How to access small business loans for COVID-19 financial relief

April 7, 2020 | 79 views

The CARES Act recently passed by Congress funded financial assistance for small businesses experiencing economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Two Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs established or expanded by the act are of particular interest to family physicians: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

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Westland Insurance Group Ltd.

Westland Insurance Group Ltd. is Western Canada's largest independent insurance brokerage, established in 1980 to meet the insurance needs of individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. Westland provides personalized insurance services through over 70 offices throughout British Columbia and Alberta...

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CORE BANKING

3 Reasons CFOs Should Care About Investing in Cloud Based Banking

Article | July 13, 2022

Consumers today want fast, seamless, and effective services at their fingertips. In a world of virtualization, these demands keep bank C-levels on their feet. What better than cloud technology to address these demands? Cloud computing uses the internet to access data stored on external servers. Traditionally, banks have been slow adopters of technology and for good reasons. The risks involved in becoming a heavily cloud-dependent organization aren’t few. And banking institutions too, take their own time to assess risks. Despite this, cloud computing in banking presents a glowing opportunity for financial institutions to transform their operations. On-premise banking infrastructure no longer cuts it. It cannot meet modern challenges that require banks to access applications via the internet. Moving to the cloud isn’t a not an easy bargain, but one with many paybacks that bank CFOs must take note of. In this article we talk about the intricacies of switching from on-premise to the cloud in a modern context. We also talk about how CFOs can regulate costs and drive long-term financial strategies using the cloud. Ironclad Security Security is a serious concern for banks when moving to the cloud. Although 90% of banks use cloud computing for non-core processes, core services remain on the premise and off the cloud. This leaves a huge opportunity unused. With the unique security challenges so common to banking institutions, CFOs can advocate for specialized security enforcement solutions inside and outside the cloud that can meet rigorous security parameters. Fraud detection- It is important to mention here that public clouds are known to be more secure than on-premise infrastructure. This is thanks to the layers of protection that the cloud can be equipped with. Cloud-based banking also offers seamless fraud detection and protection by assessing large amounts of data from a variety of sources. It empowers banking institutions to stay ahead of the curve when anticipating discrepancies beforehand. Blockchain integration- Blockchain is the latest in technological innovation to provide ground-breaking use cases. In cloud banking services, blockchain is outgrowing its cryptocurrency ecosystem. It can be used to add a layer of security to data and cloud architecture. Richer Analytical Insights, Better Financial Reporting Cloud services for banks arm banking and financial institutions with the ability to breakdown data silos across the organization. This leads to centralizing data and generating 360-degree insight for analytics. Data insights have been proven to transform decision-making, operational efficiencies, and organizational processes. The most significant advantage, however, is product and consumer analytics. Product analytics- A reduction in product deployment cycles is just one of the many advantages that cloud computing in banking has to offer. It simplifies product testing in a way that enables organizations to test new solutions and to meet market demands and challenges while thinking on their feet. One of the most significant advantages is the easy facilitation of cloud banking possibilities that can empower customers of both traditional and non-traditional financial services. Consumer analytics- The cloud offers a hyper-flexible platform that is ideal for processing tremendous amounts of real-time data. For instance, when the cloud replaced an investment bank’s legacy banking infrastructure, it yielded an enormous boost in analytics. The transformation enabled trading teams to explore new strategies, execute experiments, and adopt analysis of data points they did not have before. Barclays, a premier banking institution, was able to free up resources for its risk analysis team by implementing a cloud-based automation process. This is further helping banks and financial firms tailor products that align with consumer demand while also balancing financial risks in a volatile market. Companies that do not make customer experience a priority will struggle and quickly fall behind.” Jeff Pedowitz, President and CEO at The Pedowitz Group Agility in Developing and Scaling New Product Offerings Agility is not just a buzzword in business. Today’s processes need to be lean and simplified to support growth in a fast-changing market. Cloud computing empowers organizations to be nimble in reacting to competitive market landscapes. In addition, accompanied by the power of data, modern financial institutions can go further than they would have anticipated in designing solutions. The wide-berth of opportunities posed by cloud computing for financial services can help create a highly competitive, agile, and scalable financial organization. Constraints to Look Out for When Switching to Cloud Computing for Banks While cloud banking services provide a new vista for banking and financial services, the transition to cloud banking may not be simple. The banking sector is evolving, and the demonstrated capabilities of the cloud come with a significant challenge that senior leaders must take into account. Migration Costs- The upfront cost of using cloud computing in banking is high. This may keep many banking and financial services’ organizations, especially smaller ones, from truly leveraging the cloud for open banking. A thorough financial analysis and planning is required to attain an equilibrium in cost through cloud banking services. Skill Shortage in Cloud- According to an Accenture study, 41% of organizations rank a shortage of cloud skills as one of the top three barriers to adopting the cloud. Achieving a balance of in-house and third party cloud talent is key. A great example of this was demonstrated by the banking industry itself when it transitioned from brick-and-mortar operations to digital and from websites to mobile. Compliance Concerns- Meeting security regulations and banking compliance codes is another significant challenge for cloud banking. Although regulatory authorities are increasingly supporting the cloud transformation, many banking institutions are cautious when it comes to exposing critical moving parts to regulation and the risk of non-compliance. To Round Off The cloud offers modern technology that is ready to scale at a day’s notice. With agility on offer, cloud computing in finance is much more than just an on-demand access to computing resources. Banking technology services are poised for a revolution, and cloud banking will play a major role in it. The points covered in this article discuss the immediate benefits that the cloud can offer. But as consumer demands and expectations undergo a whirlwind of activity, banking and financial services must join the bandwagon. They will need to assess how to leverage the cloud for their specific needs in a way that increases ROI and creates a sustainable, thriving organization. Frequently Asked Questions What are some storage options for cloud computing in finance? Public cloud storage is easily scalable as well as economical while private cloud storage offers complete control and greater scalability. Hybrid cloud storage offers the best of both worlds with significant user control and simplified customizations. Banks can explore a combination of cloud storage solutions that align with their security needs. What are the types of cloud banking services used by banking institutions? The types of cloud banking services that banks can opt for include: Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) How many banks are now using the cloud? An IBM banking multicloud survey revealed that over 91% of banking and financial institutions were already actively using cloud technology.

