by Florin Oprea
BNP Paribas has launched a new investment fund to take direct minority stakes in innovative startups that are reinventing financial services and insurance.The new fund, managed by BNP Paribas Capital Partners, will also make indirect investments through Venture Capital funds whose priorities in technologies – such as AI, data, blockchain, cyber-security – geographies and topics match those of its various business units and divisions.
FAO: Let’s see: AI, blockchain, cyber-security? Nothing surprising in the bank’s investment directions…we said it many times: this is “the year of the AI”, that’s why we are even dedicating a category in this daily bulletin. European banks are starting to follow the investment focus of their US peers. The fintech sector in France has also the strong support of the country’s President, Macron, who kicked off Station F, a new tech incubator, last year.
Although most people view Alibaba as an e-commerce play, the company also has substantial fintech exposure with a stake of 33% of China’s largest fintech company, Ant Financial, which is actually bigger than Tencent’s WeChat in the space of payments. The unit is worth at least $100 billion and likely a lot more.
FAO: The Ant(s) are coming. And they are huge. Is the Western Hemisphere ready? I am sure you are aware of Ant’s rapid expansion in Southeast Asia. You may even remember that Alibaba is present also in India, having backed Paytm, a payment company with a very aggressive development plan. Use our FREE ARCHIVE for additional coverage on all the above topics.
Sara Salinas – CNBC
Zelle — an in-app, P2P payments system backed by Bank of America, Wells Fargo and dozens of other major U.S. banks — is less than a year out from launch, but it has already rivaled industry leader PayPal in payment volume. Fewer than half of Zelle’s 60-plus partner banks had launched the service as of late last month — according to a spokesperson — but the payment system still moved $75 billion in 2017, more than double the $35 billion PayPal’s Venmo moved in the same period.
Courtney Goldsmith – City A.M.
Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the billionaire who founded low-cost airline Easyjet, has launched a financial services business called Easymoney in the UK. Haji-Ioannou said the fintech platform’s first product, an Isa targeting a 4.05% annual interest rate, that will “take on the big boys” and offer something new.
FAO: I assume Easymoney will try to make use of its huge customer base and then take the fight to other UK players in this space Octopus, Lending Works, LendingCrowd etc. Easyjet transported more than 80m passengers last year.
JD Alois – Crowdfund Insider
The New York Federal Reserve has published a staff report pertaining to “The Role of Technology in Mortgage Lending”. Authored by Andreas Fuster, Matthew Plosser, Philipp Schnabl, and James Vickery, the research asserts that Fintech is improving the mortgage lending market by making it more efficient and faster.
FAO: Competition! Always helps for improving markets!
Wealthfront has launched Risk Parity, the latest addition to PassivePlus, the company’s signature suite of investment features, which is designed to replicate Bridgewater Associates’ All Weather Fund.
Ellie Donnelly – Independent
Emma Rumney – Reuters
John Detrixhe – Quartz
Revolut broke even in December for the first time after it launched a service for converting and holding cryptocurrencies. The company says it added 500,000 customers in the past two months, bringing the total to 1.5 million.
FAO: Wohooo, 500k new clients in two months. Revolut integrated bitcoin support in its app last summer and added litecoin and ether trading in December – more here.
Enoch Yiu – SCMP
Hang Seng Bank plans to expand the use of fintech to mobile banking services and is also toying with the idea of incorporating facial recognition, after initial success with iPhone X, to allow customers to withdraw cash from its ATMs across the city, according to its chief executive.
Widespread use of mobile phones and a “tingi” or sachet culture in retail provides a fertile environment for financial technology companies.
FAO: I am building up my agenda for 2018 – if you want me as a speaker at your events better get in touch before my year gets uber busy – send me an email here.
JD Alois – Crowdfund Insider
Bank of America published its 10-K with the SEC this past week. The Annual Report for most publicly listed institutions is a routine event with few people digging into the document except for dogged analysts, lawyers looking for loopholes, and a few dedicated investors. In this years Annual Report, it has been widely noted that BofA has listed Cryptocurrency as a risk to its operations going forward.
FAO: Probably the first bank to officially admit it?
FAO: Florin Adrian Oprea, Editor-in-chief FinTech Daily News
DNT: Decebal Nicolaie Todarita, Editor FinTech Daily News