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Challenger bank Revolut has hired investment bank JP Morgan to conduct its $500 million funding round and issue it a $1 billion convertible loan, which will turn into shares if Revolut receives a U.S. banking license, reports Ruby Hinchliffe of Fintech Futures, Finovate’s sister publication.
Sky News sources revealed that Revolut is trying to achieve a new valuation of between $5 billion and $10 billion from the capital-raising, which could make it the most valuable fintech in Europe if it hits $10 billion, ahead of Monzo, Transferwise, Klarna and N26.
Currently the most valuable fintech in Europe is Adyen, a Netherlands-based data analytics firm valued at $8.3 billion.
It is not clear yet which of Revolut’s existing partners will be participating in the round. The challenger’s most recent partnership with Visa will see it expand to 24 new countries, as well as hire 3,500 new staff.
Having accumulated almost eight million customers since it was founded five years ago, and now on track to have raised almost $2 billion in its lifetime if it secures the full $1.5 billion from investors, Revolut is fast-becoming the top U.K.-based challenger bank.
However such exponential growth, with the bank quadrupling its revenue in 2018 and saying it will triple it again this year, yields greater regulatory warnings.
The Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority has targeted faster-growing companies in the U.K. like Revolut, requiring them to have more rigorous stress-testing and prove evidence of greater challenges by board members to business strategy.
Revolut is also undergoing a significant management restructure, following accusations of alleged links to the Kremlin.
Currently gearing up to announce its new chairman Martin Gilbert, vice chairman of Standard Life Aberdeen, the challenger has also lined up former boss at Goldman Sachs, Michael Sherwood, and has already hired a senior executive from Metro Bank.
Revolut debuted at FinovateEurope 2015 in London. The company’s CEO and founder Nikolay Storonsky showed off the app’s money transfer capabilities that help users avoid banking fees without actually using a bank. The company has made recent headlines in fintech news for its partnership with Bottomline and for its appointment of new CEOs in Lithuania and Ireland.
Revolut has withdrawn its application for an e-banking license in the grand duchy in a shift towards Ireland, according to The Telegraph on Sunday, reports Sharon Kimathi of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication).
The news outlet notes that Revolut stopped its Luxembourg application after questions about its compliance systems were raised in the Chamber of Deputies by the MP Laurent Mosar (CSV) in April, which Revolut has refuted.
Without citing any company names, Moser stated in a parliamentary question to the finance minister, Pierre Gramegna (DP), that: “Fintech companies are subject to a host of national and international rules. However, it would seem that these rules are not always respected by fintech companies, so that some of them get their approval, even though they do not meet financial and banking regulatory requirements. According to my information, at least one major company that has recently applied for approval, would be flagged in its country of origin for non-compliance with existing regulations as well as for non-transparency.”
Mosar asked Gramegna what the finance ministry was doing to ensure compliance with fintech rules. Gramegna responded that the Financial Sector Supervisory Commission (CSSF) and not the finance ministry oversaw regulating financial institutions.
The Telegraph reported that the CSSF began conducting spot checks on financial technology firms headquartered in the country earlier this year to verify that board and staff members were truly located in the grand duchy.
The neobank needs regulatory approval from one of the EU27 in order to maintain its access to the single European market after Brexit.
Revolut told news outlets that it did not withdrawal its application due to questions about its compliance technology. Rather it took a “strategic decision” to focus on its license application in Ireland. A spokesman said the firm “had a very positive and open dialogue” with the CSSF, as well as the promotion body Luxembourg for Finance.
Founded in 2013, Revolut demonstrated its technology at FinovateEurope 2015. Nikolay Storonsky is CEO.