Tag Archives: New York

LFP096 – A Deep Dive into Marketplaces in the Fintech Age with David Mercer CEO LMAX Exchange

Which UK FIntech does $3trn of business per annum and are in 7 countries? Well I guess for readers on the website the pic above is a bit of a hint. David Mercer CEO LMAX Exchange joins us today to dive into the subject of marketplaces which have been a fundamental part of culture forever and a fundamental part of Fintech as a mechanism for connecting buyer and seller more efficiently.

LMAX Exchange’s claim is that they are leading the global FX industry transformation to transparent and fair execution. Sounds good but before we get around to that we look in depth at Marketplaces per se.

Topics discussed in the episode include:  Continue reading

LFP058 – Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs): Tutorial, Bitcoin, Blockchain & Fintech with Laurent Kssis CEC Capital

CEC Capital

Today I have the pleasure to be joined today by Laurent Kssis MD of CEC Capital who has worked in the ETF industry for 14years. We’ve spent a few episodes recently in the heady heights of the super-big picture so let’s get back to the coalface and dive in depth into an important area of FS.

ETFs – Exchange Traded Funds – have been many times on the London Fintech Podcast, always in passing, so I thought it was more than overdue to attack them head on.

Like Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth ETFs are the thing that haunt the whole Investment Management Fintech scene … if, in essence, you can gain exposure to equity markets in a balanced way via a vehicle with minimal fees what exactly is there for Investment Management Fintech to disrupt?

Laurent KssisLaurent certainly has feet in both #oldFS and #newFS camps being the non-exec chairman of the Blockchain investment company Coinsilium. So he is the ideal expert to talk to us about this sector today.

Conceptually ETFs started life as traded funds – if you like index-tracker investment trusts – although why they weren’t just called investment trusts is a question for Laurent. According to wikipedia since 1993 in the US where they were first created an unbelievable $3trn have been invested in them. They have also moved a long way from their origin as index-trackers with (quoting wiki) “By the end of 2015 ETFs offered 1,800 different products covering almost every conceivable market sector, niche and trading strategy”.

So that’s ETFs per se. But like everywhere in FS the wave of innovation that is Fintech is lapping on many shores. If ETFs have inhibited the growth of one area of Fintech what is Fintech doing to them? Listeners will certainly get their money’s worth today as we range from a tutorial on the basics of ETFs through Bitcoin ETFs to blockchain – a huge waterfront.

Topics discussed include:

– how Laurent’s career led him to being an expert on ETFs and progressing that into hot areas like Bitcoin and Blockchain

– the relevance of the “transition management” world [what happens when one fund manager takes over eg a pension fund from another]

– an ETF is a “marketable investment vehicle that allows you to buy and sell during trading hours of the Exchange a basket of stock/bonds/commodities through a single share”

– comparing and contrasting investment trusts and ETFs; management fees, transparency, NAV calculation, premia/discount ranges

– the multiplicity of ETFs eg there are around 50 different ones on the Euro Stoxx 50; different exchanges, currencies, market timezones leading for challenges for  market makers in setting prices, hedging themselves etc

– “trading channel” effectively the arbitrage channel is the range in which ETFs trade compared to their underlying components; over a decade ago this could have been as much as 10%/+5% to -5% (“quite extortionate”) but then illiquid, hard to hedge against;

– this changed rapidly when institutions started to get involved in larger size

– management fees (“TER” – total expense ratio) typically, on ETFs such as Euro Stoxx 50, have gone from ~0.65% a decade ago to ~0.12% today

– ETFs are allowed in ISAs, SIPPs, 401k

– in 401k’s over 50% of the investments are in ETFS (!)

