similar level of risk, litigation financing and credit funds. The world’s largest institutional investors have already diversified into these assets. Now, smaller institutions and individual investors can too, through our multi-asset strategies.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor

Wednesday July 19 2017, Daily News Digest

UK financial services

News Comments Today’s main news: Goldman’s traders have worst first half of Blankfein’s reign. RateSetter hit hard by struggling loans. RateSetter offers investors free sell out option. LandlordInvest hits 1M GBP lending milestone. Revolut offers free personal accounts for Europeans. Today’s main analysis: Goldman has worst first half in Blankfein era. Today’s thought-provoking articles: 35 institutional investors raise stakes in Yirendai. A […]

UK financial services

News Comments

United States

United Kingdom

China

European Union

International

Australia/New Zealand

India

Asia

Africa

News Summary

United States

Goldman’s Traders Turn In Worst First Half of Blankfein’s Reign (Bloomberg), Rated: AAA

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. traders turned in their worst first-half performance since Lloyd Blankfein rose from that business to become chief executive officer in 2006.

Investment-banking revenue fell 3 percent to $1.73 billion from a year earlier, better than the $1.59 billion prediction. Investment management as well as the Investing and Lending business also surpassed expectations.

35 INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS ARE RAISING STAKES IN YIRENDAI LTD. (YRD) (Post Analyst), Rated: AAA

(NYSE:YRD) enjoyed a 74.75% run-up in share price since hitting record low of $18.3. The stock managed 3.53% rise and now stands at $31.98 as of July 17, 2017.

Institutional investors currently hold around $143 million or 7.7% in YRD stock.

Yirendai Ltd. 13F Filings

At the end of Mar reporting period, 35 institutional holders increased their position in Yirendai Ltd. (NYSE:YRD) by some 1,343,454 shares, 22 decreased positions by 2,144,331 and 5 held positions by 1,150,551. That puts total institutional holdings at 4,638,336 shares, according to SEC filings. The stock grabbed 21 new institutional investments totaling 973,854 shares while 12 institutional investors sold out their entire positions totaling 1,445,115 shares.

For Millennials, It’s Hip To Have A Traditional Bank (PYMNTS), Rated: A

In a survey held from the end of June into early July and conducted by SurveyMonkey, the web-based survey firm queried more than 1,000 adults above the age of 18, 290 of which were defined as 18- to 34-year-olds: millennials.

Among the findings in the How We Will Pay study: 83 percent of respondents wanted to be able to use an ever-burgeoning roster of new devices to conduct commerce. But, interestingly, when it came to actually transacting, 77 percent of those surveyed said trust remained a key factor when deciding who they want enabling those transactions.

People tend to trust the banks, financial institutions and bank card networks where payments relationships are already in place and already are known to consumers, according to the data.

Most Americans, at 63 percent, have used peer-to-peer payments, said SurveyMonkey. PayPal claimed the lion’s share there at about 80 percent across all demographics. Venmo remains a distant second, at 11 percent, with even greater adoption among millennials at 30 percent. Peer use also mattered to those surveyed, as 28 percent of millennials used the platform because their friends and family members did.

Eighty percent of surveyed millennials wanted the option to visit a brick-and-mortar bank branch based near their towns. In fact, the banks without a tangible footprint in a millennial-centric town lose out, as members of that demographic claimed they would be less likely to open an account with a bank were it not to have a physical branch nearby, said SurveyMonkey.

A new fintech startup wants to democratize trust funds (Business Insider), Rated: A

Now, app-only fintech Tomorrow, which launched services across the US this week, wants to help this group access inheritance products: In the US, 74% of millennials don’t have a will, and 50% of millennial households would struggle to pay their bills without their primary wage earner, according to studies Tomorrow cites. The company’s raised $2.6 million in Seed funding from backers including Plug and Play, Allianz Life, and Curious Capital. It’s now available for iPhone, and will release an Android version later.

Tomorrow aims to show that 

Urban FT Acquires iParse To Bridge The Mobile Banking Gap (PYMNTS), Rated: A

When it comes to mobile banking, there’s often a massive gap between the consumer’s experience with a big bank and with a smaller regional operator or credit union. The big banks have embraced mobile as a critical part of their overall delivery experience — with custom mobile banking apps, proprietary mobile wallets, biometric-authentication, cardless ATMs and more.

