The 2018 Peer2Peer Finance News Power 50 demonstrates just how much this multi-billionpound industry has achieved over the past year.
Our definitive annual list of the 50 most influential people in the UK’s P2P sector includes the head of the country’s first publicly-listed P2P platform, the leaders of fully-regulated ISA providers and other inspiring innovators who are taking the industry to the next level.
We have consulted industry stakeholders to help us compile the P2P Power 50, which identifies the big names from the platforms, government, regulators, accountants, law firms, trade bodies and consultants who have helped the sector flourish.
We give particular mention to the top 10 most influential individuals we believe have had the biggest impact on the industry and who will be the biggest drivers in its future.
There are plenty of innovative players in this fast-moving industry who have not fully made their mark yet. As such, we have acknowledged the rising stars who are likely to take pride of place in the Power 50 in the coming years, as well as firms exerting a strong influence over the sector.
The 2018 list includes some new entrants, underlining the wide array of talent that the industry is attracting.
There are a number of promotions as well. The Financial Conduct Authority’s Chris Woolard made this year’s top 10, having played an important role in shaping P2P regulation, while EY’s Imran Gulamhuseinwala has also grown in influence, due to his leadership of the Open Banking initiative.
There are also completely new Power 50 entrants in the top 10, with the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association’s new chair Paul Smee making his debut alongside the Treasury’s director of financial services Gwyneth Nurse.
Several names that were rising stars last year are now in the Power 50 as their brands have become more established or their insights more sought after, such as Brian Bartaby of property lender Proplend, Iain Niblock of analysis firm Orca and Jonathan Segal of law firm Fox Williams.
There are no rankings, aside from the special mention given to the top 10, so the list is compiled in alphabetical order.
THE TOP 10
Samir Desai, co-founder & chief executive, Funding Circle
It is under Samir Desai’s leadership that Funding Circle became the first UK P2P platform to publicly list on the stock market this year with a £300m initial public offering (IPO) that valued the firm at £1.5bn. It marked a proud moment for Desai who has led the platform since launch in 2010. Awarded a CBE in 2015, he has helped establish Funding Circle as the UK’s biggest P2P business lender and a key player in the US and Europe.
Farnish is synonymous with the P2P sector, having held the role of chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association for six years. She is now using her knowledge and experience to lead Zopa’s P2P-dedicated board, after it reorganised its corporate governance into separate divisions for P2P and its imminent bank. Consumer-focused regulation is her bread and butter; previous roles include chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, group managing director of public policy at Barclays and consumer affairs director at the City watchdog.
Imran Gulamhuseinwala, global head of fintech, EY & implementation trustee, Open Banking
Promoted into the top 10, there is very little that happens in the world of fintech without Imran Gulamhuseinwala. Awarded an OBE in 2017 for his contribution to the financial services sector, Gulamhuseinwala is a London-based partner for consultancy EY in the financial services team and leads its global fintech practice. He has been seconded to run the official Open Banking programme, to help ensure alternative lenders such as P2P platforms can access customer data from banks.
Jaidev Janardana, chief executive, Zopa
It’s been a busy year for Jaidev Janardana as he prepares to launch Zopa’s digital bank. It is under Janardana’s leadership that Zopa hit the £3bn lending milestone, launched its Innovative Finance ISA and opened a tech hub in Barcelona. Janardana was not part of Zopa when it launched but is very much part of its future and brings valuable consumer credit experience, having previously led credit card provider Capital One into profit.
Stuart Law, co-founder & chief executive, Assetz Capital
Stuart Law has helped transform a traditional property investment business into the country’s fourth-largest P2P lender. The platform’s loanbook has swelled to more than £600m in the past five years and it is recognised as one of the fastest-growing tech firms in the UK. Not one to rest on his laurels, Law is now launching Assetz Exchange, a property crowdfunding platform that is aiming to help solve the country’s housing crisis.
