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

众筹能帮助为无服务人群实现普惠金融吗?

“众筹”是一系列通过技术手段实现的金融创新,极有可能覆盖无服务和缺少服务的人群。这种基于市场的融资是从大量个人来源募集小额资金,通常利用在线平台,将供应与需求配对,从而省去了传统的金融中介。众筹虽然有可能成为普惠金融的下一个重大举措,但也会给借款人和贷款人带来风险,因此,需要更好地了解和及时应对。

关于众筹,有两点是可以确定的:它在不断发展,它在快速增长——不仅是发达市场,也在所有收入水平国家。众筹产生自共享经济和社会投资的理念,根据对出资人的承诺划分,已形成四个主要类别:

  1. 捐赠型众筹,出资人不期望任何财务回报。
  2. 奖励型众筹,出资人预先购买产品或获得特别津贴作为奖励。
  3. 债务型众筹,出资人向其他个人或企业出借资金并收取利息作为回报。
  4. 股权型众筹,出资人可购买企业股权并在企业上市或并购时获得财务回报。

不过,这些类别之间的界限模糊,形成了多种混合模式,其中部分则严重依赖于机构投资者而非直接吸引“大众”。

尽管各类别增长不均,但所募集资金的总量却以令人吃惊的速度攀升,全球资金募集量预计从2012年的27亿美元增加至2015年的340亿美元。如此快速的增长是由于信贷需求旺盛和储蓄供应富足,而这两者则产生自多种因素,比如,全球金融危机后的信贷短缺、利息收益率低和技术进步。

由于众筹已经成为一种全球现象,不再只局限于发达国家,它对促进普惠金融的潜力因而吸引了国际开发机构的注意。二十国集团普惠金融全球合作伙伴关系(GPFI)此前出版的白皮书称,众筹能深化普惠金融,“可作为一种快速筹集资金的方式,监管要求或许很低;可实现成本效益,为贷款人带来良好的回报;潜在市场覆盖范围只受平台准入障碍和相应监管规定的限制。”

此外,众筹还有可能适应和融入一国特定的传统,体现出当地的社会文化模式(例如,M-Changa是一种捐赠型平台,将“Harambee”(社区集资)数字化),或是对开发计划加以利用(例如,Cheetah(猎豹)基金是目前已关闭的一项实验,结合了捐赠型配对基金和本地债务型众筹)。

政策制定者现在面临的一个关键问题是,如何对众筹进行监管,从而既能使其实现市场建设潜力,又能适当地管理随之而来的风险?这些潜在风险包括缺乏透明度、欺诈、平台违约、网络攻击等等。

为解决这一问题,很多国家都尝试通过法律和规定,为众筹建立明确的制度(例如,法国、德国、以色列、韩国、马来西亚、泰国、英国、美国),而其他国家预计也将很快推出(例如,澳大利亚、巴西、中国、印度、印度尼西亚、墨西哥、越南)。尽管规则广泛多样,但目的基本都是要在投资者保护、相关市场行为问题与众筹对促进经济增长的积极作用之间实现平衡,因此,主要关注的是供给侧(投资者、贷款人和其他出资人)面临的风险。随着众筹在低收入国家形成规模,开始覆盖较贫困的细分市场,也应对需求侧予以更多关注。

在此市场背景下,有必要说明的是,平台往往是众筹游戏中唯一“专业”且并非无私欲的一方,而投资者和借款人则常常是同等脆弱和缺乏经验的个人或小企业。在投资者一方,由于众筹的社会性质和所宣称的高回报率,它可能会吸引对此类金融产品缺乏经验而又不适合产品的消费者。与此类似,无经验的借款人也可能低估了自己必须遵守的规则(例如,披露和报告),可能并未完全理解股权分配的法律意义和未来需要“应付众多”债权人或相关利益方。以债务型众筹为例,借款人可能被操纵至其财务能力以外借款,却不了解过度负债风险、被征信机构列入黑名单和一系列可能面对的惩罚。

四年前,国际证券委员会组织称众筹是一个新生行业,尽管行业增长巨大,这一描述仍然正确。与更传统的机制相比,众筹在任何市场均尚未达到系统维度(就中介资金而言)。近期的发展提醒平台故障可能产生严重后果。使90万投资者损失逾70亿美元的e租宝是一个极端案例,但有可能并非唯一一个。

全球的政策制定者都应密切监控和随时准备干预现有的监管缺口,以确保众筹的持续增长是由于其创新和具有吸引力的本质,而不是因为监管套利或缺乏消费者保护。

“Crowdfunding” refers to a range of technology-enabled financial innovations that hold great promise to reach the unserved and underserved masses. The term describes market-based financing where small amounts of funds are raised from large numbers of individual sources, typically using online platforms to match supply with demand, thus bypassing traditional financial intermediaries. While crowdfunding has the potential to become the next big thing for financial inclusion, it brings along risks for both borrowers and lenders, which need to be better understood and timely addressed.