But when it comes to the smaller players serving more local populations, the well of mobile innovation can run dry rather quickly and for many reasons.

“A staggering statistic I came across recently really gave me pause. A full 42 percent of credit unions still don’t have mobile banking apps — and it’s not because they don’t want them or don’t think they need them,” Steggall remarked, “but because they don’t have the ability or the resources to do the technical integrations, and they can’t justify the cost.”

While Urban FT’s new products with iParse are for smaller FIs, Steggall told Webster the company also sees a profitable future working with existing payments processors in the market today. Steggall said the iParse solution will help those players — including larger processors already offering their own mobile banking services — better serve their smaller bank and credit union partners.

4 Tips for Developing a Product Around an Unknown Concept (Entrepreneur.com), Rated: A

Being an innovator always comes with the huge challenge of educating potential investors, developers and end users on the significance of a totally new product or service. When bitcoin hit the market, its leaders struggled to answer the same question: “Why is this necessary?”

When you’re building something new, your mistakes form the blueprints future entrepreneurs will study. If you’re a trailblazer in a novel space, here are four ways to forge ahead.

1. Don’t sell — educate.

YieldStreet, an online alternative investments platform, created YieldStreet University, which combines video content, infographics and other visuals to help simplify complex concepts about alternative investing for its customers.

2. Slow your roll.

Faster isn’t always better. When you’re dealing with an unknown concept, speed kills the sales process. If your service or product is new to the market, resist the temptation to immediately convert cold traffic. First, take time to make sure your clients or customers understand what they’re working with and how to utilize your product or service to its fullest potential.

3. Be open about swings and misses.

Honesty builds trust. One study from Label Insight showed 73 percent of participants were willing pay more for more transparent brands.

4. Focus on your mission, not personas.

Don’t concern yourself with selling to anyone in Box X or Box Y. If you do, you’ll end up tailoring your product to suit demographics instead of your vision. Identify your mission and purpose, and sell that.

Recent IPO Movers of the Week (July 10-14, 2017) (Money Morning), Rated: B

China Rapid Finance Ltd. (NYSE: XRF) soared 20.6% for the week. The online consumer-lending marketplace announced on Monday that it had reached the 20 million-loan milestone on its platform.

United Kingdom

Peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter hit by £80m of struggling loans (The Guardian), Rated: AAA

The peer-to-peer lender Ratesetter has been hit by £80m of struggling loans in the first major setback for the nascent online lending sector.

The company said it would use its own funds to prevent losses being taken by its 50,000 users, who are mostly small investors using the website in order to lend their savings to other individuals and benefit from higher interest rates than are available at high street banks.

The company admitted that it had made £36m of loans to a company called Vehicle Trading Group Limited (VTG), a motor finance holding company that then fell into administration because it had taken on too much debt.

It also loaned a further £12m to an advertising company called Adpod, which during 2015 became 50% owned by VTG. The website admits that the loans, of which £8.5m are still outstanding, should not have cleared its own credit policy.

RateSetter gives investors option to sell out free due to wholesale “interventions” (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

RATESETTER is giving all its lenders an option to sell out of their investment free of charges, as part of its wind-down of exposure to its wholesale lending portfolio.

The peer-to-peer platform wrote to investors on Tuesday to outline “interventions” it has made on three former wholesale lending partners.

LandlordInvest reaches £1m lending milestone (P2P Finance News), Rated: AAA

BUY-TO-LET peer-to-peer platform LandlordInvest has passed the £1m lending milestone.

The property lender, which launched in December 2016, has amassed 700 investors and completed six loans over the past seven months.

A vision for a transformed, world-leading industry (The City UK), Rated: AAA

TheCityUK and PwC’s Strategy& have developed a vision for the future of the industry, drawing on extensive engagement with leaders across the industry and a rigorous fact-based assessment. By 2025:

1) The industry will have transformed itself to be highly digitised, innovative and customer-centric. It will be a leader in cyber security, using data in a secure and sophisticated way. This will be alongside new technologies, to drive forward significant improvements in the way services are delivered. Firms will be consistently and relentlessly doing what is right for their customers.

2) London will still be one of the most important and attractive international centres for financial services and global business, retaining the full ecosystem of financial and related professional services. It will continue to play an important domestic role and be a leading FinTech centre that keeps the UK at the forefront of financial innovation.

