Category Archives: Research

Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!

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University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018

The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner.

Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels.

King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the government’s attention or support.”

The timing of the survey coincides with forces that are both helping and hurting alternative finance in Canada. The good news is that the Government of Ontario recently committed to fund loans for small businesses through peer-to-peer lending platforms including Lending Loop. At the Federal level, the 2018 budget included a section titled “ Fostering Innovation and Competition” that committed to review the merits of open banking, support an innovative retail payments system, and review the financial sector legislation to adapt to innovations that benefit Canadians.

See:  Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research to Provide the Most Comprehensive Research on Fintech Available Today

The bad news, however, is that the alternative finance industry is facing headwinds as interest rates increase with household debt levels at historic highs. Platforms and other fintech start-ups continue to face uphill battle to win the support of provincial securities regulators and federal bodies, despite moves in foreign jurisdictions to support the fintech sector.

The Cambridge survey is the largest academic benchmarking study on alternative finance and the only effort to collect rigorous data from all regions of the world – the UK and Europe, Asia, North and South America, and the Caribbean. The data is self-reported by platforms with the results published in the fall and available free to the media and other audiences on the Cambridge website. It provides invaluable vetted market intelligence on the fintech industry, informing local and regional regulatory authorities and policy-makers.

Last year’s report, Hitting Stride, identified that the Canadian Alternative Finance landscape had grown significantly (by 62% against the previous year). While anecdotal evidence suggests the Canadian landscape continues to develop rapidly, the researchers need as many platform to participate as possible to ensure that our research is sufficiently representative.

 

While the data is collected via a secure, online website, participants can also make submissions directly to University of Cambridge using other formats if preferred. Anyone requiring assistance completing this survey or with additional questions are encouraged to contact Ziegler (t.ziegler@jbs.cam.ac.uk ) or King (mking@ivey.ca) by email.

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
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FCA Regulatory sandbox participants - Cohort 4
Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
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Progressa Closes $84 Million Funding Round Co-Led by Canaccord Genuity and Gravitas Securities, Supporting Record Growth
CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
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Square partners with eBay to expand lending for 'underserved' small businesses
CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
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CRA surveyed businesses to find out why they're taking bitcoin ATMs
NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
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FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Net with Amy Wan, CEO & Founder at Sagewise
University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
Read More
Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
Read More
Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
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Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
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Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 

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Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors

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Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018

Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000.

I’ve been proven wrong once again.

For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million.

With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies.

Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, these businesses don’t necessarily have much to do with each other (besides the obvious of moving money around).

So while the investment numbers are up in aggregate, each sub-sector has a very different story. And it’s worth diving in more deeply to understand what’s really going on.

Wealth/Investing: Race to the bank

Wealth tech companies get a steady 10% of fintech investment year after year. There’s a durable view that they show real opportunity for disruption. One of the more interesting trends right now is that all the wealth and investment companies that have achieved scale—like SoFi, Acorns, and Wealthfront (another disclosure: my team has backed Acorns)—are doing the same thing: They’re adding a checking account. You could paint with a broad brush and say they are all trying to become banks. Not necessarily licensed banks, but rather, leveraging third parties and new technologies to try to become a consumer’s primary financial partner.

See:  Lifehacks for When a Robot Wants Your Job

This is really fascinating to me and raises a key question for our industry, and our society: Will consumers bail on traditional banks? Will they go to their employer with a new direct deposit authorization form and say “send my money to Betterment, to Acorns, to SoFi”? This is truly a new phenomenon. If it works, there’s a whole new era of fintech coming, where the banks go from the “Empire Strikes Back” phase that they’re in right now—and they start to worry again. It doesn’t mean wealth tech is toast if it doesn’t work, but it’s striking that all these companies had the same ideas at the same time.

Venture investment: $1.2 billion in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Steady as she goes

Insurance: Fast growth leads to full stack

Insurance startups are really at a pivot right now. Companies like Oscar or ZhongAn have scaled from nothing to billions a year in funding, and in the process, they’ve decided to be full stack. Historically, insurance startups Insureon and Zenefits were simply brokers or managing general agents, but increasingly there’s a take that startups need to be(come) carriers. I certainly understand that instinct—if you don’t control the product, someone else controls the capital. So, I get it. But return on equity for carriers tends to be around 9%. It doesn’t make sense for a VC to invest in a carrier. Not at all.

Moving forward, the insurance tech players need to figure this out. It will be the difference between insurance getting really transformed or having a bunch of brokers with fancy apps. And that second future is not going to create a lot of equity value.

Venture investment: $1.4 billion in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Awkward teenage years

Real Estate: Disruption in full effect

Real estate and crypto are the two areas where we see the most growth. In real estate, five of the venture world’s 10 most recent unicorns—Compass, OpenDoor, WeWork, Airbnb and UCommune—are real estate companies, whether you think of them that way or not. OpenDoor, for instance, invented a true “prop” brokerage, where they don’t broker a sale for 6%, but instead buy the property, find another buyer and make money on the spread. Zillow now says they’re doing the same thing, and there have been a bunch of fast followers. This incredibly stodgy industry—which hasn’t changed in a hundred years—is getting re-made.

