Photo Jan Willem van der Schoot

Weekly news highlights 9 October 2020

The FinTech Association for Consumer Empowerment (FACE) was officially launched on 1st October in India. FACE aims at securing open and responsible lending practices in consumer finance, ensuring an inclusive fintech ecosystem in India. FACE is formed by Five Fintech leaders – EarlySalary, KreditBee, Kissht, CashE, and LoanTap – which plan on actively communicating with customers in order to receive insights on what digital lending products could be relevant for the public. A similar initiative was launched in the Dutch market, under the name of the Social Fintech Alliance.

Nexi, an Italian bank that specialises in payment systems, and SIA, an Italian company operating in the area of ICT, have merged, making the new deal part of the country’s top 10 publicly traded businesses with annual revenue of EUR 1.8bn. The all-share merger is expected to close by the summer of 2021. 

Crowdcube, a British investment crowdfunding platform, and Seedrs, an equity crowdfunding platform, announced earlier this week a merger in order to create a new private equity marketplace. However, a day into the merger, Seedr reported their 2019 finances, which summed up to £4.6 million in losses, with a revenue of just £4.2 million. In addition, Crowdcube also reported that for the year ending September 2019, they experienced operating losses of £2.47 million and revenues of £7.7 million. 

NEC, a Japanese multinational information technology and electronics company, will acquire Avaloq Group, a Swiss company that develops and provides software for core banking, for 2.05 bn Swiss francs ($2.2bn). With Avaloq Group having a big market shares in wealth management software within Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, NEC will be able to follow up on its plan to expand globally. 

The European Central Bank is partnering up with Sweden’s central bank, Sverige Riksbank. Together, the financial institutions will research potential implementation solutions for Target Instant Payment Settlement (Tips) product, which is dedicated to handling transactions across different currencies. With the merger set to begin activity this month, new offerings are introduced for consumers and businesses, due to an increase in cross-border e-commerce, tourism and migration flows.

Monument, a new digital UK bank for the mass affluent, was granted a restricted UK banking licence from the regulatory authorities. With the new sum, Monument plans on offering savings products and loans of up to £2m for buy-to-let and property investments. By 2021, Monument expects that their entire business services will be fully digital. 

Based on July’s highlights, when four CEOs of the biggest tech companies testified before the US Congress antitrust panel, The U.S. House Judiciary Committee has now released its omnibus report on the monopolistic practices implemented by Apple, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook, which stifled the competition. As main findings from the report, startups have the power of preventing big tech acquisitions in the future and not allow these companies to dominate the market. In addition, judicial and legislative regulators are responsible for defining the market dominance and giving smaller companies support when they  challenge the actions of big tech firms.

Amdax B.V., a Dutch based crypto services company, has been registered by De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) as the first provider of crypto services in the Netherlands. With the new received status, Amdax B.V. will be able to process crypto transactions and store crypto currencies. For the Dutch crypto ecosystem, strongly regulated by authorities to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing, Amdax offers the crypto market a more mature perspective.

Cashaa, an UK P2P money transfer and crypto trading service, announced the launch of a neo-bank for India to pave the way for a crypto-friendly banking system. Clients will be able to use the neo-bank’s services in order to open saving accounts, buy, store and save cryptocurrencies. With most Indian banks avoiding to offer crypto currency, Cashaa will take the spot as the first registered bank in India which allows its customers to make deposits and withdrawals with cryptocurrency.

Affirm, a fintech company that offers installment loans to consumers at the point of sale, announced that it has filed to go public. With the filing being confidential, Affirm is expected to have an IPO valuation of approximately $10 billion. The fintech unicorn has raised private funds in excess of $1 billion, including a $500 million Series G in September 2020. 

The London Stock Exchange has agreed to sell Borsa Italiana to Euronext for €4.3 billion, paving the way for its takeover of financial data provider Refinitiv. The agreement with Euronext is dependent on the LSE receiving EU approval for the Refinitiv deal.

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