1.UK – SMEs
FinExtra carries a press release for a NatWest bank offshoot.
“Esme Loans, the digital lending platform for SMEs and scale up businesses, today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Pollen Street Capital, a London-based private equity and credit manager, further enhancing Esme’s ability to serve UK SMEs.
The partnership, through Pollen Street’s Honeycomb Investment Fund, will accelerate and expand Esme’s product offering, whilst helping Esme to achieve its strategic growth ambitions.
Esme Loans was launched in 2017 by NatWest as part of the bank’s commitment to investing in innovation and technology to become a faster, easier and simpler bank that’s service-led and customer-focused. Lead by the original founding team - Rickard Kerton, Veronika Lovett and Lucy Hasson - Esme Loans offers UK-based SME customers a simplified, rapid and paperless end-to-end process with competitive rates for businesses looking to borrow up to £150,000.”
2. UK – P2P
Peer-to-peer platform Lendy has appointed a new head of origination and chief financial officer, according to Mortgage Solutions.
“Terry Pritchard is joining the lender as head of origination, from Channel Equity Finance.
He has previously worked at Providence Financial, Chase, Charterhouse and Grays Inn Capital.
Pritchard will be responsible for building Lendy’s key relationships with brokers and developers across the property lending sector.
Lendy said his experience of working with senior stakeholders will help grow the platform’s origination.”
3. US – FinTech
“Commissioner Hester Peirce has slammed the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to deny trading of the Winklevoss Bitcoin Trust on Bats BZX Exchange in a public statement.
“I am concerned that the Commission’s approach undermines investor protection by precluding greater institutionalization of the bitcoin market. More institutional participation would ameliorate many of the Commission’s concerns with the bitcoin market that underlie its disapproval order. More generally, the Commission’s interpretation and application of the statutory standard sends a strong signal that innovation is unwelcome in our markets, a signal that may have effects far beyond the fate of bitcoin ETPs [exchange traded products].”
Commissioner Peirce then outlined her justification for her position noting that anti-innovative stance being taken by the regulatory agency;
“…The disapproval order demonstrates a skeptical view of innovation, which may have an adverse effect on investor protection, efficiency, competition, and capital formation well beyond this particular product. The disapproval order’s broad interpretation of the Commission’s statutory mandate signals that the Commission reserves for itself the authority to judge when an innovation is ripe enough, respectable enough, or regulated enough to be worthy of the securities markets. By suggesting that bitcoin, as a novel financial product based on a novel technology that is traded on a non-traditional market, cannot be the basis of an ETP, the Commission signals an aversion to innovation that may convince entrepreneurs that they should take their ingenuity to other sectors of our economy, or to foreign markets, where their talents will be welcomed with more enthusiasm.”
“J. Christopher Giancarlo, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), spent some time on Capitol Hill testifying in front of the House Committee on Agriculture.
While Giancarlo’s prepared remarks, and ensuing comments driven by questions from the Committee, covered a wide range of policy issues associated with the CFTC, Giancarlo also made some interesting comments pertaining to blockchain development and cryptocurrencies.
Within his prepared statement, Chair Giancarlo addressed their oversight of “virtual currencies.”
“The hearing last week before this committee examined the opportunities and risks involved in the evolution of digital currencies. Emerging financial technologies [Fintech] are taking us into a new chapter of economic history. They are impacting trading, markets, and the entire financial landscape with far ranging implications for capital formation and risk transfer. They are transforming the world around us, and it is no surprise that these technologies are having an equally transformative impact on U.S. capital and derivatives markets.
Knowing the challenges ahead, my focus as Chairman has been guided by six broad elements concerning virtual currency: (1) staff competency; (2) consumer education; (3) U.S. interagency cooperation; (4) exercise of authority; (5) strong enforcement; and, (6) heightened review of virtual currency product self-certifications.”
Giancarlo said the CFTC has been particularly assertive regarding enforcement actions and digital currencies. Similar to the SEC, the CFTC has an internal virtual currency enforcement task force to consolidate knowledge within the digital asset class. He highlighted several enforcement actions taken by the CFTC in recent months such as My Big Coin Pay and Entrepreneurs Headquarters Limited.”
4. International – P2P
Singapore based FintruX Network, “a global P2P lending ecosystem,” has added Bob Rinaldi to its Board of Directors, according to Crowdfundinsider.
“Rinaldi is a long time banker and entrepreneur. According to FIntruX, Rinaldi has served as the CEO of CI Finance, a national equipment finance company, and as a Director at CBank, a commercial banking community bank. He has also held positions as the Senior VP of CSI Leasing, and was the President of National City Commercial Capital Canada.
Rinaldi also played a role in growing ILC to the fifth-largest, bank-owned leasing company in the U.S. with annual originations of over $3 billion and $8 billion in assets. He is a Past-Chairman and Director of the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), the premier trade association representing the $1 trillion equipment finance sector.
By adding FintruX to their Board, Rinaldi should be able to help provide guidance to their mission of providing unsecured loans.”
5. International – P2P
Tech Circle on moves in India.
Spice Digital, in a $910,000 deal.
6. International – FinTech
BusinessWire summarises a market research report by Technavio. The global alternative finance market 2018-2022 is expected to register a CAGR of more than 21 per cent during the forecast period, according to the latest figures. However, the growth momentum of the market is expected to decelerate due to a decline in the year-over-year growth.
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7. International – P2P
, which offers automated investments in the portfolio of the lending companies, has reportedly facilitated funding of half a million loans totaling over €40 million on the heels of reaching a $4M in attracted investments milestone and entrance into Kazakhstan through its partnership with alternative lender LLP Zaymer, according to Crowdfundinsider.
“Results of Robo.cash directly reflect the success of our lending companies in Spain and Kazakhstan which both demonstrate a strong growth in their markets that could have been nearly impossible without marketplace funding,” indicated Robo.cash Founder Sergey Sedov.
The Latvian platform marked the results of its work in the first six months in 2018, noting that €1.5 million was attracted with an increase of 35% YoY in H1 2018; the total volume of funds raised since the launch of the platform has now exceeded €4 million. With regard to loans funded through the platform Robo.cash, investors financed €21.3 million and earned €214,000 in H1 2018. In total, more than half a million loans have been financed which comprised €41.4 million and resulted in €350,000 of return paid to investors. Such a turnover of funds can be explained by a short term of loans provided by the lending companies which is 20 days on average.”