In particular the talk covered the following topics:
- The history of crowdfunding and the current shape of the market in the UK
- Different types of crowdfunding
- The reasons for the growth of crowdfunding
- Political approaches to crowdfunding including European Commission thinking
- The regulator's response: FCA's proposed approach; the SEC's proposed approach; recently released IOSCO comments in its February 2014 staff working paper
- Potential regulatory issues relating to crowdfunding in the UK, including a look at the consultation in relation to both loan-based and investment-based crowdfunding and its likely outcomes
- Future professionalisation of crowdfunding and opportunities for the City
The most engaging debates were around the potential applications of crowdfunding to larger asset classes beyond just startups and early-stage businesses.
Reflecting on the many co-investment models that are now in operation alongside crowdfunding, business lending and P2P lending platforms around the world, Paul described how there are also opportunities for funds and investment managers in this emerging industry. Crowd Valley sees applications where funds operate their own platforms, in order to access new investors and to gain efficiencies in handling back office transactions, and also others where those funds can act as cornerstone or passive co-investors, which invest alongside the crowd in a crowdfunding platform, in order to enable their investors to access a new investment risk-reward profile.