Corporate Loans Platform iLex Closes Seed Funding Round and Signs Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IHS Markit
Singapore, 18 June 2020 – iLex, a financial technology start-up that is enabling the transformation of the corporate loan market, today announced that it has closed its seed funding round with strategic and fintech investors from France, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United States.
The Singapore-based fintech is creating the first all-to-all electronic market and trading platform for corporate loans and developing digital solutions to enable the end-to-end automation of trade execution, aiming to boost liquidity and efficiency for the corporate loan market. The money raised supports the development of the first version of iLex’s platform, including its proprietary matching engine and trading protocols and its loan data and analytics offerings.
“Despite being the world’s second largest source of capital after equities, the corporate loan market remains primarily relationship-driven and relying on inefficient manual processes,” said Bertrand Billon, CEO and founder of iLex. “As evidenced by the electronification of other asset classes such as equities, foreign exchange or bonds, significant benefits can be derived from an electronic market, including the lowering of costs and operational risks and improving liquidity and price discovery for the loan market.”
All-to-All Electronic Market
iLex’s platform will support a multi-lateral electronic market that will augment the network, deal flow and liquidity opportunities for loan market participants. Banks and non-bank lenders looking to sell, or syndicate loans will be able to reach a wider pool of buyers, including other banks and institutional investors that are newly attracted to the asset class, such as asset managers, pension funds, insurers and private debt funds. Buyers will also have direct access to a larger universe of loan assets across the region.
iLex’s proprietary matching engine, progressively powered by artificial intelligence, is designed to deliver targeted deal matching opportunities between the buy- and sell-sides based on online indications of interest, historical deal records and market participants’ behaviours.
Billon added, “Currently, banks, which contribute to more than 95% of corporate lending in Asia Pacific, are not fully maximising their loan distribution to connect with smaller, less active though potentially suitable buyers. The buy-side, which has been driving the growth in appetite for private debt, faces restrictions in sourcing for loan assets due to limited resources and market complexity. iLex’s platform will help to address those pain points.”
End-to-End Automation of Primary Loan Syndication and Secondary Market Processes
iLex is developing integrated digital solutions that will automate from end-to-end, the largely manual primary syndication and secondary market processes. Some of the solutions include automated deal workflows, secure communication and collaboration systems and trade monitoring tools that will facilitate interactions between market participants and within loan teams, as they perform their dealing activities online, securely and on an integrated platform.
iLex has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with IHS Markit, a world leader in critical information, analytics and solution, to collaborate on various strategic initiatives, including connecting iLex’s platform to IHS Markit’s suite of solutions such as Debtdomain for multi-bookrunner syndications, ClearPar for settlement and Loan Reference and Pricing Data for analytics.
Commented Billon, “Through strategic partnerships and integration with leading third-party solutions such as those from IHS Markit, we will enable straight-through processing of loan syndication and trading transactions, supported by the highest security, compliance and data privacy standards, as required by the market. We are delighted to welcome IHS Markit as a strategic partner and look forward to achieving mutually beneficial synergies and collaboration to transform market practices and accelerate the adoption of our platform across Asia Pacific.”
“IHS Markit is an integral provider of infrastructure technology and solutions for the global loan markets,” said Kiet Tran, APAC Head of Financial Services at IHS Markit. “We are excited to partner with iLex to leverage our market-leading loan data, book-building and trade settlement platforms to support liquidity, transparency and the growth of loan markets in Asia Pacific.”
Smart Data and Analytics
iLex also seeks to provide a comprehensive source of loan data and analytics by aggregating data sources and providing contextual analysis and smart visualisation tools on-the-go, enabling participants to make informed and timely credit decision. The start-up will aggregate extensive proprietary and third-party market datasets from leading industry data partners, to provide deeper insights into market activities by borrowers and lenders, as well as pricing and credit benchmarking tools.
Billon said, “As we work towards our official launch in October 2020, we will be adding more data sources and global partner banks who are leading bookrunners in Asia Pacific, to deliver greater liquidity and best execution capabilities for all market participants through analytics and superior price discovery mechanisms.”
iLex is a fintech start-up creating the first all-to-all electronic market and trading platform for corporate loans, delivering an augmented network and targeted deal opportunities for loan market participants using its proprietary matching engine. Through the use of its digital solutions and strategic partnerships, iLex will facilitate the end-to-end automation of primary syndication and secondary market workflows and provide a comprehensive source of loan market data and analytics. Supported by industry players in the loan market ecosystem, iLex is leading innovation to deliver better liquidity, efficiency and intelligence to the corporate loan market. iLex was launched in 2019 and is based in Singapore. For more information, please visit www.ilex.sg.
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