Tag Archives: US

LFP028 – Alternative Finance as an Asset Class with David Stevenson Journalist and Head of the AltFi Empire

David Stevenson

David Stevenson is a journalist extraordinaire and writes for a number of leading publications including the Adventurous Investor Column in the FT, the Investors Chronicle, Money Management and Investment Week, where he’s the contrarian columnist.  He also runs the AltFi empire that spans conferences, news and as we heard in LFP010 with Rupert Taylor, AltFi Data. He has also authored a number of books on investment including three for the FT as well as having extensive interests in the visual media world.

David joins us on the show to talk about why it matters that Alternative Finance becomes viewed as an asset class in its own right – a subject that draws together his long-term role as an investment commentator as well as lynchpin of the London Alternative Finance scene.

I must say that I thought that this hypothesis about being an asset class was rather a linguistic point. However, having discussed it with David, I can see the importance of it being so and I hope you will be persuaded too.

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP026 – Special Episode! “The Future of Banking” with Mike Laven CEO Currency Cloud

Currency Cloud

I am delighted to be joined on the show today by Mike Laven CEO of Currency Cloud (who have always been my “Fintech insiders” Fintech of choice). Currency Cloud has done $10bn of business which is a big number on anyone’s scale.

It’s a rare guest indeed that I would give so broad a topic to as the future of banking. The interweb is full of superficial so-called “thought leadership” on this matter. However Mike is one of the very few who actually have penetrating insight into this issue. He is often approached in preference to Bank CEOs to talk on the future of banking which tells you a lot not just about Mike but Fintech and Banking

Mike Laven

As gorillas go Mike is a silverback. Inter alia Mike was COO at Traiana, CEO at Infinity Financial Technology, Cohera and Coronet, and Chairman at FRS Global.

 

Topics discussed include: Continue reading

LFP021 – Special Episode! Consumer Credit and P2P Deep Dive with Giles Andrews CEO of Zopa

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Giles and friends have really set one of the all-time Financial Services innovation high water marks with their invention of P2P – online lending and borrowing without a bank. They literally created an industry and changed the mould globally as we have seen with multi-billion$ IPOs in the US in December 2014.

As they were the first they have always had a core of “getting it right” – aka not losing customers money – aka getting “high quality consumer credit right”. This they have certainly done as they still produced positive returns through the mega-consumer crisis of 2008.

Not just that but they really get 21stC customer-focused business and have won the “best loan provider award 5yrs in a row”. 51,000 lenders to date have put money through the platform for a total of £750m lending business.

On this show we dive into a number of key issues: Continue reading

LFP018 – Special Episode! Equity Crowdfunding Deep Dive with Karen Kerrigan of Seedrs

Seedrs Oppo

Equity Crowdfunding is one of the key areas in which the UK has a great lead and so we have a special, longer than usual, episode. I am delighted to be joined on the show today by Karen Kerrigan Legal and Finance Director at Seedrs (who were the first equity crowdfunders to be FCA authorised in the UK).  Karen is also a lawyer and a Director at the UK Crowdfunding Association and so an ideal person to take us on a deep dive into the scene.

I first met Karen at a breakout group in the London Financial News Fintech day last autumn. I was impressed by her passion for ensuring that all categories of investor – private thru to VC always get equal treatment.  If you are unsure of the precise meaning in this context of things like pre-emption rights, tag-along and consent rights check out Karen’s great blog article in re: protecting small investors in equity crowdfunding rounds.

We have a wide-ranging conversation on a whole host of topics:

  • the perennial vocab problem (the UK crowdfunding association includes all types of alternate finance; the FCA used the word in that context recently; but many others (notably p2p folk) associate crowdfunding with the equity not debt platforms);
  • the competition at the Trade Association level for territory;
  • the origins of equity crowdfunding ~2009;
  • the many possible meanings and models when crowdfunders say for example that they are “expanding to Europe”;
  • regulation by the FCA – how long it used to take and plans to facilitate this process going forwards; principle-based regulation and how the meaning of that has changed over time; the review in 2016;
  • market pressures leading over time to equity crowdfunders and stock exchange convergence in approach and fee levels;
  • case studies of recent Seedrs fund raises for Chapel Down and Oppo – how it works, the motivation for doing and the wide range of reasons and benefits all the way through to marketing and brand awareness/customer loyalty;
  • the need to come to the platform with your tribe/network in place already in order to generate the social proof necessary to create momentum around the raise;
  • qualifying as an investor – either one needs to be a high-net worth individual or in the UK if one can prove that one understands the risk of investing (in the US right now only the first category can invest – “Jobs Act Title Three” awaited to broaden that out);
  • the big dangers of different types of equity share (eg “B” shares) in terms of investor protection and the role of Seedrs (and one or two other equity crowdfunders) nominee structure in terms of providing investor protection going forwards;
  • EIS/SEIS recap;
  • the risks/challenges for equity crowdfunding over the next few years; the FCA’s current focus on the up-front aspect of crowdfunding right now and less on the downstream journey; the equity crowdfunding triangle;
  • Seedrs US acquisition of Junction Investments and how that fits into the mix;
  • Seedrs dual pricing structure – pay on way in and way out/pay on success;
  • Platforms vetting of company applications, some run mini-incubators to prepare their companies for pitching; approaches to valuations.