See:  Real estate crowdfunding in Canada: portal insights for 2017/18

Venture investment: $1.2 billion in 2017 (Source: PitchBook)
Startup energy: First-movers moving fast

Cryptocurrency/Blockchain: Time to get serious

What can we say about crypto? Last year at our Fintech CEO Summit, we talked about how people were going to go to jail for initial coin offerings (ICOs). No one has gone to jail yet, but it’s tricky. ICO volume is still frothy, with a peak of $4.1 billion raised in March but otherwise running at roughly $1.5 billion a month. Plus, the noise out of government is getting louder and clearer that this is not some sort of safe harbor.

Beyond ICOs, we think about the crypto space in three parts: the crypto investing ecosystem, enterprise blockchain, and distributed applications.

For the first, a key question is: Will crypto be an asset class? Provisionally, I believe the answer is “yes.” The investing ecosystem is now maturing nicely, and several pioneers like Basis and Compound (last disclosure: both are portfolio companies), are filling in key elements of market structure, assuming people want to trade crypto at scale more in the future.

Regarding enterprise blockchain, is it actually a standalone business? The market is thriving if you count press releases, but not if you look for revenue outside of proof-of-concept. We provisionally said “no” to this question in the early days, but we have great entrepreneurs working on it—and I’m sure they’ll prove us wrong.

See:  ‘This Is Not a Passing Fad’: CFA Exam Adds Crypto, Blockchain Topics

Finally, distributed applications are the big prize. It’s clearly early days, but this is where the talent is heading. Will the Airbnb, Uber, and Amazon Web Services of the future simply be open source protocols powered by tokens that change the way we store our files, book our houses, book our travel, and manage our transportation? I don’t know when, but I believe we’ll get there. Someday.

Venture investment: $716 million in 2017 (Source: CB Insights)
Startup energy: Wild, wild west (and east and north and south)

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
Read More
FCA Regulatory sandbox participants - Cohort 4
Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
Read More
Progressa Closes $84 Million Funding Round Co-Led by Canaccord Genuity and Gravitas Securities, Supporting Record Growth
CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
Read More
Square partners with eBay to expand lending for 'underserved' small businesses
CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
Read More
CRA surveyed businesses to find out why they're taking bitcoin ATMs
NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
Read More
FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Net with Amy Wan, CEO & Founder at Sagewise
University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
Read More
Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
Read More
Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
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Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
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Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 

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FCA publishes update on wide-ranging review of retail banking sector

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WiredGov UK | FCA | Jun 28, 2018

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) yesterday published an update on its Strategic Review of Retail Banking Business Models.

The Review is an in-depth and wide-ranging piece of work to give the FCA a greater understanding of retail banks’ business models, and how these may change in the future. This includes looking at how personal current accounts (PCAs) are paid for, the possible impact of technological and regulatory developments such as Open Banking and changes to payment services due to the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2). It sets out the progress made on the analysis of the issues and planned next steps.

See:  New matchmaking service for small businesses looking for finance

The review is also critical to the FCA’s work on overdrafts. The FCA has already expressed concerns that some potentially vulnerable people are paying significantly more for their current accounts through unarranged overdraft charges and fees. In May this year, the FCA proposed a set of potential changes on overdrafts for discussion as part of its high cost credit work and will consult on any changes later this year.

The review shows that most current account customers contribute to their bank’s profits, but a small proportion pay significantly more than others – around 10% of customers generate between a third and a half of all contributions to profits from current accounts. The data also show that many consumers go to their current bank rather than shopping around when looking for other financial products.

For example:

  • 52% of PCA customers with credit cards have one with their PCA provider;
  • 48% of PCA customers with personal loans have one with their PCA provider; and
  • 32% of PCA customers with mortgages have one with their PCA provider.

Andrew Bailey, FCA Chief Executive, said: “This is an important piece of work to help us understand the complexities of the retail banking market and how this may develop in the future.

“It provides more evidence that there is no such thing as free banking. In particular, this evidence will inform the work we are doing on overdrafts, so we can fully understand the potential effects of the significant action we are considering taking in this market.”

The FCA’s analysis shows some of the reasons why retail banking markets remain highly concentrated.  Major banks have a captive audience of customers who do not switch and can be cross-sold other products.  Together they have a large share of the PCA market, currently over 80%, giving them considerable competitive advantages.

Yesterday’s update also sets out a number of factors that could lead to significant changes in this overall picture of the market. In the next stage of the Review, we will look at a number of scenarios to assess when and how these changes may have an effect – including changing customer behaviour, regulatory initiatives, technological developments like Open Banking, and changes to banks’ business models such as branch closure programmes.

The FCA has collected information from 45 firms across the range of the market to inform the Review including major banks, small retail banks, building societies, specialist lenders and new digital banks.

See:  Europe’s banks brace for a huge overhaul that throws open the doors to their data

The FCA is asking for responses to this update, including evidence or views, by 7 September 2018. The next stage of the Review will look at a range of possible future scenarios, including what branch closure programmes mean for consumers and banks’ business models, and how technological and regulatory changes may affect the market.