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CORE BANKING

How Open Banking is Uncovering the Shroud of Consumer Experience

Article | July 20, 2022

The future of financial services is here, and transparency is at the core of the evolution. While technology, as with other industries, is at the center of the transformation, the unfolding face of finance is fueled by more than just innovation in technology. Putting the Consumer at the Heart of Banking Open banking is the latest advancement to come out of the crucible of technology and growing consumer demands. Open banking is the practice of enabling third-party financial solutions providers complete access to the consumer financial data stored by banks and non-banking financial institutions. This is executed with the help of application programming interfaces, or APIs. The concept of open APIs has been around in the form of standard web APIs that provide limited access to consumer data to IT departments of financial institutions (FIs). How Open Banking Aims to Raise the Bar? Currently, several process challenges are hampering customers’ banking experiences across the board. Some of these include lack of proactive customer service, lengthy resolutions, and delayed support. Open banking will get the ball rolling for new and small banks to compete with larger, established banking institutions. The increase in competition, transparency, freedom, and clarity is aimed at empowering consumers to seek out comparisons and customizations in financial services. For instance, through open banking solutions, consumers can easily access details on interest rates, banking fees, and other costs associated with a financial product or service. What’s in it for Financial Institutions? Any new financial and banking concept must be lucrative for it to be sustainable. So, it wouldn’t be unwise to ask how it benefits financial institutions of all shapes and sizes. While the open banking practice is customer-centric at heart, it has several benefits for everyone, from large corporations to small banks. Increasing Traction for a Wider Range of Products and Services Open banking will offer next-generation analytics capabilities that will set the ball rolling for banking institutions to cross-sell their products. By storing and managing all banking data on one platform, organizations will be able to optimize business resources while personalizing cross-selling and upselling offers to customers. Garnering Clear Insights to Inform New and Better Business Decisions Consumer research will no longer be needed for rolling out new products and services. With a holistic view of the banking customers’ data at hand, FIs can drum up their investments and make better business decisions. Gaining an Edge Over Competitors with Much Lesser Market Research Open banking allows fintech companies and other financial institutions access to data. But in addition, it also allows institutions to communicate with each other, which means being able to diversify and offer financial products that are a departure from the usual offering. Even then, FIs will be able to mold their solutions to meet the most urgent challenges of customers. Preparing for the Inevitable Disruption Whether or not you’re looking to adopt the open banking system, it is on a path towards disruption in financial services. Where FIs have been traditionally closed in order to maintain security, open banking is delivering iron clad security and privacy without the restrictions. Getting a peek into a rich set of consumer data is the best way to create valuable offering that uplifts traditionally banking service to be innovative and customer-centric and thus sustainable and effective.

