by: Grow VC Group
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Rather than trying to supplant banking and venture capital, a collaborative model is emerging where digital platforms work side by side with traditional investors.

Today we take a a look at the investor side of the alternative finance market, which is comprised of both retail and institutional investors. We foresee that equity crowdfunding, like debt-based P2P lending, will continue to evolve and attract ever more institutional investors going forward, boosting deal volumes and injecting more professionalism in the market.

The slashing of interest rates globally in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis pushed retail investors to look to non-traditional investments to boost returns. This major development boosted the popularity of the alternative finance market as an asset class. Since then, the increased access afforded by the online investment model has meant that the industry has secured its position alongside more traditional asset classes, drawing the interest of institutional investors.

As it stands, the investor side of the alternative finance market, incorporating both debt and equity, is made up of both retail and institutional investors. As the alternative finance market moves upstream, drawing larger more established SME issuers, institutions are becoming more involved. These institutions are investing in the space both through platforms and in the platforms themselves.

Retail investment into the P2P market has been primarily driven by the low interest rates available globally on bank deposits. When factoring in inflation rates, the picture for savers becomes even worse. In the UK for example, with interest rates at 0.5% after the financial crisis and inflation at around 2% up until recently, in real terms, capital deposited in banks was decreasing in value. Compared to the rates on offer from various different P2P platforms during the same period, it is easy to see why alternative lending has become so popular for consumers.

Thus far the alternative finance sector has seen a divisive split between the characteristics and development of equity versus debt-focused platforms. Debt platforms have outpaced equity offerings in the pace at which they have been adopted by institutional investors. In fact, many P2P lenders, such as Lending Club, Funding Circle, and Prosper, already have direct funding lines to banks. Arguably one of the reasons that the P2P lending market is comparatively more advanced than the equity crowdfunding market is that the offering is more advanced for institutional investors. Tools are more complete and allow institutions to more easily analyse investments, assess risk and execute deals. Platforms such as Orchard and PeerIQ, make the investment process simpler and more transparent. The short-term returns available through platform-based lending should also not be overlooked as a factor driving this trend. The ready adoption by institutional investors helps explain why debt platforms have received more media attention and outsized valuations, such as Lending Club’s $6.42Bn valuation as of June 2015. However, equity platforms now look set to catch up with debt platforms as they increasingly attract institutional investment.

All of this informs our view that equity crowdfunding, like debt-based P2P lending, is going to attract ever more institutional investment moving forward, boosting deal volumes and professionalising the market. Some institutional investors may even go a step further, investing in the space by buying the platforms themselves.

Interested in reading more unique insights and case studies in this space? Click here to download our flagship Democratising Finance, Alternative Finance Demystified Report.

Read the whole article on DealIndex Blog.

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Grow VC Group The Grow VC Group is the world leading, global pioneer of securities crowd funding, peer to peer marketplaces, new investment models and global business development. Established in 2009, the Group has developed new investment models on six continents and continues to innovate the global market.

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This entry was posted on Sunday, November 8th, 2015 at 3:00 pm and is filed under Business Updates. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.