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Peer2Peer Finance News | June 18, 2019

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Octopus Choice names new head

Octopus Choice names new head
Suzie Neuwirth

CHARLIE Taylor (pictured) has been named head of Octopus Choice, Peer2Peer Finance News can reveal, replacing Sam Handfield-Jones who has steered the helm of the peer-to-peer property lender since its fruition.

Handfield-Jones has taken on a new role as growth and innovation director at the Octopus Group, where he will focus on creating completely new financial products and services for financial advisers and their clients, the firm said.

Like his predecessor, Taylor will also head up Octopus Cash, the Octopus Group’s tech-enabled savings account.

Taylor will report into Ruth Handcock, the new chief executive for Octopus Investments whose appointment was announced last week as part of several management changes at the Group.

Read more: Octopus Choice diversification sees investors backing 130 loans on average

“It’s a new chapter for Octopus Cash and Choice and for me personally it’s an exciting change to hand the reins over to someone new,” Handfield-Jones said.

“Creating Choice and Cash from scratch has definitely been one of the most challenging but also without doubt the most rewarding things I’ve done. Together with the team we’re proud to have worked hand in hand with financial advisers to develop smart solutions with technology at their heart.  I have no doubt that the great team behind both products will benefit from the fresh perspective and drive with new leadership from Charlie.”

Taylor’s previous roles include strategy consulting for multinational corporates, private equity and data analytics, business delivery and marketing within fintech start-ups. He holds a PhD in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford and an MBA from Insead.

“I’m very excited by this new role and growing Octopus Choice and Cash alongside the talented team,” said Taylor.

“Using analytics and technology we’ll continue to evolve and develop additional features to make the products even more user-friendly for advisers and direct customers.

“Personally, I’m fascinated by data-driven strategies, solving problems and generating new ideas to drive business growth and the best results for customers. I’m looking forward to building on the firm foundations for Octopus Cash and Choice built by Sam and the team.”

Octopus Group manages more than £8.5bn through its various subsidiaries, including Octopus Energy, Octopus Healthcare, Octopus Investments, Octopus Property and Octopus Ventures.

Last week, it announced that Handcock was taking over as chief executive for Octopus Investments from co-founder Simon Rogerson, who remains chief executive of the Group and will become the executive chairman for Octopus Investments.

Octopus also said that Jonathan Digges is taking on the role of chief investment officer, with responsibility for the fund management activity of the Group, and announced Handfield-Jones’ new position.

Octopus Choice was launched in 2016 and has facilitated more than £315m of property loans. It launched its Innovative Finance ISA in 2017.

Unusually for the P2P sector, Octopus Choice has a strong relationship with independent financial advisers and more than 1,000 of them are registered on its platform.

“In the future, we want Octopus Choice to be a multi-billion-pound platform – and I think there is the potential for that to happen,” Handfield-Jones told P2PFN last December. “Right now it is about continuing what we are doing, continuing to lend conservatively and providing investors with a lower volatility return.”