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FCA Regulatory Sanbox | Aug 8, 2018 Find out about the 29 businesses that have been accepted into cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox to test innovative products, services, business models and delivery mechanisms. We received 69 applications for cohort 4 of the regulatory sandbox. Applications came from a diverse range of firms operating across the financial services sector including in areas such as consumer credit, automated advice and insurance. 29 firms have been accepted to develop towards testing, including 3 firms that were accepted as part of previous cohorts but did not proceed to test. Firms that have been accepted to develop towards testing are listed below, except for one firm that has asked not to be named at this point in time. See:  Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators We have accepted a number of firms that will be testing propositions relating to cryptoassets. We are keen to explore whether, in a controlled environment, consumer benefits can be delivered while effectively managing the associated risks. Tests will be conducted on a short-term and small-scale basis and the FCA is working with each firm to agree testing parameters and ...
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Progressa Release | Aug 14, 2018 TORONTO, Aug. 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progressa, a Vancouver and Toronto based financial technology company, announced today it has successfully closed an $84 million equity and loan funding round. The equity financing was co-led by Canaccord Genuity Corp. and Gravitas Securities Inc. and included Eight Capital and Paradigm Capital as part of the syndicate. The equity capital allows Progressa to unlock a new forward-flow whole loan purchasing program for up to $72 million, with Vancouver-based credit fund Cypress Hills Partners. The equity financing was largely supported by the Canadian investment banks who see the potential for Progressa to complete a go-public transaction (“IPO”) before the end of 2019. Ali Pourdad, Progressa’s co-founder and CEO, commented, “Progressa is proud to have developed first-to-market technology solutions for the Canadian non-prime credit consumer market. Today’s enterprise business partners are utilizing the Company’s Powered by Progressa solutions to improve their customer experience, while enhancing collections recoveries and mitigating significant risk, a true win for both enterprise and Canadian consumers. We are pleased with this broad level of support from Canadian investment banks who see that Progressa is making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.” See:  ...
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CNBC Markets | Kate Rooney  | Jul 24, 2018 Fintech company Square is boosting its small-business lending with an eBay partnership. Square Capital, the lending arm of the payment start-up, will be available to eBay sellers looking to expand their business operations. Starting in the third quarter, merchants on the site can apply for a loan as small as $500 and up to $100,000 to help with everything from payroll and inventory to equipment and marketing, the companies announced Tuesday. Square Capital’s focus since launching in 2014 has been on those businesses historically excluded from the larger financial system. The partnership will offer access to capital for those who have been “underserved when seeking funding” and give U.S. sellers a "seamless funding experience," said Jacqueline Reses, head of Square Capital. See:  What we can learn from Ontario’s $3 million loan to small business Lending Loop Surpasses $10M in Loans to Small Businesses Across Canada Small-business lending is an increasingly competitive area in fintech. PayPal, which was once a part of eBay, has a program called Working Capital and provides loans to merchants based on sales history. Amazon also does this for sellers, and began extending credit to small business owners ...
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CBC | Rob Antle  | Aug 6, 2018 Agency wants to make sure tax laws are being followed When Ottawa looks at cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, it sees problems. Bitcoin can be difficult to track, and there is the potential for "tax noncompliance" through unreported or under-reported income and capital gains. The Canada Revenue Agency "wants to understand how bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies operate in the traditional economic space to ensure that tax laws are being followed," CRA spokesperson Etienne Biram said in an emailed statement. "It is important to note that using digital currency does not exempt consumers from Canadian tax obligations." So CRA commissioned research on businesses that installed bitcoin automated tellers on their premises. A bitcoin ATM is not actually an ATM; it doesn't provide a connection to a customer's bank account. Rather, it's an internet-linked terminal that allows people to buy and sell bitcoins. See:  Learn about crypto payments - Fintech Fridays Podcast: ep1 with Samir Bandali of CoinPayments According to the study that followed — which surveyed 20 businesses — the taxman wanted to understand why a business would install a bitcoin ATM, along with "the perceived value it brings to businesses and their customers, and attitudes towards tax compliance in the ...
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NCFA Canada | Craig Asano | Aug 10, 2018 We're excited to announce a new NCFA Podcast series called 'FINTECH FRIDAY$' where we sit down with the incredible people in the Fintech community and talk about leading fintech products innovations developments and challenges! FINTECH FRIDAY$ (ep.4): Importance of Smart Contract Safety Nets Host: Manseeb Khan, NCFA, Fintech Fridays show host Guest: Amy Wan, Founder & CEO, Sagewise About this episode: On this episode, our host Manseeb Khan sits down with LA legal tech entrepreneur Amy Wan, the CEO/Founder of Sagewise, a smart contracts dispute resolution startup. They talk about why smart contact safety nets are important, the bridge between legal tech and fintech and how Amy closed out her seed round while being pregnant. Enjoy! Subscribe to the channel and tune in each Friday to check out the latest movers and shakers in fintech. Listen to more Fintech Fridays podcasts here Transcription of Interview Manseeb Khan: Hey Everybody Manseeb Khan and you are tuning in to NCFA newest show Fintech Fridays. Today we have an amazing guest. She's a rock star in the industry. Ladies and gentlemen. Amy Wan is with us today. She's the CEO of Sagewise Amy thanks so ...
