Rebuildingsociety obtain full FCA authorisation

February 28th, 2017
ReBuildingSociety

Rebuildingsociety.com become the latest peer-to-peer lending platform to obtain full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority.

Here is their statement on their blog:

rebuildingsociety.com has been awarded full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority in recognition of our compliance with sector-specific regulations.

We are very excited to share news of this major achievement and important milestone with our community. Authorisation means that we meet the rigorous standards set by the FCA and that we can soon start to offer the Innovative Finance ISA.

Although we have been operating under FCA rules on Interim Permission since April 2014, being granted full authorisation helps us to continue building on the important relationships of trust we have with all our clients. We are proud to have achieved this milestone ahead of many other platforms, which we believe is testament to our small but dynamic team, systems, processes and controls.

It has been a long journey, consuming considerable energy and investment, since we applied for full authorisation in November 2014. We have continued to grow as a business and improve on our core processes throughout. The regulatory landscape is continuously changing, and we will make sure we stay abreast of developments that arise from our post-implementation review.

We are committed to delivering a top-quality service to all our customers, to assist investors by providing multiple investment options and to assist our borrowers in finding business finance that is more than just a financial transaction. We are now taking pre-registrations for the IF ISA and will confirm once we can on-board new accounts. Please look out for further updates; we know that many of you are keen to benefit from frequent, compounded returns.

“Thank you to everyone who has helped us in this journey. At a time when monetary policy discourages investing for the future, we’re pleased to see more people taking control of their finances. A more congruent alignment of risk and reward is facilitated by transparent platforms like ours. For too long the traditional Financial Services industry has obscured who takes the risk and who takes the reward. So many new investors are surprised to learn about how much margin is taken between the demand and supply of capital, but after a few years of trialling our service, our most prolific investors continue to be our most supporting ambassadors.”

Landbay launches ISA

February 20th, 2017
Landbay

Following on from Lending Works last week, Landbay has launched their own Innovative Finance ISA.  The ISA has a minimum investment of £5000, with a maximum of £15,240 (set by the government), raising to £20,000 next April.  Lenders are able to transfer in ISAs from previous or current tax years.

Like the classic Landbay account there are no fees with the exception of a £50 transfer out fee, if lenders wish to transfer their ISA to another provider, and a £50 fee if lenders exceed their annual ISA allowance.

New customers can earn £50 cashback when they invest £5000 in the Landbay ISA.

Lending Works ISA suspended

February 9th, 2017
Lending Works

After reporting yesterday that Lending Works had launched their new Innovative Finance ISA, the platform announced today that they have temporally suspended ISA applications.  This is due to £2million of funds being received within 24 hours.

Here is the statement on the P2P Independent Forum:

We received over £2m in just 24 hours, with lots more ISA transfer applications coming through in the post today. Great news, but we've had to temporarily close new ISA applications in order to manage rates/queues without compromising on the quality of loans available on the platform.

We'll hopefully be reopening applications next week...

This may be the sign of things to come as the larger peer-to-peer platforms start offering ISAs.  These platforms may have a difficult job, trying to balance supply and demand, but this will inevitably lead to a reduction in lending rates.

Lending Works ISA now live

February 8th, 2017
Lending Works

We reported in October that Lending Works had become the first major peer-to-peer platform to receive full authorisation from the FCA. Following this, Lending Works have today announced they have launched their new Innovative Finance ISA. The platform expects a significant uptake after a survey showing that 88% of customers plan to open an IF ISA.

Here is the email sent to lenders:

We're delighted to confirm that we have today launched the new Lending Works ISA!

We've undergone immense scrutiny and assessment from the FCA to get to this point - not to mention left no stone unturned in creating a world-class user experience in the process - so to now be able to deliver this new product is something we're thrilled about. For you, it means many years of tax-free, lucrative returns from lending through our platform lie ahead*.

However, please note that in order to ensure we are able to match your money with borrowers quickly at all times, we will only be accepting ISA capital in fixed tranches, with a collective cap of £1 million at a time. Once this cap is reached, we will temporarily no longer take in any further ISA monies until further notice.

