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Risk Management Solution Provider Foreside Acquires Golden Bear, A Regulatory Compliance Firm in California



Foreside Financial Group, LLC, a provider of governance, risk management, and compliance service and tech solutions to clients in the wealth management sector, has reportedly acquired  compliance consulting firm Golden Bear Consulting Group, LLC, a boutique regulatory compliance consultancy headquartered in Newport Beach, California.

Launched in 2015, Golden Bear works with private equity funds, hedge funds, emerging managers, and wealth managers, in order to provide a suite of compliance consulting services. This latest acquisition should help with supporting Foreside’s private funds practice while further expanding its business operations.

David Whitaker, President at Foreside, stated:

“Golden Bear has ensured client success by helping them meet regulatory requirements through creative and practical compliance solutions that instill confidence in their investors. Golden Bear shares our values of providing consistent quality of service with integrity, accountability, and innovation to its portfolio of clients. We are proud to welcome them to our team.”

Aman Ahluwalia, founder and CEO of Golden Bear, remarked:

“In joining with Foreside, we are able to deepen and expand the capabilities of our investment advisor consulting practice with a partner that shares our client-centered approach. I am thrilled about what is in store for our clients, and how much they will benefit from this new relationship. We have worked hard to develop long-lasting and quality relationships with our clients. I am certain this move will allow us to serve as trusted partners to our existing clients for years to come.”

Golden Bear’s workers will reportedly be joining Foreside as part of the acquisition and will keep running the business from Southern California.

For Foreside, which is majority-owned by PE firm Lovell Minnick, this will notably be its seventh acquisition since 2019. This move appears to be a part of the company’s strategy to add to and strengthen different aspects of its business, including consulting and its tech products.

The other acquisitions made by Foreside reportedly include NCS Regulatory Compliance, Compliance Advisory Services, Quasar Distributors, ICSGroup, Capital Markets Compliance, and JG Advisory Services.

The financial terms of the Golden Bear deal have not been shared publicly.

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BBVA Switzerland Adding BTC Trading Service for Private Clients Isn’t Good bec Banks’ Settlement Is Too Slow, Wall Street Veteran Argues



BBVA Switzerland has opened its Bitcoin trading service to all private banking customers.

After six months of in-house testing with a certain group of users, BBVA Switzerland has decided to make its first digital asset trading and custody service accessible to all its private banking clients.

The company notes in a blog post that the new service is available “only in Switzerland and will start operating as of June 21 for its private banking clients interested in digital asset investments.”

As mentioned in the update:

“For the time being, BBVA Switzerland‘s offer includes bitcoin trading and custody services, with the aim of extending it to other cryptocurrencies. The entity will not offer advice on these types of investments.”

Alfonso Gómez, CEO of BBVA Switzerland, added that the gradual roll-out has allowed BBVA Switzerland to test out the service’s key operations, “strengthen security and, above all, detect that there is a significant desire among investors for crypto-assets or digital assets as a way of diversifying their portfolios, despite their volatility and high risk.”

According to the company, one of the most “important” attractions of BBVA Switzerland’s offer is that the Bitcoin management system is “fully integrated in its app, where its performance can be viewed alongside that of the rest of the customers’ assets, funds or investments.”

As explained in the announcement, this service thus “represents a novel offering, as it allows investing and combining traditional and digital financial assets in the same investment portfolio.” This integration provides an advantage in terms of “simplicity” when it comes to “trading, account statements, tax returns, etc.”

As noted in the update:

“Through the customer’s personalized digital wallet, bitcoins can be converted into euros or any other current currency, and vice versa, automatically, without delays and without the illiquidity that affects other digital wallets or independent brokers. All this is possible thanks to the fact that BBVA operates with several sources for converting cryptocurrencies, which allows it to ensure 24-hour investment, managing orders of any size and processing multiple orders at the same time is possible. In addition, BBVA offers the highest security standards available in the market.”

Gómez added that they’re bringing the quality of banking service to the “fledgling world of crypto assets.” He confirmed that this is the first step in a world that he thinks will have a significant impact on all financial services.

He also mentioned that with this new offer, BBVA aims to position itself as “a benchmark institution in the adoption of blockchain technology.” He added that in the coming months, they will “continue to enhance and expand the digital asset offering.”

But for now, BBVA confirmed that it would be limiting this new crypto service to Switzerland because it has “an ecosystem where there is clear regulation and widespread adoption of these digital assets.”

The BBVA added that its extension to other jurisdictions or other types of clients will “depend on whether the markets meet the appropriate conditions in terms of maturity, demand and regulation.”

