Press release: Fintech company Loanboox cooperates with ICF BANK

The fintech Loanboox and ICF Bank AG have joined forces to turn the market for bond issues in Germany upside down: The first corporate bonds of medium-sized companies will soon be processed digitally.

After the first successful issue via Loanboox in Switzerland, the first corporate bonds in Germany are to follow in the next few weeks. With the cooperation of the established ICF BANK AG Wertpapierhandelsbank and the independent debt capital market platform Loanboox, both sides have created an essential basis for joint activities in the German market. Sascha Rinno, Chief Capital Markets Officer of ICF BANK AG:

«We are convinced that digitalisation will also find its way into the capital market business. Thanks to Loanboox’s digital platform, we are bringing more efficiency and transparency to the processing of bond issues – to the benefit of issuers and investors.»

Investors are continuously informed about the most important process steps and deadlines via the platform and have access to all transaction-relevant documents and information. This increases the efficiency of the placement process for all parties involved.

Stefan Feller, Director Capital Markets at Loanboox: «Together with the specialists at ICF, we are pleased to digitise the issuing process for corporate bonds in Germany as well. This will not only make it more comprehensible, but also more accessible.»

About ICF Bank AG

ICF Bank AG with its more than 75 employees is one of the leading securities trading banks in Germany.

In addition to the Market Making and Brokerage Services business areas, ICF is active in the Capital Markets business area as a long-term and reliable capital market partner and supports its clients in all questions of equity and debt financing. The focus of the advisory services is on listed companies or companies close to the capital market with plans to enter the capital market. The experienced team of experts has successfully completed numerous capital market transactions and offers its clients efficient support in the structuring and placement of equity and debt capital markets transactions.

About Loanboox GmbH

The fintech Loanboox is Europe’s leading debt capital market platform for large corporations, the public sector, institutional investors and banks. Loanboox has processed over EUR 40 billion in financing requests to date and is active in six countries.

Digitisation as participation

Digitisation as participation

Professor Dr Michael Bruno Klein and DR. Johannes Winter explain:

The digital transformation is on everyone’s lips and represents a fundamental structural change that affects and changes all areas of life. Yet this “structural change” sounds so technical and impersonal, but it means the exact opposite, namely a change in the consciousness of all actors. An example: car sharing is not just borrowing a car, but availability – no longer ownership. So something is changing here on the mental level. The entire library is now in the eReader and no longer as documentation of one’s own (supposed) education in large bookshelves that dominate the entire study – and are gladly used as background (or faded in?) in online meetings.

In the economy, numerous areas of value creation have had to continually adapt to new market conditions (keyword “globalisation”). Digital networking, the development of a platform economy and advances in artificial intelligence (but beware: calculating is not thinking and correlation does not equal causality) will continue to change value creation. Previously successful business models will be innovated or disappear altogether, and data-driven business models will increasingly dominate.

The world of work will become more autonomous and flexible (that is the positive assessment) or more unmanageable and uncertain – that is the negative interpretation. One thing is certain – and not only triggered by the Corona pandemic – life and work are moving closer together – the keyword is home office and the somewhat worn-out term “lifelong learning” is making a comeback in this context – and not in the sense of “further education holidays”.

Digital technologies as a basis for social participation

In 21st century society, digital technologies – and the competent use of them – are synonymous with improved access to social participation. Whereas in the past the ability to read and write was enough to participate in social life, new skills will be needed in the future.

Let us first look at the concept of cultural techniques: Cultural techniques are cultural concepts for coping with concrete challenges in different life situations. The development of such cultural techniques always involves achievements that arise in a socio-cultural context, which is why cultural techniques are based on social interaction and social participation.

Simple cultural techniques are e.g. hunting and making fire, more complex cultural techniques are e.g. agriculture and science. Individual competences are necessary for each of these – here are some very simplified examples: Stone Age man had to be able to hunt, make fire and fight. Later, agriculture and animal husbandry were added, as well as the ability to trade; hunting and fighting took a back seat. The medieval knight had to be able not only to hunt and fight (also in tournaments), but also to dance and “Minne”. Today, social participation is usually determined by reading, writing and arithmetic. What was important at all times, however, was the ability to communicate, i.e. to be able to exchange ideas.

