News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Construction workers eat lunch 200 feet up in the air.

1. UK – AltFi


The Pollen Street fund’s new figures come under the microscope:


“The £1.1bn Pollen Street Secured Lending fund saw returns improve in the third quarter of 2019 as the fund continued to shift towards whole loans back by property.

Pollen Street Secured Lending, which sits on a 12.4 per cent discount to its net asset value (NAV), saw a return in NAV terms of 1.65 per cent in the three months to the end of September.

During this period the fund’s manager, Pollen Street Capital sold its largest position, its stakes in Castlehaven Finance, an Irish alternative development and bridging finance lender. This included a 25 per cent equity stake in Castlehaven Finance, together with other loan and debt interests.

The gross proceeds of c.€250m, have started to be deployed with four deals closed in October to deploy the proceeds of the sale. 

Following the sale of the Castlehaven position, the portfolio mix has shifted slightly with a higher weighting of whole loans, according to analysts at Liberum.  Real estate remains the highest sector weighting with 41 per cent of the continuing portfolio. 

“The continuing portfolio has delivered consistent underlying income returns in the year. The overall NAV return was impacted in the early part of the year by issues relating to the legacy portfolio. The impact of the legacy portfolio and equity positions should decline as the exposure decreases. The sale of the Castlehaven equity position reduces exposure to equity investments from £45m to £34m,” Liberum said.”

2. UK – FinTech


Zopa is to move into banking, according to City A.M.

“Zopa, one of the UK’s three largest names in peer-to-peer lending, is to launch its first foray into banking after receiving partial authorisation last year.

The debut comes as the peer-to-peer sector is facing scrutiny from regulators and falling demand from investors, placing pressure on the likes of Zopa and its rivals.

The firm said it is today launching fixed-term savings accounts, which will be closed in an early testing phase due to limits placed upon the lender by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Zopa’s restricted banking licence only allows it to accept up to £50,000 in customer deposits. A spokesperson was unable to comment on a timeline for full authorisation.”


 3. International – FinTech


Bitcoin News on the prospects for Ethereum, after the recent Bitcoin rally’s marked correction.

“All eyes may be on Bitcoin (BTC), but an analyst is suggesting that it may be time to pay Ethereum (ETH) some heed. The second-largest cryptocurrency has struggled alongside BTC as of late, falling by a similar amount to the market leader.

Like Bitcoin, ETH is stagnating, though technical indicators suggest impending volatility for the asset. And fortunately for bulls, the market’s bias seems to be leaning in the upward direction, not downward.”


4. International – FinTech


UK FinTech platform Rapyd expands into Singapore. Crowdfundinsider reports.

Rapyd, a global Fintech-as-a-service provider, announced last week the launch of its new Singapore platform to enable businesses to go cashless. Rapyd claims that the platform will bring greater convenience to local consumers and businesses, by enabling consumers and businesses to easily make payments electronically, convert cash to electronic payment methods, or receive funds instantly by enabling the following capabilities through a single technical integration.”


5. International – FinTech

Christian Faes of LendInvest praises Australia’s FinTech environment in AltFi.