FOLK2FOLK has become the latest peer-to-peer finance platform to win full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The Cornwall-headquartered business lender now hopes to be able to offer its Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) before the end of the tax year, pending HMRC approval.
“We are delighted that the FCA has granted Folk2Folk its full authorisation for peer-to-peer lending,” said Jane Dumeresque, Folk2Folk’s chief executive. “We see this as a significant milestone for Folk2Folk as a P2P lending business.
“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 the majority of the UK’s P2P platforms, Folk2Folk has been operating under interim permission for the past two years while the FCA reviewed its application. A number of smaller platforms have gained full authorisation, but seven out of the eight Peer-to-Peer Finance Association members, which dominate the market, are yet to gain approval.
Folk2Folk has lent more than £125m by matching individual business borrowers to individual lenders secured on property.
“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,” said Dumeresque. “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.”
Typical investor returns range from 5.5 per cent to 6.5 per cent based on the loan-to-value of the property which acts as a security against the loan. The platform has a minimum investment threshold of £25,000 but earlier this year, Dumeresque told Peer-to-Peer Finance News that it intends to lower this minimum threshold once it wins IFISA authorisation.