But how is digitalisation to be understood as participation? What skills do people need in the context of digitalisation as a cultural technique? Let us first ask what the goal of digitalisation actually is? Often the answer is – the networked society, but that is too short-sighted. The goal of digitalisation is a society in which we can live better, healthier and safer. The means to this end can be digitalisation. A key feature will be a new coexistence of man and machine, as well as being untethered to space. The “leap into digitalisation” initiated by Corona is an example of this – zoom meetings with partners worldwide and status symbols such as a large office or the assistant in the anteroom simply fall away. However, the previous means of assessing the counterpart associated with this also fall away; the atmosphere and the “chemistry” are no longer so easy to grasp. Communication becomes more direct and intercultural, but not more personal. One example is the development of foreign language competence in the future: who wants to cram vocabulary and grammar hour after hour when the little language computer (C3PO sends his regards) has a perfect command of all languages and all I need is a little microphone and a button in my ear? However, mastering a foreign language is more than just language, it is access to and understanding of a culture. Whether this awareness will be enough to learn vocabulary and grammar hour after hour is, in our view, more than questionable.

What skills are needed in digitisation? Here we often speak of “general literacy”, i.e. the basic understanding of digital functional logic and its implementation in hardware and software (functional logic not to be confused with programming). Further competences are application competence (i.e. the active and purposeful use of digital media) and discourse competence (i.e. the fact-based and constructive participation in debates and the collective solving of problems). This cannot be achieved with a compulsory subject of computer science, but on the contrary: digital competence must be developed in relation to every area of life (and every school subject).

FinTechs are digital pioneers

So what does this mean specifically for the financial sector? Where are the opportunities of digitalisation for new business models or new sources of income? What specific skills do employees of financial institutions need to have?

One answer is – as always – to see what the pioneers are doing, i.e. FinTechs in the financial sector, since they have digital competences that are at least worth knowing.

Two practical examples from the large pool of the German AI map provide some insight: In times of electronic payment networks, e-wallets and blockchain, three- to five-digit financial transactions per second are not uncommon – and given exponential growth in the IT industry, this will not be the end of the line. However, with this flood of data, no human can identify fraud incidents such as identity theft, account forgery or account takeover and stop transactions in time. Especially not in real time (less than a millisecond). This is where FinTechs like Risk Ident come into play with their digital business model: the fraud detection software of the Hamburg-based company, which emerged from the Otto Group in 2012, uses machine learning algorithms to detect irregularities such as account takeovers through phishing, malware or data theft. In this case, digitalisation reduces the potential for damage and helps where we would be defenceless against threats. Nevertheless, nothing works without humans: human data scientists, for example, develop algorithms, analyse data, check for plausibility and thus have something ahead of computer programmes: they are usually able to distinguish correlation from causality – a very important skill.

The second example shows how liquidity can be secured in companies (more important than ever in Corona times) by digitising receivables management and debt collection. FinTech PAIR Finance helps clients such as Zalando and Klarna to recover outstanding receivables and uses the AI method reinforcement learning to make target-oriented strategies and successful processes repeatable. For this purpose, the Berlin start-up evaluates characteristics such as reaction speed and trustworthiness of defaulting clients in order to identify behavioural patterns and derive willingness to pay. Since the number of people who fall behind with payments through no fault of their own often increases in times of crisis, digital receivables management is also about finding ways out of the predicament for both sides. This can be, for example, instalment payments or deferrals that enable both creditor and debtor to continue their customer relationship in a trusting manner. This can also be participation through digitalisation.

In order to establish new, demand-oriented business models, platform-based solutions are also gaining in importance for companies. Platforms are not a new phenomenon. They have long been established in the private sector. Companies like Facebook, Uber or Amazon are among the most valuable companies in the world today and address millions of users. The platform economy has also been slowly but surely gaining a foothold in the financial sector for several years. In addition to classic comparison portals, from the banks’ point of view it is above all digital credit marketplaces that have grown in importance. Such electronic platforms connect capital-seeking companies or public sector institutions with investors and act as “matchmakers”.

Investors connected to the platform have the opportunity to submit individual offers to the customer. Algorithms that filter according to region, sector, term and loan volume, for example, help here. Only after approval by the borrower are the financial institutions informed of the request and can view the company data. The internet-based application allows investors digital access to the prepared information of the borrowers with corresponding download options – conversely, the companies have equally complete transparency at all times, as offers can be viewed as soon as they are uploaded by the credit institutions. Customers thus have the opportunity to compare conditions online and vis-à-vis the credit institution at this point in time without any commitment obligation.

