News Briefing - Crowdfunding, SME And Alternative Finance

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1. UK – FinTech

 

AltFi asks when will FinTechs return to the office.   

"Fortunately for fintechs, the transition to working from home wasn’t quite as drastic as many larger corporations because a lot of them are cloud-based and much more agile when it comes to working.  

One key point that many fintechs raised early on in the pandemic was that they provide their staff with laptops when they join, which are much easier to transport than big old-fashioned desktops.  

Well, in order to get to the bottom of when, and how, fintechs might return to the offices AltFi spoke to several to get their opinions."  

 

2. UK – FinTech 

The ICAEW’s news website looks at P2P lending in the age of Covid-19: 

“Under the arguably late scrutiny of the regulator, hotshot entrepreneurial innovators are under pressure to mature quickly to prove the run of platform collapses were teething problems rather than systemic faults. These issues must now be weighed in the age of coronavirus, where company defaults are expected to spread widely across all sectors, in a true test of the robustness of P2P lending platforms and their compliance processes. 

More P2P lenders are expected to fail under the strain, but for those that survive the incoming recession is an opportunity comparable to the global financial crisis. 

Emerging collaborative, rather than rival, relationships with traditional banking offer potential ways of providing reinforcement during the stormy economic weather predicted. The winners will be those platforms that cement P2P lending within the mainstream of finance for investor-lenders and borrowers alike.” 

The full article is available at the Financial Services Faculty here. 

 

3. UK – FinTech 

Meanwhile, P2P Finance News finds reasons to be cheerful in the direct lending sector: 

 

“Diversification 

With the base rate at a record low of 0.1 per cent, returns from savings accounts and cash ISAs are not even beating inflation. 

At the end of June, the firm’s analysis showed the average easy-access savings account is now paying just 0.24 per cent per annum. 

Meanwhile, the stock market is experiencing high levels of volatility, which may be good for traders but does not fill everyday investors with confidence. 

In contrast, P2P investing offers regular, fixed returns and diversification across other types of assets. 

It’s quick, easy and transparent 

P2P lenders are fintechs that pride themselves on their excellent technology so it’s easy to sign up and invest through their websites, and for some, mobile apps. 

Stricter rules for the sector that came into effect last December mean that platforms need to be transparent with their customers about their loanbook data and wind-down plans, so new customers are able to access this information on their websites prior to investing. 

Tax wrappers 

P2P can be invested in via tax wrappers, such the popular Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) or a self-invested personal pension (SIPP) which is seeing increasing take-up among the P2P community. 

IFISAs allow investors to earn up to £20,000 per year, tax-free, via P2P loans. 

For SIPPs, investors can contribute the entirety of their annual earnings before tax up to a limit of £40,000 for the current tax year. 

Liquidity 

While all investments have suffered from liquidity issues during the pandemic, there are still P2P platforms with open secondary markets where investors can easily buy and sell loans, such as Ablrate and Rebuildingsociety. 

Supporting people, businesses and the environment 

Although retail money cannot be used to fund government emergency loan schemes, everyday investors can still support consumers, businesses and small housebuilders during the crisis by investing in P2P loans.” 

4. UK – FinTech 

 

Curve, the all-your-cards-in-one fintech, has today revealed that it has put in a bid for a £10m grant from the £100m Pool E British Competitions Remedies (BCR) fund, according to AltFi.  

“The £100m was given back to the BCR by Metro Bank and Nationwide, both of which gave back £50m each, after failing to reach their growth targets for SME lending.  

The fintech plans to use the cash to support the development of two new SME-focussed products, Curve Cast and Curve Credit-SME.  

Curve Cast will allow SMEs to share access to a company card, without having to share sensitive information, like the card number, and give them full control over spending limits and card activity.  

Curve Credit-SME will help SMEs retrospectively finance urgent spending through short-term loans instead of emergency credit, helping SMEs to better meet their short-term cash needs.” 

5. UK – AltFi 

FT Adviser looks at those investments that are tax-incentivised – and those that aren’t – and why. 

“In the middle years of the 1990s, the UK Government kicked off a quiet revolution in the way long-term investment is directed to smaller companies. 

In 1994, the Enterprise Investment Scheme was launched. The following year saw the advent of Venture Capital Trusts. June 1995 also saw the launch of the Alternative Investment Market (AIM). A quarter of a century on, these initiatives continue to play an important role in directing patient capital towards early-stage businesses. 

If you have a client with a tax planning need, you may well decide to recommend a tax-efficient investment that has exposure to unquoted or AIM-listed companies.  

Whether it’s income tax relief, inheritance tax relief, deferral of a capital gain or some other tax planning need, clients sometimes like to know why the Government allows them to claim these benefits.  

At a high level, these reliefs represent an incentive to put capital into an investment that carries an extra element of risk, and keep it there for a number of years. As such, tax reliefs represent a stimulus for economic growth. 

While this is an accurate explanation for why a client can claim a relief, it’s also rather abstract. One way to bring the concept to life is to give examples of companies that meet the qualifying criteria for the relevant investment.”