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Peer2Peer Finance News | July 21, 2019

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No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018

No Christmas cheer for P2P sector as Brexit pushes FCA review into 2018
Marc Shoffman

PEER-TO-PEER lending platforms will need to wait until at least the new year for the outcome of the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) post-implementation review as Brexit and other market issues have taken priority at the City watchdog, Peer2Peer Finance News has learned.

However, it can also be revealed that a snippet of the industry data compiled by the Cambridge Judge Business School’s Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) for use in the FCA report will be unveiled before Christmas.

It is almost 18 months since the FCA first announced a call for input into the P2P sector ahead of the review.

Interim findings were released at the end of last year, but the full review is yet to be released despite indications that it would be published during the summer.

The report was mentioned as recently as July 2017 on the FCA’s policy development webpage, indicating that the consultation paper was still on the agenda, publication date was listed as “TBC”.

An updated version of the policy development page, published in November, no longer has a mention of this document.

Several industry sources who have met with the FCA about the report told Peer2Peer Finance News that the timeline had been pushed back because of the General Election and has now been delayed until 2018 as Brexit and other areas of regulation are taking up more of the FCA’s time.

“If there was something material in the document they would prioritise it,” one source said. “The fact that the FCA has kicked it down the road is an indication that they are not concerned.”

Another industry insider suggested the report may not come out until the second quarter of 2018 as it is still in the process of being checked by various FCA internal committees.

There are concerns that the delay will negatively impact firms trying to enter the market.

“We would like to see progress on the review as expeditiously as they can achieve it,” said a spokesperson from the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association.

“The proposals were fairly sensible. Our operating principles already go beyond the regulatory regime; they already met a higher standard than that mandated.

“It would be good for potential market entrants and platforms in the sector if this process could be transacted as speedily as is practical.”

Read more: Feature: Playing by the rules

Meanwhile, the sector will get an indication of the data that will contribute to the FCA’s thinking in the coming weeks as the CCAF is due to release some of the findings from a joint study of the sector it compiled with the regulator.

The findings will contribute to the FCA review and will also be included in the CCAF’s annual report on the P2P sector.

Researchers spoke to investors and fundraisers to identify any changes to the industry and its place in the financial services sector.

It also looked at the demographics of investors and how they are changing, as well as how investors assess risks and how they use the information provided to them.

All platforms were invited to survey their own users for the report and received results for their own firm back in March.

A spokesperson for the Cambridge Judge Business School confirmed that some of the findings from the platform’s surveys would be included in its own annual report on the UK sector in the coming weeks.

Julia Groves, partner at P2P bonds platform Downing and former head of the UK Crowdfunding Association, says it is business as usual for the firm despite the lack of FCA feedback.

“The post-implementation review was something which the FCA always intended to do, given the ground-breaking nature of the crowdfunding and P2P regulatory framework – thinking that has been widely copied around the world,” she told Peer2Peer Finance News.

The FCA declined to comment on the delay and said there was no timetable available for the document’s release.

This article featured in the December edition of Peer2Peer Finance News.