China's government has approved a People's Bank of China plan to clean up the country's online finance sector, according to a Taipei Times report citing people familiar with the matter.
The central bank's plan includes setting limits on the activities of P2P lenders so they cannot hold clients' capital in-house, but must instead deposit such funds with a third-party banking institution. Companies operating in the sector must also set up firewalls to better manage transactions with affiliates. Further measures include establishing a centralised registration system for online finance products and a unified platform for online bank accounts.
In other P2P news, Deloitte has issued a new report that says the sector is never likely to have a major impact on banks, but will only experience growth in areas in which banks don't wish to operate. "Contrary to a number of commentators, we do not see marketplace lenders (MPLs) as a major threat to banks in the mass market. Borrowers like the benefits of speed and convenience of MPLs, but those willing to pay a material premium to access loans quickly are in the minority," Deloitte's head of UK banking Neil Tomlinson said.
"Whilst banks are yet to replicate the benefits of the MPL model, we believe it is only a matter of time before they use their size and scale to overtake and sustainably under-price MPLs."
South Africa's state-owned pension fund manager, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), is looking at assembling a consortium of black investors to take a controlling stake in Barclays Africa, according to a report in the Financial Times.
PIC's chief executive, Dan Matjila, told the newspaper that Barclays' decision to sell its African subsidiary represents the "best opportunity for us to create a black-controlled bank".
"I don't want to go public on the details, but the idea should be black investors clubbing together to buy a reasonable share and we will be part of that to create the first black controlled bank," he said.
PIC is already a significant shareholder in Barclays Africa and increased its stake to 7.3 per cent earlier this month.
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