– ETFs are UCITS compliant (which allows passporting into Europe), registered mostly in Ireland and “tax-advantageous” locations (Jersey/Guernsey/Luxembourg)

– ETFs are open-ended they can increase in size at any point (depending on demand:supply); how this is done

– ETFs are undergoing a huge explosion in diversity – you can buy almost anything via ETFs – gold silver, precious metals, industrial metals, agricultural products

the huge opportunity for Fintech in providing a more up-to-date angle to investing in these; the tendency of the first wave of Investment Management Fintech to just replicate investing in the same boring old stuff as existing I.M. firms (core equity markets and bonds for example)

– a whole interesting tale about Bitcoin ETFs and what Laurent learned on that journey – you’ll have to listen to hear that tale 😉 …

– the difference between ETFs and ETNs (Exchange Traded Notes)

– the recent Bitcoin hacking through BitFinex and how it differs from last years MT Gox; a high quality exchange, the role of regulation in re; hot wallets and cold wallets – a painful tale all round 🙁

– blockchain versus bitcoin

ETFs were new once and have been a great success – what can Fintech learn from that (you’ll have to listen ;-)) …

– ETFs have had a rough ride too – from journalists to scandals…

– an overview of Coinsilium – the world’s first listed blockchain publically listed investment company

And much much more 🙂

Share and enjoy!


LFP017 – Innovation Bridge Building between Startups and Incumbents with Samad Masood of Accenture


Innovation may be great but it leads to challenges – for #newFS how to get it out there (I think the “how to do it” is going well right now”).  For #oldFS the challenge is “how to absorb it”.

This bridging is being done by both new and established firms. In LFP002 Warren Bond of matchi.biz (a smallco/fintech) discussed their dating/database approach to bridge.  In this episode Samad Masood who previously ran Accenture’s Fintech Innovation Lab and is now Open Innovation Lead at Accenture shares his experience of how a big, established player sees this challenge.

Samad has a deep background in this area having been involved in reporting on the startups just as the dot-com bubble was hitting its peak.  One of the key takeaways from that experience for him was that “the best technologies aren’t always the best businesses” – a lesson which needs to be borne in mind in the current boom. A further lesson was that innovation has a great impact than people expect but it also takes longer than they expect.

The fintech stone has been lobbed into a very large pool and the ripples have spread far. Accenture is a multinational management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Measured by revenues, the world’s largest consulting firm and has over 300,000 staff.

Notwithstanding this “large oil tanker” scale it has proved remarkably nimble and agile in orientating itself to the new world (and perhaps see their Ad above). Its reports on Fintech investment patterns are the most widely quoted of all. It was perhaps the first to set up a fintech accelerator program (in New York in 2012) which is now in NY, London, HK and now Dublin.

In terms of bridge building Samad describes his threefold topology of Fintechs: Continue reading

LFP015 – Special Episode! The Amazing Story of US P2P With Peter Renton of Lend Academy


This is a mega-episode Xmas present special for London Fintech Podcast listeners 🙂  The world of Fintech has changed forever with this month’s successful twin IPOs on the NYSE of Lending Club and On Deck – both with valuations in ten figures.  It’s certainly an epochal shift for Alternative Finance Lending & Borrowing (P2P) around the world.

UK Fintech does not exist in a vacuum and it’s important to understand how other markets are evolving.  Naturally in a world of globalisation the US market and New York in particular are perhaps the most important “must knows” for anyone on the UK Fintech scene.

Above and beyond that the story of the US P2P is a cracker – the more I drilled into it the more that “fact” turned out to be once again better than “fiction” – and in this case more entertaining in terms of the twists and turns on the road.

I am delighted to be joined today by a man supremely able to tell that story from many angles.  As a commentator on the scene Peter Renton has been blogging for several years about the US P2P scene – long before it was hot and fashionable.  As an investor he has been an active participant and experienced its evolution first hand.

From his initial personal interest has grown a range of businesses – Peter is the founder of Lend Academy, co-founder of Lend Academy Investments, and co-founder of LendIt Conference which albeit mostly active in the US, had a very successful recent conference in the UK (you can see some great videos of the UK P2P presentations here) and one this year in Shanghai.  He has written a short, free e-book on the US P2P market which is freely available for download here.  He – clearly a busy guy – also finds the time to fit in a great podcast on the US P2P scene (search for “Lend Academy” on iTunes/Android App).

We have a wide-ranging conversation about the history of US P2P, the present and possible futures. We also discuss similarities and differences with the UK P2P market, what the UK market should be grateful for – and we don’t actually discuss where it’s falling behind – but how many UK multi-billion IPOs were there in December? 😉

Threading through this is one of the best stories out there about US P2P.  Superficial surfers might be tempted to think its just “the same old” US tech success story. Continue reading