3) Regional and national financial centres will have become more important within the UK industry. There must be a strong supply of local talent with the relevant skills, competitive costs and high productivity. Banking, insurance and asset management centres outside of London will continue to develop, hosting more headquarters of major companies. While other regional and national hubs will focus on enhancing specialist roles which serve both UK and global markets.

Access the full report here.

The peer-to-peer lending model involves a fair bit of intervention in the market (FT Alphaville), Rated: A

While Funding Circle (and Zopa, for the most part) allow the losses from loans to fall onto lenders, Ratesetter has built a loss reserve to protect investors from bad debts. This “Provision Fund” is funded by taking a fee when a loan is extended and, in times of stress, can be topped up by diverting interest payments and capital away from investors. This means lenders on Ratesetter need to pay attention to the risk in the overall loan book, rather than any individual borrower.

At the moment, the Provision Fund has a 119 per cent coverage ratio, so there is enough money in the fund — if you include expected future fees — to cover losses 1.19 times higher than currently expected. Ratesetter’s target ratio is 125 per cent to 150 per cent.

The important thing here is that the Provision Fund currently has £12.9m in cash and £8.9m of expected future income, versus £18.2m of expected losses. If Ratesetter had let £12m of bad debts suddenly wash into the fund, it would have resulted in a big knock to its coverage ratio. We don’t know what that would do to investor confidence, but it’s fair to say it wouldn’t have helped.

OFF3R Report Says Equity Crowdfunding Defies Brexit Uncertainty in First 6 Months (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: A

OFF3R is out with a report today on the status of equity crowdfunding in the UK. According to their numbers, the UK investment crowdfunding sector is booming. In fact the OFF3R Index states that UK crowdfunding platforms raised a record £130 million during the first half of 2017.

Additionally, the report states that March of 2017 was a record breaking month as well. Over £40 million was raised with several large crowdfunding rounds on the big three platforms; CrowdcubeSeedrs and SyndicateRoom.

Retail Banking IT – giving customers what they want (IT ProPortal), Rated: A

Peru Consulting asked 1000 consumers and 100 Senior IT Leaders in the banking sector.  The results, published in our report – Retail Banking IT: Turn to Face the Change – offer a startling insight into the scale and speed of change and the challenges faced by traditional banking’s IT leaders.

For example, when asked about the specifics of banking transactions using mobile phones, nearly two thirds (63%) of consumers in the 18-44 age group stated this was important to them, while only 14% of the 55-64 age group felt the same.

More generally, the next 12 months holds little comfort for the retail banks when it comes to customer loyalty, with 38% of 18-24 year olds and 41% of 25-34 year olds set to change the bank that provides their main account.

We asked the Senior IT Leaders why they though their customers would be likely to switch banks. Strangely, while 64% recognised that challenger banks are taking their market share, less than 5% recognised that customers might be tempted by new technology such as mobile apps. Given the strength of the GAFA companies and fintechs, this is a dangerous blind spot for the traditional banks.

Guru Appointed to Head Up Comparison Site (Fintech Finance), Rated: B

CONSUMER credit comparison site MoneyGuru.com has appointed an experienced channel director to lead its rapid expansion after a successful launch period.

The site has signalled its intention to disrupt the big four in the comparison market by appointing expert Deborah Vickers who has helped some of the biggest names in the market with optimisation and product development.

Deborah, 35, from Northwich brings 13 years of experience in technology and IT to the role, many of these within the financial services sector. She started her career at industry leader MoneySupermarket.com as a service desk manager before working her way up to IT delivery manager during her eight year tenure.

China

China Is Leapfrogging U.S. In Payments Technology, Ex-Ambassador Max Baucus Says (Forbes), Rated: AAA

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus on Saturday lauded China’s can-do spirit and cited the country’s rush to online payments as an area where the country was overtaking the United States.

Baucus was speaking at an annual LendIt fintech conference held in Shanghai that attracted more than 2,000 participants.

“Apple Pay is trying to be an accepted mode of payment in the United States but it is catching up very slowly,” he said. “It’s disadvantaged, I think, compared with China and other Asian countries’ emerging payment systems. Why? Because established legacy institutions such as banks and credit card companies, while still useful, will soon be overtaken by the new innovative technology being developed here and in other Asian countries.”