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CORE BANKING

Blockchain and Its Most Useful Applications in Finance

Article | July 13, 2022

Blockchain technology is notable for its transparent database, safe data, decentralized network, and cryptographic transactions. By incorporating blockchain into existing banking procedures, FinTech firms have advanced even further. The powerful blockchain technology notably stores and records information on identities, assets, transactions, money and asset swaps in a secured network. Interestingly, the data is stored in blocks, each with a storage capacity of 1 MB. Having said that, Blockchain capabilities have contributed a new dimension to the Fintech scene, evolved as a technological revolution, provided enormous potential, and resulted in substantial changes to business structures and operations. Furthermore, they have piqued the interest of both start-ups and financial application development firms in investigating the demand for blockchain. Principles of Blockchain Blockchain, aside from being safe, gives true democracy and equality to financial institutions overseas. Blockchain has grown as a tremendous possibility for banking services to give billions of people the best and most convenient financial operations worldwide. Behind the successful virtue of blockchain, what are the core principles based on which blockchain is in demand nowadays? Find out the core in the following: Peer-based communication Computational logic A distributed database Permanent records Consensus protocol Distributed ledger All of the above principles of blockchain are successfully catering to the financial industry. Useful Blockchain Applications in Finance Blockchain applications gained popularity after the digital transformation of the finance industry. Some of the applications have assisted finance in shifting its operations to a more efficient and effective path. Based on these blockchain applications, Accenture predicts that embracing blockchain will save banks $8 billion in costs by 2025, a 27 percent decrease from 2019. Reduced costs of transactions Secured digital identity management A global network having no geographic limitations Crypto lending Regulatory compliance New crowdfunding models KYC Verification Maximizing Benefits and Minimizing Dilemmas Blockchain technology applications in finance have shown maximum benefit and have minimized a lot of financial glitches that existed before. To stay abreast, the legacy system of financial deeds is becoming increasingly rare, as most financial institutes and banks implement the technology globally. According to a Deloitte analysis, revenue from business blockchain applications is expected to reach $19.9 billion by 2025, giving considerable prospects for growth in blockchain FinTech. While talking about the transformation to the blockchain, automation played a crucial role in reshaping critical financial, operational risk and finance systems on a cloud platform. Most financial organizations now store their data on the blockchain, eliminating inefficiencies such as input failures, duplication, fraud, and other issues. The combination of automation and data empowers faster financial services that is likely to enable more effective financial services and client experiences in the future.

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FINTECH

Can Blockchain Revolutionize the Banking System?

