Archive: May 2016

1
FinTech: a key to delivering Islamic Finance solutions?
2
The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance: research results and new survey
3
Latest UK Government announcements on FinTech
4
SEC provides U.S. crowdfunding guidance to investors
5
Asia Region Funds Passport memorandum signed

FinTech: a key to delivering Islamic Finance solutions?

By Jessica Gaddes

Recent discussions at the Islamic Finance News Europe Forum, Luxembourg, focused on the potential for FinTech to become a new frontier for Islamic Finance. Digitalisation was said to be the key innovation that may be able to drive increasing adoption of Islamic Finance products.

Developments using FinTech in Malaysia have created a platform – using the foundations of crowd funding – to allow the top Malay Islamic banks to assess and rate projects and then use the platform to seek funding for those projects assessed to be suitable for financing.  This works within the Shariah principles of risk sharing.

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The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance: research results and new survey

By Jonathan Lawrence

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (“CCAF”) within the Cambridge University Judge Business School is an international interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study of alternative finance. The CCAF aims to have high impact on academic thought leadership, policy decision-making and business practice globally.

To carry out its research agenda, the CCAF aims to continue developing and hosting the largest and most comprehensive database on alternative finance in the world, for use and analysis by academic and policy researchers. The CCAF database comprises more than one million granular-level alternative finance transactional data totalling £1bn.

The CCAF has recently launched its 2nd Annual European Alternative Finance Industry Survey. The resulting study will build upon the previous European Alternative Finance Industry Report, Moving Mainstream. The University of Cambridge has also led a global benchmarking initiative, culminating in the publication of their third annual UK Alternative Finance Industry Report: Pushing Boundaries, and the publication of two additional new annual reports on the Asia-Pacific region and the Americas.

Focusing on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending and other forms of alternative finance, this new tracking Survey aims to gather aggregate-level industrial data only. The survey consists of 15 questions and should take no more than 15 minutes to complete. Findings from the tracking survey will provide headline industrial figures for the CCAF’s Annual European Alternative Finance Industry Report, which is due to be published in June 2016. To take part in the Survey, please click here.

Latest UK Government announcements on FinTech

By Jonathan Lawrence

On 11 April 2016, the UK Government Economic Secretary, Harriett Baldwin, spoke about FinTech at Innovate Finance’s Global Summit. She talked about the UK as the global capital for FinTech and how the UK FinTech sector generated £6.6 billion (US$9.5 billion) revenue in 2015 with a workforce of over 60,000 employees. She made several announcements about UK FinTech initiatives:

  1. The creation of an industry-led FinTech panel, working with key representatives of the FinTech community. The panel will oversee the overarching strategy for FinTech in the UK and ensure the delivery of key initiatives. A particular goal is the implementation of an open banking standard – to allow innovators to use bank data to provide a range of value-added services to consumers.
  2. The Tech Nation Visa Scheme was enhanced in October 2015 to include new qualifying criteria for digital experts. This will allow for a wider range of FinTech specialists to obtain a visa to work in the UK.
  3. The building of an information hub that makes it easier for FinTechs to navigate through the range of service providers including in relation to legal and accountancy services.
  4. The UK Treasury will work with UK Trade and Investment (“UKTI”) to establish “FinTech bridges” with priority export markets. UKTI is a Government department working with businesses based in the UK to assist their success in international markets, and with overseas investors looking to the UK as an investment destination. These “bridges” will help UK FinTech firms expand internationally, as well as attracting international FinTech companies and investors to the UK.

For the text of the full speech, please click here.

SEC provides U.S. crowdfunding guidance to investors

By  C. Todd Gibson, Michael McGrath, Ken Juster

The SEC recently issued guidance to potential investors in crowdfunding offerings in the form of a Q&A posted on the SEC website, which can be found here.  This guidance, which is intended to educate investors regarding the rules governing crowdfunding in the U.S., was issued in anticipation of the pending effectiveness of new Regulation Crowdfunding on May 16, 2016.  K&L Gates has prepared a detailed summary of Regulation Crowdfunding and the exemption from broker-dealer registration available to intermediaries known as “funding portals,” which can be found here.

Intermediaries were first able to submit forms to register as a funding portal with the SEC and FINRA beginning on January 29, 2016.  A list of approved funding portals is expected to be available on FINRA’s public website in the near future.

Asia Region Funds Passport memorandum signed

By Jim Bulling and Michelle Chasser

After 6 years of international negotiation, Australia has signed the Asia Region Funds Passport’s Memorandum of Cooperation with Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. Other countries which have been involved in the negotiations but are yet to sign include Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines.

The Passport facilitates the cross border offering of eligible collective investment schemes in participating countries. Australian Minister for Small Business and Assistant Treasurer, Kelly O’Dwyer, said “The Passport will create a single market for managed funds encompassing economies across the region”.

FinTech businesses which utilise managed funds, such as marketplace lenders and some robo-advisers, and are regulated in a participating country may be able to use the Passport to offer managed funds in other participating countries without needing to go through local licensing and registration processes.

The Memorandum of Cooperation comes into effect on 30 June 2016 and can be found here.

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