Rhydian Lewis set up RateSetter in 2010 with an innovative business model, enabling investors to set their own rates and pioneering the provision fund. Lewis has maintained RateSetter’s position as one of the ‘big three’ this year, overseeing an IFISA launch and a loanbook approaching £3bn. Lewis has also been awarded an OBE for his contribution to financial services, specifically with regard to P2P and financial inclusion innovation.
Gwyneth Nurse, director of financial services, the Treasury
Gwyneth Nurse is the P2P sector’s access point to government, helping guide Treasury policy as director of financial services. She has previously worked as deputy director of the Treasury’s banking and credit team, after heading up the assets, savings and wealth team. Before joining the Treasury, Nurse worked for HMRC, where she qualified as a tax inspector before moving on to work in tax policy.
Paul Smee, chair, Peer-to-Peer Finance Association
Smee is a new entrant straight into our top 10, but the new chair of the sector’s self-regulated trade body brings a CV full of key contacts and experience that could help members – and the wider industry – flourish. Steering the helm of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) should be a doddle for Smee, who has more than 17 years’ experience governing trade bodies. Prior to joining the P2PFA, he was director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders, but more significantly he used to be director general at the Association of Independent Financial Advisers, which could come in handy as the sector looks to woo the adviser community.
A former private equity analyst, Anil Stocker saw a gap in the P2P market for invoice finance when launching MarketInvoice in 2011 and this year he expanded the company into business loans. The platform’s loanbook is now close to £3bn and it boasts Barclays as a minority shareholder and investor. MarketInvoice has certainly charmed the City – other institutional funders include the British Business Bank, Portuguese bank Banco BNI Europa and Germany’s Varengold Bank. Stocker also sits on the UK government-backed UK Fintech Delivery Panel, which makes policy recommendations on the sector.
Chris Woolard, executive director of strategy and competition, the Financial Conduct Authority
Chris Woolard is the face of regulatory change at the Financial Conduct Authority and P2P policy will be in his sights after the long-awaited release of the post-implementation review of the sector. It is under Woolard’s watch that the regulator is now consulting on whether P2P platforms need to introduce marketing restrictions and more enhanced disclosure requirements.
…THE REST OF THE POWER 50
Kevin Allen, chief risk officer, The Money Platform
Regularly found commenting on P2P on social media, Allen is probably best known for his tenure at RateSetter, where he became the firm’s first chief risk officer and helped the platform grow its lending from £2m to £3m a month to £60m. Keen to get his teeth into another P2P start-up, he joined the Money Platform in 2017, which is looking to shake up the payday loan market.
Giles Andrews helped launch Zopa as the world’s first P2P lender in 2005 and has overseen its transformation into one of the largest and best-known UK platforms. Andrews stepped back from the chief executive role in 2015 but his influence was cemented in 2016 with an OBE for his contribution to financial services and he is still involved with setting the group strategy at board level.
Brian Bartaby, founder & chief executive, Proplend
Bartaby has been promoted from last year’s Rising Stars, having built up his commercial property lending platform into a recognised P2P brand. A new autolending product this year has helped widen Proplend’s appeal among investors.
Peter Behrens, co-founder & chief operating officer, RateSetter
Behren’s role puts him at the forefront of day-to-day operations at RateSetter, which this year hit the £2.5bn lending milestone and also launched its Innovative Finance ISA.
Richard Boleat, chair, Funding Circle SME Income Fund
It is under Boleat’s chairmanship that Funding Circle’s dedicated investment fund has done something that many of the sector’s rival funds have failed to do – maintain a healthy premium. He is an experienced independent director, also holding the chairman role at Phaunos Timber Fund, Yatra Capital and CVC Credit Partners European Opportunities.
David Bradley-Ward, chief executive, Ablrate
Bradley-Ward is another promotion from last year’s Rising Stars. Ablrate started life financing leasing for aircraft transactions, but Bradley-Ward has turned it into a fully-regulated platform offering asset-backed business loans, eligible within its IFISA wrapper. He has now developed a blockchain-powered secondary market that will eventually be accessed by multiple P2P platforms and investors across the world.