Article | May 16, 2022

Today, we live in a world where a new wave of technological transformation occurs on a regular basis. Each day, we are exposed to new buzzwords and a plethora of news. Additionally, cryptocurrency or blockchain is a buzzword in the business world. Blockchain is well known for its critical function in cryptocurrency systems such as bitcoin, in ensuring the security and decentralization of transaction records. Cryptocurrency has been around for more than a decade. However, countless controversies and discussions continue to swirl around cryptocurrency. Some say it is a new-age currency, while others refer to it as a hoax. Nonetheless, one thing is certain: We cannot afford to be indifferent to this movement. An Overview of Blockchain Technology As the name suggests, it creates a chain of blocks where each block contains a transaction ledger and the link of the subsequent transaction. This explanation might remind you of the data structure of a traditional “linked list.” However, blockchain has a more complex system, where a child block will be chained with a parent block hash while supporting the benefits of linked lists like the flexibility of dynamic data structures. A major differentiating factor for the blockchain lies in its distributed architecture. The blockchain creates an extensive network of peer-to-peer nodes that store the transaction ledger in the form of a block in multiple data systems. These data systems can be decentralized across various data centers, which creates the chain of transactions on each of the data systems when a single transaction is initiated. Limitations of the Current Banking System As we all know, current financial sectors across the globe work on centralized data platforms. Moreover, any of the transactions between two entities are managed by a central entity, which could be like the Federal bank in the U.S. This leads to the limitations of the system, like limited working hours for interbank transactions. Although countries such as India have enabled interbank transactions (RTGS) 24x7 for all 365 days to overcome the limitation, and yet, it is difficult to implement in several different states due to infrastructure or operational issues. Similarly, international transactions are managed by a single entity, SWIFT. This gives the power in the hands of a few people to manage the international economy by way of sanctions. These situations were seen during the recent Ukraine-Russia crisis. These sanctions lead to the deflation of the local currency and high inflation in the local market, which worst affects the normal citizens of the state. Moreover, when we have a centralized ecosystem for the banks, it leads to a lack of transparency and balance sheet manipulation. In particular, these malpractices in the banking system can lead to a nationwide or worldwide economic crisis, particularly in some extreme cases like Lehman Brothers’ fall. Implementation Approach & Benefits There could be several ways to implement a decentralized payment system. However, we can discuss one of the possible implementations. All the entities, which could be banks or even central banks of a country, participating in the implementation can either set up their own infrastructure or subscribe to and integrate with the services enabled by other entities. However, the bigger question lies in the exchange values. When we try to implement payment systems between two entities, the major challenge is the exchange value. For transactions within a country, the solution will be very simple, to use the local currency or a fiat currency coin. In the U.S., USDF consortium has implemented an interbank payment system using stable coins, a fiat currency coin. This implementation has not only helped the banks to overcome the “Fed’s working hours” limitation but also brought down the cost of transactions. As we write this paper, several countries, such as the UK and India, have been planning to launch a govt-backed crypto / digital coin. It would ease such implementations in the future. Whenever we extend the blockchain implementation across borders, the challenge of identifying a central exchange currency arises. In such a situation, we can use a fiat crypto coin, which would be pegged by gold value. This will not only create an alternative system for payments but also reduce the dependency on a specific currency, as well as contribute to the decentralization of economic power. Additionally, since these multi-node clusters are maintained at different data centers as well as the messages exchanged are not just encrypted but also follow the hashing sequences, it would be very difficult to hack the entire network. This feature adds an extra layer of data security. A blockchain-based decentralized banking system can also resolve issues like accounting manipulation. When all the bank level balance sheets are maintained with central banks or similar government entities, it would be less likely to have an unnoticed crisis due to account manipulations. Besides, auditor appointments will be managed by government-owned entities and not by banks. Challenges of Using Blockchain As we know, blockchain, being a decentralized multi-node system, every node will hold the transaction ledgers for transactions across the network. This characteristic can subsequently lead to high data storage requirements and high carbon footprints. However, a significant challenge lies in replacing the currently stabilized “centralized financial system.” Bottomline As we see the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies, we hope to see blockchain making a larger penetration in the global financial and banking systems, although it seems to be making baby-steps at present.

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Spotlight

Westland Insurance Group Ltd.

Westland Insurance Group Ltd. is Western Canada's largest independent insurance brokerage, established in 1980 to meet the insurance needs of individuals, businesses and non-profit organizations. Westland provides personalized insurance services through over 70 offices throughout British Columbia and Alberta...

