Fears grow for challenger banks as their backers feel the pain from SVB collapse
Some of the UK’s leading tech firms took a hit yesterday as their backers felt the pain from the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB).
Molten Ventures, a FTSE 250 investment company which counts banking app Revolut – founded by Nikolay Storonsky – among its portfolio, saw its shares slump 3.8 per cent, or 12p, to 303.6p following a sharp tumble on Friday when the crisis first began.
Another one of Molten’s investments is customer review website Trustpilot, which revealed SVB was its ‘principal banking partner’ and that it had around £20million in cash held with the bank’s UK subsidiary.
Slump: FTSE 250 investment company Molten Ventures, which has banking app Revolut – founded by Nikolay Storonsky (pictured) – in its portfolio, saw its shares fall 3.8%
The falls have raised fresh question marks over how these businesses are funded. Fellow tech-focused investor Chrysalis Investments dropped 2.5 per cent, or 1.5p, to 59.2p amid fears of contagion spreading through the market.
The firm’s portfolio includes money transfer group Wise, which itself sank 11.4 per cent, or 66p, to 515p, as well as challenger bank Starling and buy-now-pay-later group Klarna.
Another Chrysalis investment, Secret Escapes, also banked with SVB.
Meanwhile, asset manager Columbia Threadneedle was hit as its £1.5billion Responsible Global Equity fund held around 97,000 shares in SVB while its larger £4.8billion F&C investment trust owned around 46,000. Shares in the latter fell 1.8 per cent, or 17p, to 917p in London.
Will Marwick, chief executive of payments firm IFX, said SVB’s collapse and the market turmoil it unleashed would place ‘renewed focus’ on the stability of the financial technology sector.
‘The number of fintechs exposed to SVB highlights the need for customers to regularly investigate how diversified their operations are to different banking partners via their provider and ensure there are robust systems and risk controls in place,’ he added.
Meanwhile, John Colley associate dean of Warwick Business School, said the fall of SVB would ‘be a worry’ for the industry and that any banks serving tech start-ups were likely to ‘raise concerns amongst depositors’.
He added that while the UK and US government had helped rescue SVB, they may ‘draw the line there’ putting other banks in niche sectors at risk.
‘So far banks have escaped a run but that may not remain the case for long,’ Colley said.
The collapse of SVB sent shockwaves across the global financial system as investors paniced that the crisis that felled the California-based firm could spread.
SVB had invested heavily in US government bonds which, while usually safe investments, saw their value plunge as interest rates rose, forcing the company to try and raise funds and triggering concerns about its stability and those of other banks.
Officials on both sides of the Atlantic moved swiftly to contain the crisis, with US regulators taking control of SVB on Friday following its collapse, the biggest American bank failure since the 2008 financial crisis.