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University of Cambridge and Ivey Business School | by Tania Ziegler and Michael King | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 Americas survey of alternative finance conducted the University of Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance is nearing its closing stages. This global survey of crowdfunding and lending via online platforms is the benchmark for the industry, providing the most comprehensive data on this fintech activity.  In Canada, Cambridge is being assisted by their research partners and the Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab at Ivey Business School.  NCFA is a supportive community partner. Leading platforms should have received an email with details on how to complete the survey from either Tania Ziegler at University of Cambridge or Professor Michael King at Ivey. It is vital that platforms participate in order to demonstrate the importance of this sector to Canadians and to policymakers at the federal and provincial levels. King says, “As we look ahead to the completion of the Federal Financal Sector Review early in 2019, this data will be vital for promoting open banking and other initiatives that support Canada’s fintech sector. When platforms opt out, they are effectively telling policymakers that alternative finance is not important and not worthy of the ...
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Cambridge Survey of Alternative Finance Needs Your Participation!
Fortune | Matt Harris | Aug 8, 2018 Matt Harris is a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. He is consistently ranked as one of the top investors in fintech, having participated in the space since 2000. I’ve been proven wrong once again. For eight years running, I’ve predicted that fintech investment is going to plateau. Based on the start of 2018, it hasn’t yet. In fact, we saw more than $5.4 billion invested in fintech during the first quarter of the year, with no signs of slowing momentum. For perspective, fintech investment for all of 2014 was just under $4 billion, so that’s “5x” growth in four years. In 2001, per data from Venture Scanner, it was something like $300 million. With that said, this whole “fintech” thing is kind of a charade. As I shared with attendees last month during our annual Fintech CEO Summit, co-hosted together with Nyca Partners, the CEOs in our portfolios don’t actually run “fintech businesses.” They run a payments business or a lending business, or they build investing technologies, or they sell to banks or insurance or real estate companies. Regardless of what VCs tell limited partners, or how media cover the industry, ...
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Fintech Frenzy: Hype or Reality? A Closer Look at 6 Key Sectors
Crowdfund Insider | JD Alois | Aug 7, 2018 The UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has initiated a new consultation that is going beyond the UK borders when it comes to Fintech innovation. Announced today, the FCA has created the Global Financial Innovation Network (GFIN). The multinational group includes regulatory agencies from the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australian, France and more. FCA Director of Competition, Christopher Woolard, said the creation of GFIN is an important step for the FCA to be able to better understand and harness the benefits of innovation in financial services for consumers, while managing the potential harm. “The establishment of the GFIN can help share the experiences and knowledge from across different markets, while also providing a platform for innovative firms wishing to scale their propositions via testing in multiple countries.” The members as announced include: Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM), Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (BCFP, USA) Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, UK) Guernsey Financial Services Commission (GFSC) Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) Ontario Securities Commission (OSC, Canada) Consultative Group to ...
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Fintech: UK Financial Conduct Authority Initiates Consultation on Global Financial Innovation, Partners with 12 International Regulators
Globe and Mail | Aug 8, 2018 The 2018 selloff in cryptocurrencies plumbed new depths on Wednesday after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dented enthusiasts’ hopes for an VanEck exchange-traded fund backed by Bitcoin. A broad selloff in coins of all sizes reduced the market value of virtual currencies tracked by Coinmarketcap.com to about $230 billion, the lowest level since November. Digital assets have now lost about $600 billion since crypto-mania peaked in January, equivalent to erasing the entire market value of Visa Inc. twice over. (Shares of the payments processor are trading near a record high.) The SEC postponed its decision on whether to approve the Bitcoin ETF, dealing a blow to bulls who had bet a green light from the regulator would help sustain last month’s tenuous rally. Optimists are counting on the wider adoption of cryptocurrencies to keep prices supported, but regulators and many institutional investors have remained wary amid concerns over security and market manipulation. See:  OSC approves Canada’s first blockchain ETF Bitcoin was down 5.6 pe rcent to $6,484 as of 8:19 a.m. in New York, recovering from a 7 percent drop earlier while extending its 2018 decline to 55 percent, according to Bloomberg ...
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Crypto prices sharply down after SEC postpones Bitcoin ETF decision
Digital Journal PR | Aug 7, 2018 ATLANTA--(Business Wire)--Steady, the income-building platform for the Build-Your-Own (BYO) workforce is already serving 100,000 Americans since it launched last week. The company, which today delivers personalized income-building opportunities, an income tracker, and exclusive relevant discounts, has raised $9 million in Series A financing round led by Propel Venture Partners, with significant participation from Omidyar Network, the impact investing firm established by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. The funds raised in this round will be used to rapidly scale and extend product features. Other investors include 25Madison, Clocktower Ventures, and Commerce Ventures. Shaquille O’Neal has joined the team as an Advisor and Advocate for the BYO workforce. “The traditional 9-5 career path doesn’t work for everyone, and we’re seeing more and more people set out to make their own way. Steady sees and serves this group, giving them the tools to discover new job opportunities, and the resources to earn more money and take control,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Helping hardworking folks do and get more is an important mission and I’m excited to be part of it.” Work is changing. Full-time jobs are giving way to more flexible arrangements—shift work, part-time contracts, gigs, ...
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Shaquille O’Neal Joins Steady; Company Raises $9 Million in Series A Round of Funding from Leading Fintech Investors

