IFISAs are growing in uptake. 2017 to 2018 saw subscriptions of over £290 million over 31,000 accounts. By August, it was reported that the Big 3 (who were a little later to the game than other platforms) were raising the profile and boosting customer confidence in the new product. Zopa had attracted over £150 million and Funding circle, over £120 million. Because they were a little later in gaining FCA authority, they were then delayed in offering IFISAs but it is generally agreed that their entrance is creating a buzz of respectability. “The entry of Zopa, Funding Circle and RateSetter definitely helps raise awareness,” Frazer Fearnhead, founder of P2P property lender The House Crowd, says.
The big players insist they are helping everyone and that the competition is against cash and stocks and shares ISAs rather than with each other.
“The initial success of the IFISA proves there’s clearly plenty of demand amongst investors for an alternative to the lower-yielding cash ISA and the highly volatile stocks and shares ISA,” Natasha Wear, head of investment products for Zopa, said.
Total lending supplied by P2P Finance Association members surpassed £10 billion in the last quarter of 2018 with most lending going to small businesses. This clearly demonstrates the importance of P2P in developing and nurturing existing businesses in a difficult economy. The part played by thousands of individual lenders play in the UK economy is considerable and should be loudly applauded.