An alternative investment is an asset that is not one of the conventional investment types, such as stocks, bonds, and cash. Most alternative investment assets are held by institutional investors or accredited, high-net-worth individuals because of the complex natures and limited regulations of the investments.
Alternative finance refers to financial channels, processes, and instruments that have emerged outside of the traditional finance system such as regulated banks and capital markets. Alternative finance is the term coined to represent forms of finance that stretch beyond the three traditional asset types (stocks, bonds, and cash).
Examples of alternative financing activities through ‘online marketplaces’ are
- reward-based crowdfunding,
- equity crowdfunding,
- peer-to-peer consumer and business lending,
- invoice trading third party payment platforms.
Alternative finance instruments include
- cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin,
- SME mini-bond,
- social impact bond,
- community shares,
- private placement and
- other ‘shadow banking’ mechanisms.
Alternative finance differs from traditional banking or capital market finance through technology-enabled ‘disintermediation’, which means utilizing third-party capital by connecting fundraisers directly with funders, in turn, reducing transactional costs and improve market efficiency.
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