China’s Internet Sector Grows Up (Institutional Investor), Rated: A

Leading investors who specialize in financial technologies and are taking stakes in new technology startups in the country say China is no longer an innovation laggard and in fact is taking a commanding lead in specific areas.

Take online payments. Two Chinese Internet giants, Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings, already hold strong leads over their U.S. counterparts in this area. Alipay, for instance, is Alibaba’s online escrow payment system that now counts more than 630 million users globally, of which 450 million are in China. Tencent’s messaging app, WeChat, boasts 900 million users, and its WeChat Pay service has about 600 million active users. Both Alipay and WeChat Pay allow their users to make transactions all over the world using their mobile phones, notes Jones, adding that at present not a single U.S. rival can offer a similar global product.

Lufax international platform starts up in Singapore (Xing Ping She), Rated: A

On 17th July, Ping An Insurance announced the affiliate Lufax started a international business platform, Lu International Financial Asset Exchange in Singapore. Lu International was known to have got the capital market service licence(CMS) approved by MAS. It is also the first Chinese fintech company  to have a CMS in Singapore, and will start for operation in the third quarter of 2017.

Lu International was registered in Singapore in January 2017, after licensed it will provide a series of wealth management services including securities trading, asset management and custody for investors with overseas bank accounts or assets.

Lu International aim to provide pure online banking services for the Asian middle class, and the investment amount will be among $10 thousand to $1 million,according to Gregory D Gibb, the CEO of LufaxHoldingLtd. The initial product line of Lu International is relatively simple, mainly including monetary fund, fixed income products, bond fund, REITs fund and ETF.

European Union

Revolut Introduces Free Personal Euro Accounts Following $ 66 Million Raise (Crowdfund Insider), Rated: AAA

Just days after announcing it secured $66 million through its Series B funding round, digital challenger bank Revolutintroduced free personal euro accounts. The company revealed this new feature enables all its customers, across 42 European countries, to open a free Euro account straight from their smartphone in as little as 60 seconds.

Getting Paid to Run Up Debt (Handelsblatt.com), Rated: AAA

It used to be clear: borrowing cost money. But now Smava, a Berlin-based fintech, has broken new ground by offering loans at a negative rate of interest. In other words, paying consumers to borrow. “Anyone borrowing €1,000 ($1150) will only pay back €994,” says Smava boss Alexander Artopé. That translates to a cool -0.4 percent.

Unsurprisingly, there’s a catch: The largest amount a Smava consumer can borrow at these enviable terms is €1,000, and each person is restricted to a single loan.

Citi to set up a ‘major new trading operation’ in German city after Brexit (Business Insider), Rated: A

American banking giant Citi is set to become the latest major financial firm to choose Frankfurt for its post-Brexit EU hub, reports late on Monday suggested.

Financial centres across the EU — including Frankfurt, Paris, Dublin, and Luxembourg — are battling to attract financial services work moving out of London as a result of Brexit as a result of expected legal changes that will make operating in the EU out of London tricky.

Frankfurt is emerging as a popular destination for many international firms choosing a post-Brexit base. Three Japanese lenders, Daiwa, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Nomura, have all confirmed in recent weeks that they will set up new post-Brexit bases in Frankfurt.

Cyprus fintech startup Capital.com raises $ 25 million (Tech.eu), Rated: A

Cyprian fintech startup Capital.com has raised $25 million from Larnabel Enterprises and VP Capital and launched its mobile trading app.

The Capital.com app allows investors to trade financial products and receive updates from its patent-pending Smart Feed with news, analysis, and research based on user behaviour. The app, the company claims, uses AI to detect common trading biases and patterns.

International

What The SoftBank Vision Fund Means For Tech Investing (CB Insights), Rated: AAA

The SoftBank Vision Fund, first announced in October 2016, has now closed at least $93B of a target $100B to invest in global technology companies – making it the largest tech investment fund in history.

$100B is an unprecedented sum for a single fund, totaling almost exactly the same amount that all VC-backed companies received in 2016 ($100.8B across 8,372 deals globally, per CB Insights data). Yet the fund’s massive size is raising concerns among some investors, who fear that an influx of high-dollar rounds could overinflate the market and prolong exits while crowding out competing investors.

With both Saudi Arabia and the UAE — which have contributed a combined $60M of sovereign capital to the fund — counting on the Vision Fund’s investments to diversify their national economies, the stakes are high. Other high-profile investors are also placing bets with the Vision Fund: The Vision Fund has closed contributions of $1B or less from Apple, Qualcomm, Sharp, Foxconn, and Larry Ellison’s family office. (SoftBank’s own $25B rounds out the $93B secured so far.)