As noted in the announcement, BBVA is present in Switzerland, “through a 100% Group-owned franchise, dedicated to international banking services.”

While this update was received quite favorably by most crypto industry participants, some people were not so thrilled with this news.

Caitlin Long, Founder & CEO at Avanti Financial Group, said:

“OH DEAR–as a Bitcoiner one would think I’d be excited about this, but instead I’m warning about it. A traditional (leveraged) bank is now trading Bitcoin, which settles in minutes with irreversibility. Banks’ operations & reconciliation processes are not set up for assets with such features (most banks still settle 1x/day).”

Long also mentioned:

“Add leverage to the mix and it may not end well. Having started 3 new businesses inside G-SIBs during my career, I can see what’s happening here–front office traders are pushing to be able to trade hi-vol assets & pointing to high client interest, but the back office simply isn’t set up for an asset that settles in minutes and can’t be reversed–and risk officers may not even understand all the plumbing intricacies of connecting crypto with fiat currency payment systems. Back in 2016 I predicted that someday a G-SIB would fail because it didn’t address all the plumbing problems posed by connecting crypto to fiat payment systems and (by definition) a G-SIB is leveraged, so mistakes are amplified.”

She continued:

“The proposed new Bank for International Settlements – BIS capital requirements for banks holding crypto on-balance sheet are TOO LOW. … Net-net, this news isn’t good for either the banks or for Bitcoin’s price volatility. Be careful out there…”

It’s worth noting, however, that Long’s statements seem to suggest she hasn’t taken into consideration the rapid pace of innovation and the deployment of numerous cryptocurrency apps that have actually made it seamless to transact with crypto and fiat currencies.

For example, the developers of Waves.Exchange have created a range of applications that have allowed users to deposit fiat currencies and trade digital assets on the same platforms. More than likely, the BBVA has done its homework and has teamed up with the appropriate third-parties to offer this service – which has great potential to further expand the blockchain and digital assets ecosystem.

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UK’s P2P Lender Blend Network Explains how their Secondary Market Is Designed to Help Investors



The team at UK-based peer-to-peer lender Blend Network notes that many investors on their platform will know or are aware that they have a secondary market feature that lets lenders sell their loan parts “prior to the loan maturity.”

The Blend Network team recently answered common questions around this new feature and how to use it properly.

While explaining what a secondary market is, the P2P lender noted that it’s a feature provided by Blend Network that allows investors to “sell all or part of their loan to other investors prior to the loan maturity.”

For instance, if you had invested £5,000 on a loan with 18 months maturity and then needed £3,000 before your loan matures, you would be able to list £3,000 in the secondary market and “someone else might buy than loan part off you,” the company explained while clarifying that Blend Network is not able to guarantee the liquidity in the secondary market. They also mentioned that the feature is specifically designed to provide potential liquidity “to those lenders who want or need to exit their investment ahead of its maturity.”

While commenting on whether anyone can use the secondary market, the Blend Network team noted that anybody who invested on a loan with their platform may use the secondary market as long as the secondary market is available for that particular loan. But you must note that “at times the secondary market may be unavailable for some loans.”

Going on to clarify whether all loans may be traded via their secondary market, the P2P lending platform’s management said:

“No, sometimes the secondary market will not be available for some loans. For example, where an event that has taken place regarding the loan (for example a loan becomes non-performing from a missed payment, close to repayment, partial early repayment, etc…), Blend Network can decide, at its own discretion, not to allow that loan to trade on the secondary market. This is to avoid any asymmetric information between a seller and a prospective buyer. This is also to make sure loans are trading at a fair and appropriate price on the secondary market.”

While commenting on whether there’s a minimum or maximum loan amount that may be traded in the secondary market, Blend Network noted:

“The minimum amount investors can trade on the secondary market is £1,000, the same amount as the minimum investment in the primary market. There is no maximum, lenders can list all of their loan part.”

While discussing how much it may cost to use their secondary market, Blend Network said that sellers can expect to pay 0.6% (£6 for every £1,000) to use the secondary market, however, they will “only charge this upon the successful sale of the loan portion listed in the secondary market. The secondary market is free to use for buyers.”

Addressing a question about what price may a loan be sold at in the secondary market, Blend Network explained that in accordance with P2P regulation set by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), sellers are “not allowed to select their own price when they sell a loan part.” Instead, sellers may sell their loan “part at par value which is calculated by Blend Network automatically” and this is “to ensure all secondary market buyers are purchasing loans for a fair and appropriate price.”