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, STO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance Launches Global Research to Provide the Most Comprehensive Research on Fintech Available Today

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Crowdfund Insider | | Jun 5, 2018

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), at the Judge School of Business at Cambridge University, has launched their annual research initiative pertaining to the global alternative finance industry. While in years past CCAF has staggered the research, this year they are commencing all at once, targeting the various regions around the world simultaneously including: the United Kingdom, Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa.

The CCAF reports have emerged as the leading source for accurate data on innovations in finance such as crowdfunding, peer to peer lending (online lending), blockchain development and cryptocurrency. Regulators and policymakers from around the world have benefitted from the unparreleled insight into Fintech provided by the CCAF benchmarking reports.

Rotem Shneor, Associate Professor School of Business and Law University of Agder, Norway,  who is co-leading the EU portion of the study, commented on this year’s research project;

“It is a pleasure and honor to once again join the excellent research team working on this important report. Previous reports have been the most comprehensive and reliable source for industry facts and figures. The European report provides quality well-researched information for anyone seeking to understand market dynamics, developments, challenges and opportunities in the alternative finance industry. As such, it is widely used by industry players for strategic decision making, by government officials for policy formulations, by educators in crowdfunding teaching and training, as well as by researchers who are inspired by the identified facts and gaps driving further research in a new emerging field.”

Michael King, an Associate Professor at Ivey Business School in Canada, is helping CCAF compile data in his country. He says that collecting accurate data on the state of alternative finance in Canada is crucial for establishing the credibility of this funding source with regulators, politicians, investors, and borrowers.

“Without reliable data showing its importance, marketplaces and online platforms cannot hope to be viewed as legitimate partners. The 2018 survey is well-timed to contribute to the review of Canada’s Financial Sector Framework, which will wrap up in 2019, particularly the debate over open banking”.

Diego Herrera, Financial Markets Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank, described the CCAF research as vital;

“This research is very important for Latin America and the Caribbean for mainly two reasons: First, as of 2015 the region knew that the Fintech ecosystem, in particular Alternative Finance, was growing up, but nobody knew to what extent or its size. The first version of the study delivered clear data on the segments for the alternative finance ecosystem on volume, type of clients, size per country, among other relevant numbers. The following study and its depp dive in Mexico and Chile delivered trends on data and also details such as price, reasons to use platforms against the traditional financial sector, among others. Second, as a continued effort, this study is the only source in the region to determine what researchers and the industry would like to know on the AF industry, creating a large value added for everyone. It is not just an accounting on the number of platforms but rather a collection of useful data on what the vertical is offering for the region in terms of inclusion and supply of financial instruments.”

Dr. Naoyuki Yoshino, Dean at Asian Development Bank Institute, said that expanding access to finance is an important development objective in many Asia-Pacific countries;

“Fintech holds great promise to accelerate and facilitate the achievement of such access. This survey will provide an important database from which to develop policy recommendations to promote financial inclusion while safeguarding financial stability and maintaining consumer protection.”

Professor Shenglin Ben, Dean of Academy of Internet Finance at Zhejiang University added that alternative finance has experienced vigorous growth in recent years around the globe. Various business models are flourishing in different regions and markets. In particular, marketplace lending and crowdfunding are key parts of alternative finance that have gone through rapid and dynamic development creating highly diversified business models – especially in the Asia Pacific region.

See:  Fintech As a Pathway to Financial Inclusion? The Case of China

“I am very glad that the Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF), the Academy of Internet finance, Zhejiang University (AIF) and the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI) are working jointly to conduct the 2018 Asia Pacific alternative finance survey, aiming to provide useful insights for both policy makers and practitioners in the area of alternative finance. We are very grateful to your kind support and participation.”

CI had a chance to speak with Bryan Zhang, Executive Director of CCAF, and Tania Ziegler, Senior Research Manager at CCAF, on the forthcoming research project. I asked them why they decided to complete their annual research in one fell swoop this year.

Zhang and Ziegler explained that in previous years they would launch 5 or 6 different surveys that were region blocked. But with so many platforms operating in multiple jurisdictions and operating more than one model, they realized that they weren’t capturing what was really happening globally. The emergence of cross regional activity is a critical finding they haven’t quite teased out in our previous reports, changing the survey format should help rectify this.

So other than the timing of the research, what has changed in the Fintech world?

“For five years, we have recorded impressive growth and documented how alternative finance models have developed and become more sophisticated,” shared Zhang. “In that time, we have seen alternative finance become a global phenomenon [they are now tracking platform activity in over 170 countries], with greater interconnectivity at a cross regional level. As platforms (and the models they operate in) become more sophisticated, they are increasingly becoming borderless as well.”

Having now tracked alternative finance for five years, and from this relatively short perspective, the Centre has noted an emerging industry that has progressed quickly. Where once there were only handful of early adopters and innovators in a given country, they now see an “altfin” landscape that is growing rapidly, with an exponential number of new platforms driving competition and introducing new products.

In many regions (the EU, UK, USA) the Centre is also seeing their first cases of consolidation, but with continued diversification of products and services to customers.

