FCA regulation: A game changer for the good
For many peer-to-peer lending (P2P) platforms, it’s now crunch time as the deadline for applications for full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) of 31 October is fast approaching.
The stringent set of rules which need to be complied with include having a minimum level of operating capital and provisions in place to service loans in the event of platform failure, in addition to high standards of business conduct, strict requirements around managing client money, treating customers fairly, complaints handling, financial promotions and systems and controls. The exhaustive application process and continued compliance with the FCA’s framework requires a significant allocation of firms’ resources, both in terms of time and money.
Over 100 platforms will have applied for full authorisation by the deadline, and many will likely fall by the wayside. Indeed, since the FCA took over regulation of the sector in April 2014 a number of firms have already exited the market - the cost of compliance being deemed too great a burden.
Why all of this is good for P2P
Despite all of the above, the response to FCA regulation from the major platforms has been overwhelmingly positive. There aren’t many businesses who welcome additional costs, time-consuming process implementation and paperwork – least of all bankers, who’ve had their wings clipped since the recession. But perhaps that is what sets peer-to-peer lending apart. The emphasis for us isn’t on cutting corners, and milking every penny – come what may – from the consumer. Instead, the priority is on doing everything to underscore our credibility, and pioneer a sustainable and enduring model for our operations.
Brutal as it may sound, a clearing of the decks leaves behind those best placed to represent our sector and serve those who matter most – the customer. As our CEO Nick put it in a recent interview with the Financial News, those who succumb to the cull “most likely shouldn’t be trading anyway, and would undermine the very integrity that so many of us have worked hard to cultivate.”
FCA regulation at Lending Works
Lending Works was set up with the FCA’s regulatory regime in mind; however there is no denying that the cost of ongoing compliance is still significant as a young business. But the benefits of gaining the stamp of approval from the most important financial regulatory body in the UK are worth the significant efforts required to achieve it. The disillusionment with personal finance that followed the banking crisis is very much on the wane, as consumers are increasingly embracing the fast-growing world of fintech and alternative finance. Peer-to-peer lending figures prominently in this positive shift, and it has already developed a good rapport with consumers and a reputation for treating its customers fairly.
But FCA regulation holds the key to driving this home, and is a vital step up as we look to make the progression from ‘alternative’ to mainstream. Only the strongest (and worthy) will survive; no longer will the many credible platforms be at risk of being tainted by those few which are unfit to facilitate lending safely and fairly. This, in turn, will perpetuate a positive cycle of increased consumer confidence in lending and borrowing their money via UK P2P platforms, itself leading to a more-widespread uptake and thus more people benefiting from a truly streamlined and efficient business model.
And we’re nearly there too. It’s a notch on the belt, and an acknowledgement of how far peer-to-peer lending has come since its inception just over 10 years ago. The game-changing announcement that the FCA would regulate the sector has now become a reality, and for platforms, borrowers and lenders alike, this is absolutely something to celebrate.
Our website offers information about saving, investing, tax and other financial matters, but not personal advice. If you're not sure whether peer-to-peer lending is right for you, please seek independent financial advice, and if you decide to invest with Lending Works, please read our Key Lender Information PDF first.
Since opening our doors back in 2014, we’ve always prided ourselves on living and breathing two key principles at Lending Works: innovation, and putting the customer first in everything we do.
Wednesday’s Budget speech, coupled with the cut to Bank of England rates, represented a decisive response to the coronavirus. Here we analyse the impact it will have on mitigating disruption from Covid-19, along with the long-term implications of this significant fiscal stimulus.
Rumblings from the Treasury ahead of next week's Budget suggest tax grabs will be needed to fund increased spending, and it appears UK enterprise could be in the firing line. Here we articulate why targeting entrepreneurs and small business is ill advised.
In a difficult climate, customer acquisition and lead generation present stern challenges for UK retailers, and a great deal of marketing spend invariably gets directed towards getting feet through the door.
Over the last decade, there can be little dispute that the reputation of mainstream banks – and particularly the so-called ‘Big Four’ (HSBC, Barclays, Lloyds and RBS) – is at its lowest ebb.
The 2019-20 ISA season has been a damp squib, with banks disinterested in attracting savers’ cash, rates cut, and the stock market in freefall. However, the emergence of the IFISA means alternatives beckon for those seeking a stable middle ground in terms of risk and reward.
In a decade of slow recovery, the rapid rise in asset prices has been the standout. But how sustainable has price growth been, and could we be in the midst of a bubble?
Most people consider income tax to be a given, but in the UK it is barely two centuries old. In this article, we look at how this tax has developed over the years, and also why it is set to remain at the core of our tax system for many decades to come.
Open banking celebrated its second birthday last month, but has the ‘revolution for financial services’ that was promised actually come to pass? In this article, we look at the progress the initiative has made so far, and what the future holds in the face of high levels of scepticism.
On the face of it, a 'broken' energy market needed fixing, and the price caps introduced in early 2019 were heralded as the solution. But, one year later, have they actually helped consumers save?