Interview with Dimitri Kouchnirenko, Founder of Incomlend

What is Incomlend about?

Incomlend is a unique invoice exchange connecting businesses and private funders on a global level. The Incomlend platform serves as a marketplace where funders with capital can purchase trade receivables from suppliers at a discount. As a result, Funders get profit from the discount, while the Supplier get cash on the spot.

What are the three main advantages for investors?

  1. Security.
    1. We are the first platform in operation to fully insure the capital of our funders against Buyer payment default on all of our trades. Our Credit insurance is provided by a world leading insurer specialized in international Trade finance.
    2. Furthermore, funds are secured on a segregated account managed by an independent trustee, limiting the risk of funds misuse by the platform.
  1. Global scope. We are the first platform to offer funders an unprecedented worldwide diversification opportunity allowing them to be positioned on multiple countries and currencies.
  1. Profitability. By accessing our invoice discounting trades, funders benefit from superior return levels as compared to current options for short term liquidity placements. The invoice repayment cycles are short (up to 120 days) allowing investors to accelerate capital rotation and profit, while keeping liquidity accessible in the short term.

What are the three main advantages for borrowers (Suppliers)?

  1. Global Scope. We are a natively international platform, offering Suppliers to fund their Export receivables in multiple countries and currencies, while also covering their domestic receivables.
  1. Funding flexibility: We provide Non Recourse funding and require No collateral. Suppliers can access funding without long-term contracts or obligation to channel all the sales through the platform are required. Funding is provided off balance sheet, allowing SME’s to keep their indebtedness intact.
  1. Funding efficiency: 100% of funding requests on the platform are filled, funding lasts less than a day on average.

What ROI can investors expect?

More than 10% return annualized, net of fees, if capital reinvested on an annual rolling basis.

How does Incomlend rate the creditworthiness of invoice sellers and invoice buyers?

Our main focus is on the Buyer payment risk, as funding is provided non-recourse to the Supplier. The Buyer payment risk is covered by a worldwide credit insurer, which applies its own internal rating to each Buyer prior to onboarding on the platform. Each Buyer must be rated between 1 to 5 (out of 10, 1 being no risk and 10 being high risk), as per our Credit Insurer’s classification.

Incomlend does not provide so far an internal rating on Suppliers, as the risk is not borne on them and as any type of internal rating would be considered as Financial advisory, requiring specific financial licences under the Singapore regulation.

Incomlend provides objective data on the features of the Buyer-Supplier relationship map, such as invoice confirmation, goods confirmation, length of buyer-supplier trade relationship, leaving room for jusdgement to the investors.

Dimitri Kouchnirenko, IncomlendCan you please describe how the integrated insurance works and the benefits it offers?

Our insurer covers up to 90% of the invoice face value, and Incomlend finances maximum 90% as well, which means that the capital invested by the funders into each invoice is 100% covered.

The insurance protects the investors against risk of default from the buyer (situation where the buyer does not pay the invoice at maturity).

At the onboarding stage, each Supplier is required to provide information on its buyers. Each buyer is then screened and financials analysed by Incomlend. Subsequently, should the Buyer satisfy our internal scoring matrix criteria, the Buyer is submitted for Insurance coverage approval to the Credit insurer.

If the Credit insurer accepts to cover the buyer, a maximal funding limit will be set by the Credit Insurer, which Incomlend monitors to prevent crossing the maximum allowed coverage mark. If the Credit Insurer refuses to cover the buyer, the Supplier’s invoices issued to that buyer will not be paid.

If there is a buyer default, the Credit Insurance is activated and funds are reimbursed starting from 60 days after default (maximum possible reimbursement limit is 270 days, depending on the specific situation of the buyer and recovery actions involved).

Is the technical platform self-developed?

The front end of the exchange platform has been developed based on a white label solution, while the back office systems have been customized in house based on a standard solution.

What was the greatest challenge so far in the course of launching Incomlend?

An important challenge was striking the deal with our Credit Insurer, which was reluctant at first to work with a fintech platform, a totally new framework for them.

Can you please describe the market environment and regulation in Singapore?

