ROBOCASH GROUP is seeking to raise $5 million before it conducts an initial public offering (IPO) as it eyes to launch a bank in the Philippines.

“To start activities by September 2020, the group is now raising $5 million to be used as regulatory capital for a Philippine banking license,” Robocash said in a statement on Thursday.

Australia-based KTM Capital and Foster Stockbroking managed the pre-IPO round and would be on board again for the planned IPO at the end of the year on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).

While it considered other bourses in the US, London and Singapore, Robocash said it found ASX to be the most appropriate for its needs.

“We have chosen the ASX because it welcomes fintech companies and, at the same time, it will allow us to feel confident there with our size of business,” Robocash said in an e-mail.

Robocash is looking to raise $70 million which may be allocated to set up a bank in the Philippines and for its expansion in other Asian markets. It said the fundraising could imply post-money market capitalization of over $340 million.

The firm said its planned Una Bank, which will be geared towards digital banking, will be completely in-house. It eyes to roll out an all-digital application process and have cards delivered via courier.

“With Una Bank, we aspire to provide the fastest and the most convenient access to a debit/credit card,” it said.

“We expect to have 40,000 active cardholders in a few months after our online bank goes live in the Philippines,” Robocash Group Founder and CEO Sergey Sedov was quoted as saying in the statement.

Robocash is a loan provider from Russia that ventured into the Southeast Asian market through its Philippine launch in 2017. Golden Legacy Financing Corp. served as its partner for its local lending operations.

“As for the neobank, my group of shareholders will not be involved in that project,” Felipe Jose N. Zamora III, president and CEO of Golden Legacy Financing Corp. said in a text message yesterday.

Sought for comment, BSP Deputy Governor Chuchi G. Fonacier said she is “not aware of a submission for an application for banking license” from Robocash.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in December revoked Robocash’s authority to operate as a financing company in the country, saying it was operating branches without a license.

Robocash yesterday said the SEC’s findings only concerns offline activities and there was “no malpractice found in the online segment.” It said the order has not been implemented and Robocash Finance Corp. has appealed regarding the ruling.

“The company has taken all necessary legal steps to appeal the order and fully restore its license and is now awaiting the decision,” Robocash said. “Hopefully, the result will be positive and the license will be fully restored.”

Robocash Group also said the revocation of the authority to operate as a financing firm came after they sold their stake in the joint venture Robocash Finance Corp. (RFC) in November 2019.

“Since then, Robocash Group has only assisted RFC in servicing existing customers and established its own Financing company in the Philippines (Digido Finance Corp.). The latter will focus on online activities completely,” it said.

SEC en banc meetings have been suspended for now due to the pandemic.

Asked whether the firm’s issue with SEC will affect the BSP’s decision on a bank license for Robocash, Ms. Fonacier said: “It will depend on their compliance with BSP’s requirements in so far as the licensing of a bank is concerned.”

Robocash said they are doing their “best to stay compliant with all BSP requirements.” — Luz Wendy T. Noble