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Alternative Finance in the Digitised Economy


The financial services industry is undergoing rapid and far-reaching transformation, underpinned by new and emerging technologies and a range of socio-economic drivers. This transformation is fundamentally changing market structures and opening opportunities for both incumbents and challengers to create innovative, game-changing alternative products and services. 

Many thousands of new firms, products and services are creating an extremely vibrant global alternative finance ecosystem. Everything from blockchain-based digital assets to new wealth management services serving the masses, from online capital raising channels and instruments such as marketplace/peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, initial coin offerings (ICOs) to new payment systems, e-money, remittance services and digital banking services – the financial services system is undergoing a full-scale, technology-driven transformation. 

Experts and academics from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) based at Cambridge Judge Business School and leading practitioners from around the world, offer the opportunity for international participants of this course to get fully immersed in and up-to-speed with the rapidly changing dynamics of the ongoing transformation. This programme enables participants to collaboratively and interactively build a deep understanding of a broad range of key concepts, trends, developments, technologies, risks and opportunities.  

This programme draws upon the most up-to-date and insightful case studies, data and examples from many different geographies, business models and economic contexts, while benefitting from the expertise and experience offered by the CCAF at Cambridge Judge Business School and its global partners. This programme provides an efficient, timely opportunity for industry leaders and decision-makers to be fully prepared, aware and equipped to deal with the challenges and take advantage of the opportunities posed by the alternative finance industry in the digitised economy. 


The topics, carefully selected for this programme, are the essential building blocks of the emerging financial transformation in the digitised economy. These themes are encapsulated and explored through analyses of existing case studies and examples drawn from multiple financial activities in many jurisdictions globally. 

The pedagogy consists of simulations, exercises, role-playing activities, cases, discussions and lectures, ensuring that all sessions are highly interactive and applied to the most cutting-edge state of the industry. Each session has key lessons that can be adopted in practice.

Participants will leave the programme with a clear understanding of concepts and practical tools which they can directly apply, harness and transfer to their own businesses, firms and contexts.

Topics on the programme include: 

  • Overview of alternative finance: financial channels, platforms, instruments and asset classes
  • E-money and alternative payment systems
  • Alternative lending business models
  • Reward & equity crowdfunding
  • Distributed ledger technology and its applications
  • The legal environment in alternative finance


Upon attending this programme you will:

  • Gain insights into how alternative finance is developing around world, and fits within the digital transformation of financial services and the economy within each region
  • Gain insights into the Environment-Social-Governance (ESG) implications of alternative finance developments
  • Understand the challenges and opportunities presented by novel forms of capital-raising for firms, including equity crowdfunding and Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)
  • Learn about the mechanics of smart contract structures and the legal issues introduced by 'the code is the contract' structures governing alternative finance instruments
  • Gain insights into alternative finance business models to learn how non-financial firms are deploying fintech analytics to monetise alternative data in digital business models
  • Gain insights into shifting regulation for alternative finance, and how regtech innovation is transforming both compliance and market surveillance;
  • Understand the reality versus the hype in the practical limitations and suitability of fintech applications like blockchain and cryptocurrencies
  • Understand the fundamental principles of 'token economics', and its potential impact on compensation structures and the governance of organisations
  • Understand the disruptive potential of asset digitisation to incumbent financial instruments and assets classes
  • Gain hands-on experience in applying insights gained during the course to the development of a strategic roadmap for your organisation

This programme counts towards the Cambridge Judge Business School General Management Certificate of Achievement. On completing the GMCA you will be eligible to become an associate member of Cambridge Judge Business School's global network of graduates and business-focused University of Cambridge alumni, faculty and staff.

Who should attend

This programme is suitable for executives working in financial, non-financial or policy-influencing organisations interested in better understanding the potential impact of alternative finance developments for their organisations. Participants will have senior roles involving strategy development, business development, marketing and product development, innovation, ESG, or legal affairs.

Faculty & speakers

Robert Wardrop

Robert Wardrop

Co-founder and Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance 

Read more about Robert

Robert is a sociologist and a co-founder of the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance at Cambridge Judge Business School. He has a successful track record of investing in and advising small and mid-sized firms in North America, Europe and Asia spanning over 30 years, and this experience led to his interest in understanding how and why alternative channels of finance emerge outside the traditional banking and capital markets system. His current research focuses on small and mid-sized firms that issue bonds as an alternative to bank financing, with the aim of better understanding the decision-making behaviour of firm owners and classes of investors across different economies. In addition to his academic role at Cambridge, Robert currently serves on the Global Advisory Boards of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the School of Business at Queen's University in Kingston, Canada.

Bryan Zhang

Bryan Zhang

Co-founder and Executive Director, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read more about Bryan

Bryan is trained in economic geography and public policy. His research examines the accumulation and allocation of capital for start-ups and SMEs through alternative circuits of finance in a geographical and comparative context. Since 2013, Bryan has led and co-authored some of the most influential industry reports on the state of alternative finance both at national and international levels. He has advised and collaborated with numerous institutions and organisations including the Financial Conduct Authority, the British Business Bank, the Department of International Development, the European Commission, the World Bank, Oxfam and Unilever. Bryan is also a Senior Fellow at the Financial Innovation Lab.