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USQ Expands Investment Platform with PREDEX Acquisition

USQ, Chatham Financial | August 02, 2022

Union Square Capital Partners, LLC, announced today it acquired the management of PREDEX, a real estate-focused interval fund. PREDEX (Ticker: PRDEX) has $163 million in AUM as of July 27, 2022, bringing total assets of USQ interval funds to approximately $400 million. “True diversification matters, and most investors have been reminded of that over the first half of this year,” said Thomas Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Union Square Capital Partners. Since both funds were launched, they have consistently demonstrated that non-correlation to the broader markets while still delivering strong risk-adjusted returns is possible, both having a three-year correlation of just -0.02 to the S&P 500 Index as of June 30, 2022. During the same period, the USQ Core Real Estate Fund (Ticker: USQIX) delivered an annualized return of 10.46%, while PRDEX delivered an annualized return of 12.09%. USQ’s first fund, USQIX, has a primary investment objective to generate a return comprised of both current income and long-term capital appreciation with moderate volatility and low correlation to the broader markets. USQ implements this strategy by investing in the core private equity real estate funds that comprise the NCREIF Fund Index — Open-end Diversified Core Equity (“NFI-ODCE”). PREDEX likewise serves as a gateway to private core real estate but implements a slightly different approach that allows for a portion of assets to be held in funds outside of the NFI-ODCE Index. “We are excited to join the USQ team and feel they are a perfect partner to support growing the PREDEX fund,” said J. Grayson Sanders, founder of PREDEX. “We are excited to join the USQ team and feel they are a perfect partner to support growing the PREDEX fund,” said J. Grayson Sanders, founder of PREDEX. The expansion of the USQ strategies is aligned with long-term plans for the firm. “This acquisition highlights our commitment to growing our asset management business through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” said Matt Henry, Managing Partner and Founder of USQ and Chief Executive Officer of Chatham Financial. The performance quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. The investment return and principal value of the Fund will fluctuate; an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance data current to the most recent month end may be obtained by calling 1-833-877-3863 for USQIX or 1-877-940-7202 for PRDEX. Fund returns reflect actual fee waivers and reimbursement of expenses for the time periods represented. Had fees and expenses not been waived and reimbursed, returns would have been lower. See each fund’s prospectus for more information on current fees and expenses. About USQ USQ, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chatham Financial Corp., is an investment management firm providing access to inventive strategies for real asset investing. The USQ platform leverages in-depth knowledge of real estate financing complexities to offer modern investing approaches spanning the needs from registered investment advisors to institutional investors. Union Square Capital Partners, LLC brings low-cost, institutional private real estate to wealth managers. About Chatham Financial Chatham Financial is the largest independent financial risk management advisory and technology firm. A leader in debt and derivative solutions, Chatham provides clients with access to in-depth knowledge, innovative tools, and an incomparable team of over 600 employees to help mitigate risks associated with interest rate, foreign currency, and commodity exposures. Founded in 1991, Chatham serves more than 3,000 companies across a wide range of industries — handling over $750 billion in transaction volume annually and helping businesses maximize their value in the capital markets, every day. To learn more, visit chathamfinancial.com.

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FinTech Leader DigniFi Announces Bridge Funding to Support Continued Growth

DigniFi, Brigade Capital Management | August 01, 2022

Today, DigniFi, a leading fintech platform for the automotive industry, announced a new partnership with asset manager Brigade Capital Management, LP (“Brigade”). Among other investments across the fixed income spectrum, Brigade provides tailored capital solutions to specialty finance companies and is widely respected for its capital markets expertise and broad network of institutional investors. This initial recapitalization empowers DigniFi to execute its three-year growth strategy centered on operational stability, product development and commercialization, and expansion into transportation-adjacent markets and ecosystems. A representative from Brigade will join DigniFi’s Board of Directors as an Advisor and Observer. About DigniFi DigniFi is a FinTech company and leader in the world of transportation. We help auto dealers and small businesses across the country grow their revenue and delight their customers with visionary, inclusive financing. Our technology simplifies the loan application process and enables small businesses to offer on-the-spot financing, for auto repairs, parts and accessory purchases, and maintenance packages. All credit products are originated by WebBank, Member FDIC. To date, DigniFi has helped over 6,000 small businesses across the nation secure almost $200 million in incremental transactions. For more information, visit DigniFi.com.