More:  Federal budget keeps Canada’s fintech sector in the ‘valley of death’

In recent years, they have documented a concerted effort to streamline and innovate investment processes, and to introduce new technologies (blockchain, gamification, etc) for the products on offer.

Yet, despite displaying continuous growth, the altfin landscape has not reached its potential.

“Key challenges persist relating to market education (both for incumbent finance providers and the consumers who might use an altfin platform) and integration of Fintech-friendly regulation into long-established regulatory systems (the caveat here is that this varies significantly across countries),” stated Ziegler. In recent years, we have seen a much greater emphasis on regulatory innovation (in certain countries), with an emphasis on activity-appropriate approaches towards alternative finance models. This has gone hand-in-hand with policy directives for increased SME access to finance, financial inclusion, etc. Five years ago, there was a heavy-dose of skepticism when discussing alternative finance. From what we have observed, the tides have changed, with greater willingness to enable policies or regulatory frameworks that include fintech operators.”

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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12 Graphs That Show Just How Early The Cryptocurrency Market Is

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Medium | Chris McCann at Graylock Partners | May 6, 2018

From the time the first website was published in 1991 until today, the internet has profoundly reshaped humanity.

Comparisons between cryptocurrencies and the growth of the internet are invariably drawn (including cryptocurrencies’ netscape moment); however, I wanted to test this comparison and see exactly how far along we are.

In this post, I’ll also be exploring the growth of the cryptocurrency market & the early growth of the internet, to see what takeaways we can uncover.

What makes this comparison tough

It’s impossible to know exactly how many people use cryptocurrency and how often because:

  • For people who self custodial their cryptocurrencies — people can have multiple wallets for different cryptocurrencies.
  • For people who store their cryptocurrencies on exchanges — 1 wallet address does not equate to 1 user on the exchange. It’s also typical for exchanges to create a wallet address for each transaction.

Thus, the only way to get an understanding of the number of users for cryptocurrencies is through approximations.

Measuring cryptocurrency user growth

I tried to approximate cryptocurrency user growth in a few ways:

  • Bitcoin & Ethereum wallet growth
  • Bitcoin & Ethereum active addresses growth (proxy for DAU)
  • User growth of crypto-fiat and crypto-crypto exchanges
  • Total cryptocurrency trading volume over time

See: 

Takeaways:

  • Even though we’ve seen a huge increase for number of users of cryptocurrencies, tokens, and DApps — we are still in year 1994 if we compare the trajectory to the growth of the internet.
  • However, depending on your long-term view of the core-use cases of blockchains & cryptocurrencies, the analogy is either an apt analogy or a pointless endeavor:
  • If you view the core use-cases of cryptocurrencies as a new asset class then I wouldn’t necessarily expect cryptocurrencies to follow the same trajectory as the internet — both in terms of user growth & growth of assets (equivalent to websites on the internet).
  • If you view the core use-cases of cryptocurrencies as an application platform for decentralized applications (DApps) — or better known as the decentralized internet — then the growth of users & DApps would be comparable to the growth of internet users & website growth.

My biggest criticism towards the DApp future is we haven’t seen DApp usage keep pace with the number of DApps being created. The current core use cases of cryptocurrencies are speculation, store of value, assets, payments, etc.

Looking at the data we can see the use case of cryptocurrencies as an asset class has considerably more proof points and measurable user adoption. However, the future of decentralized applications, while interesting to track, is still too early to measure.

Continue to the full article --> here

 


The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to thousands of members and subscribers and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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The forces of change are trumping banks and regulators

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The Globe and Mail | and | May 15, 2018

Patricia Meredith and James L. Darroch are the authors of Stumbling Giants: Transforming Canada’s Banks for the Information Age, the winner of the 2017/18 Donner Prize.

Most businesses fail to respond to the challenge of disruptive technology. But disruptive technologies, including mobile devices, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, blockchain and social networking, are transforming financial services.

So it is perhaps not surprising that, far from embracing creative destruction, the protected oligopoly of Canadian banks and their counterparts in many other parts of the world have chosen to lobby in favour of the status quo. The response of global financial regulators, in the form of Basel II and III, has reinforced the old business model, making it more difficult for banks to adapt. Unfortunately, as we describe in our book, Stumbling Giants: Transforming Canada’s Banks for the Information Age, the forces of change are far more powerful than the bankers and regulators are.

As Bill Gates said more than 20 years ago: “We will always need banking, we won’t always need banks.”

The functions of banking – lending, investing and paying – are necessary in the information age. But how these functions are performed looks very different. Financial-technology companies (fintechs) – such as Amazon, PayPal, Alibaba, Apple, Google and myriad small players including robo-advisers, lenders and payments providers – are using technology to create new and better financial services for both consumers and businesses. They operate in all parts of financial management, whether that is tracking overall spending, applying for a loan or optimizing investment strategies. These technology companies compete directly with traditional banks and, in many respects, have taken them by surprise.

