CHRISTINE Farnish (pictured) is to step down as chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) after five years in the role.
Farnish was appointed chair of the self-regulatory trade body in December 2012, replacing Zopa founder Giles Andrews, and took on the role during the following year.
P2PFA rules state that a chair serves a three-year term that can be renewed once.
She will be replaced in March by Paul Smee, who is currently head of mortgages at banking trade body UK Finance.
“When I joined the P2PFA, the sector was small and unfamiliar, but its potential was obvious,” Farnish said.
“Digital platforms, able to connect investors and borrowers, offer great products and services, and do this at lower cost than traditional players. Having led the P2PFA during the important early years, it is now an appropriate time to pass the baton on to someone else. I am delighted that Paul Smee will be taking up the position.”
Smee brings more than 17 years’ experience of leading trade bodies. He was director general of the Council of Mortgage Lenders and held the same title at the Association of Independent Financial Advisers. He was also previously chief executive at the Association for Payment Clearing Services, and for the UK Payments Council.
“With all platforms now fully FCA regulated, tax reforms allowing platforms to compete on a level playing field, and consumers able to invest tax free through the Innovative Finance ISA, I look forward to helping the sector on to its next stage of growth,” Smee said.
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Smee’s appointment has already been welcomed by P2PFA members such as Zopa, MarketInvoice and Landbay.
“Christine has been an excellent chair of the P2PFA, offering expert leadership and thoughtful insight over the past five years,” John Goodall, chief executive of Landbay, said.
“The appointment of Paul Smee marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the association. We enjoyed working with Paul during his time at the Council of Mortgage Lenders and look forward to working together again.”