News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Pink lightning in a black sky

1.UK – AltFi

FT Adviser reports:

 

“The High Court has ruled in favour of the Financial Conduct Authority, finding an unauthorised investment scheme must pay the regulator almost £1m to be re-distributed to investors. 

On May 14 the court declared Xcore Capital Limited and Jonathan Chitty had carried out an unauthorised investment scheme, which had promised a 6 per cent annual return to investors who were led to believe their money would be traded on foreign exchange and equity markets. 

The scheme took in at least £1m from investors, but in reality the money was used to fund a Mayfair office, brokers' wages and Mr Chitty's personal spending.”


2. UK – P2P

 

P2P Finance News has more on Funding Circle’s difficult experience with its listed fund.

“UNDING Circle is set to begin a managed wind-down of its dedicated investment trust, the Funding Circle SME Income Fund (FCIF), once it gets the green light from shareholders.

The FTSE 250-listed peer-to-peer business lender said last month that shareholders had backed plans to stop investing in new assets and begin the process of returning capital to investors.

FCIF will convene an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on 11 June at which it is recommending shareholders vote in favour of the resolutions to start the wind-down.

The board said it wants to return capital to shareholders in a timely manner, while maximising the value it can get from the company’s investments.

It is asking shareholders to approve the appointment of Funding Circle Global Partners Limited, the company’s corporate services provider, to sell off the investment portfolio.

It also wants to change the name of the trust to SME Credit Realisation Fund Limited.

Shares will remain listed and tradable as long as practicable during the wind-down, the board said. It will switch from its current strategy of making regular share repurchases to a quarterly redemption cycle. As the proceeds from asset sales build up, the directors will have the discretion to return capital to shareholders on a pro rata basis, and can make ad hoc returns if there is excess cash.

It will maintain quarterly dividend payments of 5.25p per share until at least the period to 31 March 2020, which is expected to be partially uncovered by income. The board said this will reduce the amount of capital available for distribution to shareholders at each compulsory redemption and on the eventual liquidation of the company.

If shareholders approve the wind-down at the EGM, the trust’s shares will no longer be available to retail investors.”

3. UK - P2P

Assetz Capital meanwhile is having a better experience.

 



4. US – FinTech

Crowdfund Insider on a very big unicorn.

“Fintech Unicorn and stealth bank Transferwise has raised $292 million at a valuation of $3.5 billion. According to multiple reports, Transferwise has doubled its valuation in contrast to its last funding round. The round was said to be over-subscribed. Transferwise last raised capital at a valuation of $1.6 billion in November 2017. Uniquely, Transferwise is a Fintech that is profitable.

According to Bloomberg, the funding was led by Lead Edge Capital, with participation from Lone Pine Capital and Vitruvian Partners. Existing investors Andreessen Horowitz and Baillie Gifford & Co increased their stake. BlackRock joined in as well giving the Fintech further validation of the fast-growing service.

In a recent blog post, Transferwise reported that about 5million people are using TransferWise to move well over £3 billion each month:

“In the UK, cutting out the middle-men continues to pay off … our integration directly into the Bank of England’s Faster Payments Scheme continues to pay off. It’s allowed us to remove banks (and their fees!) from the process of sending money into and out of the UK. So on March 1st, the cost of sending £1,000 from GBP to EUR got 15% cheaper.”

When have you ever heard a bank say something like that? Never.”

Fintech Unicorn Transferwise Raises $292 Million at $3.5 Billion Valuation: No Need to Go Public as there is an Ocean of Private Capital | Crowdfund Insider

5. International – FinTech

 

The Nation reports on developments in Thailand

“Thailand’s Securities And Exchange Commission (SEC) Has Issued Regulations On Debt Crowdfunding Through Funding Portals In Order To Increase Alternative Fundraising Methods For Small And Medium-Sized Enterprises And Startups.”

6. International – FinTech

Cyptocurrency Guide reports a potentially huge move from Facebook.

 

“Facebook has registered a new financial technology company in Switzerland which will be focussing on blockchain and payments, Reuters reported citing Geneva’s commercial register. The formation of the new company comes amid the speculation that the social media giant is preparing to announce its own cryptocurrency.’

Facebook is developing Blockchain Payment System