Welcome to FinTech Monthly, your roundup of last month’s top financial technology news, brought to you by Tech City News and Gowling WLG. We filmed this episode from the office of online wealth manager Nutmeg.
Our hosts Nutmeg added a further £12m to its Series D round in December, bringing the round’s total to £42m.
The funding came from Taipei Fubon Bank, a subsidiary of Taiwan’s second largest financial services firm.
Insurance tech, robo-advisors and digital-only banks are some of the areas of FinTech increasingly attracting media and investor attention. That’s according to The FinTech Ecosystem Report by BI Intelligence.
The report claimed robo-advisors will manage $8 trillion in global assets by 2020.
I asked Alasdair McKenzie from Gowling WLG about the FinTech trends he expects to see in 2017.
He said: “I’ve got three macro predictions. The first is sector consolidation. Start-ups making progress in data and analytics, investment research and regtech will be ripe for acquisition or partnership as incumbents seek short-cuts to enhanced customer offerings.
“My second prediction relates to digital currency. Ether could become a truly scalable and energy-efficient global digital currency this year if a proof-of-stake protocol (as opposed to the current proof-of-work protocol) is introduced successfully by the Ethereum community.
“Thirdly, I predict the InsurTech funding surge will slow as early pioneers have to prove real customer metrics to get Series B and C investment. In addition, usage-based insurance that provides coverage at the tap of a smartphone also looks ready to rise.”
BNP Paribas blockchain
BNP Paribas completed its first real-time blockchain payments. This followed the bank’s announcement in September that it was co-developing new products and services with a number of clients, aiming to design the next generation of Transaction Banking and Cash Management products with blockchain technology.
Sticking with distributed ledger technology news, New York-based blockchain startup Axoni raised $18m. The Series A round, which was led by Wells Fargo and Euclid Opportunities, also featured investment from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Thomson Reuters and others.
And finally, Barclaycard trialled a self-service beer pump with built-in contactless payment capabilities in a London pub.
The special pump enables drinkers to pay for their beer with the tap of their contactless payment card or NFC-enabled mobile device.