The market is quite competitive in Singapore in terms of peer to peer lending and invoice trading in particular. Demand for invoice trading is high from the investors, while companies progressively open up to the alternative finance channels

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is the financial local regulator. The MAS is strongly backing and promoting the fintech sector in Singapore, the ambition being to become a major international hub for fintechs. The MAS provides a flexible and advantageous environment for fintech, involving as well major financial instutions for the regulatory sandbox.

The MAS has been observing the fintech industry and so far has not regulated the sector as the FCA did in the UK. Howver, the MAS talks directly to different platforms and monitors activity to make sure investors are protected. Some platforms, for instance, have been required by the MAS to obtain a financial advisor licence due to their loan activities.

Under the MAS Securities act, a trade receivable is so far not considered as a security, while trading invoices at a discount is not considered as a loan provision activity, which involves interest accrual.

Incomlend applies international KYC/AML standards to all its clients while creating progressively a reserve capital by deducting a targeted percentage from each trade.

Which marketing channels do you use to attract investors and borrowers?

Introducers, Agents, Chambers of Commerce, Professional Associations, Forums and conferences, Business services networks (insurance, accounting, incorporations), Private business clubs, VC/BA clubs and associations, Private Wealth management networks, PR, SEO, targeted digital campaigns, social networks and other online media.

Is Incomlend open to international investors?

Absolutely, this is natively the Incomlend model.

Where do you see Incomlend in 3 years?

In 3 years, we see Incomlend crossing the 1 billion USD mark of funded invoices on the platform, world leader of invoice trading and supply chain based on the marketplace funding model.

We also see Incomlend in 3 years as a provider of a diversified range of trade finance instruments (including LCs, payables finance, guarantees), as well as a market reference in terms of digital invoice payments and exchange standard protocols.

P2P-Banking.com thanks Dimitri Kouchnirenko for the interview.

 

Beehive is the First P2P Lending Marketplace to Receive Approval by DFSA

Beehive logoBeehive has become the first peer to peer lending platform to set up offices in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and become officially authorised and regulated by the Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA).

The new regulation is a first for the region and could catalyse growth of the fintech industry, says Beehive. Not only will it ensure clear governance for fintech businesses but will also provide added protection and peace of mind for peer to peer retail investors. Its introduction is particularly timely as peer to peer lending, is becoming an increasingly important route for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to access finance.

Beehive was launched in Dubai in 2014 by serial entrepreneur, Craig Moore, aided by Rick Pudner, former Group CEO of Emirates NBD. Read an earlier interview Craig Moore gave P2P-Banking.com. Craig Moore, now said: “We’re delighted to be regulated by the DFSA. This regulation reinforces Beehive as one of the fintech leaders in the region and we feel this greatly expands the opportunity to further help SMEs and the wider economy.” Continue reading

Survey Open for New Study on Asian Fintech

The University of Cambridge, Monash Business School and Tsinghua University launch the 2016-2017 Asia Pacific Alternative Finance Industry Survey with the support of major industry associations across the region.

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at University of Cambridge Judge Business School, Australian Centre for Financial Studies at Monash University and Tsinghua University Graduate School at Shenzhen are teaming up to launch the 2016-2017 Asia-Pacific Region Alternative Finance Industry Survey with the support of more than 20 major industry organisations across the region. This is the largest regional study to date focused on crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending & other forms of alternative finance.

From equity-based crowdfunding to peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, invoice trading to reward-based crowdfunding, these alternative financing activities are supplying credit to SMEs, providing venture capital to start-ups, offering more diverse and transparent ways for consumers to invest or borrow money, nurturing creativity, fostering innovation, generating jobs & funding worthwhile social causes across the Asia Pacific region.

Opening on February 15th 2017, this benchmarking survey aims to capture the key trends, developments, size, transaction volume and growth as well as the impact of changing regulations on the alternative finance markets across Asia in 2016 – building on last year’s inaugural study.

