News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1. UK – AltFi

“Alongside the usual peer-to-peer (P2P) lenders and crowdfunding platforms, there are many conventional providers of funding in the alternative-finance sector, according to Monyweek. “Some of the most interesting avoid P2P as a source of funding altogether and prefer to use their own balance sheets. One such outfit is property investment company Urban Exposure (Aim: UEX).

Urban Exposure is a respected player in a rapidly expanding area. It lends to capital-starved small and medium-sized housebuilders, many of which operate in the student accommodation and private rented sectors. Since it started lending in 2005, Urban Exposure has originated just under £700m worth of loans with an internal rate of return of 16% a year –  and no losses.”

 

2. UK – AltFi

 

Real Business looks at Sme funding:

 

“Venture capital (VC) has long been the obvious answer for SMEs looking for a major investment. But as the march of alternative finance continues, can crowdfunding work for established companies as well as startups?

There’s much to be said for the ethos of crowdfunding. For those companies that thrive on referrals, being owned by an army of advocates can be great. Crowdfunding can also be a way of rewarding the people whose hard work and loyalty a business depends. It gives staff and customers a VIP rate and a stake in your success.”

3. International – FinTech

 

From ITProportal:

 

“Blockchain, the new buzzword in tech circles, is rewriting the rules in many industries. Essentially a public ledger able to record and verify a high volume of digital transactions, it bypasses borders, governments and economic systems, making both local and global settlement quicker, more transparent and cheaper.

Global spending on blockchain solutions is estimated to reach $2.1 billion this year, but for there to be a blockchain revolution, many barriers – technological, political, organisational and societal – need to be overcome first. 

While some view blockchain as an uninvited disruptor, others are welcoming it with open arms. In the financial sector, this is especially true, with only a handful of ‘traditional’ banks blazing the trail and investing in blockchain technology to deliver new digital services.

Currently, citizens in Europe have the lowest levels of ‘complete trust’ in traditional banks. This is worrying, given money is simply a means of exchange, built on the trust bestowed upon it.

Conversely, blockchain is inherently trustworthy due to the immutable recording of transactions or ‘blocks’ and its independence from a central authority. Some think this puts into question the future of fiat currencies around the world. Some even claim blockchain could’ve prevented the 2008 financial crisis by giving regulators visibility of trading portfolios and the untainted records of the trades that lead to an individual portfolio’s make up.   

The financial services industry has always been primed for disruption, with long-standing challenges just waiting to be solved by new technologies. Fintech 2.0 looms around the corner and is set to deliver fundamental changes to the infrastructure and processes at the core of the industry, changing how we spend, save and borrow for the better.”

 

4. International – FinTech

 

Temasek Holdings, an investment fund owned by the government of Singapore (Singapore Minister for Finance is the sole shareholder), is exiting traditional finance to focus on Fintech.

 

This is according to a report in the Straits Times that said Temasek has sold of its holdings in big investment banks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley to focus more on Fintech. The write up described the move by Temasek as “an important shift in Temasek’s thinking.


 

5. International - P2P

 

Reuters reports:

 

“Investors in Chinese online peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platform PPMiao protested at the offices of one of the company’s shareholders in Shanghai’s financial district on Monday, in the latest manifestation of problems facing the industry.

At least 243 P2P companies have collapsed in China since June, precipitating the withdrawal of funds from many firms in the industry and sparking protests by investors across the country.

About 300 investors in PPMiao crammed into the lobby of Shanghai’s International Finance Centre (IFC) shopping mall, which also houses the office of HuaAn Future Asset that was registered as a shareholder in PPMiao’s former operator, Hangzhou Fuqian Network Technology.”