Two things are sure about crowdfunding: It is evolving, and it is growing at a very fast pace, not just in developed markets but in countries across the income spectrum. Emerging from notions of shared economy and social investment, crowdfunding has evolved into four main categories, distinguished by the promise made to the funder:

  1. Donations-based crowdfunding, in which funders do not expect any financial return.
  2. Rewards-based crowdfunding, where funders pre-buy the product or receive special perks as a reward.
  3. Debt-based crowdfunding, where funders lend money to other individuals or companies in return for interest payments.
  4. Equity-based crowdfunding, which allows funders to purchase equity in a company and earn a financial return if the company makes an exit through an initial public offering or acquisition.

We see lines blurring among these categories, however, with the creation of many hybrid models, some of which rely mostly on institutional investors rather than appealing directly to “the crowd.”

Though growth is uneven by category, overall the volume of funds raised is climbing at a staggering rate, from US$2.7 billion in 2012 to an estimated US$34 billion in 2015 globally. The fast growth is driven by high demand for credit and high supply of savings resulting from a mix of phenomena, including credit shortage in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, low interest yields and technological advancements.

As crowdfunding has become a global phenomenon and is no longer confined exclusively in developed countries, its potential to promote financial inclusion has attracted the attention of the international development community. The G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion’s (GPFI’s) recently published white paper says that crowdfunding can deepen financial inclusion: “It can be a quick way to raise funds with potentially few regulatory requirements; it can be cost-efficient and can produce a good return for the lender; and its potential market reach is limited only by access barriers to the platform and regulatory restrictions where applicable.”

Moreover, crowdfunding has the potential to adapt and incorporate country-specific traditions, reflecting local sociocultural patterns (e.g., M-Changa, a donation-based platform that digitize the practice of “Harambee” – community fundraising) or leveraging development programs (e.g., Cheetah fund – a now-closed experiment combining a donor-based matching fund and locally focused debt crowdfunding).

Policy makers now face a key question: How do you regulate crowdfunding so that it can achieve its market-building potential, while appropriately managing the risks that come with it? And there are many potential risks indeed: lack of transparency, fraud, default of the platform, and cyber-attack to name a few.

A number of countries have tried to answer this question by passing laws and regulations establishing a specific regime for crowdfunding (e.g., France, Germany, Israel, Korea, Malaysia, UK, USA), while others are expected to follow soon (e.g., Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Vietnam). Although widely diverse, the rules generally aim to balance investor protection and related market conduct concerns against the positive role crowdfunding can play in promoting economic growth. However, thus far they focus predominantly on the risks faced by the supply side (investors, lenders and other suppliers of funds). As crowdfunding reaches scale in lower income countries and begins reaching poorer market segments, more attention will need to be focused on the demand side as well.

In such market contexts, it is worth reflecting that often the platform is the only “professional” in the crowdfunding game – and not a disinterested one – while both the investor and the borrower often are equally vulnerable and inexperienced individuals or small businesses. On the investor’s side, because of its social nature and high advertised returns, crowdfunding may attract consumers who lack experience with these types of financial offerings, and for whom crowdfunding is not suitable. Similarly, inexperienced borrowers may underestimate the rules they need to comply with (e.g., disclosure and reporting), and they may not fully appreciate the legal implications of equity distribution and future repercussions of “managing the crowd” of creditors or stockholders. In the case of debt crowdfunding, borrowers may be steered into borrowing beyond their financial means without appreciating the risk of over-indebtedness, credit bureau blacklisting and a range of possible penalties.

Three years ago, the International Organization of Securities Commissions called crowdfunding a nascent industry, and this description still holds true despite the tremendous growth. Crowdfunding has not yet reached systemic dimensions in any market in terms of funds intermediated when compared with more traditional mechanisms. Yet recent developments remind us of the potential serious consequences of platform failure. The prominent case of Ezubao, where 900,000 investors lost more than $7 billion, is an extreme example, but it is likely that it will not remain an isolated case.

Policy makers around the globe will need to monitor closely and be prepared to intervene to close any existing regulatory gaps, to ensure crowdfunding continues to grow because of its innovative and attractive nature, and not because of regulatory arbitrage or lack of consumer protection.


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