Zopa obtain full FCA authorisation

May 11th, 2017

The world's first peer-to-peer lending company Zopa has announced it has received full authorisation from the FCA. Zopa launched the concept of peer-to-peer lending in March 2005 and remains one of the leading platforms in the UK. Zopa becomes the first of the top tier peer-to-peer platforms to receive full authorisation which would allow it to apply to HMRC for permission to launch an Innovative Finance ISA.

Here is the statement on the Zopa blog:

Zopa, the pioneering financial services business, announces that it has today been granted full authorisation by the FCA for peer-to-peer lending (Article 36H).

Giles Andrews, co-founder and Chairman of Zopa commented: “Zopa, both individually and as a founder member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA), has campaigned for peer-to-peer lending to be a regulated activity for a number of years. We are delighted to receive our full FCA authorisation.”

Jaidev Janardana, Zopa’s CEO, said: “The authorisation process has been rigorous and in-depth and involved extensive scrutiny of our business. We will continue to focus on serving UK borrowers and investors through our market-leading products and best-in-class customer experience. In addition, we are also working towards applying for a banking license which will allow us to offer great customer choice whether you are spending, borrowing, saving or investing”.

Full Authorisation from the FCA is a pre-requisite for Zopa to offer the Innovative Finance ISAs (IFISA). Following notification that Zopa has been granted full authorisation, it will seek permission from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to become an ISA Manager. Further details of the launch of Zopa’s Innovative Finance ISA will be announced following the HMRC’s decision.

Funding Circle close forum

April 28th, 2017
Funding Circle

Funding Circle announce the closure of their forum.  Funding Circle follow Zopa which closed their forum in February 2016.  They are also encouraging users to move over to the P2P independent forum.

Reaction to the news on the P2P Independent Forum was surprisingly negative with the following comments posted:

A pathetic abdication in my opinion. The views of customers are a valuable resource unless one is determined to develop a bunker mentality.

Here is the copy of the email sent to users:

When we opened our forum in 2012, our aim was to foster a community of customers, both investors and borrowers, who could discuss their experience of lending and borrowing through Funding Circle and help each other.

We have enjoyed the healthy debate with members over the last four years and gained significantly as you shared your experiences with us and provided feedback on the development of the platform. However, more recently there has been a developing trend towards a small number of investors asking questions about a narrow range of technical topics - most of which are better dealt with through our Investor Support team.

Therefore we have taken the decision to close the forum at 6pm on Tuesday 2nd May. We hope you will all continue sharing your views on Funding Circle over on the P2P Independent Forum, which we will continue to monitor.

Although the forum will no longer be active there are still many ways for you to share your views with us. Our Investor Support team are always best placed to help with any queries and can be contacted here. For the opportunity to meet the team directly, we host investor evenings and arrange monthly trips to meet borrowers you have lent to. We're also excited to announce that we will soon be launching an investor panel to help test new product launches and provide feedback. If you are interested in taking part please register your interest here.

Finally, we'd like to thank you for the contribution you have made to the Funding Circle forum, and the support and advice you have given to others. Please stay involved and continue to share your feedback. If you would like a copy of your posts, please contact Investor Support and we will provide them to you.

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Cocktails & Conversation with LendIt

April 20th, 2017

LendIt is excited to be launching LendIt Europe 2017 with Cocktails, Canapés and Conversation on May 3rd in London.  LendIt would love for you to join them to mix, mingle and listen to an exclusive Fireside Chat hosted by Peter Renton, Chairman & Co-Founder of LendIt.

Funding Circle to exit property loans

April 12th, 2017
Funding Circle

Funding Circle have announced that they are to exit property loans by mid 2018.  Funding Circle state the reason for this is to focus on their core product of small business lending.

Lenders on the P2P independent forum were disapointed with this development as a number of them had focused exclusively on property loans.

Its a shame , it worked OK for me. I suppose that FC must know their business though & some of the borrowers must have taken liberties. I wonder how soon it will become apparent where the business will drift away to , if it does.

This may have a positive effect on Lendy (formerly Saving Stream) who have focused on property loans in recent years.

Here is the statement on the Funding Circle blog:

Funding Circle’s long term goal is to become the first choice for small businesses here in the UK and across the world. By attracting thousands more businesses to the platform, we can offer you many more lending opportunities, allowing you to continue to earn an attractive, stable return. To meet this goal, we have taken the decision to focus on our core small business lending product in the UK and our other markets and will scale down new property development lending, expecting to stop all lending by mid-2018.

We are proud of the lending we have facilitated to small developers since 2014. The borrowers you have lent to have built thousands of homes and credit performance has been strong; loans have generated a 7% annual return* (as of 10th April 2017) and you have earned more than £22m in interest.

By focusing on our core product you will be able to help thousands more small businesses to access finance and grow. Over the last year you have lent record-breaking amounts, with approximately £280m lent to small business borrowers in the first three months of 2017. We expect this trend to continue.

It’s important to note that this decision is not related to credit performance of property development loans, which have outperformed expectations over the last three years and we expect this to remain the case.

We will continue to work on your behalf to service all existing property development loans. There will still be opportunities for you to lend to experienced property professionals over the next 12 months.

Innovative Finance ISA

April 3rd, 2017

With only a short window remaining within this tax year, the majority of peer-to-peer platforms still have not received full FCA authorisation, and are therefore unable to offer the new Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).  However there are a number of P2P platforms that have been successful in obtaining FCA authorisation and HRMC registration as an ISA manager.  The members of the P2P Independent Forum have compiled a list of the various platforms that are currently offering an Innovative Finance ISA.


We have take a copy of this list as of 1st April but for the up-to-date list please refer to the P2P Independent Forum.

Abundance 5% to 12% AER
Typical 7.5% AER
£5 Yes 2% AER return on ISA cash balances until 31st May 2017
Bassett & Gold 6.12% AER £1000 Yes No fees 
Capitalrise 10% to 14% AER £1000 Not yet £35 transfer out fee
Crowd for Angels Not specified £100    
Crowdstacker Typically 5% to 7% AER Not specified Yes £15 fee to sell investments through platform
Crowd2Fund Estimated 8.7% AER Not specified Yes Secondary market available
Downing Typically 4 to 7% AER £100 Yes  
HNW Lending Not specified £10,000 Yes £75 transfer fee
Landbay Expected 3.75% AER £5000 Yes £50 transfer fee
LandlordInvest Up to 12% AER £100 Yes 0.5% secondary market fee if you choose to sell early
Lending Crowd Target 6% AER £1000 Yes 1% withdraw fee
Lending Works  3.6% AER Not specified  Yes Rates for 3 year and 5 year ISA respectively
4.5% AER
Money & Co Typically 7% AER Not specified Not specified  
Property Crowd 7% to 10% AER Not specified Yes  
UK Bond Network Typically 7% to 12% AER £5000 Yes 1% cashback bonus

Thanks to the members of the P2P Independent Forum for their tireless work in investigating these platforms.