Louise Brett, head of UK fintech, Deloitte
Brett works across the fintech ecosystem, engaging with financial services clients, government bodies, regulators, advisers and fintech firms. The former banker also sits on the board of Deloitte’s fintech accelerator.
Mike Bristow, co-founder & chief executive, CrowdProperty
A new entrant into the Power 50, CrowdProperty has come along in leaps and bounds under Mike Bristow’s leadership this year. The property development finance provider has passed the £20m lending milestone, undergone a rebrand and become the ninth member of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association.
Liam Brooke, co-founder & chief executive, Lendy
Lendy’s headline sponsorship of the Cowes Week sailing regatta has helped to raise the profile of the industry to the wider public. Brooke’s P2P property platform may have attracted some criticism recently but his influence on the industry still remains.
Greg Carter, founder & chief executive, Growth Street
In the crowded space of P2P business lending, Carter has developed an innovative product. The GrowthLine credit facility works similarly to an overdraft, meaning that business customers can draw down funds and make repayments as often as they like, up to their limit. The firm was a finalist in innovation charity Nesta’s Open Up challenge for its development of uses for Open Banking and its offering is included on Starling Bank’s marketplace.
Giles Cross, chief executive, Folk2Folk
A marketing man turned P2P chief executive, Cross was promoted to the helm of Folk2Folk after the departure of Jane Dumeresque in January 2018. He has continued the rural business lender’s strong growth trajectory while maintaining its local lending model, which aims to have a positive impact on the local economy.
Stuart Cruickshank, chair, P2P Global Investments
P2P Global Investments holds the prestigious accolade of being the first investment trust dedicated to the P2P sector. A strategic review last year saw it move towards other areas of asset-backed alternative finance and Cruickshank still has a crucial board role in keeping the fund going and reducing its discount to net asset value.
Jonathan Davidson, director of supervision – retail and authorisations, Financial Conduct Authority
This is the man P2P lenders need to keep happy. Davidson is responsible for ensuring authorised firms behave, for example when warning P2P lenders against wholesale lending activities last year. He also has the short-term lending market in his sights and will help oversee any regulatory changes that come from the post-implementation review.
Steve Davies, EMEA fintech leader, PwC
Davies has headed up PwC’s EMEA fintech practice since 2015, authored many publications and spoken at numerous conferences. He works with a variety of start-ups, fintechs and incubators and also focuses on blockchain technology.
Bruce Davis, co-founder & managing director, Abundance
Davis has shown it is possible to make a profit and contribute to society at the same time with the launch of ethical crowd bonds platform Abundance. The platform, which has also moved into funding housing developments, was one of the first IFISA providers. Davis is entrenched in the sector, having also helped to launch Zopa and the UK Crowdfunding Association.
A former accountant, Dent has helped develop the unique ‘secured and insured’ and ‘secured and assigned’ business lending models on ArchOver. There has been plenty of innovation under Dent’s watch this year, with the unveiling of research and development loans, an IFISA launch and a move into auto-lending, as well as expansion in the Midlands.
Neil Faulkner, co-founder & managing director, 4th Way
Faulkner started the first analysis firm dedicated to P2P and its tables on rates and risk ratings, as well as his blogs and commentary, have played a key role in the industry’s growth.
Stephen Findlay, chief executive, BondMason
Findlay runs one of the few investment management firms that operate in the P2P space, targeting annual returns of up to eight per cent. Findlay himself is a well-known industry figure and does not shy away from giving his views on important topics in the sector.
John Goodall, co-founder & chief executive, Landbay
Goodall has helped grow the Landbay platform into a viable buy-to-let mortgage provider, with increasing recognition among brokers and investors alike. The introduction of institutional investment has helped Landbay scale up its lending and increase its revenues. Goodall is unfazed about the tax and regulatory crackdown in the buy-to-let sector, arguing that it provides opportunities for specialist lenders such as Landbay.
