LENDINGCROWD is the latest peer-to-peer lender to be granted full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority, paving the way for its launch of the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA).
The Edinburgh-headquartered platform is one of only a dozen firms who have received full permission from the City watchdog.
The firm, which has originated £8m in loans since its launch in 2014, joins a number of smaller firms that were approved earlier in the year. Last month, Lending Works became the first major platform to receive permission.
“P2P investing is growing in popularity every day, we are supportive of industry regulation and we’re extremely pleased that LendingCrowd has reached this milestone,” said Stuart Lunn, chief executive and co-founder of LendingCrowd.
“Unquestionably, it adds credibility and trust in a relatively young marketplace in which our aim is to be a major player. It also means that we can look to launch our ISA product both directly to investors and through investment platforms, several of which we are already engaged with.”
After receiving FCA approval, the next step is to apply for ISA manager status with HMRC, but this is broadly acknowledged to be more of a formality than another arduous regulatory process.
Many major platforms have been waiting for over a year for FCA authorisation, as the regulator gets to grips with the diverse nature of the industry.
Once lenders have received permission from both the FCA and HMRC, they can offer the IFISA – a tax-free wrapper around P2P investments that is expected to open up the industry to a wider range of retail investors.
Crowdstacker, one of the smaller platforms that received approval earlier in the year, released statistics last month that showed 90 per cent of its IFISA investors had not invested with the platform before.