"Portugal was one of the countries that earlier regulated the activity of crowdfunding"Said Filomena Oliveira, vice-president of the Securities Market Commission (CMVM), at the opening of a seminar on the subject, and then Paulo Alcarva, a professor at the Catholic University, to recall that this financial instrument is an alternative to investment financing.
This year the European Commission has already identified the potential (of FinTech in general) for such solutions, which has led the structure to carry out a plan of action with a view to establishing regulations and general provisions extending to all Member States. A European cohabitation scheme for the crowdfunding was what it was all about – with the innovative advantage of not being mandatory.
In fact, as Laura Abreu Cravo of the CMVM pointed out, crowdfunding may opt to register as such in the general European scheme or in the individual schemes of each Member State – both of which are not fully coincident.
"The survival of these two systems is not desirable," she said. "This was not the way followed", which can put difficulties in the development of the system itself. Regulation is, in any case, a 'dynamic' subject – examples of this are the limits to the initial offers of crowdfunding, that the European proposal (such as the Portuguese one) bears no million euros per year, considered too conservative by the countries where the system is already most developed.
Generally, Laura Abreu Cravo considers that the proposal of European legislation is too permissive. At any rate, the debate in Europe is still far from over. As an alternative system (online, far from the traditional financial system), the regulator – national and European – considered it necessary to introduce a set of rules that can convey security with respect to the instruments themselves. While it is clear that the creators of the system converge on this concern, the regulator aims to address systemic risks, platform insolvency, total capital loss, information asymmetry and fraud, among other potential problems.
As Daniela Farto Batista, from Católica, said, the legislator had as its 'hat' the concern to give a new instrument of its own regulation – so that the system "did not fall under the laws already existing and could not be in harmony" with its foundations.
'Resolved' the issue of regulation, and in a context where access to bank credit is constrained by tight external criteria and risk capital still deserves some reservations from entrepreneurs – especially in crowdfunding "Gains relevance with the existence of all these obstacles," said Paulo Alcarva.
"We are in the chapter of collaborative economics," he said, and "the big step is to use technology to bring that instrument to everyone." Cost reduction and digital convergence result, with the system, in the creation of value, in a perspective of universality.
Of the various crowdfunding, O crowdlending may be the most important for SMEs – not unlike conventional bank financing. Operating in an online environment, the structure costs are greatly mitigated, having a direct effect on the interest rates practiced.
"It is also an inclusive credit," recalls Paulo Alcarva, adding that he adds to the perimeter of credit access several companies that would be left out when faced with traditional evaluation criteria. This is precisely because the investors behind the financing operations do not have to be governed by the regulatory funnel of traditional financial institutions.
The rates practiced – above those of the banks – accommodate this increased risk (that of the companies to be financed do not fit within the perimeter of the acceptance of traditional banking), thus hovering over rates practiced above 6%. The increasing attraction of traditional investors' funds – including sovereign wealth funds – allows us to conclude, says Paulo Alcarva, that the system is not only safe (despite the associated risk), but also future.
The seminar invited three crowdfundig already installed in the market to present their perspectives: GoParity (to work in the segment of sustainable projects from the environmental point of view); Izilend (short-term real estate development financing only for qualified investors); and Raize (medium / long-term financing directly from national investors, for SMEs).