Posted In:

Portfolio News



Sep 28, 2019


Posted In:

Portfolio News


Sep 28, 2019



When you hear Spygate, you might get flashbacks of Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the New York Jets.

But Wall Street just had its own rendition – and it may be even juicier. The story starts with the growing rift between Credit Suisse CEO, Tidjane Thiam, and CS’s former Head of Wealth Management, Iqbal Khan. As Khan's star rose, Thiam fired him - and he was immediately hired by UBS.

Credit Suisse then set up a full-time security detail that monitored Khan to ensure that he wouldn't poach top colleagues. Khan, however, noticed the spies tailing him in his car, and then following him into a restaurant. Khan took photos of the spies - resulting in a scuffle with the spies trying to grab his phone. Police were called and paparazzi pictures were taken. Khan is pressing criminal charges.

While talent is a precious commodity, the ordeal highlights the precarious situation of the Swiss wealth management industry. Both Credit Suisse and UBS are getting hammered on fees, while their growth and revenue prospects remain modest.

The story is far from finished, with expected heads to roll at Credit Suisse and institutional holders potentially looking to sell shares. Not everyone walks away from Spygate as squeaky clean as this guy…

Portfolio News

Drumroll… Finovate Awards winners announced - Congratulations to portfolio company MoneyLion for winning this year's Finovate award for Best Digital Bank. Read more


Credit Suisse accused of spying on star banker Iqbal Khan - Swiss prosecutors have opened a criminal inquiry after Iqbal Kahn, the former head of Credit Suisse international wealth management, complained that his former bank had hired private detectives who tailed and threatened him. Read more

Industry News

UK police just sold criminally-seized Bitcoin for above market rates - UK police raised £300,000 ($369,000) through the auction of criminally-seized Bitcoin this week sold above market value. The seized crypto stash was from 20-year-old Norwich man Elliot Gunton - the self-described “full-time crypto trader.” Read more

France and Germany have said they will oppose Facebook’s digital currency - France and Germany have formed a united front against Libra, Facebook’s proposed digital currency. Read more

Southeast Asia’s no. 1 travel app is getting into fintech - Traveloka, Southeast Asia’s largest online travel startup, will issue a credit card with Indonesia’s PT Bank Rakyat Indonesia linked to its booking services. Read more

China’s shadow banking industry roars back - China’s $8.4tn shadow banking industry has surged back to life this year, as regulators scale back deleveraging in an effort to spur economic growth. Read more

SoftBank executives balk at big loans to invest in Vision Fund - As a test of loyalty to founder Masayoshi Son, some SoftBank executives have been encouraged to fund stakes in Vision Fund II by borrowing more than 10 times their salary. Read more

No bank charter? No problem. Fintechs team up with small-town banks - Customers of Square, might assume that the cash they send to friends on the platform is housed in a glassy building in Silicon Valley, tended to by hoodie-clad tech workers. Not so. Read more

The $100t opportunity: the race to provide banking to the world’s poor - A great profile in Forbes of Tala, a west coast start-up, focused on delivering rudimentary financial services to the 1.7 billion people on the planet who lack even a bank account. Read more

StepStone launches private wealth solutions group - StepStone, a global private markets specialist, has launched Conversus, a new platform focused on delivering StepStone's institutional capabilities to high net worth and mass affluent investors. Read more

Dealogic completes the acquisition of Selerity - Dealogic has acquired New York based financial unstructured data analytics platform Selerity for an undisclosed amount. Read more

Temenos acquires Kony - Geneva-based core banking software provider Temenos has agreed to acquire Austin-based digital banking platform Kony for $559m. The acquisition enhances Temenos' scale and capabilities in the U.S. Read more

SoFi launches crypto trading with Bitcoin, Litecoin and Ethereum - The personal finance company that specializes in student loan refinancing will now allow its users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies alongside stocks and ETFs - it will charge 1.25% per trade and utilize partner exchanges. Read more

Alibaba eyes 1b annual active users by 2024, picks up 33% stake in Ant Financial - Following the satisfaction of the closing conditions set forth in a 2014 agreement, Alibaba has received a newly issued 33% equity interest in Ant Financial. Read more

Harbor tokenizes $100m in real estate funds - SF based compliance and digital tokenization startup Harbor is working with Seattle-based real estate firm iCap Equity to bring greater liquidity and to non-tradeable REIT funds. Read more

The owner of the New York Stock Exchange is now in the Bitcoin business - After much delay, the first "physically settled" Bitcoin futures which allow institutionally minded investors to buy or sell the digital asset at a specific price at a specific time in the future. Read more

Bitcoin Is among the top 30 largest world currencies, despite being down 50% from ATH - Interesting graphic from BlockTown Capital which shows the M2 market supply (savings deposits, mutual funds, check deposits, and cash in circulation) of the world's largest currencies. Bitcoin comes in slightly above the Colombian peso. Read more

"Flash Boys" exchange IEX drops out of corporate listings - While IEX has been hitting record stock trading volumes and revenues on its stock exchange, the momentum behind the listings business has waned enough that CEO Brad Katsuyama has chosen to ditch the business line. Read more

Select Financings

Bold Penguin - Ohio based commercial insurance technology provider completed a $32m Series B from Hudson Structured Capital, Lightstone, Guggenheim, Lockton and others. Read more

CyberFortress - San Antonio-based cyber insurance startup has raised a $3m Series Seed led by Greycroft and LiveOak. Read more

DeadHappy - U.K.-based life insurance startup has raised £4 million in Series A from, alongside the company’s seed investor Octopus Ventures. Read more

Everledger - London based blockchain provenance startup Everledger has raised $20m in a Series A financing led by Tencent. Read more

Fundbox - San Francisco based B2B payments platform has raised $176m in Series C financing led by a consortium included Allianz X, Healtchare of Ontario Pension Plan, Harbourvest and others. Read more

Klar - Mexico City based challenger bank has raised a $7.5m Series Seed led by Quona Capital. The company also raised $50m of debt financing. Read more

Summer - New York based student loan advisory startup Summer has raised a $10m Series A led by QED. Read more


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