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$1 million grant secured for the study of alternative finance

11 February 2016

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CME Group Foundation grants $1 million to support the study of alternative finance by Cambridge Judge Business School. The University’s Cambridge Centre …

CME Group Foundation grants $1 million to support the study of alternative finance by Cambridge Judge Business School. The University’s Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance will study crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending.

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CME Group Foundation today announced it will provide a $1 million grant for the benefit of research at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) at the University of Cambridge into the rapid growth of alternative financial channels and instruments such as crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending. CME Group Foundation was established by CME Trust to support a variety of education initiatives designed to advance the global economy.

The $1 million grant, paid out over the duration of five years, is the largest CME Group Foundation grant outside the United States. This grant underscores the Foundation’s growing international educational reach and its commitment to fostering greater understanding of alternative finance – an area of increasing importance to the global financial system.
CME Group is 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,” said Jim Oliff, Chairman of CME Group Foundation. “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 pioneering benchmarking studies by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance 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 based at the School. The conference will be a platform to disseminate results of the research and discuss other research themes relating to alternative finance.

“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 Robert Wardrop, Executive Director of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. “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 CCAF is an interdisciplinary academic research institute dedicated to the study of alternative finance, including financial channels and instruments that emerge outside the traditional banking system. Examples of alternative finance include equity- and reward-based crowdfunding, peer-to-peer consumer and business lending, third-party payment platforms, SME mini-bonds, private placements and emerging currencies.

An inaugural report by the Centre in 2015, the first pan-European study of alternative finance, found that the European market for alternative finance grew by 144 per cent in 2014, from €1,211 million in 2013 to €2,957 million in 2014. 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.

This article was published on

11 February 2016.