最有看点的互联网金融门户

最有看点的互联网金融门户
全新的互联网金融模式国际资讯

为什么说美国在扼杀互联网金融?

据世界经济论坛报道,互联网金融能为全球小企业弥补近2亿元的融资缺口,这无疑将极大地增强全球整体创业能力。美国拥有世界上最慷慨、最具天赋的一群风险投资人,但是他们对互联网金融却并不感冒。刚刚收到10亿美元投资的SoFi是个例外,然而从总体上来看,美国还是无法为互联网金融公司打造一个更为广阔、健康的商业生态。而大洋彼岸的英国或许可以为美国提供一些经验:

1.监管的好与坏

"监管扼杀创新!"--人们常常这么说,但是却并没能真正理解其中的含义。监管的确可能会扼杀创新,但如果实施合理,同样也可以帮助企业成长。国际律师事务所Taylor Wessing指出:英国的监管和核准不仅明确有效,而且始终对改革展示出开明的态度。

与之相比,美国的监管部门却分布得太过广泛,支付领域尤其如此。在美国,不光各州之间的监管法律不同,各州与联邦层面的也各有差异。牌照申请信息不通畅同样让从业者感到困惑。而公司的业务种类、所属州、服务的地理区块不同也会造成许可申请的差异。而且这种困惑还会因其他因素加剧,比如像赌博网站之类的应该具备资金划拨许可,但在实际中却没有规定。这种困惑迟早都会导致互联网金融企业遭受大额罚款。

2. 流程简化

因为是辩论,所以让我们假设美国和欧洲是相似的个体--都是由小国/各州组成的联邦。目前在美国,某个州颁发的牌照只在这个州有效。要想符合所有州的法律并在全国提供服务,你可能得再申请47个牌照或者许可。显然,这种低效、碎片化的牌照程序从一开始就限制了机构成长。

而在欧洲,在欧盟任意一个国家申请到的牌照在其他国家都通用。也就是说,如果你在伦敦设立了公司,那么就可以直接在柏林、马德里、巴黎和罗马运营。这也意味着支付主导的互联网金融企业在欧洲的成长速度将远超美国。

3. 政府支持

英国政府协助组建了非盈利的互联金融行业多方协调平台Innovate Finance。这个组织还在随后提出了《英国互联网金融2020》宣言,意欲让英国在5年之内成为世界互联网金融行业的引领者。英国首相卡梅伦更是任命了美国风投家Eileen Burbidge为该行业的大使,以保证英国互联网金融能够实现持续性发展。此外,英国甚至鼓励互联网金融公司尽早合规,以便未来能引领监管政策、简化行业流程。英国政府深知互联网金融对经济增长的巨大影响力,而互联网金融企业也十分珍惜政府的支持,因为这些支持帮助他们获得了消费者的信赖。

反观美国,似乎整个互联网金融领域反而变得越来越繁杂。美国的政治体制是非常分散的,所以要想扶持一项新兴产业也并不容易,因为利益方数量和游说能力都太大了。由于最近硅谷和美国国家安全局的不合,民众普遍不相信政府会卷入科技事件中去。今年早些日子,没有一家科技公司接受总统奥巴马网络安全会议的邀请,这足以说明要修复两者之间的关系还需要大量工作。

4. 城市环境

美国独特的地理环境也不利于创业公司发展。在英国,尽管伦敦物价昂贵,但传媒产业、政治、金融和法律都挤在那几公里内,人脉和专业人才都在手边上。金丝雀码头的金融区就对39号的互联网金融孵化器极具吸引力,因为它能迅速提供世界上最顶尖的金融人才。

再看看美国:金融中心在纽约,文化传媒在洛杉矶,监管机构在芝加哥,政治中心在华盛顿。虽然单个城市在特定领域都拥有极大的优势,但一旦出现产业变革,就会导致整个城市的衰败,底特律就是一个最好的例子。硅谷能提供大量的技术和创业人才,但他们不懂金融。而互联网金融需要专业领域跨幅更大的人才才能持续发展。其他一些欧洲国家也面临着这样的问题,比如德国的科技中心在柏林,而金融中心却在法兰克福。

5. 创业成本低

从牌照数量、审计和申请时间来看,美国的互联网金融公司大概需要200万美元和2年时间才能起步。在英国以及欧洲其他国家,所需的资金和时间则要少得多。据英国智慧城市网站估算,设立在伦敦的互联网金融公司能享受税收优惠和成长关怀计划,比如员工数量少于500人公司就可以获得研发费用抵税的优惠政策。

除此之外,英国的相关法规更加简明,所以在伦敦申请互联网金融运营牌照所需的时间也更少,大约在6个月内就可以完成整个流程。一般观点都认为美国是商业环境最好的国家,但在英国,你只要用四分之一的时间就能创立一家互联网金融公司。

我们该怎么办?