Last year’s inaugural report – Harnessing Potential – gathered survey data from 503 leading alternative finance platforms operating in 17 Asia-Pacific countries and regions. The study was cited by over 100 mainstream media organisations and has informed policymakers and regulators of industry developments in Asia Pacific countries including Malaysia, Singapore, India, Australia, Hong Kong and Indonesia for example. The report estimated the total Asia-Pacific online alternative finance market to have grown 323% year-on-year to reach 102.81 billion USD in 2015. China is the world’s largest market by transaction volume, registering 101.7 billion in 2015. Outside mainland China, the rest of the APAC region accrued 1.12 billion USD in 2015 with a 313% year-on-year growth rate from the 271.94 million raised in 2014. The authors hope this year’s study will dive even deeper into the growth and dynamics of the APAC alternative finance market. Continue reading

Fundedbyme is now a recognized p2p lending operator in Malaysia

Scandinavia’s equity crowdfunding platform, Fundedbyme, today received recognition as one of six operators  for Peer-to-Peer crowdfunding by the Malaysian Securities Commission in the Asian region. This announcement positions Fundedbyme as the only European operator in the Asian region. The award was awarded to Fundedbyme Malaysia at the third annual SCxSC Digital Finance hosted by the Securities Commission Malaysia. Malaysian Minister of Finance, Najib Razak and SC chairman Ranjit Ajit Singh handed over the award to Fundedbyme Malaysia’s COO, Angelld Quah, and CEO Daniel Geottfert.

fundedbyme-malaysiaThe Asian region is seeing an explosion in peer-to-peer activity, particularly, and crowdfunding in general,” says Daniel Daboczy, CEO and co-founder of Fundedbyme. “Fundedbyme is strategically positioned as the bridge between Scandinavia and Asia as we early-on saw the trend of cross-border investments – in the first equity crowdfunding campaign from Malaysia,
Halal Speed Dating, we saw that 40% of investors came from Europe, which is very exciting for both Asian and European entrepreneurs,” Daboczy continues. The latest equity crowdfunding campaign from Malaysia currently on the platform, iTalent, has registered interest to join from investors in 73 different countries.

Photo: Malaysian Minister of Finance, Najib Razak and Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani handing over the award to Fundedbyme Malaysia’s COO, Angelld Quah (Source: Fundedbyme)

The Regulatory Framework for P2P Lending Industry in Thailand : A Consultation Paper issued by the Bank of Thailand

This is a guest post by Pawee Jenweeranon, a graduate school student of the program for leading graduate schools – cross border legal institution design, Nagoya University, Japan. Pawee is a former legal officer of the Supreme Court of Thailand. His research interests include internet finance and patent law in the IT industry.

1. Introduction : The Peer-to-peer Lending Industry in Thailand

Peer-to-peer lending which also known as social lending or crowd lending has drastically increased in the recent years in many countries over the world. The volume of peer-to-peer lending activities also has been grown rapidly, for instance, the volume of peer-to-peer lending activities in U.K. has doubled every year in the last four years.

Peer-to-peer lending might be used in many ways if it is properly regulated by the responsible authorities, this is one of the reasons which lead to the issuance of the consultation paper to regulate peer-to-peer lending industry by the Bank of Thailand.

For instance, due to the current situation, poor people and SMEs in Thailand normally face difficulties in accessing finance from banks or traditional financial institutions[i]. This affects the increasing number of informal loans outside the financial institution system which are normally illegal, specifically; the problem of informal loans currently stood at more than 5 trillion baht and covered around 8 million households in Thailand[ii]. Continue reading

BLender Begins International Expansion and Offers Cross-Border Peer-to-Peer Lending

Blender LogoBLender, a p2p lending company from Israel, today announced its global expansion, beginning with new offices in Milan, Italy and Vilnius, Lithuania that will serve customers in Italy and the Baltics. The Israeli-based company delivers a P2P lending platform with a proprietary consumer credit rating system designed for territories without credit bureaus or traditional consumer credit information. BLender is a cloud-based platform that was built to work in a wide range of markets and languages.

In Italy the platform charges borrowers a 4.5% origination fee and investors 1.5% of each repayment (principal and repayment). Compared to other marketplaces these fees are in the higher price range. The fee for selling a loan on the secondary market is 0.45%.

BLender has experienced exponential growth since its launch in 2014 and has already provided approximately 12 million USD in loans. The company will continue expanding its global operations into territories that are craving consumer credit. In 2017, BLender plans to launch operations in Africa, Latin America and other European Union (EU) countries.