Julia Groves, partner & head of crowdfunding, Downing
Groves previously set up British Airways’ online offering and she has now propelled the industry forward by helping to set up the UK Crowdfunding Association and contributing to the development of the IFISA. This year she has helped oversee Downing’s entry into the property development space.
Chris Hancock, founder & chief executive, Crowd2Fund
Hancock’s business lending platform was one of the very first IFISA providers and aims to support the British economy while offering attractive returns to investors. Hancock is ahead of the curve when it comes to technology, so Crowd2Fund is already using artificial intelligence to improve its loan recovery rate.
Sam Handfield-Jones, chief product officer, Octopus Choice
Handfield-Jones heads up a P2P platform that has done the unthinkable and won over the financial adviser community. The property-backed lender, which was spun out of Octopus Investments, was created with advisers in mind and has seen almost £200m invested to date.
Nick Harding, founder & chief executive, Lending Works
The former Royal Bank of Scotland banker set up Lending Works in 2012 and it has grown into one of the largest P2P consumer lenders. It was the first of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association members to gain IFISA approval and has big plans for growth, having secured £2.8m of private equity investment this year, led by Maven Capital Partners.
Filip Karadaghi, co-founder & chief executive, LandlordInvest
Karadaghi’s buy-to-let and bridging loan platform LandlordInvest was one of the earliest IFISA providers and has lent out £5m in under two years. It offers some of the highest rates on property-backed P2P loans and has ambitious plans for growth, having recently launched a £600,000 crowdfunding campaign.
Narinder Khattoare, chief executive, Kuflink
A new entrant to the list, Khattoare has helped Kuflink transition from a bridging loan provider to a venerable P2P platform. The lender has expanded rapidly since Khattoare was promoted to the top job at the end of last year, with a new office on London’s Silicon Roundabout and a brandenhancing sponsorship deal with Ebbsfleet United Football Club.
Andrew Lawson, chief product officer, Zopa
Lawson may not be the most high-profile figure at Zopa, but his role in the day-to-day running of the consumer lender should not be overlooked. Lawson’s responsibilities at Zopa include products, customer acquisition and experience, first-line credit risk, pricing yield and data science, making him a key driver of the company’s growth.
Stuart Lunn, founder & chief executive, LendingCrowd
Who says you have to be in London to run a P2P lender? Edinburgh-based Lending Crowd has lent out more than £45m to date to small- and medium-sized businesses, under the leadership of new Power 50 entrant Stuart Lunn. The firm is gearing up to secure venture capital funding in the next 12 months after its lending almost tripled in the first half of 2018. The recent appointment of former Standard Life chief executive Sir Sandy Crombie as chairman was another feather in LendingCrowd’s cap.
Michael Lynn, founder & chief executive, Relendex
Chartered accountant Lynn has been promoted from last year’s Rising Stars thanks to his development of Relendex into a sizeable property lender. The property platform last month increased its maximum single loan size from £3m to £5m after securing new funding lines, as it targets £100m of lending in 2019.
John Mould, chief executive, ThinCats
Mould brings nearly 30 years of financial services and risk management experience to ThinCats, having previously worked at Hermes Fund Managers and New Star Asset Management. Institution-backed ThinCats’ growth appears to be unstoppable, as the platform continues to target undeserved areas of small business finance.
Iain Niblock, co-founder & chief executive, Orca
Orca was already a respected P2P analysis firm but it has now expanded into P2P investment management, led by Niblock and his fellow cofounder Jordan Stodart. The platform’s recent Seedrs crowdfunding campaign exceeded its £500,000 target and the proceeds will be used to support its growth plans, which include partnerships and a possible IFISA launch.
