IRISH peer-to-peer lender Linked Finance has gained full authorisation from the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).
The green light from the City watchdog means that Linked Finance could now apply to HMRC for ISA manager status, in order to offer the Innovative Finance ISA.
The approval comes as Ireland’s Department of Finance kicks off a public consultation into the regulation of P2P lending.
“I am very pleased that we have secured full FCA approval,” said Niall Dorrian, chief executive of Linked Finance. “It puts us ahead of the curve in terms of preparing for any regulation of the sector in Ireland. It also demonstrates to lenders and borrowers here at home that Linked Finance operates to the highest standards.
“We are encouraged that the Department of Finance has initiated a public consultation in relation to regulation of crowdfunding here in Ireland. The sector is becoming an increasingly important source of funding for Irish SMEs and any actions that will promote further growth in the sector are to be welcomed.”
Read more: First Irish consumer P2P platform to launch
Linked Finance increased its lending by more than 326 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 year on year. It has channelled more than €25m (£21.6m) to Irish small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The platform hired London-based corporate finance firm Liberum as an adviser last September, as it was looking to attract funding from global institutional investors.
In January, it agreed a funding deal with Eiffel Investment Group, whereby the Paris-based investor will contribute up to 20 per cent of funding for new loans listed on the platform.