“Offering multi-national P2P lending has been our vision since BLender’s establishment,” said Dr. Gal Aviv, CEO, BLender.Since our Israeli launch in 2014, we have built the foundation, infrastructure and technology to enable BLender to operate in the global market, so we will be able to face operating, cultural, technological, regulatory and taxation challenges.”

With the expansion into Italy and the Baltics, BLender is enabling users to lend and/or borrow across countries, making financial borders a thing of a the past, says the service.

“BLender identified a credit gap in countries where the supply of consumer credit is insufficient for the populations’ needs and is priced very high, and a gap in other countries where the savings options have very low or even negative yield,” said David Blumberg, founder and managing partner, Blumberg Capital, a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that led BLender’s last funding round. “BLender’s multi-national lending options mediate this credit gap by creating a meeting ground between borrowers from countries that lack consumer credit, to lenders from countries where the yield on their savings in insufficient. We support and strongly believe in the vision, management capabilities and business potential of the BLender team.”

Investors on the BLender platform will earn predicted interest rates of 5-6% annually. The safeguard fund acts as an additional layer of protection to the lenders in case of a default. BLender’s default rate is approximately 1% before activating the safeguard fund. Thanks to the SafeGuard fund, the effective default rate is 0% says the service. BLender also offers ReBlendTM, BLender’s secondary market that offers the lenders the option the trade their loan portfolios and enjoy liquidity.

Recently BLender was chosen to participate in the exclusive ELITE program of the UK Stock Exchange that finds and nurtures companies with the potential for an IPO. As part of the program, BLender receives the guidance of the program’s experts for two years that help promote the company’s activity.

Furthermore, the company was selected as one of the most promising Fin-Tech companies in the world for 2015 by the accounting firm – KPMG, and also by the United Kingdom Trade and Investment Department.

The multi-national expansion was done in collaboration with KPMG.

BLender's founders
BLender’s founders

Silver Bullion Reports First Year Results for Gold & Silver Secured P2P loans

Silver Bullion Pte Ltd in Singapore reported today, on the anniversary of the launch of their bullion secured peer-to-peer(P2P) loan platform, that the platform has funded over S$11 million across more than 400 successfully matched loans. There were zero occurrences of borrowers defaulting on their loans. One hundred percent of lenders, with loan tenures expiring within the first year, received their principle with interest on time.

Launched on 5th August 2015, Silver Bullion offers a p2p marketplace that allows borrowers to obtain a loan using physical gold and silver bullion as collateral. This gives lenders, seeking a good rate of return, confidence that their investments are safe.

Silver Bullion’s CEO, Gregor Gregersen, commented: ‘The first year results of our P2P loan platform shows that owners of physical gold and silver like to have the option to be able to borrow short term funds at good rates with the bullion that they store with us. Now, they are able to reinvest with the borrowed funds whilst continuing to own bullion and benefit from rising gold and silver prices.’

P2P-Banking.com conducted an interview with Gregersen earlier this year.

silver-bullion-vaultDue to the safety that Silver Bullion’s loan platform gives to lenders, 72% of the matched loans were initiated by borrowers. The company has seen more than 30 loans matched consistently each month since March 2016 – a rate of more than 1 matched loan per day. Interest rates across all loan tenures currently hovers between 2.5% and 4.5% per annum.
Unlike unsecured P2P lending platforms, loans matched by Silver Bullion’s lending platform are fully backed by physical gold and silver. Loans with tenures longer than 6 months begin with a collateral-to-loan value of 200%. The exceptions are loans with the 1 month tenure which have a lower collateral-to-loan value of 160%.<

Borrowers’ collateralized bullion is stored at Silver Bullion’s vault, The Safe House. They are covered by one of the most comprehensive insurance policies in the industry that also insures against inside jobs and any unexplained losses.

 

Regulatory Development of Peer-to-Peer Lending in Taiwan

This is a guest post by Hungyi Chen, Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University. He is researching alternative finance in East Asia.