大家都知道美国是世界上对新生企业家最友好的国家,但它也在"极尽所能"地为一个全新行业的发展设下重重阻碍。这种互联网金融生长环境的劣势目前并不能说明什么。但是投资却不会永远持续下去。所以美国必须有所行动,加快支持互联网金融行业发展。毕竟,互联网金融有助于小微企业繁荣,而小微企业又是所有经济体的活力之源。

The World Economic Forum recently reported that the fintech industry can close a $2 trillion funding gap for small businesses globally. If given the right conditions, the industry can therefore power entrepreneurship the world over. Yet the United States, home to some of the most generous and talented VCs in the world, is killing this industry. Fintech, which is doing great things to the economies of other countries, such as the UK and Germany, is undermined at every turn in the US.

One-offs happen, like SoFi, which received $1 billion in investment recently. But the US is not playing to any of its strengths and is failing to build a healthy ecosystem for fintech companies more broadly. Here are five key lessons the US can learn from the UK on this front:

1. Good regulation vs. bad regulation

‘Regulation kills innovation!’ The progressive’s war cry might be memorable, but it is deeply misguided. Regulation can kill innovation, but if implemented properly, it can support growth. International law firm Taylor Wessing explains that not only is UK regulation and authorization clear and efficient, it is even open to collaborative reform.

Compare that with the US. There is a highly fragmented regulatory sector, particularly in regards to payment. Not only do regulatory laws differ between states and at the federal level, definitions do. This causes confusion, particularly in the payments sector, with precise licensing information lacking. Licenses vary depending on business type, US state, and which geographical area they serve. And that confusion is compounded by the fact that certain businesses that should qualify for money transmitter licenses actually don’t, such as gambling sites. This confusion will likely lead to large penalties for fintechs later down the line.

2. Simplification

For argument’s sake, let’s say the US and EU are similar entities – both federations made up of smaller constituent states. Now, in the US, the license you obtain in one state to become a money-serving business applies only to that state. To comply with laws of all states and be able to provide your services in the entire country, you will likely need to apply for 47 additional licenses and authorizations. This is clearly an inefficient and fragmented licensing procedure that limits an organization from the outset.

Meanwhile, in Europe a constituent member of the European Union may ‘passport’ the licensing rights obtained in one country to another, meaning they can set up their business in London and work in Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome without the need for further licenses. This means a payment-oriented fintech can grow in Europe much quicker than in the US.

3. Government support

The UK government helped form Innovate Finance, a not-for-profit platform for fintechs that acts as an all-purpose lobby for the industry. Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the lobby’s manifesto entitled UK Fintech 2020, which aims to make the UK a fintech world leader in the next five years. He even appointed a special envoy — American VC Eileen Burbidge — to the sector to ensure that its phenomenal growth in the country continues. The UK even encourages fintechs to comply with regulation early so they can influence regulation in the future and simplify the sector. The government knows fintechs will boost the economy, and fintechs value government support as it helps create consumer trust.

The US, by contrast, makes things much more complicated. Its political system is more decentralized, and it struggles to support new industries as the number of conflicting parties and lobbies is enormous. There is also general distrust about government involvement in tech affairs due to the recent putsch between Silicon Valley and the NSA. Tech companies snubbed President Obama’s invitation to a cyber-security conference earlier this year, demonstrating that there is much work needed to repair this relationship.

4. Cities

The very geography of the country is against US startups. In the UK, despite London being relatively expensive, the media industry, politics, finance and law all jostle together in the same few miles. Networking and expertise are ready-at-hand, and there is no shortage of opportunity to build alliances and partnerships and to access the expertise you need. The financial area of Canary Wharf is particularly attractive for fintech incubator Number 39, as it provides access to the world’s best financial talent immediately.

Now think of the US: Finance in New York, media in Los Angeles, regulators in Chicago, politics in Washington D.C. While this creates massive advantages for individual cities in certain sectors, it can also lead to decline if the industry changes – like Detroit, for example. While Silicon Valley provides tech and startup expertise, that’s not solely what fintech is about; it requires a more diverse talent ecosystem to survive. London has a similar advantage over other European nations such as Germany, with its tech center in Berlin and its financial center in Frankfurt.

5. Low startup costs

It’s been estimated that fintechs need $2 million and two years to start up in the US – given the number of licenses, audits, and waiting times required to comply with existing legislation. In the UK and the rest of Europe, you need much less money and time. Tech City UK estimates that London-based fintech startups benefit from tax breaks and schemes designed to foster growth, such as the R&D tax scheme, which assists companies that employ fewer than 500 people.

What’s more, in London, a company requires much less time to process licenses, given that the rules are much clearer in the first place. This means you can reasonably expect to go from idea to operation within the space of six months. Now, I know that the US is normally considered the best home for business, but in the UK, you can set up a fintech in a quarter of the time.

What to do?

Everyone knows the US is the friendliest country in the world for budding entrepreneurs. Yet, here it is doing everything it can to ensure an entire industry has the most difficult route to success. Lagging behind European nations in creating hospitable conditions for fintech might not mean much right now, but investment — no matter how stupendous — will not last forever, and the US should be more fleet-footed in supporting the industry. After all, fintech helps small businesses prosper, and these are the lifeblood of any economy.


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