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1.UK – Regulation
“PEER-TO-PEER investment platform Orca is one of 18 firms that have been accepted into the third phase of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) regulatory sandbox scheme.
The scheme lets firms test new products, services and business models in a live market environment to help foster innovation in financial services.
The FCA received 61 submissions for the third phase of the scheme, of which 18 met the eligibility criteria and were accepted to move towards testing.
One of the successful applicants is Orca, which is developing an intelligent peer-to-peer investment platform which lets users diversify across multiple P2P platforms, lending sub-sectors and borrowers.
Another is “first direct and Bud”, an app which learns customers’ attributes from transactional and demographic data to identify products from a marketplace of first direct, HSBC and external institutions.
Bud, which tested in the sandbox’s first cohort, has also been adopted by P2P lenders including Zopa and RateSetter.
Other accepted propositions are from firms in the blockchain, regtech and general insurance fields.”
2. UK – FinTech
FinExtra reports on what is the UK’s first mobile-only bank:
“Starling Bank is the first mobile only bank to be granted approval from the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority to offer customers direct access to a wide range of financial products, including loans, insurance, mortgages, ISAs and other investment products, all from within its app.
This is the next step in the Bank’s plan to use Open Banking regulations to give financial control back to its customers, and follows on from existing partnerships with companies such as Moneybox, Flux, Yolt and Yoyo Wallet. Building upon being the first licenced bank with a PSD2-ready API, these new permissions enable Starling to deliver the next stage of its Marketplace proposition - access to providers of financial services and products from within the Starling mobile app.”
3. UK – Equity
“Parcel2Go, described as the UK’s largest parcel delivery comparison website, is set to close its Crowdcube campaign with more than £1 million thanks to nearly 1300 investors. The equity crowdfunding initiative was launched last month and quickly raised its initial £500,000 funding target.
Parcel2Go claims it has generated top-line revenue of £56 million in the 2016/2017 fiscal year. Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) stood at £1.9 million and has grown 25% in the first six months of the year. The company reported it currently has over 800,000 customers that may review more than 20 courier companies in the search for the best pricing. Recently, the company completed its first acquisition, National Pallet.”
4. US – Real Estate
Curbed.com reports on the rapidly expanding US market.
“While reliable numbers about this growing and fragmented market prove difficult to come by, research firm Massolution estimated the global market for real estate crowdfunding surpassed $3.5 billion in 2016. It’s becoming a big business, attracting larger, institutional investors, crowdfunding investment trusts, and even its own review site. Colombian investor Rodrigo Niño even crowdfunded a skyscraper in Bogota.
Platforms such as Fundrise, RealCrowd, Crowdstreet, and others have established themselves, offering wider access to the often rarified world of real estate investment. Fundrise even offers a starter portfolio for just $500.
But as more developments and investors turn to the public to help fund developments, crowdfunding in real estate is evolving, with more opportunities to focus on specific types of investments. The market isn’t just growing, but diversifying, giving smaller investors more and more freedom to target specific sectors of the real estate market—another step towards crowdfunding’s original promise of a market that’s more with lower barriers to entry.”
5. International – FinTech
State-controlled China Daily reports a change of direction for FinTech.
“After a period of explosive growth, the financial technology - or fintech - sector in China will likely see slower but more regulated growth, with greater emphasis on leveraging technology to drive true innovation, analysts said.
China has emerged as a leading fintech market globally, with analysts estimating the market size to have exceeded $243 billion by the end of last year, accounting for about 85 percent of the global market share.
The sector's fast and furious growth was also illustrated by the surge of fintech investment in the country, which attracted capital of $8.8 billion between July 2015 to June 2016, equivalent to an increase of 252 percent since 2010, according to a report by Singaporean banking giant DBS Group and global accounting firm Ernst & Young.
Chinese fintech companies have been thriving through meeting the market's growing demand for financial services that are underserved by the country's traditional banking sector.”