Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), sometimes referred to as blockchain, is coming under increased scrutiny by policy makers in the EU institutions. We have produced a one page guide highlighting the key initiatives which companies using DLT should be following.
As the number of self-employed people continues to rise in the UK, the need to create better mechanisms to provide support to this growing workforce without compromising the intrinsic flexibility of self-employment is becoming increasingly important.
The world of financial services is changing fast. The implications of blockchain technology or decentralised ledgers may not yet be a hot kitchen table topic but has the potential to utterly change the worlds of banking, insurance, asset management, and access to finance. In short, it could transform the economy around us. Though the US remains the largest base for investment in FinTech companies developing peer to peer finance and smart payment mechanisms with over $12bn investment in FinTech startups in 2015, more than doubling year on year growth, the UK is the fastest growing global market. With over £3.5bn annual investment in the sector in the UK, it is Europe’s FinTech leader over competition from Paris and Frankfurt.
The ways and means in which regulation is developed and implemented in the internet age have changed. Regulation across the globe can only follow the rapid expansion of new innovation and business models in, for example, online short-term rentals or car-sharing platforms. There is a continuing trend towards companies developing an idea and going to the market with it fast, with the result that regulation is so far behind it must adapt to the new business environment.
On a day when the entire financial services industry in the UK and in Continental Europe dissected the long-awaited – albeit leaked – European Commission Action Plan on Capital Markets Union, a few eyebrows were raised about some potential implications for the fintech community. Regulators at national and supranational level are still pondering over an optimal regulatory framework to promote the fintech industry whilst at the same time ensuring adequate consumer protection; but not necessarily on a like-for-like basis with the established providers, who are already beginning to use the ‘level playing field’ argument to challenge the disruptors.
With the UK General Election just six weeks away, the recent Budget was an opportune time for The Chancellor, George Osborne, to set out his stall and give the UK electorate a glimpse of what a Conservative-led Government after the election would prioritise. Among the macroeconomic announcements and promises were policies solely aimed at the growing financial technology (Fintech) sector. Both the Conservative Party and Labour Party now recognise the importance of this budding industry and have been quick to publicise their aspirations for the sector, should they lead the next Government.
Crowdfunding is now considered a legitimate alternative form of finance for businesses across Europe. The sector continues to grow and shows no signs of slowing down. Investment-based (or equity) crowdfunding is no exception – according to a recent report by NESTA, this form of crowdfunding grew by 201 per cent in 2014.