Friend of the Financial Services Club and journalist with Financial News Anna Irrera has recently started producing a weekly roundup of FinTech news. She’s kindly agreed to let me republish this summary here on The Finanser, so here goes:
Once upon a time it was all blockchain!blockchain!blockchain!…Now it’s all brexit!brexit!brexit!
Fintech lobby wants Brexit roadmap for innovators (Financial News)
The organisation set up to promote the UK as a global centre for fintech says it wants to send a “direct message to Westminster” about how the sector can maintain its position post-Brexit. Over the past week, Innovate Finance has been polling its 250 members – which include fintech startups, large financial institutions and investors – on their key concerns regarding the UK’s decision to leave the European Union, according to Lawrence Wintermeyer, the group’s chief executive.
Five reasons London fintech is losing sleep over Brexit (Financial News)
A talent drain, shaky investor confidence and regulatory uncertainty top a post-Brexit worry list for fintech firms in London – Europe’s hub for financial innovators. While entrepreneurs and investors say it is far too early to tell how the UK’s exit from the European Union will impact London’s fintech sector in the long-run, they point to five immediate concerns. These are…
London is the fintech capital of Europe—and, many would argue, the world. But in the aftermath of the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, many are wondering whether it’s about to lose that title. If the world’s largest banks pack up and relocate to the likes of Frankfurt, Paris or Dublin, the fintech startups that rely on their business would likely follow.
Blockchain brains come together in Brexit war room (Financial News)
A group of innovators developing blockchain technology for the financial markets plans to write to the UK government, outlining its concerns about the impact the UK’s decision to leave the European Union could have on the industry.
The Brexit silver lining…
Wall Street is tallying up the winners and losers after the severe market reaction to last week’s Brexit vote. One theme has emerged early—the computers got it right and the humans got it wrong. Part of the reason: Too many investors bet on the outcome they preferred, economists and analysts say, a powerful example of “projection bias” in the markets.
US banks are stepping up their fintech game…
What he needed was a SWAT team. The week after being put in charge of Citigroup’s consumer banking business last year, Stephen Bird went to Silicon Valley to meet with venture capitalist Marc Andreessen and other tech luminaries in hopes of gaining insight on how to counter the challenge from “fintech”—the rapidly proliferating class of technology startups bent on disrupting every facet of the traditional financial services business. Together they represent perhaps the No. 1 threat facing large banks today.
JPMorgan is taking a new approach to working with tech startups. The firm is expected to launch a residency program for financial technology, or fintech, companies on Thursday in an effort to tackle strategic and security-related challenges.
One more blockchain white paper and another bank blockchain test…
UBS has become very interested in the blockchain and its potential. In March 2015 we launched the Crypto 2.0 Pathfinder Program and for the past eighteen months we have been studying blockchain intensely and, in collaboration with others in the banking and fintech industries, have begun experimenting with its possibilities. Over that time we have learned a lot: enough to feel confident that the blockchain could indeed catalyze significant transformation for our industry. (And in radio version on Monocle.)
Credit Mutuel Arkea has completed a pilot of an operational permissioned blockchain network to verify customer bona fides in compliance with Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements.
Tech and finance speak is actually alienating the most important people. Challenger banks, peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding are all the rage, but most 18-35 year olds don’t have a clue.
Some investment news…
Global investment firm Partech Ventures has completed the final closing of its first growth fund, dubbed Partech Growth, with a total of €400 million. That’s double the first close – Partech initially secured funds totalling €200 million back in January 2015.
TransferGo closes $3.4m Series A funding round (Tech City News)
International money transfer service TransferGo has raised $3.4m in Series A funding from Vostok Emerging Finance (VEF).The company, which is looking to expand internationally, says it will use the money to further product development.
More gloominess from the P2P world…
LendingClub to Cut 12% of Its Workforce, as Loan Volumes Fall (The Wall Street Journal)
Online lender LendingClub Corp. unveiled new responses to a slump in its business Tuesday, restricting investors from exiting from one of its funds and announcing job cuts totaling 12% of its workforce. Online lender LendingClub Corp. unveiled new responses to a slump in its business Tuesday, restricting investors from exiting from one of its funds and announcing job cuts totaling 12% of its workforce.
Ratesetter’s provision fund “is going to be pushed to the limit” (FT Alphaville)
On the face of it, 2014 was a great year for Ratesetter, a UK “peer-to-peer” lender backed by Neil Woodford’s investment fund and Artemis, the fund manager. Lending volumes grew by an impressive 180 per cent to almost £300m and the company was the first lender of its kind to receive a risk rating from a research agency — they were rated as risk-free as cash. But defaults on loans originated that year are worse than expected and could wipe out the company’s loss provisions for 2014.
On a more cheerful note…
Venture capitalists continue to back the alternative lending startup community despite recent fallout from Lending Club and revelations the company’s then-CEO Renaud Laplanche allegedly falsified loan documents.
The game of musical chairs continues at Starling…
App-only bank Starling loses another chief technology officer (FT Alphaville)
Starling, which was founded in 2014, has lost another CTO, Mark Hipperson, who was head of technology at Barclays corporate bank in the 90s. Hipperson left the startup last month, according to his LinkedIn, which also suggests the company has finally secured its banking license.
The Pains of Starting a Fintech Bank (American Banker)
Don Allen Price, a longtime industry executive, left Comerica in November with a plan to start the first nationally chartered, digital-only bank, similar to the challenger banks of the U.K. But discouraging signals from regulators and a lukewarm reception from prospective investors have made the process slow going. His struggles highlight a larger issue in an industry famously resistant to change.
There’s a chatbot for that!
This bot is called MyKai, and it’s the brainchild of Kasisto, a startup that spun out of the Silicon Valley research lab that helped create Siri, the talking digital assistant that comes with the Apple iPhone. Dovetailing with popular messaging apps like Facebook Messenger and Slack, MyKai is meant to provide a simpler way of watching your money—or even moving it.
Stay away from my basket!” A video of pandas’ daily life in a breeding base in Sichuan has amused thousands of netizens. Check out the video to find out who the “trouble makers” are when the staff cleaned the pandas’ house.