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Major Platforms Shun Groundbreaking Scheme

Last week the alternative finance world was awash with enthusiasm for the various developments announced at the launch of Innovate Finance.

a man standing in front of a podium with a crowd of people behind him

Now it seems that enthusiasm was not as widespread as it initially seemed. Some of the sector’s brightest stars – including Funding Circle, Zopa, MarketInvoice and Seedrs – have reportedly snubbed the Innovate Finance scheme on account of high membership fees. Those fees are said to be as high as £50,000 annually – which shows the scheme to be slightly out of touch with the position of these still relatively young businesses. Various platforms have indicated that it’s not clear what’s being offered in exchange for fronting the £50k.

Jeff Lynn, Founder and CEO of Seedrs, commented:

“I didn’t feel we would get enough out of membership to justify spending the money. We may reconsider in the future. For now, I am happy cheering them on from the sidelines.”

Innovate Finance has stated that member benefits include access to round-table events and workshops. The scheme’s current members include the likes of the City of London Corporation, the Canary Wharf Group, IBM, Santander, Visa and Barclays – organizations for which the annual £50k fee is almost negligible. It might be wise, however, for the ambitious scheme to revise its membership conditions to better suit the best of Britain’s fintech scene. For now though, a prolonged standoff seems likely. Clair Cockerton, Chief Executive of Innovate Finance, stated:

“We recognise that some firms will wait and see what we can deliver, and we respect that. We will always be in dialogue with our community to hear what their most pressing needs are and design our programme around them.”

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