FCA authorisations

January 12th, 2017

As we enter 2017 P2P money can report that there are now 14 platforms - that we are aware of - that are now operating with full FCA authorisation.  These are as follows, listed by launch date:

  1. Folk2Folk
  2. Lending Works
  3. Landbay
  4. Crowd2Fund
  5. LendingCrowd
  6. Capital Stackers
  7. Go2 Business Loans
  8. CrowdStacker
  9. InvestDen
  10. Octopus Choice
  11. Peer Funding
  12. The Money Platform
  13. Landlord Invest
  14. Simple Backing

There are also number of platforms operating as an "appointed representative" of another company with full FCA authorisation, or operating with full FCA authorsiation that does not include "operating an electronic system in relation to lending" permissions.  The major platforms within the sector are still awaiting full authorisation, and this prevents them from registering as an ISA provider.

Christine Farnish of the P2P Finance Association stated at LendIt Europe in October that it was her belief that these would be in place by March 2017, but to date only two of the eight platforms that are members have received full authorisation.

Folk2Folk obtain full FCA authorisation

December 7th, 2016

Yesterday Folk2Folk became the lastest peer-to-peer lending platform to obtain full FCA authorisation.  The company will also be applying to the HMRC to offer an Innovative Finance ISA.

Here is their full press release:

Folk2Folk, one of the UK’s fastest growing peer-to-peer business lenders has today been awarded its full FCA authorisation for peer-to-peer lending.  Folk2Folk having lent over £125m since launching in 2013 is now delighted to be the UK’s largest fully authorised P2P lending platform, matching individual business borrowers to individual lenders secured on property.

The South-West based business was given its full FCA authorisation ahead of a number of industry competitors including the big three.

Gaining full FCA authorisation is a major milestone for Folk2Folk as a business. By being fully FCA authorised, Folk2Folk can now look to offer the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) to customers in due course, subject to HMRC approval.

Jane Dumeresque, Folk2Folk CEO said, “We are delighted that the FCA has granted Folk2Folk its full authorisation for peer-to-peer lending. We see this as a significant milestone for Folk2Folk as a P2P lending business. This decision is significant as it makes us eligible to offer our IFISA before the end of this tax year. I think it speaks volumes about Folk2Folk as a business having gained its full FCA authorisation ahead of many of the industry’s leading and larger platforms. We believe this will act as a positive sign to investors as well as business professionals that are looking to partner with a trusted and fully authorised platform like Folk2Folk.”

Jane Dumeresque added, “Our mission is to help local businesses get access to the finance they need by matching them to local investors in a quick, simple and easy process. Folk2Folk remains a business of the people, for the people by the people and is proud to be a national lender that operates locally. By establishing a local presence in strategic regions across the UK through our unique branch network, we can encourage the local community to invest through Folk2Folk to help local business owners prosper and thrive. We believe it’s always more interesting and reassuring when an investor can see what exciting projects their money is supporting.”

Folk2Folk works closely with business professionals such as lawyers, accountants and bankers across the UK and by becoming fully authorised by the FCA it is expected that this accreditation will encourage more professional services to work in partnership with Folk2Folk to assist their clients with alternative forms of finance and investment options. 

Folk2Folk on a national level specialises in local secured lending for businesses. Folk2Folk enables local business to achieve their business goals and grow by matching local and rural businesses looking for finance with local investors looking for a great return.  Interest costs to the borrower (before fees) and investment returns to the investor range from 5.5% to 6.5% based on the LTV of the property which acts as a security against the loan and other criteria.

Money&Co offer portfolio service

December 6th, 2016

Money&Co have contacted lenders to offer a new portfolio service.  The portfolio service will manage a lender's loan portfolio for a 1% fee, but if lenders sign-up by the end of the year they will receive a cheque for £1000.  To take advantage of the service lenders require a minimum £100,000 investment.