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Portage Launches Late-Stage Portage Capital Solutions Fund

Portage, Sagard | August 01, 2022

Global fintech investor Portage announced today the launch of a late-stage, fintech-focused Portage Capital Solutions (“PCS”) Fund. Co-Heads Daniel Ballen and Devon Kirk will lead the strategy, focusing on structured opportunities in fintech and financial services companies globally and targeting investments over $50 million. Devon Kirk has nearly two decades of experience in private equity and structured solutions with a focus on financials. Devon spent over ten years at CPP Investments, based in Toronto. She was most recently Managing Director & Head of Capital Solutions, overseeing financials, special situations and esoteric investments. Prior to that, she was a Managing Director in their Direct Private Equity group, focused on financials. “We see many great companies that are looking for the right partner. Portage’s expertise and network in fintech and financial services are real differentiators as businesses look to navigate this market. We will deliver more than just capital,” said Devon Kirk. Daniel Ballen has spent nearly twenty years investing in private equity, structured equity and special situations focused on the financial services, fintech and real estate technology sectors. Prior to Portage, he served as a Portfolio Manager at PIMCO, based in New York, where he led a team focused on structured equity and private equity investments in both North America and Europe for the firm’s alternatives franchise. Daniel has also served on the investment teams of Bain Capital and Pine Brook Partners, partnering with growing businesses across the fintech and financials landscape. “In this market environment, we’re seeing accelerated demand for flexible capital solutions as entrepreneurs and shareholders look to continue the strong growth trajectory of their business,” said Daniel Ballen. Portage believes PCS’ strategy is well-positioned to meet the demand for capital across all cycles in both public and private markets, whether for organic growth, M&A, or recapitalizations. PCS will leverage Portage’s existing platform, one of the largest global fintech specialist investment firms with over $3 billion in AUM, and benefit from its deep fintech experience, established sourcing network and proven value-creation expertise. “Daniel and Devon bring extensive sourcing and transaction execution experience across asset classes,” said Adam Felesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Portage. “Daniel and Devon bring extensive sourcing and transaction execution experience across asset classes,” said Adam Felesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Portage. “Together, we can expand our efforts to partner with later stage visionary fintech entrepreneurs providing both capital and a value creation network that supports them throughout the life of their business.” "Portage is building a global platform investing in what we view as the top financial services leaders across the globe,” said Paul Desmarais III, Chairman and CEO of Sagard. “With talented professionals such as Daniel and Devon, we are excited to support companies from early-stage to growth.” The PCS team is based in New York and Toronto, with plans for further expansion over time. The team will be active in the third quarter of 2022, with fundraising efforts already underway. About Portage Portage is a global fintech investor with US$3 billion under management* that partners with some of the world’s most innovative financial technology companies. Portage's mission is to be the leading fintech investor globally, empowering entrepreneurs and attracting top talent motivated to reshape financial services. The Portage team has deep entrepreneurial and industry experience and provides founders with privileged access to the firm’s partners, in-house value creation experts, and a broader global fintech ecosystem. Portage is a subsidiary of multi-strategy alternative asset manager Sagard. The firm has offices in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Paris and London. About Sagard Sagard is a multi-strategy alternative asset manager with more than US$14 billion under management** and professionals located in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Sagard seeks attractive investment returns by combining its entrepreneurial and disciplined culture with flexible capital and a unique global network of portfolio companies, limited partners, advisors and other valued relationships. As a firm, Sagard operates platforms that invest across five asset classes: venture capital, private equity, private credit, real estate and healthcare royalties. Sagard also engages in private wealth management and new venture creation through its ecosystem partners.