Ant Financial Services (part of the Alibaba Group) uses information from its payment-processing platform to develop cash flow forecasts and assess the riskiness of micro, small and medium-sized businesses. It tracks performance in real time and increases credit lines if the business is increasing faster than expected and accelerates collections if it is not. Ant’s loan losses are significantly lower than those of traditional banks. It’s “Just Spend” securitized consumer loan product helps consumers take that vacation they have been dreaming about. Amazon One Click let’s me buy that item I have been eyeing up online without having to perform a payment transaction. PayPal for Business offers web payments, online invoicing and other services to help me run my online business better.

To support the growth of fintech companies in Canada, the federal government must encourage innovation and increase competition. As Payments Canada rolls out our new real-time payments system, the government should accept the Competition Bureau’s recommendation and enact legislation to open access to qualified non-bank participants. It must implement legislation similar to laws already in place in Britain, the European Union and Australia, making it clear who owns the data stored in warehouses (the customer) and who has access to it (all competitors with the owners’ permission). This would make information – the raw materials for modern financial services – available to all competitors.

Check out:  NCFA: Canada Needs a Harmonized Securities Environment as Current Provincial Approach is a Fintech Innovation Killer

To support the growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) the government should consider giving the Business Development Bank of Canada the mandate to develop securitized lending. Using artificial intelligence and sophisticated risk-pricing algorithms to adjudicate loans based on real-time transaction data and future cash flow forecasting has proven much more reliable than traditional bank lending, based on historical returns and secured assets.

Innovation in financial services is urgent. Canada is falling further and further behind. Countries such as China, India and the United States are moving rapidly to establish e-commerce platforms with integrated financial technology companies. Fintechs are key drivers of the financial ecosystem of the future. Instead of wasting time revising the Bank Act to preserve the status quo, our policy makers should focus on legislation to ensure access to infrastructure and data for innovative new entrants and access to financing for the SMEs that represent Canada’s entry into the 21st century information economy.

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with cryptocurrency, blockchain, crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders globally. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, services, and networking opportunities to over 1700+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry.  Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE!  Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

 

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An investor’s guide to robo-advisors 2018

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MoneySense | David Aston | Apr 29, 2018

Find out which robo-advisor is right for you —and how to pair your robo with a real human

When robo-advisors first burst on the scene a few years ago, they threatened to replace human advisors in situations where not much human help was needed. If you wanted more extensive human advice, you still had to pay up to go with a conventional advisor.

Now there’s a formidable new trend emerging.  Increasingly, robo-advisors are teaming up with human advisors in new and creative ways to provide “hybrid” combinations that achieve the best of both worlds.  You get easy digital access and efficiency combined with whatever level of human expertise you need.  You can expect to pay less in fees compared to amounts charged by conventional advisors. But often you also get more value from the advice because it can be concentrated where you need it most.

“Hybrid is where the future is going and everyone is converging into it,” says Kendra Thompson, global lead for wealth management at consultancy firm Accenture.  Of course, the trend is still in its early stages and you will only see hints of it in today’s robo-advisor offerings. (See the accompanying comparison tool below Which Robo-Advisor is Right for You Now for a guide to current offerings from seven leading robo-advisors.)

See:  Introducing the Convergence Ecosystem

It’s easy to get the misleading impression that robo-advisors are antagonistic rivals to human advisors.  Fueling that impression are hard-hitting ads by robo-advisor Questrade Portfolio IQ, where everyday Canadian investors grill their sleazy-looking conventional advisors about why their fees are so high and their returns are so low.  But it’s clear that algorithms won’t replace quality human advice in more complex or nuanced situations, at least any time soon.

If you need a comprehensive financial plan or want help coping with a market meltdown,  you’re likely to want to turn to a trusted human advisor with high levels of financial expertise but also human qualities like communication skills and empathy.

Key to the hybrid partnership is freeing up good advisors to provide value-added advice while using technology to: provide transparent online account access across multiple devices, streamline administration, and take care of routine transactions like rebalancing.  Most robo-advisors recognize their own limitations and see good human advisors as potential partners. “We think advisors who are delivering value will continue to thrive,” says Wealthsimple CEO Michael Katchen.

Humanizing the robos

The hybrid trend has several aspects.  Firstly, some robo-advisors themselves are adding more human services like basic financial planning and dedicated human advisors. But the larger, long-term trend is robo-advisors and other fintech companies teaming up with outside financial planners and conventional advisory firms in just about every segment of the investment advice business.

Of course, the trend is still in its early days and much of the activity is behind the scenes. Nonetheless, Thompson points to a flurry of deals and huge sums of money that the major financial institutions are pouring into this area to show that the trend is unmistakable.

“The type of transformation that is going on is unprecedented,” says Thompson.

“The dialogue of robos vs. humans or old vs. new really misses the richness of what’s going on, which is an entire industry re-inventing itself to be more modern, more in line with what investors want to pay for, and to be more in line with the consumer experiences of today.”

In one of the simpler forms of hybrid collaborations, independent financial planners are referring investments to a robo-advisor while providing over-all financial planning services.  Typically the financial planner has online digital “dashboard” access to the account and incorporates portfolio information into their financial plans.

Also:  This man has made more money trading cryptokitties than investing in his IRA

While the robo-advisor retains full responsibility for managing the investments and matching the client to the appropriate portfolio, the financial planner might fill the role of trusted human advisor who can prepare an in-depth financial plan but also counsel clients about all aspects of their finances.  That might include, for example, talking clients through their jitters during a market correction.   The robo-advisor typically discounts their rates compared to what they charge regular clients because of reduced need for the robo-advisor’s services.