1. Relevant Background

Internet finance, including (1) online stored payment by non-bank, (2) crowdfunding and (3) peer-to-peer lending becomes hotly debated issues in Taiwan recently. To boost the development of financial innovation, the regulation of online stored payments by non-banks was already implemented on January 2015 after discussions and debates between financial authority and platforms. Besides, a regulatory framework for equity-based crowdfunding has also been enacted in the end of April 2015 and amended in the early of January 2016.

In order to encourage and accelerate the development of fintech industry in Taiwan, the financial authority, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) of Taiwan, has published Fintech Development Strategy White Paper on May 2016[i]. One of main goals is evaluating the possibility of introducing the mechanism of P2P lending into Taiwan’s capital market and providing a regime for regulating this industry.

Some business models of P2P lending are forbidden due to conflict with The Banking Act[ii] in Taiwan. Recently, it is considered to be introduced in Taiwan and evaluated by the recently established project team of the financial authority in Taiwan, Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)[iii]. Despite the fact that the attitude toward P2P lending industry of financial authority in Taiwan is still vague, as of July 2016 there are three P2P lending platforms already providing their services in Taiwan, including Lend & Borrow[iv], Wow88[v], XiangMinDai[vi]. They have tried to design their business model to avoid potential legal risks. For better understanding of the P2P lending industry, this article tries to provide a brief regulatory overview of Taiwan in following part.

2. Regulatory Overview of P2P lending

Currently, there is no any specific regulation toward this industry in Taiwan. Recent official document[vii], indicate that the business model of P2P lending in Taiwan should avoid to involve in any activities of accumulating capital from general public or issuing any securities. XiangMinDai, a P2P lending platform in Taiwan, has analyzed by FSC of Taiwan. The former chairman of FSC of Taiwan, Ms. Wang, has stated that ‘…the business model of XiangMinDai is majorly providing services of debt transaction, which does not involve in activities of depositing or charging fund. Accordingly, it is not the regulatory scope of FSC at this moment…[viii]

Although there is no any financial regulation of P2P lending in Taiwan, Banking Bureau of FSC has issued a statement[ix] on April 14, 2016, pointing out some legal compliance issues for P2P lending platforms, including (1) platforms should not involve in issuing any securities, (2) ensure privacy of customers, (3) activities of deposit and store-value business without licenses are forbidden, (4) illegal ways of debt-collection is forbidden.

Taiwan Figure 1

Within 2 weeks, Banking Bureau of FSC, announced another statement[x] for supplement, indicating that (1) the interest rates of the case on the P2P lending platform is 30.15%, which may be illegal according to Criminal Act in Taiwan[xi], (2) legal concern of breaking the law of Multi-Level Marketing Supervision Act[xii] and Fair Trade Act[xiii]. Continue reading

Development and Regulation of P2P Lending and Equity-based Crowdfunding in Hongkong

This is a guest post by Hungyi Chen, Ph.D. candidate at the Graduate School of Law, Nagoya University. He is researching alternative finance in East Asia.

1. The recent development of online alternative finance

Given the recent trend that Fintech is rapidly growing in the world, in order to maintain the role of international financial center, the financial authority of Hong Kong has been aware of issues relating to Fintech industry[1]. On November 13th, 2015, Stored Value Facilities Payment Systems, such as online stored payment business as PayPal, is allowed to operate by non-bank[2]. This is a milestone for Hong Kong including non-bank of operating business highly relevant to conventional bank.

In order to enhance the development of startups in Hong Kong, financial technologies (Fintech) are emphasized by the authority since the investment of Fintech is a target of many venture capitalists[3]. Nevertheless, compared with other jurisdictions in Asian countries, which already lightened entry requirement to encourage non-bank for engaging business of equity-based crowdfunding, such as Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Taiwan, and Thailand, the entry requirement of Fintech, especially alternative finance may be stricter in Hong Kong.

Until now, there is still no equity-based crowdfunding platform established in Hong Kong. However, the huge demand from capital market gradually leads the development of crowdfunding in Hong Kong, especially debt-based crowdfunding, which is also known as Peer-to-Peer Lending. Currently, there are 4 major peer-to-peer lending platforms, including BestLend, GoLend, Monexo, and WeLend.

