Crowdfunding websites clamour for clearer regulation
The so-called crowdfunding sector raises cash from members of the public to fund lending and investment. Regulators, however, have proved resistant to pleas for adjustments to rules that are tailored to more traditional markets.
"Operators of these platforms find it difficult to launch and flourish because existing EU and UK regulation does not fit the new models," operators within the sector said in an open letter to EU and UK policymakers on Friday.
The plea coincides with a summit to discuss proposals for regulating a market that has developed in reaction to reduced bank lending to small and medium-sized enterprises because of tougher capital rules and greater regulatory scrutiny.
A host of alternative financing models have cropped up online, many allowing individuals to lend to, or invest in, companies with sums from as little as 10 pounds ($16).
Massolution, a research and advisory firm specialising in the sector, says that 1.2 billion euros ($1.6 billion) was raised globally from crowdfunding last year.
Though some crowdfunding websites have tried to fit their operations within the existing regulatory framework, most remain largely outside it.
Part of the problem in drawing up appropriate regulation is the wide range of activities involved. Some offer debt, some equity, while others seek donations for charity or funding for creative projects in return for some non-financial reward.
With little or no expected returns from
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