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FUNDING

USQ Expands Investment Platform with PREDEX Acquisition

USQ, Chatham Financial | August 02, 2022

Union Square Capital Partners, LLC, announced today it acquired the management of PREDEX, a real estate-focused interval fund. PREDEX (Ticker: PRDEX) has $163 million in AUM as of July 27, 2022, bringing total assets of USQ interval funds to approximately $400 million. “True diversification matters, and most investors have been reminded of that over the first half of this year,” said Thomas Miller, Chief Executive Officer of Union Square Capital Partners. Since both funds were launched, they have consistently demonstrated that non-correlation to the broader markets while still delivering strong risk-adjusted returns is possible, both having a three-year correlation of just -0.02 to the S&P 500 Index as of June 30, 2022. During the same period, the USQ Core Real Estate Fund (Ticker: USQIX) delivered an annualized return of 10.46%, while PRDEX delivered an annualized return of 12.09%. USQ’s first fund, USQIX, has a primary investment objective to generate a return comprised of both current income and long-term capital appreciation with moderate volatility and low correlation to the broader markets. USQ implements this strategy by investing in the core private equity real estate funds that comprise the NCREIF Fund Index — Open-end Diversified Core Equity (“NFI-ODCE”). PREDEX likewise serves as a gateway to private core real estate but implements a slightly different approach that allows for a portion of assets to be held in funds outside of the NFI-ODCE Index. “We are excited to join the USQ team and feel they are a perfect partner to support growing the PREDEX fund,” said J. Grayson Sanders, founder of PREDEX. “We are excited to join the USQ team and feel they are a perfect partner to support growing the PREDEX fund,” said J. Grayson Sanders, founder of PREDEX. The expansion of the USQ strategies is aligned with long-term plans for the firm. “This acquisition highlights our commitment to growing our asset management business through both organic growth and strategic acquisitions,” said Matt Henry, Managing Partner and Founder of USQ and Chief Executive Officer of Chatham Financial. The performance quoted represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. The current performance may be lower or higher than the performance data quoted. The investment return and principal value of the Fund will fluctuate; an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost. Performance data current to the most recent month end may be obtained by calling 1-833-877-3863 for USQIX or 1-877-940-7202 for PRDEX. Fund returns reflect actual fee waivers and reimbursement of expenses for the time periods represented. Had fees and expenses not been waived and reimbursed, returns would have been lower. See each fund’s prospectus for more information on current fees and expenses. About USQ USQ, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chatham Financial Corp., is an investment management firm providing access to inventive strategies for real asset investing. The USQ platform leverages in-depth knowledge of real estate financing complexities to offer modern investing approaches spanning the needs from registered investment advisors to institutional investors. Union Square Capital Partners, LLC brings low-cost, institutional private real estate to wealth managers. About Chatham Financial Chatham Financial is the largest independent financial risk management advisory and technology firm. A leader in debt and derivative solutions, Chatham provides clients with access to in-depth knowledge, innovative tools, and an incomparable team of over 600 employees to help mitigate risks associated with interest rate, foreign currency, and commodity exposures. Founded in 1991, Chatham serves more than 3,000 companies across a wide range of industries — handling over $750 billion in transaction volume annually and helping businesses maximize their value in the capital markets, every day. To learn more, visit chathamfinancial.com.

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FUNDING

FinTech Leader DigniFi Announces Bridge Funding to Support Continued Growth

DigniFi, Brigade Capital Management | August 01, 2022

Today, DigniFi, a leading fintech platform for the automotive industry, announced a new partnership with asset manager Brigade Capital Management, LP (“Brigade”). Among other investments across the fixed income spectrum, Brigade provides tailored capital solutions to specialty finance companies and is widely respected for its capital markets expertise and broad network of institutional investors. This initial recapitalization empowers DigniFi to execute its three-year growth strategy centered on operational stability, product development and commercialization, and expansion into transportation-adjacent markets and ecosystems. A representative from Brigade will join DigniFi’s Board of Directors as an Advisor and Observer. About DigniFi DigniFi is a FinTech company and leader in the world of transportation. We help auto dealers and small businesses across the country grow their revenue and delight their customers with visionary, inclusive financing. Our technology simplifies the loan application process and enables small businesses to offer on-the-spot financing, for auto repairs, parts and accessory purchases, and maintenance packages. All credit products are originated by WebBank, Member FDIC. To date, DigniFi has helped over 6,000 small businesses across the nation secure almost $200 million in incremental transactions. For more information, visit DigniFi.com.