Crowdstacker was one of the first IFISA providers and has raised more than £50m for UK businesses since launching in 2015. Patel, a former fund manager, has ambitious plans for his company’s growth, including the development of a cash ISA and a stocks and shares ISA. The firm recently launched an £800,000 crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs and is aiming to have lent out £300m by 2021.
Sophie Pearce, managing director, MoneyThing
Pearce has more than a decade of experience in marketing and business development, with an MBA from Ashridge Business School, which has helped her grow MoneyThing into a popular P2P business lender offering some of the highest IFISA-eligible investor rates. The platform’s great customer service is heralded by its loyal investor following.
Robert Pettigrew, director, Peer-to-Peer Finance Association
Pettigrew plays a key role in communicating the messages of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association. He is heavily involved with the influential research and data on member activity produced by the selfregulatory body.
Uma Rajah, co-founder & chief executive, CapitalRise
Rajah has used her fintech expertise to help develop a popular investment platform focused on prime property, predominantly in London. CapitalRise raised £2m in seed funding earlier this year from the family of an Indian banking entrepreneur, which Rajah said will underpin the firm’s next stage of growth.
Peter Renton, co-founder & chairman, LendIt
A renowned author and expert on P2P, Peter Renton has established a global events brand with LendIt regularly bringing alternative lending and P2P advocates together and showcasing the sector’s talents both within the industry and to the wider world.
Anton Ruddenklau, head of digital and innovation, KPMG
Ruddenklau specialises in business, corporate and institutional banking, and provides advice on strategy, growth and client development to global companies, banks, infrastructure providers and more. Throughout his career, he has led or worked on over 150 growth projects across corporates and financial institutions.
Jonathan Segal, partner & head of fintech and alternative finance, Fox Williams
Fox Williams was named as a Firm of Influence last year, but now Segal has been singled out for the Power 50 list due to increasing recognition of his position as one of the most well-known and respected lawyers in the sector.
Graham Wellesley, co-founder & chief executive, Wellesley
Wellesley has developed his eponymous property platform into one of the best-known brands in the sector since launching in 2013. In recent years, the firm has successfully diversified into retail bonds and repositioned its lending criteria to focus on larger residential property development loans outside of central London.
Andy Whelan, co-founder & chief executive, Sancus
Whelan should feel pretty proud of himself for turning around the fortunes of Sancus, the alternative finance group owned by Aim-listed GLI Finance. An overhaul of the company’s structure and a rebrand of P2P lenders Platform Black and Funding Knight has paid off: its P2P business reported a 193 per cent rise in net operating profit in the first half of this year, on revenue growth of 42 per cent.
Wombwell-Povey has his finger on the pulse of the P2P industry. As well as providing IFISA administration services, Goji has its own investment management platform, offering IFISA- and SIPP-eligible bonds. What’s next? Wombwell Povey has set his sights on wooing the financial adviser market.
We have given special mention to individuals that are starting to make their mark on the P2P sector, through innovative new businesses or fresh perspectives. Some may already be established in other fields but are now bringing a new audience and expertise to P2P, while others are running promising start-ups that are poised for success.
Louis Alexander, managing director, BridgeCrowd
Tony Alner, chief operating officer, EasyMoney
Lee Birkett, founder & chief executive, JustUs
John Butler, chief executive, Lend & Borrow Trust
Tony De Nazareth, founder & director, Crowd for Angels
Frazer Fearnhead, founder & chief executive, The House Crowd
Daniel Rajkumar, chief executive, Rebuildingsociety
Nadeem Siam, founder & chief executive, Welendus
Daniel Smith, head of relationship management, Basset & Gold
FIRMS OF INFLUENCE
You don’t have to be working for a P2P platform to have an influence on the sector. There are government bodies, trade associations, law firms and academic institutions all supporting the industry’s growth. The sector would run at half the speed without many of these firms of influence.
Business finance aggregators
Alternative Business Funding
State-backed bodies and trade associations
British Business Bank
European Investment Bank
Federation of Small Businesses
National Association of Commercial Finance Brokers