Let’s go back to the beginning: cultural techniques are based on social interaction and social participation and this also applies to digitalisation. Reading, writing and arithmetic will no longer be the be-all and end-all of social participation in the future (although they will certainly be useful). Digital competence in the sense of application competence (= active and purposeful use of digital media) and above all discourse competence, i.e. fact-based and constructive participation in debates and collective problem-solving, will continue to increase in importance.

By the way, nothing and no one will be able to do the thinking for us in the future – but only if we have already thought for ourselves. But if we haven’t done that (thinking) so far, then we don’t need to ask ourselves who will be doing the thinking for us in the future, because someone else is apparently already doing it. ….

Axpo Holding AG places first listed Green Bond via Loanboox

Zurich, 15.07.2020. Axpo Holding AG is the first issuer to place a listed green bond entirely digitally via the independent debt capital market platform Loanboox.

The green bond for CHF 133 million and a term of 7 years was well received by investors in the capital market, and 35 orders got allocated. The energy group will use the capital to finance projects in the photovoltaic and wind energy sectors. The great interest shown by investors underlines the demand for sustainable investments and confirms Axpo’s strategy of profitable growth in renewable energies.

First fully digital corporate bond

The green bond was issued entirely digitally via the debt capital market platform Loanboox. In the dynamic and transparent Loanboox Live Bookbuilding® tool, investors set the price themselves. All process steps, deadlines and fees were known in advance to investors and issuer and were transparently visible at all times. Both sides were able to follow the order book in real time. The energy company placed the bonds with asset managers, banks, funds, pension funds and insurance companies. Martin Denkinger, Head Financing & Cash Management at Axpo, is very satisfied with the premiere:

The transaction via Loanboox worked smoothly and significantly increased transparency with regard to investors.

Important step towards digitalisation of the capital market

After successfully establishing itself as the leading platform in the field of municipal financing, Loanboox is now also digitalizing the bond market. Philippe Cayrol, CEO of Loanboox:

This first bond is a proof point that our digital process creates value for all market participants. We’re proud of the first deal and look forward to working with innovative clients and partners to set new standards in transparency, pricing and allocation in the primary market in Switzerland and in the EU.

Competent partners supported Loanboox

The Green Bond of Axpo Holding AG has a coupon of 1.002 percent. The bond will be listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. Société Générale Paris, Zurich Branch as paying agent and listing partner, Deutsche Bank (London) as market maker, First Advisory Bond Services AG as holders representative and PwC Switzerland as due diligence agent acted as partners. Loanboox was also supported by Bär & Karrer AG as legal advisor in the transaction..

Contact person:
Martina Buehler, Head Marketing & Communication
Stefan Feller, Director Capital Markets
Talacker 50, 8001 Zurich, Switzerland
+41 55 220 78 29

Loanboox and DKB offer new banking services for institutional investors

Until now, it was only possible for insurance companies, pension funds and provident funds to invest in loans to a very limited extent. In Germany, commercial lending is subject to authorisation according to the German Banking Act (KWG) and is classic banking business. To allow institutional investors to extend loans to municipalities or public utilities, Loanboox and DKB now offer banking services for fronting bank and paying agent.

“Fronting bank” and “paying agent” are services that are already used in traditional business by the various market participants. They are also necessary in the digital business to enable institutional investors to enter the lending business.

DKB’s “Fronting Bank” service enables insurance companies, pension funds and provident funds to access new investment opportunities. In doing so, DKB takes over the entire operational processing of the loan. This includes, among other things, the preparation of documents, the value date process including KYC, the verification of disbursement requirements and much more. The advantage: investors do not have to build up administration or additional know-how to grant loans.

As a paying agent, DKB also takes over the execution of payment transaction functions for loan agreements in order to significantly reduce the administrative effort for borrowers and investors. In doing so, DKB serves as a contact and coordinator for its contractual partners. Settlement is simple, fast and digital via the independent debt capital market platform Loanboox.

