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Prosper Acquires BillGuard

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sf_cityThere was a time when peer-to-peer lending networks were considered fringe. Once purely described as marketplace lending, these networks allow nonbank institutions to lend to people and businesses online. But the way consumers’ access loans have evolved since then. For years these networks have grown in loans underwritten. In JP Morgan’s April letter to shareholders, CEO Jamie Dimon warned about Silicon Valley’s encroachment in traditional banking. With revenue growth draws competition and peer-to-peer lenders are beginning to find ways to differentiate by offering complementary services.

Peer-to-peer lending giant Prosper Marketplace acquired Israel-based BillGuard, a crowdsourced security app for personal financial management. Numerous media sources reported the deal price to be US$ 30 million in cash with some equity. Prosper did the deal for a number of valid reasons. The first reason is BillGuard’s foreseeable integration onto Prosper’s platform, offering an ancillary service to its customer base. Second is access to diversified talent. Third, BillGuard touts a community of 1.3 million registered users and flags unauthorized charges – giving Prosper exposure to the cybersecurity market and helping indirectly lower default rates (better cash management).

In January 2015, Prosper acquired American Healthcare Lending, a patient-financing platform, for US$ 21 million.

Why BlackRock Angled the EU Toward a Massive Supranational Pension Fund

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BlackRock is the world’s largest asset management firm and the company wields tremendous political power whether operating in the United States, Mexico, and parts of Europe. Before the populist wave that led to Brexit, BlackRock bet large in Europe by increasing headcount and lobbying efforts. By 2015, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink proposed the formation of a cross-border personal pension fund for Europe. Fink was keenly aware of the Capital Markets Union project that was revealed in July 2014 by European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. For BlackRock, why compete in each eurozone country when you can possibly win a mandate for the whole pie of Europe. The European pension fund market is hyper-competitive for asset management firms. Other asset managers like Vanguard have lobbied Brussels over issues like the cross-border distribution of funds, but data shows that BlackRock is far more active than its U.S. peers.

EU’s Definition of PEPP

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Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority Seeks to Restructure

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Malaysia’s Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA), a government agency, is looking to restructure its investment holdings in a bid to reduce debt. The restructuring on the real estate side started in the middle of 2017. The government agency wants to lower its debts of 8.03 billion MYR (US$ 1.94 billion) down to 6.5 billion MYR. The restructuring could take over two years.

FELDA is seeking to dispose of assets which includes real estate in London. FELDA is an investor in student housing in London through its main unit called Felda Investment Corporation (UK properties owned by FIC UK Properties Sdn Bhd). [ Content protected for Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute Standard subscribers only. Please subscribe to view content. ]

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Former Iran Central Bank Governor Banned from Leaving Country

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Iran remains in a very fragile financial state as more Iranian bank loans appear to delinquent, while the currency continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar. State-run Tasnim news agency reported that Valiollah Seif, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Iran, is banned from leaving Iran. Seif is under investigation by the Iranian government over possible corruption in the currency market. Some of the central bank’s deputies have been arrested. Abdolnaser Hemmati replaced Valiollah Seif as central bank governor in July 2018. Valiollah Seif was dismissed from his post as governor.

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