Belfius teamed up with Projective and The Glue for Dot-Capital

19 December 2019 4 min. read

Earlier this year, Belgian financial services company Belfius launched Dot-Capital, a digital platform that facilitates alternative financing. The platform was developed in collaboration with Projective and The Glue, two companies that help financial services institutions with the conceptualisation and delivery of innovations. 

Established in 2012 following a rebranding from Dexia, Belfius is one of Belgium’s leading banking and insurance groups. Still owned by the Belgian government, the bank has around €164 billion of assets under management, making it the country’s third largest player after BNP Paribas Fortis and KBC Bank. 

As part of its strategy to “add value to its customers through an innovative (digital-driven) approach”, the Brussels-headquartered bank developed a platform that digitises the primary market debt issuance process.

Belfius teamed up with Projective and The Glue for Dot-Capital

The platform, known as ‘Dot-Capital’, offers investors and issuers direct access to primary market bond issues. Leveraging transparency on prices and counterparties, they can interact directly and close deals, without the bank's intermediation. 

The main objective of the platform is to serve mostly mid-sized and smaller organisations seeking to fund their growth and/or project endeavours. Dirk Gyselinck, a board member of Belfius, unpacked; “We have long been convinced that financing on the bond markets can be of interest not only to large companies, but also to smaller entities, whether they are corporate customers, cities or municipalities, universities, hospitals, and the like.”

“Through Dot-Capital, we want to make it easier for them to access investors on the capital market. Increased automation, transparency on a single platform and efficiency benefits all stakeholders [issuers and investors].” 

With the platform, Belfius is playing into the growing demand for alternative forms of financing, which have been on a steep rise ever since the financial crisis and its aftermath. Tightening lending criteria, combined with beefed up regulatory demands, has meant that banks are putting more scrutiny on their lending to businesses and government institutions, and as a result, borrowers are turning to substitutes including the bond market and crowd funding.

According to Gyselinck, Dot-Capital is a first in Belgium, in a move that aligns with Belfius’ market leading role in the segment. Data from its financial accounts show that the bank has facilitated nearly €19 billion in long-term issues since 2013, with that number now set to accelerate in the coming years. 

Getting it done

In designing and building its platform, Belfius turned to external support from Projective, a consulting firm specialised in delivering complex change in financial services, and The Glue, picked for its capacity to bridge the gap between corporate and start-up thinking. Projective and The Glue are partners, both residing in an ecosystem focused on change in financial services. 

“The Dot-Capital marketplace has the potential to revolutionise the way in which banks and their corporate customers, governments and municipalities do business.”

“This project required a large bank to think like a fintech startup, and so it was crucial to bring experience on board capable of aligning the cultural and organisational differences between the two,” said Sebastien Mathieu, a project manager at Projective. 

“To make such a collaboration a success it is key to have a good understanding of needs and challenges within both worlds and to direct the project towards a suitable pace acceptable for both. At Projective and The Glue, we have experience with project delivery within both worlds, enabling us to establish an efficient high-collaborative delivery model.” 

Ultimately, this led to realising the project within the agreed timelines. Jurgen Ingels and Stefan Dierckx, leaders at Projective and co-founders of The Glue, said that they are proud to have contributed to such a strategic initiative in Belgium’s financial services arena. “This online marketplace has the potential to revolutionise the way in which banks and their corporate customers, governments and municipalities do business.”