UK govt backs British fintech with foreign outreach project
The UK government has laid out plans to take a proactive role in promoting the interests of British fintechs on the international stage.
Managed by the Department for International Trade, Leading Edge is a new programme designed to connect international banks with Britain’s leading financial technology sector, particularly in burgeoning segments such as regtech, robotic process automation (RPA) and AI.
Around 1600 fintechs based in the UK generate £11bn annually, nearly double the £6.6bn in 2015, and account for around 8% of total financial services output.
First deals in Singapore
The scheme will initially target ‘priority markets’ including the United States, Australia and Singapore, where a handful of deals have already been cut with three major banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB.
Gerry Grimstone, the UK’s Minister for Investment who this week attended and spoke at the Singapore Fintech Festival alongside HM Trade Commissioner for Asia Pacific Natalie Black CBE, says: “The digital adoption and transformation support offered by the UK’s leading firms will enable International Financial Institutions to remain not only competitive but also a viable part of the financial services sector of tomorrow.
"I welcome the launch of Leading Edge,” he adds, “which will give these global firms in our partner countries, including Singapore, the opportunity to collaborate with and benefit from the UK’s world leading fintech expertise.”
In a statement launching Leading Edge, the government said it was ‘working closely with Singapore’, and would continue efforts to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact between nations in Asia Pacific and North America.
The announcement comes on the eve of the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.
As Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ministers scramble to secure international trade deals, European commission president Ursula von der Leyen today poured cold water on prospects of a ‘deal’ Brexit. From a last-minute summit in Brussels, von Der Layen reportedly said there was a “higher probability for no deal than deal”. Negotiations will continue until Sunday after the deadline was earlier this week extended by 72 hours.
Amber Group Valued at US$1bn in $100m Funding Round
Amber Group, a cryptocurrency financial services firm, has raised US$100m in a Series B funding round at a pre-money valuation of $1bn.
The funding round was led by Chinese investment firm China Renaissance, and other participants in the Series B include Tiger Brokers, Tiger Global Management, Arena Holdings, Tru Arrow Partners, Sky9 Capital, DCM Ventures and Gobi Partners. Existing investors Pantera Capital, Coinbase Ventures and Blockchain.com also joined in.
Michael Wu, co-founder and CEO of Amber Group said in a statement that the funding would be used to “expand global operations to meet client demand and develop market solutions for the world’s leading crypto investors and companies.”
“We’ve had record months over the past quarter across both client flow and on-exchange market-making volumes,” Wu said in a press release. “Our cumulative trading volumes have doubled from $250 billion since the beginning of the year to over $500 billion.”
Cryptocurrencies are becoming increasingly popular, with many people investing, although not everyone seems to know what they are investing in. Using survey data collected from 750 investors earlier this year, Cardify found that only 16.9% of investors who have bought crypto “fully understand” the value and potential of cryptocurrency, while 33.5% of buyers have either zero knowledge about the space or would call their level of understanding “emerging.”
Who is Amber Group?
Amber Group is a global crypto finance service provider with a presence in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Vancouver. Founded in 2017, Amber Group services over 500 institutional clients and has cumulatively traded over $330 billion across 100+ electronic exchanges, with over $1 billion in assets under management. The company said that its assets under management, or AUM, reached $530 million in 2020, representing a 275% increase from the previous year.
Instead of being a cryptocurrency exchange that allows users to trade individual digital coins, Amber Group CEO Michael Wu said the company is bringing a “private banking experience to the everyday customer.”
Their goal is to optimise investment flexibility, maximise investment returns and deliver long-lasting value for their clients. In 2019, Amber Group raised $28 million in Series A funding led by global crypto heavyweights Paradigm and Pantera Capital, with participation from Polychain Capital, Dragonfly Capital, Blockchain.com, Fenbushi Capital, and Coinbase Ventures.