Passport photo booth at Stansted Airport, UK

Clampdown on online crowdfunding schemes imminent amid fears investments are too risky

THE £6.5billion crowdfunding boom is facing a clampdown amid fears about the investments it offers.

Crowdfunders have helped grow some of Britain’s most promising businesses while banks have been reluctant to lend.

Operations At A Brewdog Plc Craft Beer Brewery After Company Raises More Than £10 Million
Crowdfunders have helped grow promising British businesses like Brewdog

The schemes have raised £2billion so far in 2016, with small investors putting up cash in return for a stake.

Successes include brewers CHAPEL DOWN and BREWDOG, challenger bank MONZO and estate agent EMOOV – but one in five investments fail.

City watchdog the FINANCIAL CONDUCT AUTHORITY said yesterday it wants to apply “mortgage-lending” standards.

House sold sign in Leeds West Yorkshire England UK
Estate agent Emoov is also a crowdfunding success story – but some worry investments are not assessed thoroughly on their risks and returns

The FCA found it is difficult for investors to compare platforms with each other to assess risks and returns.

The watchdog also said investments do not always meet requirements to be “clear, fair and not misleading”.

And it is concerned that there are inadequate provisions when a firm goes bust.

FCA boss Andrew Bailey said: “We believe it is necessary to strengthen investor protection in areas.”

In 2014 the FCA limited the amount an investor can spend on a crowdfunded company.

Time plea bank’s hit

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi looks on during a media conference after a referendum on constitutional reform at Chigi palace in Rome
Shares in an Italian bank have tanked amid uncertainty following Italian PM Matteo Renzi’s resignation

SHARES in Italian bank MONTE DEI PASCHI DI SIENA tanked nearly 11 per cent yesterday — after its request for more time to raise cash was rejected.

The world’s oldest bank — Italy’s third biggest — is struggling and had been given until the end of the month to raise £4.2billion.

But it has now asked the EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK for the deadline to be pushed back until January 20.

It comes amid uncertainty after the resignation of Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi.

City analysis

THE FTSE 100 closed last night at nearly 7,000 after climbing more than 200 points over the week.

London’s main index hit 6,954.21, after opening the week at 6730.72.

SKY closed up 26.7 per cent for the day — as 21ST CENTURY FOX made a bid to buy it outright.

The broadcaster was up 30.3 per cent for the week.

Fallers over the week included outsourcing company CAPITA, whose value dropped to a 10-year low.

It share price fell 11.8 per cent over the week after another profit warning — its second in three months.

The group is also planning to cut 2,000 jobs.

Capita, whose roles include collecting the BBC licence fee, said it was hit by “headwinds” as corporate clients cut spending.

Rail sarnie barney

Virgin Trains catering workers are set to stage a walkout over a pay dispute

CATERING workers who supply food for VIRGIN WEST COAST trains are to stage two 48-hour strikes in a pay dispute.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union employed by DHL GLOBAL GROUP will walk out from 10pm on December 13 and 20. They prepare food but do not work on the trains.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This union will not tolerate a grinding down of pay rates to poverty thresholds on Britain’s railways at a time when the political focus is all on lifting wages to decent levels.”

£634m high Fyffes

Bunch of bananas
Fruit company Fyffes is being taken over by Japanese buyers in a whopping £634m deal

FRUIT supplier FYFFES is being sold off to the Japanese.

The £634million deal will see the Irish-based group, which employs 17,000 worldwide, taken over by SUMITOMO.

The Japanese giant’s boss Hirohiko Imura said Fyffes had an “outstanding track record and market-leading position”.

Just months ago Fyffes bought Canada’s All Season Mushrooms in a £34.4million deal.

Sumitomo’s offer yesterday of £1.89 for each Fyffes share was 49 per cent more than they closed at on Thursday.

Hottest houses

The Historic Dockyard, Chatham, Kent ME4 4TE, England
House prices in Chatham, Kent, have soared, despite it being the origin of the word ‘chav’

THE town that gave its name to the word chav has seen house prices soar in the last year.

Homes in Chatham, Kent, have risen by 11.18 per cent thanks to rich foreign buyers.

It is nearly double the 6.08 per cent seen in London, property website Zoopla reveals.

Developer Shahan Lall said investors from China and Russia were targeting previously run-down areas like Chatham.

A new high speed rail link also means it is just a 30-minute journey to London.

The word chav is believed to derive from the phrase Chatham Average and is now defined as a lower-class lout.

Record high for exports

Workers walking together near stack of cargo containers
British exports were at a high in October, with huge demand from non-EU countries

BRITAIN’S exports hit a record monthly high in October — with huge demand for our goods from outside the EU.

The country’s trade gap — the difference between exports and imports — narrowed by £4.1billion from £13.8billion in September.

Exports rose £2.1billion to £26.8billion — with goods sent to non-EU countries hitting a new high of £14.4billion.

In particular, Britain sold more goods and services to Saudi Arabia, South Korea and United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Sales to the UAE, which includes Dubai, hit a record high of £700million.

Some £12.4billion worth of goods was sent to EU countries, according to the figures from the OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS.

Howard Archer, chief UK and European economist at IHS GLOBAL INSIGHT, said exports may have benefited from a weakened Pound lifting foreign demand for British goods and services.

And he said the hope for the UK economy is that the Pound’s value will continue to boost foreign demand for our products.


Profits building

building contractors at work on housing on a construction site, cornwall, uk
The construction sector is growing thanks to Britain’s private housebuilders

BRITAIN’S construction sector rose year-on-year in October — thanks to the nation’s housebuilders.

Growth was up 0.7 per cent on the same month in 2015, despite a drop in the building of schools and hospitals.

But compared to September, growth in October fell.

Kate Davies, of the OFFICE FOR NATIONAL STATISTICS which provided the figures, said: “October saw the biggest jump in private housebuilding for almost a year.”

She added: “Less work on commercial buildings and infrastructure projects saw overall construction output down.”

Snap up a passport

Passport photo booth at Stansted Airport, UK
The Home Office is collaborating on a scheme that could allow you to submit passport applications from photo booths

PHOTO kiosks could soon allow you to submit your passport application.

PHOTO-ME INTERNATIONAL is working with the Home Office on a scheme.

Gabriel Pirona, chief finance officer at the firm which operates station and supermarket-based photo booths, said: “You take the photo, sign and enter your application number and that gets transmitted.”

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