Proplend, the P2P lender, announced Thursday (March 2) that it has been granted full authorization from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for peer-to-peer lending, paving the way for the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA.
In a press release, Proplend said the P2P lending platform connects investors directly to creditworthy borrowers, which not only enables investors to earn good returns, but borrowers can get access to funding that it says wouldn’t be available otherwise.
“After a comprehensive approval process, we are delighted to have reached this significant milestone. The granting of full authorization demonstrates to current and future investors that Proplend’s regulatory and operational infrastructure has met with the highest standards demanded by the FCA,” Brian Bartaby, founder and chief executive, Proplend, said in the press release.
According to the company, Proplend offers lenders the ability to invest across up to three loan to value-based risk tranches, with all of the loans supported with the security of a first legal charge over an income-producing U.K. commercial property.
“We believe that the rates of return offered in even our lowest-risk Tranche A (0-50% LTV) will prove very attractive to ISA investors in the persisting low interest rate environment,” the CEO noted.
Proplend said the next step is to submit an application to HMRC to become an ISA manager and offer the Innovative Finance ISA. The P2P lending platform has been up and running for three years.
The move on the part of Proplend comes at a time when the FCA is warning P2P lenders that they may be running afoul of certain laws if they lend money to finance companies that turn around and lend money to their clients. In a letter to U.K. P2P lenders, the FCA said if borrowers engage in that act without getting regulatory permission to accept deposits, they would be in breach of the FSMA and may possibly incur a criminal offense.
“Where a loan-based crowdfunding platform facilitates the acceptance of deposits by a borrower that does not hold the correct permission, that platform would not be acting in a manner consistent with our expectations for regulated firms and may be in breach of certain regulatory requirements; in particular, Principle 6 (Treating Customers Fairly) and threshold conditions 2E (Suitability) and 2F (Business Model),” the FCA wrote in the letter.