News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Young woman whispers in friend's ear

1.UK – P2P

Money&Co. CEO Nicola Horlick may be about to start a career in politics.  AlftFi News carries the story.

“Money & Co boss Nicola Horlick could put aside her full-time job after being selected to run for MP of Chelsea and Fulham under the Liberal Democrats banner.

Horlick, who founded Money & Co in 2013 as a lending platform not dissimilar to Funding Circle at the time, told the Daily Mail that Money & Co would turn “a very substantial profit in the year to March 2020” after losing over £8.6m since inception.

“The people of Chelsea & Fulham voted 71% to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum and have not had their views properly represented by their current MP,” Horlick said on the announcement that she would stand for the Lib Dems at the next general election. 

“By stopping Brexit, we can start solving the real problems facing our society – strengthening our NHS, improving our schools and addressing the climate crisis.”

Horlick will likely run against Tory MP Greg Hands, who has held the Conservative safe seat since 2005.

Before launching her own crowdfunding venture, Horlick was chief executive of SG Asset Management and Bramdean Asset Management.

The local Liberal Democrat group makes it clear that Horlick will be running on a ‘stop Brexit’ manifesto.

“[Brexit] leaves Britain isolated and begging the US and China to recreate trade deals we already have, and the effect on the NHS is simply devastating,” said Carmel McLoughlin, Chair of Kensington & Chelsea Liberal Democrats. 

“Nicola knows this and will stop at nothing to call it out and hold to account local MP Greg Hands who has completely failed to represent his constituents or put the country above his party. Time’s up for Conservatives in Chelsea.”

 

2. UK – FinTech

 

More than 100 Fintech companies have applied to participate in the UK’s Open Up 2020 Challenge, according to Crowdfundinsider.

“The firms will be competing to tap into the evolving open banking economy and a chance to win a £1.5 million prize fund.

Managed by Nesta Challenges through a partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE), the Open Up competition is requesting local Fintech companies to help the UK’s residents in using Open Banking services.

Recommended areas of investigation include current account comparison tools, ways to help account holders use overdraft services that are not managed by their banks, Robo financial management services, and micro-savings.

A panel of judges from the Alan Turing Institute, Bank of England, Citizens Advice, and the OBIE will select 15 finalists from 107 “high quality” competition participants.”

3. UK – FinTech

The Telegraph reports:

“The City regulator has ramped up its formal investigations into cryptocurrency firms, in a crackdown on the “wild west” digital currency industry. 

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has investigated a total of 87 firms over the past 12 months, a Freedom of Information request has revealed. This is an increase of close to 75pc on the previous year, when 50 firms were investigated.

Experts said it was encouraging to see the regulator stepping up its policing of the sector. Interest in digital currencies has boomed since 2017, when the price of Bitcoin soared by as much as 2,000pc in less than a year.”

 

4. UK – FinTech

CityA.M. reports:

“Nutmeg, the online wealth management firm, widened its losses by more than £6m last year as it invested in attracting new customers.

Operating losses deepened from £12.3m to £18.6m despite an increase in turnover from £4.6m to £7.2m, as expenses expanded to £22.7m from £17m the previous year.

A third of the company’s costs were spent on marketing in 2018 as the company aimed to increase customer numbers, which grew to 85,000 from 50,000 the previous year.”

 

5. US – FinTech

Crowdfundinsider reports:

Revolut has been accepting new accounts in the US of late. Long-anticipated and recently announced, Revolut has been accepting bank account sign-ups for its digital-first, Fintech future banking accounts in partnership with Metropolitan Commercial Bank, Member FDIC.

In the US, most Fintechs partner with a chartered bank as the process to become a regulated bank is antediluvian and can take years to accomplish.

Revolut is currently working through the “American beta” launch.

Approved users may expect to benefit from features such as:

  • Instant payment notification after every transaction and show you exactly how much you’re spending each month on things like groceries and transport.
  • A monthly spending budget for things like restaurants and groceries.
  • Round up card payments to the nearest dollar for auto savings
  • Spend and transfer money globally, instantly and for free, with the real exchange rate.
  • Send and request money from your friends and family in seconds in the app.

6. International – P2P

 

An Irish lender offers “Brexit” loans.

Linked Finance, Ireland’s largest peer-to-peer lending platform, has launched a new loan category for Irish SMEs who are in the process of preparing for Brexit.  

Niall Dorrian (pictured), CEO of Linked Finance, says many of the businesses the firm lends to are putting additional working capital in place and this new loan will help better manage cash through the Brexit process' uncertainty.

“The logic being that it’s easier to access credit today before any Brexit-related challenges have taken their toll on cash flow. With the UK political situation changing day by day Irish businesses will continue to hope for the best, but would be prudent to prepare for the worst,” he said.

The new 18-month loan offering allows Irish SMEs to access working capital facilities of up to €300,000. Linked Finance says funding can be accessed within 24 hours. These new loans allow Irish SMEs to spread large annually recurring costs over a longer repayment period than the typical 11 or 12-month facilities usually on offer for things like insurance premiums, stocking loans or professional subscriptions.”