Going on to address a question about what information will potential buyers receive when they are reviewing loan parts listed on the secondary market, Blend Network noted that potential buyers on the secondary market will have access to the documents “made available to investors when the loan was initially listed on Blend Network.” If there have been any changes to the loan (for instance, an extended payment plan) then this information “will be included to ensure potential buyers are aware of the position of the loan,” the firm’s management added.

While commenting on whether investors are notified of available loans in the secondary market, Blend Network said:

“No, investors need to keep an eye on their dashboard for available loans in the secondary market but won’t be notified through automatic push emails. This is to avoid jamming investors inboxes when we have a large volume of loans trading in the secondary market.”

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Republic Hires Inventor of the Hashtag Chris Messina to Boost West Coast Business Development



Online investment platform Republic says it has hired the inventor of the hashtag, Chris Messina, to lead the charge for west coast business development.

Republic is a multi-vertical online investment platform that offers securities crowdfunding for early-stage investments, real-estate, gaming, crypto, and more. Messina is expected to boost Republic’s business development to connect entrepreneurs to the Republic ecosystem. Republic founder and CEO Kendrick Nguyen calls Messina “one in a million.”

“His years of experience building startups, advising companies and advocating for the future of technology are unmatched. He will deliver world-class guidance to our startup founders as they take advantage of Republic’s equity crowdfunding offerings.”

Messina is credited with introducing the hashtag to Twitter – a feature that is now widely utilized by Twitter’s millions of users. Since its introduction, the hashtag has been adopted by Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more. Messina is also the top-ranked product hunter on Product Hunt, part of AngelList – Republic’s sister platform. Messina is well-known in Silicon Valley, having worked at both Uber and Google, and is a regular speaker at tech-focused conferences.

Messina commented on the announcement saying he has been committed to openness and transparency in technology throughout his career, and the vision for Republic is perfectly aligned with these values:

“Republic has made financing tomorrow’s great companies simple, straightforward and accessible to millions of people who previously had little to no access to the success of these compelling investment opportunities. I’m looking forward to being a part of the Republic story.”

Since platform launch, Republic has facilitated more than $300 million in funding. Recent improvements to the exempt offering ecosystem in the US, including raising the funding cap under Reg CF to $5 million, have increased investing on the platform. The platform has global aspirations as the transition from analog venture investing migrates to online investment platforms with many securities offerings available to non-accredited investors.

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Online Lender EstateGuru Reports that Estonia and Germany were its Most Active Markets in May 2021



The team at Estateguru, an online lending platform that offers retail investors the ability to back loans secured by property, reveals that it financed €16.8M worth of loans last month.

As mentioned in EstateGuru‘s loan portfolio overview report, the most active markets were Estonia and Germany – with reported loan volumes of €6.8M and €5.0M, respectively.

As noted in the update from EstateGuru:

“Despite the fact that the holiday period has started, we still expect the monthly funding levels to remain at over €15.0M as healthy demand in the real estate market supports the need for loan capital.”

EstateGuru platform borrowers repaid a total of €8.9M of loans (total of 98 loans with an average return of 10,8%) during the month of May.

The company also noted that during the last months, their monthly repayment amount has been almost 2x lower than the financed loan amount. According to the firm, the main reason is “the growth of the German market, where the portfolio is young and maturity dates have not yet been reached.” As noted in the report, a positive aspect related to this is that their “late and defaulted loan portfolio has not increased (which means no negative effect on the repayments).”

The EstateGuru team pointed out that the default rate surged to 8.2% and they now have “the first defaulted case in Sweden.”

One Finnish defaulted loan “will be recovered in June as we have accepted an offer from an investor who will buy our assets from the bankrupt estate,” the company confirmed while adding that the Latvian market has now stabilized – “the late loan amount is below 4% and there have been no new defaulted loans in the last two months.”

As mentioned in the report from EstateGuru:

“One of the Estonian defaulted loans, where we waited for repayment (successful auction), has now been recovered (€0.2M). Also, two other recoveries (total €0,2M) occurred in Estonia during the past month.”

As stated in the report:

  • Total financed loans since 2014 – 375.4 Million Euros
  • Total Repaid loans since 2014 – 217.7 Million Euros
  • Total outstanding portfolio – 157.7 Million Euros
  • Total outstanding defaulted loans – 12.9 Million Euros

They also confirmed:

  • Total number of outstanding defaulted loans – 94
  • Default Rate (Outstanding loans) – 8.2%
  • Default Rate (total Financed loans) – 3.4%
  • Total amount of Recovered loans – 10.6 Million Euros
  • Total number of Recovered loans – 62
  • Average return rate of recovered loans – 9.9%
  • Average time from default to recovery – 8 months

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