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1.UK – Regulation
Professional Adviser reports an FCA initiative:
“Work to improve the Financial Services Register, which will include making suspensions clearer, will begin this summer, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) chief Andrew Bailey has revealed.
In a letter responding to the Work and Pensions Committee's report into the British Steel Pension Scheme, Bailey revealed details of plans to improve the register and when we can expect to see the changes.
The FCA boss said work was already underway to consider how the financial watchdog could improve the register. He added changes would be made this summer to make it clearer when requirements, including suspensions, applied to an entry.”
2. UK – Regulation
“ZOPA is recruiting staff to bolster its regulatory expertise and influence ahead of industry changes and developments such as Brexit.
The peer-to-peer lender is advertising for a public and regulatory affairs officer who will be responsible for building relationships with key regulatory and political stakeholders and industry bodies.
Zopa said the new role will ensure it “gets its voice heard” and is fully briefed on industry changes.
The individual will be tasked with monitoring UK and EU legislation relating to financial services and P2P lending, and the impact of Brexit on the UK market.”
3. UK – P2P
The Business Des reports a chunky P2P loan:
“Alternative finance specialist ThinCats has supplied a £3m funding line to London-based grab-and-go chain Abokado.
The healthy eating brand, well-known across the city for its fresh sushi, salads, bagel breakfasts and award-winning coffee, has reported that its EBITDA has increased by almost 50% year on year.
Abokado’s founder and chief executive Mark Lilley said: “We are excited to have embarked on a new partnership with ThinCats. This will continue to fuel our next phase of growth, enabling us to expand our store footprint by capitalising on a weakening commercial property market, invest further in our senior management and in our brand to spread our ‘feel great’ vision far and wide.”
4. US – FinTech
Lewis Cohen, formerly of white shoe law firm Hogen Lovells, and Angela Angelovska-Wilson, recently the GC of Digital Asset, have formed their own law firm targeting the blockchain industry. The new firm, DLx Law, is designed to “align better with the culture of the blockchain space”, according to Crowdfundinsider.
Speaking to CoinDesk, Cohen stated:
“Inherently, it was very clear to us the challenges in providing clients the kind of services that they need within a very large law firm. A week in blockchain time is like a month anywhere else … I’m aware of some of the arguments that can be made. But there are a variety of good legal reasons why ETH should not be considered a security at this time, not least of which is the hard fork that occurred following the DAO debacle.”
The initial coin offering (ICO) market is in a period of transition. Following the many enforcement actions launched the Securities and Exchange Commission, the ICO market in the US has slowed. Issuers now either attempt to avoid US investors or they must file for an appropriate securities exemption such as Regulation D. As the market begins to stabilize, which is widely expected, a bespoke law firm targeting security tokens may make sense as the industry regains its sea legs.”
5. US – FinTech
“Most securities initial coin offerings (ICOs) are being filed under Reg D 506c in the US. This enables an issuer to sell securities to accredited investors. Reg A+, an updated securities exemption, enables issuers to offer securities to both accredited and non-accredited investors. Reg A+ is frequently touted as the best path for ICOs as companies may raise up to $50 million and the securities issued may become immediately tradable (unlike Reg D where there is a one year lock up). Multiple ICOs have filed for a Reg A+ offering but few, if any, have been qualified by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Prometheum, a blockchain based company, is saying they have “cracked the code” as to how to get a compliant Reg A+ ICO done.
“Issuing legal tokens via a Reg A+ filing is the first step in the process of creating a legal ICO trading platform,” stated Aaron Kaplan, Co-founder and COO of Prometheum in a public release. “We have cracked the code on how to do this within the confines of Federal Securities Laws. Prometheum anticipates hosting its first ICOs for issuers in early 2019 once its tokens are approved for market issuance.”
Prometheum says it has been working more than a year to construct a compliant ecosystem for ICOs. Prometheum wants to create a trading ecosystem for ICOs of securitized tokens to any type of investor. The company is proposing a “warrants / Ember tokens and smart contract-enabled blockchain” to provide “a soup-to-nuts securities ecosystem, from issuance to trading through clearing and settling.” Prometheum says it expects to host its first ICOs for issuers in early 2019. For now, it is focusing on its own ICO which will be paired with a concurrent Reg D 506c offer.”
6. US – FinTech
The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports some commercial funding for a CCAF project.
“Atlanta-based global investment management firm Invesco and Cambridge Judge have recently launched a multi-pillar research partnership that will allow the CCAF and other Cambridge Judge researchers to examine the digital transformations in financial services and related sectors occurring around the world. The partnership with Invesco, which manages $945.4 billion for clients worldwide (as of Feb. 28, 2018), is part of the firm’s wider global thought leadership initiative focused on bringing clients cutting-edge research and investment insights from world-class talent across the asset management industry and academia.”
7. International – FinTech/P2P
Crowdfundinsider reports on a P2P marketplace.
“Mintos, a European marketplace for peer to peer loans, is a leader in Continental Europe with an estimated 39% market share. Today, Mintos has announced a significant next step by listing their first UK originator – thus expanding into the most robust P2P market in Europe. Mintos is based in Latvia.
Company provides various loan types to small and medium enterprises SMEs in Britain. On Mintos 1pm offers business loans for investment where investors may receive annual net return of up to 11%.
“The United Kingdom has one of the largest alternative finance markets in the world. We are very excited to have expanded Mintos into this geography by launching 1pm on the marketplace. The company is a great addition and offers investors on Mintos a new geography and further opportunities in GBP investments. We look forward to this partnership with 1pm and to seeing further partnerships arise in this market,” says Martins Sulte, CEO and Co-founder of Mintos.”