Australia/New Zealand

Cyber-attacks significant threat but RBNZ says no need for prescriptive requirements (NBR), Rated: AAA

Cyber-attack poses a significant threat to the global financial system but the Reserve Bank has decided not to introduce more prescriptive requirements at this stage due to the swiftly changing nature of both the threats and the technology, said Reserve Bank head of prudential supervision Toby Fiennes.

Fiennes said the central bank did not believe prescriptive regulations would appreciably improve the outcome, when the technology and threat landscape are both changing so rapidly.

VicSuper has launched a digital advice suite called Beeline to strengthen member engagement.

The digital advice service would act as an online coach to provide members with access to financial advice 24 hours a day, seven days a week, free of cost to members, with the fund saying it would provide super advice at scale.

Areas of financial advice would include additional contributions and investment asset allocation in their superannuation. The service would also provide general advice to members on retirement adequacy and budgeting goals.

Surging investor confidence in clean energy drives record $ 2 billion investment from CEFC (Mozo), Rated: B

The CEFC assisted in a number of clean energy projects in 2016-17 including the establishment of a green loan marketplacewith peer-to-peer lender RateSetter, 500 new energy efficient homes for low income families in New South Wales and ten large-scale solar projects in regional Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

India

RentoMojo raises $ 10 mn from Bain Capital Ventures, Renaud Laplanche (The Hindu Business Line), Rated: AAA

RentoMojo, a consumer product leasing start-up, has raised $10 million (over Rs. 64 crore) from Bain Capital Ventures and Renaud Laplanche.

The series B funding also saw participation from existing investors, Accel Partners and IDG Ventures, Rentomojo said in a statement today.

The funds raised will be used to further strengthen the product, finish building a stellar leadership team, and expand into new categories and geographies, it added.

Asia

Indonesia: P2P app Julo raises seed funding from Skystar Capital, others (Deal Street Asia), Rated: AAA

Indonesian peer-to-peer (P2P) lending startup Julo has raised an undisclosed amount of investment in a seed round led by Skystar Capital, along with East Ventures, Convergence Ventures, according to an announcement. A few notable angel investors also participated in the round.

Julo is focussed on financial inclusion in Indonesia by helping over 100 million people obtain loans for their various personal use.

Loan applicants can carry out the process from their phones through Julo’s app, where they submit pictures of personal documents and then receive their loan within 24 hours upon successful verification.

How Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie aims to help underbanked SMEs grow (e27), Rated: A

One of the recipients of the CMS is Singapore-based P2P lending platform Crowd Genie. Like many of its ilk, Crowd Genie was founded by entrepreneurs who saw that certain traditional financial services were rigid and could not serve certain profiles of clients.

Ideally, the profile of borrowers would be SMEs turning over about S$1 million (US$731,000) to S$5 million (US$3.66 million) in revenue yearly, and would have had a bank loan and a corporate bank account; they would also have to be in operation for about two to four years, and need a short-term funding gap that the banks are not able to extend.

In place of just traditional financial metrics, Mehra and his co-director Bikash Saha, who has experience in a credit rating agency and retail banking, leverage a hybrid of machine-based learning algorithms combined with hands-on groundwork to assess the credit risk profile of potential borrowers.

Part of the reason Crowd Genie is still heavily reliant on human input is that its machine-learning algorithm is currently a work-in-progress. Accurate data analytics can only be achieved once there are enough actionable data points.

Mehra says the next review of the algorithm will take place at the end of the year, when Crowd Genie has accumulated about 300 – 400 cases.

Currently, institutional investors are qualified to be lenders on Crowd Genie; retail investors are barred.

Africa

Will robots narrow the financial advice gap? (Biz Community), Rated: A

Interestingly, however, a study by international investment house, Legg Mason, personal interaction is still important for these younger investors – 53% of participants in this group indicated that technology can never truly replace personal customer service. This was particularly relevant when it came to retirement and tax planning, but was of less importance when it came to tracking the stock market.

Furthermore, humans can remove irrelevant data from their memory, which allows for increased learning. Robots, however, store all data, which begs the question around the long-term competency of robo-advice.

Authors:

George Popescu
Allen Taylor