The 5th UK Alternative Finance Industry Report by the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) finds that the UK online alternative finance market volume grew by a whopping 35 percent in 2017. Peer-to-peer business lending has become an increasingly important part of overall financing of smaller British businesses, according to the report.
Peer-to-peer (P2P) business lending retained the top spot as the largest market segment in online alternative finance, with £2 billion in transaction volume in 2017 and 65 per cent year-on-year growth. Assuming that the vast majority of P2P business borrowers are small businesses with turnover of less than £2 million, P2P business lending was estimated to be equivalent of 29.2 per cent of all new bank loans to small businesses in 2017 – nearly double the 15.3 per cent figure in 2016.
“P2P business lending is becoming an increasingly important contributor to overall SME financing in the UK,” the report says.
Following P2P business lending at £2 billion, the largest UK alternative finance categories in 2017 were P2P consumer lending at £1.4 billion, followed by P2P property lending at £1.2 billion and invoice trading at £787 million.
Christopher Woolard (Exec Director of Strategy and Competition at the FCA) has been sharing his thoughts on the rise of cryptocurrencies. He points out that since 2008 (at the height of the banking crisis) there was a white-paper on the original Bitcoin but 10 years on, there are over 2,000 variants. A task-force combining the FCA, HM Treasury and the Bank of England have identified 3 possible harms:
• Concern that retail consumers are being sold complex and volatile products
• Risk of financial crime
• Harm to market integrity.
The suggestion is that crypto companies, including those offering P2P lending, could face more stringent anti-money laundering (AML) regulations, as the government considers transferring compliance oversight to the City watchdog.
“To help firms better understand the boundaries of current regulation in relation to crypto-assets, the FCA will consult on perimeter guidance by the end of 2018.
Given that both UK firms and consumers are likely to experiment with current and future generations of crypto-assets, it’s vital we head off risks.” However, the task-force recognises that this is not just a domestic issue, but that regulatory bodies must work together internationally.
More than 15 million people in the UK routinely miss out on refunds, replacement products and getting problems sorted because they don’t know how to complain with confidence, new research reveals.
In a study for the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), which is encouraging people to check if they were mis-sold PPI and make a complaint before they miss their chance, 28% of Brits admit they put up with situations including queue jumpers, sub-standard meals and poor service because they lack the confidence and know-how to speak out.
It seems that the art of complaining is at risk of dying out, with younger generations the least likely to be proactive about getting problems resolved or their money back. Less than half (46%) of 16-24 year olds would complain about bad service in a restaurant (versus 71% of over 55s) and 16-24 year olds wait for over a week, on average, to complain about an issue, whereas over 55s take 2.5 days to speak up.
The FCA’s research, launched to highlight the upcoming 29 August 2019 deadline for PPI complaints, also shows younger groups are the most likely to leave it too late to complain, with 25-34 year olds twice as likely as over 55s to delay so much that they miss their chance.
MoneyThing plan to launch premiums and discounts on their secondary market in the New Year.
MoneyThing last week asked their lenders for feedback on whether or not to allow premiums and discounts on the secondary market. The results of the survey showed a clear customer demand for the new functionality with over 65% of respondents in favour of change.
The issue spurred considerable debate among lenders on the P2P independent forum, a public forum for peer-to-peer lenders.
Sophie Pearce at MoneyThing commented “We have always listened to our customers and feedback from customers has informed much of our product development. While the details around premiums and discounts have been hotly debated, the overall the demand is clear.”
Development has been scheduled as a top priority and MoneyThing plan to release the new functionality in the new year.
Yesterday, £2.26m of capital was repaid to MoneyThing lenders, following the refinance of the Wigan hotel loan. The loan was originally a development loan to build a hotel under a Holiday Inn franchise. The hotel began trading earlier this year and once they were able to demonstrate their trading history, the borrower refinanced to a mainstream lender.
Sophie Pearce commented “This is a great example of how MoneyThing lenders can really make a difference to small businesses in the UK.”
A long-standing MoneyThing lender commented “I’m always happy to support projects like this one and to contribute to the success of the development. I earned a good return from it too. MoneyThing remains one of my favourite platforms and I’ll be reinvesting my capital on the platform.”
The refinance of the loan to the mainstream lender took much longer than anticipated to complete which shows the difficulties and delays that small businesses still face in finding mainstream finance.
The importance of P2P lending continues to grow to fill the gap left by banks. The P2P Finance Association last week reported that in Q2 this year, the P2P lending industry contributed over £1 billion to the UK economy and that net lending from P2PFA members outstripped bank lending by £60m*.