With client permission, the robo-advisor may draw the planner’s fees from the robo-advisor investment account and remit them to the planner.  Already hundreds of financial planners are working with robo-advisors in this way or something similar.  (We’ll describe an example in a minute.)

But there is much more to the hybrid trend than that.  At a more complex but profound level, robo-advisors and other fintech companies are providing much of the technology to help major financial institutions transform their conventional advice businesses.  These partnerships range from situations where robo-advisors provide their complete investment platform, process, portfolio design, and brand to other “white label” situations where the robo-advisor only provides the underlying technology and platform and the conventional financial institution partner does the rest.   Because these transformations are so large and complex, they will take time and often start small with pilot programs in niche areas of the business, but no one doubts their potential.

“Our vision is to become the platform of choice,” says Randy Cass, CEO of Nest Wealth, a robo-advisor in which National Bank Financial has a major investment.  Nest Wealth is partnering with National Bank Financial to introduce hybrid capabilities at the bank and has also cut hybrid-type deals with three other conventional advisory firms.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Montreal’s BMO SmartFolio robo-advisor offering is available alongside full-service brokerage accounts in its BMO Nesbitt Burns division.  In the right client situation, BMO SmartFolio allows brokers to spend less time on administration and reviewing client accounts, and more time on value-added activities like financial planning and estate planning, says Silvio Stroescu, head of digital investing at BMO Financial Group.

And while Wealthsimple hasn’t publicly specified how it might help transform Power Financial Corp.’s diversified financial services empire, the fact that Power Financial has acquired a controlling stake in Wealthsimple at least indicates interest if not intent.  Other robo-advisors such as Invisor, Justwealth and WealthBar have also announced hybrid deals of varying size and significance.

Not just for millennials

Meanwhile the robo-advisor’s traditional direct-to-consumer offering continues to evolve.  Many of the features that were novel a few years ago are more commonplace today.  That includes:

  • digital access and communication through multiple devices;

  • construction of largely passive portfolios using low-cost ETFs;

  • online questionnaires that match new clients to the most appropriate portfolios for their circumstances;

  • paperless account initiation or “onboarding” process;

  • automated rebalancing of portfolios; and

  • availability (in most cases) of highly qualified portfolio managers working to a fiduciary standard to step in and provide limited human advice when needed.

Robo-advisors were originally thought to appeal particularly to millennials because of the demographic’s early embrace of digital technology, but the focus has shifted more towards older investors with larger balances.  While some robo-advisors have gone after an older clientel from the get-go, others have more recently added features that are likely to have particular appeal to this group, like basic financial planning, tax-loss selling and portfolio managers dedicated to specific clients.

Check out:

Wealthsimple

Wealthsimple is the industry market share leader and millennial robo-advisor of choice with its cool marketing vibe, youthful executives, and socially responsible investing (SRI) options.  But it introduced Wealthsimple Black for clients with balances over $100,000, providing lower fees, tax-loss harvesting and basic financial planning.  CEO Katchen says that Wealthsimple Black is the fastest growing segment of its business and that the firm has seen its average over-all client age shift to 34 from 29 a few years ago.  The company has more than 80 per cent of Canadian robo-advisor users as clients, according to Strategic Insights data cited by the company.  It has also expanded to the U.S. and Britain. Wealthsimple announced in March that it had reached $2 billion in client assets and 65,000 clients, with the “majority” in Canada.  It is the only Canadian robo-advisor to release client figures.

WealthBar

WealthBar has always designed portfolios to generate cash flow and reduce volatily, features of particular appeal to older investors.  But it has added services like dedicated advisors and basic financial planning reviews by certified financial planners. Its average client age now is about 48, says WealthBar CEO Tea Nicola.  In addition to ETF-based portfolios, WealthBar also offers pooled funds in specialized asset classes like real estate, a product usually only available to large account clients at conventional advisors.  “We democratize a high net wealth way of investing,” says Nicola.

Justwealth

Justwealth strives to appeal to older investors with larger balances by taking a relatively sophisticated approach to managing portfolios.  Instead of providing six to 10 set portfolio options, which is typical, it provides 65.  That allows it, for example, to offer distinct non-registered portfolios which use tax-advantaged ETFs and emphasize asset classes with relatively favorable tax treatment.  Furthermore, it provides personalized (rather than robotic) tax loss harvesting.  Justwealth also offers RESP target date portfolios that become more conservative as the beneficiary gets closer to needing the funds in university.  Justwealth’s average client age is the mid-40s, says President Andrew Kirkland.

 

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The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association of Canada (NCFA Canada) is a cross-Canada non-profit actively engaged with both social and investment crowdfunding, alternative finance, fintech, P2P, ICO, and online investing stakeholders across the country. NCFA Canada provides education, research, industry stewardship, and networking opportunities to over 1600+ members and works closely with industry, government, academia, community and eco-system partners and affiliates to create a strong and vibrant crowdfunding and fintech industry in Canada.  For more information, please visit:  www.ncfacanada.org

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