Fintech firm Cornerstone FS raises £2.7mln as it debuts on AIM

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Fintech firm Cornerstone FS PLC (LON:CSFS) joined the AIM segment of the London Stock Exchange after raising £2.7mln.

The international payments and electronic account services group is valued at £12.4mln based on its debut share price of 61p.

It will use the cash to fund both organic and acquisitive growth designed to expand the capabilities of its technology platform.

The business is based around FXPress, a small foreign exchange broking business that three years ago developed a cloud-based, multi-currency payments system.

Last October, Cornerstone acquired Avila House, which has a small electronic money institution licence focused on multi-currency e-wallets. It will allow clients to leave funds on deposit so they can hold a multi-currency current account.

Cornerstone intends to grow by buying up foreign exchange businesses, as well as continuing to develop its platform to provide additional services alongside integrations with popular cloud-based accounting applications.

“The non-financial institutions segment of the market is highly fragmented with many smaller players struggling to cope with the ever-increasing regulatory demands and the costs of acquiring up-to-date technology,” said chief executive Julian Wheatland.

“At the same time, SME customers are seeking better quality and more bespoke services than are provided by the major financial institutions that dominate the foreign exchange market.

“This provides us with a clear opportunity for our offering, which, with our strong board, excellent management team and highly scalable platform, we are well-placed to deliver.”

Cornerstone has a heavy-hitting board: Glyn Barker, chairman of housebuilder Berkeley Group (LON:BKG), is a non-executive director, while Elliott Mannis, 59, the former finance director of Anglian Water, is its chairman.

Set up 10 years by four currency traders, the business processed an estimated £600mln of foreign currency transactions each year on behalf of its 700-plus corporate customers.

Cornerstone says its prices are “well below” those of mainstream banks. The technology is used by 30 other foreign exchange businesses.

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