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SoFi推出全新对冲基金子公司

大约一周前,有消息称SoFi可能会推出房地产投资信托基金。而据我们现在了解到的情况,SoFi对冲基金已经正式面世。这家新公司(SoFi Credit Opportunities Fund LLC)将投资由SoFi平台发起的贷款项目,但同时也可能会从竞争对手平台购买贷款。《华尔街日报》指出,其实早在今年一月下旬, SoFi就已经向美国证券交易委员会提交了基金申请所需的Form D。

该基金在二月份启动,起始总额1500万美元。但SoFi首席执行官Mike Cagney表示,基金体量会在短期内迅速增加到5亿甚至10亿美元。该基金将收取收益25%的业绩费,当然前提是收益超过短期国债利率3个百分点。据我们了解,该基金的资金中至少有一半可以通过其他平台进行投资。

该基金与Lending Club的 LC Advisors基金相似,后者管理着超过10亿美元的资产,并被动选择购买平台自有的贷款。从某种意义上说, SoFi的新机构也类似Funding Circle SME Income Fund,它为投资者提供渠道以进入该平台的全球中小企业贷款组合。不过关键的区别在于,Funding Circle fund为上市载体。近期市场传言表明一家美国大型市场贷款公司正积极考虑在英国推出封闭式基金。

这些年来,SoFi一直都走在资本市场创新融资替代领域的最前沿。该平台已在证券化方面有所作为,而且正如上面提到的, SoFi还可能尝试推出房地产投资信托,这将是全球市场上贷款领域的第一家。

SoFi为借款人提供了巨大优惠的利率借款,其运营模式具有巨大的突破性,但为了有效地发挥作用就需要一个恒定流动的成本低资本。正式这种需求推动了SoFi独特而多变的筹款方法。

《华尔街日报》将在市场贷款部门内“减弱投资者的利益”归为SoFi新基金成立背后的主要推动力。市场波动性、监管问题(如Madden与Midland saga的斗争)、在线借贷领域股价下跌都可能会导致投资者利益缩减。

SoFi八月从SoftBank募集了10亿美元,公司市场估值在40亿美元。12月中旬,SoFi借款总额成功跨越60亿美元大关,而冲破40亿美元大关也是9月份才完成的。如此迅猛的增长速度需要持续增长的现金流随其增长,而Credit Opportunities fund无疑将会成为解决难题的一个重要部分。

Less than a week removed from the news that SoFi might be looking to roll out a REIT, we now learn that the platform has launched a hedge fund. The new vehicle – the SoFi Credit Opportunities Fund LLC – will invest in loans originated by the SoFi platform, but may, in time, come to purchase loans from its competitors. The Wall Street Journal broke the news yesterday evening. SoFi appears to have filed a Form D with the SEC for the fund in late January.

The fund launched in February with $15m in the pot, but SoFi CEO Mike Cagney has told the WSJ that its assets could quickly multiply to $500m or even $1 billion. The Credit Opportunities Fund will charge a performance fee of 25% on returns, but only after those returns top a hurdle rate of 3 percentage points plus the rates of short-term government debt. We understand that at least half of the fund’s capital may be deployed via other platforms.

The fund is not dissimilar in style Lending Club’s LC Advisors vehicle, which holds over $1bn in assets under management, and which buys a selection of the platform’s own loans on a passive basis. In a sense the new SoFi vehicle is also similar to the Funding Circle SME Income Fund, which provides investors access to the platform’s global SME loan portfolio. The crucial difference here, of course, is that the Funding Circle fund is a listed vehicle. Recent market rumblings would suggest that one of the big US marketplace lenders is actively considering a Closed End Fund launch in the UK.

SoFi has been at the forefront of capital markets innovation within the alternative finance space. The platform has been prolific in the securitisation space, and – as mentioned above – appears to be on the verge of launching a real estate investment trust, which would be a first within the global marketplace lending space.

SoFi offers great rates to great borrowers – as explained during a recent 30 second Super Bowl advertising slot. The model is a truly disruptive one, but one which requires a constant flow of low-cost capital in order to function effectively. That need has driven a unique and varied approach to fundraising.

The WSJ alluded to “waning investor interest” within the marketplace lending sector as the primary impetus behind the new SoFi fund. Market volatility, regulatory concerns (such as the Madden vs. Midland saga) and declining share prices in the online lending space could be contributing to this so-called decline.

SoFi raised $1bn from SoftBank in August, valuing the company at $4bn. The platform soared past the $6bn mark in cumulative lending volume in mid December 2015. The $4bn mark was topped as recently as Septemeber. So astronomical a rate of origination growth requires a constant flow of capital to keep pace with. The Credit Opportunities fund could become an important piece of the puzzle.


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