News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

Joyful celebration of crowd at a sporting event.

1.UK – FinTech

Strong growth at Revolut, reports AltFi.

“Revolut's marketing chief has admitted the digital bank is not "untouchable", despite saying that around one million new Revolut accounts have been opened across Europe in the last three to four months.

Revolut Director of Marketing Chad West also said the bank had a waiting list of over 100,000 customers in the US as well as thousands in Australia singed up to the bank ahead of launching in the countries.

As of October this year, Revolut has around nine million customers, with a high percentage in the UK.

Alt-Fi contacted Revolut to substantiate its claim that around one million new accounts had been opened in the past three to four months across Europe, but Revolut did not get back to confirm.”

2. UK – AltFi

AltFi looks at the recent far-ranging executive reshuffle at Monzo.

“The former Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Monzo said it was a "natural evolution" that there had been be a number of senior personnel changes at Monzo and denied there had been an excessive number of recent executive switches.

Gary Dolman, the former CFO at Monzo, said: "The way I view this is if you go from when I started with nine people sat around the room looking at PowerPoint slides and it's now 1,200 people with 3.2m customers. It has gone from being a microdot through to a medium sized company which continues to grow.”

He said because of its growth there was a "natural evolution" of senior appointment changes at Monzo.


3. UK – AltFi

City A.M. reports on a long-awaited move from the top regulator.

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) today set out to ban the mass marketing of speculative mini-bonds to ordinary investors.

The watchdog said the unregulated bonds could cause harm to amateurs, following a spate of investor losses.

“We remain concerned at the scope for promotion of mini-bonds to retail investors who do not have the experience to assess and manage the risks involved,” FCA chief executive Andrew Bailey said.

“This risk is heightened by the arrival of the ISA season at the end of the tax year, since it is quite common for mini-bonds to have ISA status, or to claim such even though they do not have the status.”

Mini-bonds have come under scrutiny since the collapse of London Capital & Finance, which saw thousands of ordinary investors lose the money they had invested.

The watchdog warned today that there was “a real risk of consumer harm” and said the number of frauds and scams was rising.

Its ban on mini-bond marketing will restrict firms to promoting unlisted speculative mini-bonds only to “sophisticated” or high net-worth investors.

Companies must also include risk warnings on any marketing material and reveal any costs, such as third party payments, that would be deducted from money raised from investors.”

4. International – FinTech

VNX Exchange, a Luxembourg based Fintech, has launched, according to Crowdfundinsider.

“The token issuance and trading platform kicked things off with the issuance of its first asset-backed digital asset during the Global Venture Summit in Luxembourg. The launch ceremony was followed by a panel discussion on “Digital Assets” and the implication for the venture capital industry. VNX seeks to alter the way venture funds raise capital via the issuance of digital assets.

The first digital asset issued is a token backed by convertible bonds issued by Streami, a South Korea based blockchain firm. Streami is the owner of  GOPAX , a top South Korean crypto exchange and DASK (regulated national crypto depositary service). In 2015, Streami became the first Korean blockchain company to receive an investment from a Korean commercial bank, Shinhan Bank. Other major investors are Fenbushi Capital, BluePoint partners, Digital Currency Group, Strong Ventures and Ryukyung PSG Asset management.”

 5. International – FinTech

Another move by China to stamp out crypto trading. Crowdfundinsider reports.

“In mid-November, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and the Shanghai Municipal Financial Regulatory Bureau ordered securities regulators in Shanghai to identify and inspect cryptocurrency exchanges, token issuers, and distributors of foreign ICO’s in the city so they could be shut down.

Now, the Shenzhen Internet Finance Risk Special Renovation Leading Group Office has issued, “risk warnings on preventing virtual currency speculation and (has) notified the district rectification offices and Qianhai management,” to conduct similar inspections in Shenzhen, a Chinese megapolis and trade/industrial centre, SZTQB News reports.

According to the outlet, the “investigation and rectification of virtual currency trading places” in Shenzhen will also be aided by the People’s Bank of China Shenzhen Central Branch, the Municipal Public Security Bureau, the Economic Investigation Bureau, the Municipal Communications Administration and other units.”