The importance of being a people-focused business
Angus Dent, chief executive of ArchOver, explains why his platform has a mission to “be helpful” to both borrowers and lenders…
ARCHOVER HAS A SIMPLE mission: to be as helpful, focused and flexible as possible. “We like to innovate,” says chief executive Angus Dent. “We are constantly on the look-out for niche opportunities that other providers won’t necessarily pursue – where both our borrowers and our lenders would benefit most. This usually means we can achieve a decent amount of security for our lenders, at a higher rate of return.”
It is not easy to find secure loans that offer competitive returns, but ArchOver has a knack for finding under-served markets. One of these niches is Research and Development (R&D) tax credits – a government initiative worth in the region of £20bn per year to small- and medium-sized businesses.
“It usually takes companies as long as six months to a year to receive these tax credits,” says Dent. “So what we’re doing is bridging that gap. It’s not secure lending in a traditional sense, but it is particularly secure because of who the counterparty is – HMRC. And really, if the government can’t pay its bills, then we all have much bigger problems!”
ArchOver’s lenders receive up to 10 per cent in interest per annum, depending on the type of loan they choose to invest in and its level of security. Dent believes that building trusted relationships with both their lenders and their borrowers is key to ArchOver’s success. To this end, Dent and his team invest time in their borrowers; working closely to achieve a successful outcome whilst at the same time being in a position to anticipate and resolve potential challenges that may arise during the loan term.
Dent is particularly interested in the potential of intellectual property, and how alternative lenders may be able to monetise this.
“We do some of that with our Secured & Assigned service,” he says. “And we need to develop that further to keep us relevant, ensuring that we properly reflect what’s going on in the world.”
However, he is mindful of the changes that regulation can bring. And while Dent praises the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for working with the P2P sector to build a realistic rulebook, he is concerned that too much regulation could stifle innovation.
“I’d like the FCA to step back a little and go with what they’ve done before, which is listen properly and differentiate rather than trying to find a one-size-fits-all-solution,” he says. “And overall, I’d like to go back to that very English thing of valuing the substance of the regulation and not just a boxticking exercise of strict legal form. All that box-ticking leads to is brighter people finding a way around it. Whereas if you look at the substance of the law, you can see if something is wrong.”
By promoting its mission of being supportive in every situation, ArchOver will wind up becoming a true champion of the P2P sector.