On 4 June 2019, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) released its new regulatory framework for peer-to-peer lending (P2P); a Policy Statement known as PS19/14. As you might imagine, it's a document which, following a three-month consultation, is a hefty read of no fewer than 102 pages.
FCA regulation of the peer-to-peer lending industry
The peer-to-peer lending (P2P) industry is now regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The regulatory framework has been designed primarily to achieve the following key objectives.
- Provide additional protection for consumers
- Promote effective competition within the P2P lending industry
- Allow the growth of the industry to continue in a controlled way
- Ensure platforms provide clear and not misleading information and have appropriate procedures for handling client money
- Ensure firms deal appropriately with customers in financial difficulties and complaints
- Ensure platforms maintain a stable financial position and have contingency arrangements in place in the event of a platform failure
What does this mean for Lending Works customers?
The FCA regulation is a very positive step forward for consumers. There is a strong emphasis on the transparency and availability of information on platform providers’ websites, particularly relating to the risks and rewards involved in P2P lending. This should make it easier for both lenders and borrowers to make informed financial decisions.
Borrowers will also be given a mandatory 14-day ‘right to withdraw’ during which they can cancel their loan agreement without penalty. This should encourage more borrowers to consider choosing P2P for their loans as opposed to traditional financial institutions such as banks.
The FCA has also included a number of minimum standards to which all P2P platform providers must operate. These include minimum capital requirements for the company operating the platform, relative to the size of its loan book. This should give consumers more confidence that the platforms through which they lend and borrow today will still be around tomorrow. Firms will also be required to make contingency arrangements to ensure that loan books would be managed to maturity in the unlikely event of a platform failure.
All of this means that our customers should have greater confidence in lending and borrowing through our site.
What does this mean for Lending Works?
Lending Works is fully supportive of the regulation as we believe it is essential for the credibility and reputation of the industry. The company was designed and built with the upcoming FCA regulation in mind, and therefore the impact on the company will be less significant than might be expected.
That said, there will of course be regular compliance reporting requirements and further investment in process and technology. However, we strongly believe that the regulation of the sector should only benefit our customers and so we will not be passing any of our additional costs onto customers through increased fees.
What does this mean for the P2P lending industry?
We strongly believe that the FCA regulation is fantastic for the industry as a whole. The increased consumer awareness of this sector and additional credibility and consumer protection should give lenders more confidence in how their money is being managed and borrowers more confidence in choosing P2P platforms as their loan provider.
Investment advisers will also welcome the sector being regulated as they can now advise and recommend to their clients what is a highly attractive product alongside other investment opportunities.
This regulatory environment should also ensure that the exponential growth experienced by the industry over recent years can continue in a controlled manner whilst maintaining the high standards and customer focus with which the industry is associated.
Above all, we hope that the FCA regulation will cement peer-to-peer lending as a mainstream financial service.
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.
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