We expect this initial cap to be reached sometime this week, so we strongly suggest that, to avoid any disappointment, you should aim to set up your new ISA, transfer in funds, and make lending offers as soon as possible.

To set up your ISA, please:

  • Sign in to your account and click 'Open your ISA'
  • Complete the ISA application form
  • Accept the declaration and click 'Open my ISA'

Once this has been validated, you will be able to transfer money into your ISA and make lending offers by following the usual procedure.

Should you require any further information relating to the rules/laws pertaining to ISAs, or on how to set up your Lending Works ISA, please do feel free to take a look at the ISA section of our Help Centre and/or our recently-prepared Ultimate Guide to IFISAs. Alternatively, our customer service team is at the ready to assist you via email or by phone.

We look forward to sharing this exciting new chapter of our journey with you!

Here is a copy of the press release:

Lending Works, the first peer-to-peer lending platform to have insurance protecting lenders against certain borrower default risks, today becomes the first major UK platform to launch an Individual Savings Account (ISA).

The new peer-to-peer lending ISA - which is better known as the Innovative Finance ISA or IFISA - is a new category of ISA set up exclusively for P2P lending. The IFISA can only be offered by platforms who have attained both full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and subsequently ISA Manager approval from HMRC.

Lending Works received confirmation of both permissions in late 2016, and the company has now become the first member of the industry-body Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) to launch the new ISA product.

Nick Harding, founding CEO of Lending Works, commented:

“We are delighted to announce the launch of the Lending Works ISA, giving investors the opportunity to earn higher rates of interest by using their ISA allowance to invest in peer-to-peer loans. This launch comes in response to unprecedented demand by investors, who are looking to new asset classes for income growth, at a time when other investments and bank savings accounts are often delivering mediocre returns, if at all.

“Our lenders tell us that they are crying out for yield generating products, such as our ISA. As the first major UK peer-to-peer platform to launch an IFISA, we are focused on developing a world-class customer experience and look forward to seeing our investors reap the benefits.”

Significant investor demand expected

Consumers will be able to subscribe up to £15,240 each year with Lending Works, although they have the option of splitting this across all three ISA types – cash, stocks & shares and IFISA. This allowance is set to increase to £20,000 in 2017/18. In addition, there will be no cap imposed on the transfer of funds accumulated over previous tax years within existing ISAs into an IFISA, meaning the benefits are likely to be substantial.

Lending Works is anticipating a significant influx of new investors on the back of the launch, with a recent survey of existing investors confirming that 88 per cent plan to open an IFISA, with roughly a third (31 per cent) expecting to invest between £10,000 and £15,240 of their annual ISA allowance to this wrapper before the tax year is complete.

Harding added:

“Given the extraordinary level of interest from both existing and prospective customers in the build-up to the launch of our ISA, we expect to see a large spike in the volume of funds coming to our platform over the next couple of months as savvy investors look to make the most of this year’s ISA season.

“But what excites us most is the prospect of delivering sustained, long-term benefits to our customers via the Lending Works ISA for many, many years to come.”

100 peer-to-peer platforms

February 7th, 2017
Zopa

Since the launch of Zopa in 2005, there have been over 100 lending platforms allowing individuals from the UK to become peer-to-peer lenders. A number of these platforms no longer exist, having ceased trading, and a number of others have merged. Looking at all of the peer-to-peer lending platforms that launched in or before 2012, the list includes some of the best known P2P brands.

  • Zopa
  • Funding Circle
  • RateSetter
  • ThinCats
  • MarketInvoice

This list also includes European lenders such as Bondora (who launched as isePankur), and Burnley Savings and Loans who actually operate a local peer-to-peer lending model. Only half of the platforms that launched in or before 2012 are still around today. The notable failures include some perhaps less well known brands.

  • TrustBuddy
  • YES-Secure
  • Quakle

While the causes of platform failure are varied, the ratio itself is perhaps representative of what could happen in the future. Given that 75% of platforms that launched operations within the UK after 2012, the number of platform failures could rise over the next year. The risks that platforms are experiencing are now perhaps greater than ever, given the uncertainty of FCA authorisation status, increased competition and falling rates.