Kieran Garvey

Kieran Garvey

Lead in Regulation & Policy, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read more about Kieran

Kieran is the co-author of nine alternative finance industry reports covering market activity globally, as well as more specifically within regulation in East Africa and UK sustainable energy. He is leading the Cambridge-World Bank 2017-2019 Regulator & Policymaker Surveys in addition to a research programme to develop a technology solution to more efficiently conduct regulatory reviews of different FinTech business models in developing and emerging countries. Kieran previously worked at the UK Crowdfunding Association, as a UK parliamentary crowdfunding advisor and has aided a large number of companies to secure finance via equity crowdfunding. He also helped establish a microfinance social enterprise in Northern Vietnam, inspired by Kiva. Kieran holds an MSc from Imperial College London and a BSc from the London School of Economics.

Tania Ziegler

Tania Ziegler

Lead in Global Benchmarking, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read more about Tania

Tania is a Lead in Global Benchmarking at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF), Cambridge Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. Tania's research interests include small business economics and SME utilisation of alternative funding models to access finance. She was the Programme Manager of the Alternative Funding Network at the London-based Knowledge Peers. Previous to her work in alternative finance, Tania specialised in Chinese outward direct investment and was a Fulbright Scholar. Tania studied economics and holds an MSc in China in Comparative Perspective from the London School of Economics.

Headshot of Michel Rauchs

Michel Rauchs

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Lead, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read more about Michel

Michel Rauchs is Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Lead at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. He co-authored two influential benchmarking reports on the state of global cryptocurrency and blockchain industries in 2017. He holds a Bachelor in Economics from HEC Lausanne and graduated from Grenoble Ecole de Management with a Master’s degree in International Business with a thesis on the evolution of the Bitcoin business ecosystem from 2010-2015 using a unique longitudinal dataset of 514 companies and projects.

Philip Rowan

Philip Rowan

Research Associate, Regulatory Innovation Lead

Read more about Philip

Philip leads on the international aspects of CCAF’s financial innovation and financial inclusion initiatives. Philip was previously a regulator specialising in FinTech, competition policy and financial inclusion, focusing on enabling supportive regulatory environments for development. In his capacity as the International Lead at the UK Financial Conduct Authority’s Innovate initiative, he closely supported dozens of financial services regulators and governments in their efforts to promote innovation in financial services, including those in developing markets. A leading authority on regulatory sandboxes, Philip is regularly consulted by those seeking to promote innovation in regulation. During his time at CGAP Philip successfully advocated for the implementation of pro-innovation and pro-competition regulatory policies with regulators and competition authorities to promote financial inclusion. Philip has also served at the UK’s competition authority, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), where his work focused on improving competition in banking. Philip holds an MSc in Development Economics from the University of Oxford and a BSc in Economics from the University of Warwick.

Keith Bear

Keith Bear

Fellow, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance

Read more about Keith

Keith Bear is currently a Fellow of the CCAF. Keith was responsible globally for the strategy and development of IBM’s business in financial markets, working extensively with global clients on their major transformation programmes. He has worked extensively with financial markets infrastructure firms, trade finance organisations and banks such on deployment of blockchain technologies. Keith is also a Board Advisor to three blockchain fintechs, and a lead mentor for the Barclay’s Techstars Fintech accelerator. 

Keith holds a First Class Degree in Physics from Corpus Christi College, Oxford, an MSc (Distinction) in Particle Physics from University of London, and completed an IBM Master in Business Management programme at London School of Economics. He is a member of IBM’s Industry Academy and a Board Director for the Enterprise Data Management Council.

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Keystone Financial: Australian alternative finance market grew by 53% in 2016 Report

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The Adviser: Australia now second-largest alternative finance market in APAC

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Dates & fees

Dates Duration Fees *
9-10 May 2019 2 days £2,300 + VAT
7-8 November 2019 2 days £2,300 + VAT

VAT is charged at the prevailing rate, which is currently 20%; e.g. £2,995 + 20% = £3,594.

* Fees include instruction, materials, lunch and breaks. Preferential rates may be available for groups, University of Cambridge alumni and members of the School's Alumni Association. Please note prices pre-registration are subject to change.

For information regarding payment terms, cancellation rights, transfer policies and fees, please see our terms & conditions documents:

Terms & Conditions for Self-funded Applicants (pdf, 233KB) (updated 31 January 2018)
Terms & Conditions for Organisation-funded Applicants (pdf, 250KB) (updated 31 January 2018)

Registration closes at midday two working days before the programme start date.

Participants are expected to attend the full programme.

If you have any questions or would like to have a chat about this programme and how it could benefit you or your organisation, please get in touch with the programme advisor:

Jasmin Abdel-Moneim

Sales & Business Development Manager
Tel: +44 (0)1223 768071

Jasmin Abdel-Moneim

Version 2 (13 December 2018)

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