Given that there have only been 23 loans on Money&Co, including one currently open loan, and contrasting that to 25,511 loans arranged on Funding Circle, the value of the service could be uncertain.

Here is the email sent to lenders:

The Money&Co. Portfolio Service

We are writing to tell you about a special Christmas offer. If you sign up for a Money&Co. Portfolio Service account before 31st December, we will send you a cheque for £1,000.

The Money&Co. Portfolio Service has a minimum investment level of £100,000. If you sign up, a fund manager will manage your loan portfolio for you at no extra cost. The normal lender fee is 1% per annum. If you have no specific requirements, we will ensure that there is a spread of loans in your portfolio across all the risk ratings. You can choose to have interest paid out monthly or we can reinvest money coming back from your loan portfolio into new loans.

If you would like to know more about the service, please email us. Remember, if you sign up before Christmas, we will send you a cheque for £1,000.

Zopa rebrands

December 6th, 2016

The world's first peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa has rebranded itself today. The new Zopa colour scheme is teal, dark blue, and red. The logo is remarkably similar to that of Landbay without the border. This is the first major rebrand of Zopa which launched in 2005 with a dynamic logo, but dropped this in 2008 for a static logo.

Initial reactions were mixed on the P2P Independent Forum, with one lender writing:

Is it actually as bad as I think it is? Or am I simply reacting badly because I am unused to it?

Another lender wrote in reply:

No, it is worse. Presumably they got in some 14 year old wanne be hipster consultant rather than a grown up for the design. I expect it might appeal to day-time TV watching potential borrowers though.

There were a number of noticeable errors on the website with broken links and words overlapping!

Here is the email send to lenders this morning:

We're thrilled to unveil our brand new look.

We're on an exciting journey to offer a wider range of products: and we wanted to update our look and feel to reflect who we are and what we offer, now and in the future.

This fresh new identity will give us a springboard for our plans to bring our products to even more people in the UK, and create radically personalised services that will help them fully realise their financial potential.

While a lot has changed – a bold new logo, icons, and tone of voice – our products still work in exactly the same way.

You can read more about these changes on our blog.

We want to hear from you: if you have any feedback on the new look Zopa, let us know.

Further reactions and comments coming up...

LandlordInvest launches

December 5th, 2016

A new peer-to-peer lending platform LandlordInvest has launched today after obtaining full permission from the FCA.  LandlordInvest has now applied to become an ISA manager in order to offer Innovative Finance ISAs.  The time taken to obtain the necessary permission from the FCA highlights a issues with the current application and approval process.

Here is the full press release:

LandlordInvest (www.landlordinvest.com), a marketplace lending platform for buy-to-let and bridging loans, gains full FCA Authorisation after a 24 months application process.

Being fully FCA authorised, LandlordInvest has submitted an application to HMRC to become an ISA manager to be able to offer the Innovative Finance Individual Savings Account (“IFISA”). Currently, only a handful peer-to-peer lending platforms are able to offer the IFISA as only fully FCA authorised platforms, that have been approved by the HMRC as ISA manager, may do so.

The Company expects to receive a green light from the HMRC over the next few weeks and will offer the IFISA directly through its lending platform.

Filip Karadaghi, LandlordInvest’s Chief Executive said: “We have after a long and rigorous process finally been authorised by the FCA. We are delighted to have reached this important milestone, ahead of many larger peer-to-peer lending platforms, that are still operating under an interim permission. Full FCA authorisation means that we have proved to the regulator that we are able to meet its high threshold standards and have the appropriate regulatory and operational infrastructure in place. 

Our next milestone is to be able to offer the IFISA, which we believe will benefit savers given the low interest rate environment and low returns. Indeed, we will be looking to offer tax-free returns between 5-10% per annum with our IFSA. In addition to higher potential returns, the IFISA is a valuable addition in a diversified portfolio, especially if it is not correlated with the stock markets, which our IFISA would not be.”