This was the result of an event held by legal practice Osborne Clarke and the European Crowd-funding Network. Founders of leading crowdfunding platforms, representatives of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, the European Commission as well as industrial representatives discussed the conversion process due to new regulation and further market developments.
The conference was opened by Osborne Clarke Partner Tanja Aschenbeck-Florange and Oliver Gajda from the European Crowdfunding Network. Following them, were Verena Müller-Schmale and Dr Jean-Pierre Bußalb, who spoke on the new Investor Protection Act for small investors, the so called “Kleinanlegerschutzgesetz” and the current administrative practice of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority. Dr Bußalb, Deputy Head of Unit PRO 3, explained the legal exception for crowdfunding.
Afterwards the conversion process was discussed in a heated podium debate. Founders and project developers of leading crowdfunding platforms in Germany, such as FunderNation, Seedmatch, KICKRS.NET and Innovestment, critically reflected on the effects of the regulation. Uli Fricke, CEO and founder of FunderNation, is convinced that that regulation provides transparency can only the confidence of the investors. Nevertheless the constant demand for transparency is a controversial topic, explained Dr Daniel B. Hildebrand, founder of KICKRS.NET: the participants criticised the lack of a harmonised regulatory framework at the EU level. The speakers arrived at the clear verdict that the Investor Protection Act for small investors is only a first step towards an independent law in terms of crowdfunding.
Dr Joachim Schwerin, member of Directorate General Enterprise and Industry of the European Commission, spoke on regulatory issues and European developments in connection with crowdfunding. The Commission’s aim is to enable a discussion on a European level, before necessary measures can be adopted. In this respect the forthcoming EU Capital Market Action Plan will not involve any fundamental changes, he explained. However the present revision of the Prospectus Directive will try to reduce tensions between market efficiency and protection of investors and consumers.
The event was rounded off with a round table on „Crowdfunding as financial aid for renewable energy projects“. Roland Wigger, chairman of abakus solar AG, together with the founders of the crowdfunding platforms „LeihDeinerStadtGeld“ and „Oneplanetcrowd“ discussed measures that could drive developments forward in the area of renewable energy. Coenraad de Vries from Oneplanetcrowd explained that a major step would be greater transparency and open communication between investors and companies.
The final discussion revealed that in many areas crowdfunding in Germany is yet at the beginning but possesses great potential.