Direct access to the municipal lending business

Loanboox primarily addresses municipal and municipal-related clients, i.e. cities, municipalities, municipal enterprises and municipal utilities. With municipal loans we are talking about a very safe asset class. After federal bonds (risk of the Federal Republic of Germany) and the bonds of federal states, municipal loans are a quasi AAA investment option with an extremely low default risk. At the same time, the achievable return is significantly more attractive compared to federal or federal state investment options. Municipal financing also has the advantage that, similar to government bonds, there is no equity backing under Solvency II. Investors looking for interesting but at the same time very safe investment opportunities in this challenging market environment will find what they are looking for at Loanboox.

By expanding the range of these banking services, we can find new investors for our borrower clients. At the same time, investors can choose from a wide range of municipal financing applications the one that suits them best – and select the necessary service directly without any further effort.

For investors who are interested in the new services, we offer personal webinars. Please feel free to contact us.

Loanboox in the media

Loanboox in the media

With a new CEO and strengthened management, Loanboox takes a step into the next growth phase. Here is an excerpt of current press reports. 

Bloomberg: BayernLB-Beteiligung in Schweiz bekommen neuen CEO von Unicorn

Der Neue Kämmerer: Finanzplattform Loanboox stellt sich personell neu auf

Handelszeitung: Kredit-Plattform Loanboox ernennt einen neuen Chef, Gründer geht in den VR

Börsenzeitung: Philippe Cayrol führt Loanboox

Finanzbusiness: Loanboox ernennt neuen CEO und CRO

Finews: Loanboox: Neuer Chef kommt von französischem Einhorn

Finews: Loanboox Hires CEO From French Unicorn

gj Geldinstitute: Loanboox verstärkt Geschäftsleitung

L’Agefi: Un ancien dirigeant de Blablacar nommé CEO de la fintech Loanboox

Institutional Money: Loanboox strukturiert Geschäftsleitung um

Kreditwesen: Loanboox: Umbau der Geschäftsführung

Agefi: Nomination Philippe Cayrol

Cash: Mühlemann gibt CEO-Rolle bei Loanboox ab

Finextra: Loanbox appoints new CEO and CRO DKB, Hamburger Volksbank, Volkswagen Bank, Mastercard

Fintech Switzerland: Swiss Fintech Loanboox Appoints new CEO and CRO

MoneytodayDas FinTech Loanboox bekommt einen neuen CEO

Payment & Banking:  DAILY: Hickhack um Wirecard & weitere News

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Press release: 40bn milestone and strengthened executive team

  • BlaBlaCar manager Philippe Cayrol new CEO
  • Founder Stefan Muehlemann focuses on his position as Executive Chairman

Zurich, June 17th, 2020. The debt capital market platform Loanboox is broadening its executive team: Philippe Cayrol joins the Fintech as its new CEO. The experienced start-up manager takes over from founder Stefan Muehlemann who will focus on his role as Executive Chairman.

Philippe Cayrol, new CEO

unicorn BlaBlaCar. As Head of Corporate & Business Development, Cayrol developed the start-up into the world’s largest carpooling marketplace. Previously, Cayrol co-founded an investment fund in London that focused on growth capital for early stage companies.
The digitalisation of the large debt markets is only getting started, so I am very excited to join an exceptional team who is passionate about bringing more efficiency, accessibility and transparency to the debt capital markets. I am impressed by the innovative features and the traction of the platform and look forward to contributing to the future success of all our users,
says Cayrol.

Strengthened executive team to support new growth phase

With over CHF 40 billion of financing requests handled through the platform since the start and 2’500 organisations in six countries, I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved. As we now scale up our activities to the next level, including new products and target groups, it felt natural to strengthen the team. Whilst I was the right CEO for Loanboox’ inception and first years, it is now time to hand over operational responsibility to experts with relevant experiences. With Philippe, we have found a talented executive with the right mix of entrepreneurial spirit and execution capabilities,

says Muehlemann.

In addition to Cayrol, the two previous members Dario Zogg (Co-Founder & CTO) and Dominique Huegli (COO) complete Loanboox’ executive board. Co-Founder Andi Burri will continue his responsibilities as Country Head Switzerland and member of the Board of Directors, and will additionally focus on key customer relationships. Stefan Muehlemann, who founded Loanboox in 2015 and was CEO since then, will concentrate on his position as Executive Chairman.

About Loanboox:

Loanboox is the leading European debt capital market platform for large corporations, public-sector entities, institutional investors and banks. To date, Loanboox has processed financing requests of EUR 40 bn and is active in six countries.

Here you can download the press release and a picture of Philippe Cayrol and Stefan Muehlemann.