And as if all that isn’t enough for a 45 minute chat we maange to squeeze in modern pentathlon; tetrathlon (I didn’t even know that existed); lacrosse (and whether mixed lacrosse plays by the male or female rules); ice hockey; kite surfing and kite buggying 🙂

 

 

LFP016 – New Year’s Special – Behind the Scenes, UK Fintech 2015 and Occupy Fintech!

LFP016 banner

The New Year is a time of reflection, a time for looking forwards and a time to take stock. So in this light this will be a special, somewhat off-piste episode with just me at the microphone. This episode has three parts:

In Part 1 I talk about some of the behind the scenes stories that go into making the LFP and share some of my thoughts about the challenges of the creative journey – a journey which many fintechs will have been through and are going through.

In Part 2 I discuss the five themes that I expect to see in UK Fintech in 2015.  These all go under the overarching banner of “2015 – The Year When Fintech Grows Up”.

  1. Less Spin
  2. A Shake-Out
  3. Fintech Maturing and Breaking-Up into Subsectors
  4. Group-Think in the Subsectors
  5. #NewFS Getting More Solid

If Xmas is a time for traditional rituals like family, over-eating, and hitting Amazon Prime bigtime 😀 it’s also a time for thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves.

If you work in Canary Wharf you will probably never see a homeless person there (I never have – are they kept out?). Meg Hillier the MP for Hackney South and Shoreditch points out that in Hackney a staggering 47% of children live in poverty :-O 🙁

In Part 3 I discuss the wider societal impact of Fintech and its media narratives.

Will Fintech, driven by the “billion dollar IPO narrative” end up being just another “get rich quick scheme” for a tiny few and become self-centred and greedy like the existing widely-disliked banking system?

Is Fintech just about creating some new mega-corporates that will live in tall shiny buildings?

Can Fintech be more than this?  Can it have a social conscience, can Fintech contribute to society and make the world a better place?

 

Let me know what you think!  In my pre-Xmas mode of thinking of those less fortunate than ourselves I tweeted a few socially pertinent tweets under the hashtag #OccupyFintech.  For those of you interested in this topic please feel free to use and amplify.  You don’t even have to sleep outside in the cold in a tent 😀

In the next episode  Continue reading

LFP015 – Special Episode! The Amazing Story of US P2P With Peter Renton of Lend Academy

LendAcademy

This is a mega-episode Xmas present special for London Fintech Podcast listeners 🙂  The world of Fintech has changed forever with this month’s successful twin IPOs on the NYSE of Lending Club and On Deck – both with valuations in ten figures.  It’s certainly an epochal shift for Alternative Finance Lending & Borrowing (P2P) around the world.

UK Fintech does not exist in a vacuum and it’s important to understand how other markets are evolving.  Naturally in a world of globalisation the US market and New York in particular are perhaps the most important “must knows” for anyone on the UK Fintech scene.

Above and beyond that the story of the US P2P is a cracker – the more I drilled into it the more that “fact” turned out to be once again better than “fiction” – and in this case more entertaining in terms of the twists and turns on the road.

I am delighted to be joined today by a man supremely able to tell that story from many angles.  As a commentator on the scene Peter Renton has been blogging for several years about the US P2P scene – long before it was hot and fashionable.  As an investor he has been an active participant and experienced its evolution first hand.

From his initial personal interest has grown a range of businesses – Peter is the founder of Lend Academy, co-founder of Lend Academy Investments, and co-founder of LendIt Conference which albeit mostly active in the US, had a very successful recent conference in the UK (you can see some great videos of the UK P2P presentations here) and one this year in Shanghai.  He has written a short, free e-book on the US P2P market which is freely available for download here.  He – clearly a busy guy – also finds the time to fit in a great podcast on the US P2P scene (search for “Lend Academy” on iTunes/Android App).

We have a wide-ranging conversation about the history of US P2P, the present and possible futures. We also discuss similarities and differences with the UK P2P market, what the UK market should be grateful for – and we don’t actually discuss where it’s falling behind – but how many UK multi-billion IPOs were there in December? 😉

Threading through this is one of the best stories out there about US P2P.  Superficial surfers might be tempted to think its just “the same old” US tech success story. Continue reading