The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), at the University of Cambridge Judge Business School in the UK, has received the backing of the CME Group Foundation to the tune of a $1 million grant to support research on new forms of finance such as crowdfunding and peer to peer / marketplace lending. The funds will be disbursed over the next five years and is reportedly the largest grant CMG Group Foundation has ever delivered outside of the US. The size of the grant and the ongoing commitment is said to highlight both the Foundation’s international approach along with the growing importance of alternative finance.
Robert Wardrop, Executive Director of CCAF, called the grant an important endorsement of his group’s mission;
“We are grateful for the generous support of CME Group Foundation as we research the growth and development of alternative finance. We firmly believe this is a structural, rather than transitory, change in the global financial system,” said Wardrop. “This grant represents a blue chip endorsement of the importance of our mission to educate business, policymakers and the public about these vital new areas of finance, which represent both opportunities and challenges for financial institutions around the world.”
The Foundation was created in 2008 and endowed with a gift of $16 million from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Trust, which was established by CME in 1969 under the direction of its then chairman, Leo Melamed. CME Group is considered the world’s leading and most diverse derivatives marketplace offering the widest range of global benchmark products across all major asset classes.
“We are delighted to partner with the University of Cambridge Judge Business School and a prestigious consortium of leading universities globally on their research into alternative finance. The Foundation has a long track record of supporting academic institutions on innovations close to the futures and derivatives industry. This partnership will strengthen the research framework around the alternative finance sector and enable further collaboration between academics, policymakers, regulators and industry participants.”
The grant will support the pioneering benchmarking studies by the CCAF on the development of alternative finance in five regions around the world, as well as an annual alternative finance conference organised by the Centre, which is held at the University of CambridgeJudge Business School. The conference will be a platform to distribute research results and discuss other research themes related to alternative finance.
The inaugural report by the CCAF in 2015, the first pan-European study of alternative finance, found that the European market for alternative finance grew by 144% in 2014, from €1,211 million in 2013 to €2,957 million in 2014. The research covers alternative finance like equity crowdfunding, P2P/marketplace lending, payments, cryptocurrencies and other new forms of finance that are poised to disrupt the existing financial ecosystem.
The new CME Group Foundation grant will support annual reports covering five global regions – Europe, the Americas, Greater China, the Asia-Pacific region and the UK. Crowdfund Insider has partnered with CCAF in the past to help promote the efforts of the Cambridge research entity.