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Conflicts of Interest and “Skin in the Game”

by EUROCROWD on 21.06.2024

If you are a crowdfunding platform, an entrepreneur, or an investor, then you should look this series of articles on the European Crowdfunding Regulation (ECSPR).
The ECSPR is a game-changer. It harmonizes rules across the EU, creating a level playing field for crowdfunding services. In these notes, we break down the jargon, demystify legal intricacies, and provide practical insights.
Today we are going to talk about the information for investors. Crowdfunding platforms act as financial gateways, requiring transparent information to ensure investors make informed decisions, not ones based on hype or hidden risks. Fair and objective presentation safeguards both investor trust and the platform's reputation.
Compliance isn't optional; it's crucial. Be empowered with knowledge with EUROCROWD.


Conflicts of Interest and "Skin in the Game"

The European Crowdfunding Service Providers Regulation (ECSPR) focuses on managing conflicts of interest to ensure transparency, fairness, and integrity in the crowdfunding industry. This is crucial for maintaining trust and supporting the success of fundraising SMEs. Conflict of interest policies are designed to prevent situations where the interests of the platform or its employees could be at odds with those of the investors or the fundraising SMEs. By effectively managing these conflicts, platforms must comply with regulatory requirements but also foster a more trustworthy and efficient market environment.

Legal Requirements and Best Practices

Identification and Disclosure: Under ECSPR, crowdfunding platforms must identify potential conflicts of interest and disclose them transparently to all parties involved. This includes conflicts that may arise between the platform, its managers, employees, or any person directly or indirectly linked to the platform by control, and the investors or the project owners. By providing clear and comprehensive disclosures, platforms ensure that all parties are fully informed before making any investment decisions.

Policies and Procedures: Platforms must establish and implement robust policies and procedures to manage conflicts of interest. These policies should include mechanisms for identifying, preventing, and managing conflicts, such as restrictions on personal account dealing by employees and rules governing gifts and inducements. Effective policies help to mitigate the risk of conflicts arising and ensure that they are managed appropriately when they do.

Independent Oversight: The regulation also mandates that platforms have an independent oversight mechanism to monitor and enforce conflict of interest policies. This could involve appointing a compliance officer or establishing a compliance committee that regularly reviews potential conflicts and the measures in place to address them. The independent oversight ensures that conflict management is not compromised by internal biases.

The Exclusion of "Skin in the Game"

A notable aspect of the ECSPR is the exclusion of the so-called "skin in the game", where platforms would co-invest their own funds in the projects they list. This exclusion was decided after extensive political discourse and discussion. The rationale behind this decision is multifaceted:

  1. Potential Conflicts of Interest: Allowing platforms to have "skin in the game" could create significant conflicts of interest. Platforms might prioritize projects in which they have invested their own funds over others, leading to biased promotion and potentially unfair treatment of other projects.
  2. Risk of Misalignment: Platforms investing their own funds could lead to a misalignment of interests between the platform and the investors. Investors might perceive that platforms are pushing certain projects to recover their investments rather than focusing on the best interests of the investors and the projects.
  3. Regulatory Complexity: Implementing a "skin in the game" option would add regulatory complexity and burden. Platforms would need to manage additional financial risk and ensure compliance with more stringent financial regulations, which could divert resources away from their primary role of facilitating crowdfunding.
  4. Market Neutrality: By excluding "skin in the game", the ECSPR promotes a more neutral market environment. Platforms can focus on providing unbiased information and facilitating fair access to capital for SMEs, enhancing the overall credibility and trustworthiness of the crowdfunding sector.

Benefits for Prudential Conduct

Managing conflicts of interest is essential for the prudential conduct of crowdfunding platforms. It ensures that platforms operate with integrity, maintain investor confidence, and comply with regulatory standards. By addressing conflicts of interest proactively, platforms can prevent unethical practices that could harm their reputation and financial stability. This fosters a culture of accountability and transparency, which is crucial for the long-term sustainability of the platform.

Benefits for Investors

For investors, effective conflict of interest management provides assurance that their interests are prioritized. Transparent disclosures and robust conflict management policies help investors make informed decisions, knowing that the platform is committed to fairness and transparency. This trust is critical for encouraging investor participation and retention in the crowdfunding market.

Benefits for Fundraising SMEs

Fundraising SMEs also benefit significantly from platforms that manage conflicts of interest effectively. When platforms adhere to high standards of transparency and fairness, SMEs can be confident that their fundraising campaigns are conducted in an unbiased environment. This enhances the credibility of the platform and increases the likelihood of successful fundraising. Moreover, a trustworthy platform attracts more investors, providing SMEs with better access to capital.


Addressing conflicts of interest within the framework of ECSPR is vital for ensuring the integrity and efficiency of crowdfunding platforms. Platforms effectively will manage conflicts by implementing comprehensive policies and procedures, ensuring transparent disclosures, and maintaining independent oversight. The exclusion of the "skin in the game" requirement further supports a fair and unbiased crowdfunding environment. These measures support prudential conduct and build trust among investors. They provide a fair and reliable fundraising environment for SMEs. Ultimately, these steps contribute to a more robust and sustainable crowdfunding ecosystem.

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