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FUNDING

Portage Launches Late-Stage Portage Capital Solutions Fund

Portage, Sagard | August 01, 2022

Global fintech investor Portage announced today the launch of a late-stage, fintech-focused Portage Capital Solutions (“PCS”) Fund. Co-Heads Daniel Ballen and Devon Kirk will lead the strategy, focusing on structured opportunities in fintech and financial services companies globally and targeting investments over $50 million. Devon Kirk has nearly two decades of experience in private equity and structured solutions with a focus on financials. Devon spent over ten years at CPP Investments, based in Toronto. She was most recently Managing Director & Head of Capital Solutions, overseeing financials, special situations and esoteric investments. Prior to that, she was a Managing Director in their Direct Private Equity group, focused on financials. “We see many great companies that are looking for the right partner. Portage’s expertise and network in fintech and financial services are real differentiators as businesses look to navigate this market. We will deliver more than just capital,” said Devon Kirk. Daniel Ballen has spent nearly twenty years investing in private equity, structured equity and special situations focused on the financial services, fintech and real estate technology sectors. Prior to Portage, he served as a Portfolio Manager at PIMCO, based in New York, where he led a team focused on structured equity and private equity investments in both North America and Europe for the firm’s alternatives franchise. Daniel has also served on the investment teams of Bain Capital and Pine Brook Partners, partnering with growing businesses across the fintech and financials landscape. “In this market environment, we’re seeing accelerated demand for flexible capital solutions as entrepreneurs and shareholders look to continue the strong growth trajectory of their business,” said Daniel Ballen. Portage believes PCS’ strategy is well-positioned to meet the demand for capital across all cycles in both public and private markets, whether for organic growth, M&A, or recapitalizations. PCS will leverage Portage’s existing platform, one of the largest global fintech specialist investment firms with over $3 billion in AUM, and benefit from its deep fintech experience, established sourcing network and proven value-creation expertise. “Daniel and Devon bring extensive sourcing and transaction execution experience across asset classes,” said Adam Felesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Portage. “Daniel and Devon bring extensive sourcing and transaction execution experience across asset classes,” said Adam Felesky, Co-Founder and CEO of Portage. “Together, we can expand our efforts to partner with later stage visionary fintech entrepreneurs providing both capital and a value creation network that supports them throughout the life of their business.” "Portage is building a global platform investing in what we view as the top financial services leaders across the globe,” said Paul Desmarais III, Chairman and CEO of Sagard. “With talented professionals such as Daniel and Devon, we are excited to support companies from early-stage to growth.” The PCS team is based in New York and Toronto, with plans for further expansion over time. The team will be active in the third quarter of 2022, with fundraising efforts already underway. About Portage Portage is a global fintech investor with US$3 billion under management* that partners with some of the world’s most innovative financial technology companies. Portage's mission is to be the leading fintech investor globally, empowering entrepreneurs and attracting top talent motivated to reshape financial services. The Portage team has deep entrepreneurial and industry experience and provides founders with privileged access to the firm’s partners, in-house value creation experts, and a broader global fintech ecosystem. Portage is a subsidiary of multi-strategy alternative asset manager Sagard. The firm has offices in Toronto, Montreal, New York, Paris and London. About Sagard Sagard is a multi-strategy alternative asset manager with more than US$14 billion under management** and professionals located in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Sagard seeks attractive investment returns by combining its entrepreneurial and disciplined culture with flexible capital and a unique global network of portfolio companies, limited partners, advisors and other valued relationships. As a firm, Sagard operates platforms that invest across five asset classes: venture capital, private equity, private credit, real estate and healthcare royalties. Sagard also engages in private wealth management and new venture creation through its ecosystem partners.

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