News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

escalators ascending towards the light

1.UK – FinTech

FT Adviser on the benefits of RegTech for intermediaries.

“In this era of ever-changing regulatory requirements, RegTech is removing the pain points in customer onboarding and meeting the compliance requirements of AML, KYC and Regulatory Reporting, except of course for those companies that are still using the laborious manual route.

Those companies holding out and ignoring the advantages and empowerment of RegTech are losing out if they are not embracing it.”


2. UK – FinTech

The Financial Conduct Authority has reminded advisers it is not the regulator's job to ban high risk products as they might be appropriate for a "niche" part of the market, reports FT Adviser.

“Speaking at the Personal Investment Management & Financial Advice Association summit in London yesterday (October 16) Debbie Gupta, director of life insurance and financial advice at the FCA, said the idea of an unsuitable investment was not a product in itself which the watchdog could identify and ban.

Ms Gupta said: "Unsuitable investments are, by definition, a subjective judgement based on the individual to whom they are being sold.

"Unsuitable investments are suitable for some people in some circumstances with proper controls. So I don’t believe it’s the FCA’s job to go in and ban products that might be suitable for some people in niche parts of the market."

The comments were made in response to a member of the audience asking why the FCA has not prosecuted those who sold unsuitable investments in the market.”


3. UK – AltFi


Digital wealth management platform Fountain is to close its operations later this month. AltFi reports.

“The firm was co-founded in 2017 by former Citigroup traders Dann Bibas and Nishil Parekh with investors including Charlotte Street Capital alongside a number of angels working in large banks– acting in a private capacity – from Goldman Sachs, Societe Generale, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank.

It received full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority last July, enabling the firm to fully launch to customers. 

In a note to clients, sent last night and seen by AltFi, the firm said:

“Since our inception, the team at Fountain has worked tirelessly to democratise wealth management as we pushed the boundaries of new technology and customer experience.” 

That being said, Fountain, unfortunately, couldn't overcome certain risks that are inherently part of any new venture. After careful consideration from our team, founders and shareholders, we've chosen to draw a line under our chapter at Fountain and will be ceasing operations at the end of the month.”

All investments are safely held with a third-party custodian, the firm added."


4. US – FinTech


Crowdfundinsider reports:

“Payments platform giant PayPal has announced that it has extended its strategic consumer credit partnership with Synchrony. PayPal reported that through the collaboration, Synchrony will become the exclusive issuer of a Venmo co-branded consumer credit card in the U.S., which is expected to launch in the second half of 2020.”


5. International – FinTech

The Swiss weigh in with the latest dark view of Facebook’s Libra digital issue (if it ever happens). Crowdfundinsider reports.

“The Swiss Federal Council received an update yesterday regarding the topic of stablecoins and Facebook’s Libra specifically.

According to a post on the Swiss government website, Switzerland will continue to actively monitor discussions on new digital technologies such as blockchain/DLT and the country is generally open to innovative approaches in the financial market.

Regarding Libra and the Geneva, Switzerland based Libra Association, the supervisory authority FINMA announced on 11 September 2019 that, based on the information available, the project would be classified as a payment system and a corresponding license would be required. Thus Libra would automatically be subject to the Anti-Money Laundering Act and international standards in this area. This appears to be based on a belief that Libra will be based solely on fiat currencies, yet questions have arisen as to whether Libra will also include government bonds or other interest generating assets.

The Federal Council said it is keeping a “very close eye on global stablecoin projects and their associated opportunities and risks.”