Lufthansa, VC Trade power move will pay off in Schuldschein digital battle
German airline Lufthansa took a daring step in mid-March and decided to launch a Schuldschein transaction exclusively via the digital platform VC Trade. It has proved a shrewd move and will likely be game-changing for VC Trade in the battle for digital dominance.
Some Schuldschein investors will try every trick in the book to preserve their traditions — calling arrangers by phone, sending contracts via post or fax. They aren’t fond of these habits because they are efficient — they are fond of them because they are used to them.
They will resist suave technology folk who try to impress them with new software, unless they are forced not to. This is why the Lufthansa play was clever. The way to get lenders to change their ways and enter a more efficient and transparent digital age is to dangle a high quality credit in front of them.
VC Trade, which seeks to carry a Schuldschein issue from origination to expiry, is clearly more efficient, less time-consuming and less costly for everyone in the market.
But beyond technological innovation — which VC Trade already has — what a digital platform needs to be truly value adding is as many investors as possible using the platform.
Before Lufthansa's €800m transaction, there were just under 300 investors on the platform and, afterwards, there are over 400. That is almost all the active Schuldschein lenders.
This transaction could have been humiliating for the borrower and the platform if the investors didn't bite. But they did, and we could have reached the tipping point for every Schuldschein investor to click subscribe.