2. Relevant industry background

With unique selling factors, the peer-to-peer lending platforms may have a rapid growth in the near future. On one hand, from viewpoints of investors, the deposit rates of savings are from 0%~0.001%[4]. Even the deposit rates of fixed deposit of 12 months are from 0.15%~0.2%[5]. Additionally, inflation rates are around 4% continuously in 2013 and 2014[6], which means the real interest rate may be negative in Hong Kong. Accordingly, there are strong incentives for investors to vitalize their capital.

On the other hand, from viewpoints of borrowers, there are two fundraising channels for loans, including banks (Licensed Banks, Restricted License Banks, Deposit-taking Companies) and Money Lenders. Since the financial authority restricted the mortgage market of banks to prevent a real-estate bubble, it is difficult for borrowers to get the loan amount they need from banks by mortgage. As a result, they turn to Money Lenders as an alternative opportunity. Although the interest rates of Money Lender are generally higher than banks, compared with banks which normally take 1-6 weeks for examining procedure, the process of Money Lender is more simplified[7]. Continue reading

Overview of the Regulatory Framework for P2P Lending and Equity-based Crowdfunding in Singapore

This is a guest post by Pawee Jenweeranon, a graduate school student of the program for leading graduate schools – cross border legal institution design, Nagoya University, Japan. Pawee is a former legal officer of the Supreme Court of Thailand. His research interests include internet finance and patent law in the IT industry.

1. Introduction

In the recent years, it is inevitable that the financial technology or Fintech takes the significant role toward the evolution of financial services industry in this region. In other words, Fintech normally be used to improve the financial industry services.

In 2015, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (hereinafter referred to as “MAS”) has committed two hundred twenty five million Singapore Dollar (around 166 million USD) to support the development of Fintech industry for the startup ecosystem in the upcoming years[1]. This is a good reflection of the significance of the financial technology or Fintech development in Singapore.

From the economic perspective, Small and Medium Enterprises (hereinafter referred to as “SMEs”) are important part of Singapore’s economy. SMEs account for 99 percent of all registered enterprises in Singapore[2]. From this reason, enhancing the competitive capacity of Singapore SMEs is essential for Singapore economy development.  Even almost all of the SMEs in Singapore are supported by the Governmental Enterprise Development Agency and Centers[3], (more than 100,000 SMEs got funding support by the Singapore government[4]); however, internet financial technology was also proposed as an alternative mechanism for enhancing the competitiveness of Singapore SMEs in the recent years[5].

 

2. Regarding Peer to Peer Lending


2.1 Background

Generally, there are many peer to peer lending platforms in Singapore; however, they normally lend money to businesses rather than individuals due to the strict regulation for money lenders. The additional limitation on lending to low-income borrowers[6] who are Singaporean citizens or permanent residents which is another requirement should be considered by the lenders.

In general, money lending in Singapore is mainly regulated by the Moneylenders Act 2010 and the Moneylenders Rules 2009. For the Moneylenders Act 2010, due to the main purpose of this act is to develop consumer protection mechanism to protect borrowers of small amount loans[7], this is the reason why the act provides stringent limitation for moneylenders to operate their business. This is another key different of money lending law of Singapore compared to other countries in Asia such as Hong Kong which focusing more on lending activity[8]. Briefly, the act requires moneylenders to hold the Moneylenders license with obligations and limitations for licensee[9].

In Singapore, even there are strict regulations in the existing law relating to a money lending business; however, there is the legislative effort of the Singapore government to address the issue regarding Securities-based Crowdfunding, which can reflect the understanding of the Singapore government toward the development of Financial Technology (Fintech) and the supporting regulatory framework.[10]

2.2 The Regulatory Framework for Peer to Peer Lending Business

From the document published by the MAS on Lending-based Crowdfunding – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)[11], generally, the operation of P2P lending is restricted by MAS under the Securities and Futures Act (Cap. 289) (SFA) and the Financial Advisers Act (Cap. 110) (FFA).

Specifically, the P2P lending business needs to prepare and register a prospectus with MAS in accordance with Section 239(3) of the SFA. In addition, not only the registration of the prospectus but also the P2P lending platform need to follow the licensing requirements, particularly, the P2P lending business which fall within the scope provided by MAS needs to hold a Capital Market Services (CMS) license. Continue reading