News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

collaboration in practice as teachers and pupils unload school furniture from a boat

1.UK – FinTech

In a world where Royals are leaving their families to spend more time with their jobs, here’s a man who’s leaving his job to spend more time with his alpacas… AltFi reports.

Monzo co-founder and deputy CEO Paul Rippon is standing down from a formal role with the digital bank, just shy five years since its launch.

Rippon, who is 48 and a financial services veteran, says he will be focusing mainly on a new venture set up by his wife focusing on alpaca farming in Northumberland.

In a post on LinkedIn, Rippon said: "Why did I leave? Simple, to go and enjoy life. At 48 years young I’ve been working in financial services for 27 years and working away from home for the last 8 years. Building a fast-growing bank takes its toll and even reducing my ‘work hours’ didn’t reduce the cognitive and emotional overhead."


2. UK – FinTech


Bond Review has a sniff of what it thinks is going on at GPG, sourced from one of several disgruntled creditors.


“Unregulated German property scheme Dolphin Trust (now known as German Property Group; for clarity we will continue to use its less unnecessarily generic name) continues to struggle with repayments, according to media reports.

Wealth Options Trustees, an “investment wholesaler” based in Kildare, Ireland, has threatened to foreclose (presumably on behalf of Irish pension investors) in the event of non-payment.

Dolphin Trust’s CEO Charles Smethurst has admitted to “short-term cash-flow difficulties” according to WOT.

Dolphin Trust’s short-term difficulties started in the latter half of 2018, according to unpaid investors who spoke to the BBC last year.”

 3. UK – FinTech

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will seek to reform the easy access cash savings market, making firms set a single easy access rate (SEAR) across all easy access accounts, reports AltFi. 

“Firms will have the flexibility to offer multiple introductory rates for up to 12 months, then they will need to choose one SEAR for their easy access cash savings accounts, and one for their easy access cash savings ISAs.

Christopher Woolard, Executive Director of Strategy & Competition at the FCA said: ‘Competition is not working well for many of the 40 million consumers with easy access savings accounts and we want that to change. Our proposals would mean firms have a single rate for customers immediately after their accounts have been open for 12 months. Firms will choose the rates they offer, and the rates they offer will have to be clearly published.

"This will prevent firms from gradually reducing interest rates over time and make them compete for all their customers. We are concerned that many longstanding customers are seeing a poor outcome and we want firms to focus more on these customers. The new rate will also make it easier for savers to know whether they are getting a good deal after any introductory offer has expired."

 4. UK – FinTech


Bond Review highlights problems at Blackmore.


“Troubled minibond provider Blackmore hit the news again over the Christmas period after missing a third consecutive interest payment and falling overdue with its annual accounts.

Rather than regurgitate the last two articles, we’ll examine the important issues in depth.

Q: Why has Blackmore stopped paying interest?

A: Blackmore has defaulted on three quarterly interest payments, starting in August. August’s was eventually paid a week late; Blackmore blamed a clerical error.”


But citizen journalism is often laced with important errors. This comment is instructive:


“Much of the comment on here is valuable. But how can you say: ‘All the information in our articles was correct as at the timestamp at the top of each article. Do let us know in the comments if anything is out of date’, and then in the comments here acknowledge a basic error (an important one too – an allegedly failed income payment by Blackmore) and then not be ‘bothered’ to correct it (your words). This is lazy and undermines the authority of the site.
FWIW, I wouldn’t touch Blackmore with the proverbial barge pole – but why let basic errors stand uncorrected, even if the product looks dodgy?
The other issue I have with this site is the anonymity of the editorial. Compare and contrast with the controversial Tom Winnifrith, whose Share Prophets site causes regular uproar and provides a valuable investor service. If I knew who was behind BR and if you behaved like Winnifrith (objectionable – but undoubtedly a real journalist and commentator) I might have given you some dosh when you held out the begging bowl recently. As it stands – a cloak of anonymity and allowing acknowledged errors to stand, you’re in a way bracketing yourselves with the furtive, low-grade crooks you write about.”



5. International – FinTech


The Central Bank of the Philippines (Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas) has approved the first digital bank looking to launch in the island nation, according to AltFi.

"Tonik Digital Bank, part of Singapore’s Tonik Financial, plans to launch in the coming months after being given the green light by the regulator.

“Digital-only banks globally have successfully demonstrated their ability to take massive market share by launching hyper-compelling consumer propositions, while also operating at disruptively low unit costs,” said Tonik CEO and Founder Greg Krasnov.

“We believe that the regulator’s confidence in us serves as the testament to the unique strength and track record of our team and the attractiveness of our product philosophy.”