THE 2019 Peer2Peer Finance News P2P Power 50 highlights the exceptional achievements of the talented individuals spearheading the growth of this thriving multi-billion-pound industry.
We have consulted industry stakeholders to help us compile the P2P Power 50, which identifies the big names from the largest and fastest growing platforms but also officials from government, regulators, consultancies and law firms, without whom there would be no rules, innovation or product.
We give particular mention to the top 10 most influential individuals we believe have had the biggest impact on the industry and who will be the biggest drivers in its future.
The 2019 list includes a big shake-up of the top 10, underlining the flurry of new talent coming into the industry, including a number of women entering more senior positions. Funding Circle UK managing director Lisa Jacobs and Zopa P2P chief executive Natasha Wear are both new entrants to the list, going straight into the top 10 due to their hugely influential roles at these industry giants.
RateSetter’s chief investments officer Mario Lupori and Octopus Choice head Charlie Taylor are also new entrants in the top 10 as innovation and influence at these platforms grows.
Outside of the top 10, other new entrants include former City minister Lord Myners, who has spent much of this year holding the Financial Conduct Authority to account for its regulation of collapsed P2P lenders Collateral and Lendy.
Meanwhile, some of last year’s ‘rising stars’ have really sparkled over the past year and been promoted to the full Power 50 list, including Frazer Fearnhead of The House Crowd and Yann Murciano of Blend Network.
Outside of the Power 50 list of individuals, we also note firms of influence, which include the government bodies, trade associations, law firms and academic institutions all supporting the industry’s growth.
There are no rankings, aside from the special mention given to the top 10, so the list is compiled in alphabetical order.
The Top 10
Andrew Bailey, Chief executive – Financial Conduct Authority
It is under Andrew Bailey’s watch that the regulator will oversee the introduction of marketing restrictions and appropriateness tests, in a year where the chief executive has taken the brunt of criticism for a lack of oversight regarding the regulation of collapsed P2P lenders Collateral and Lendy. Bailey will be keen to avoid more embarrassing questions about regulatory mishaps and missed opportunities. A tougher approach has already been signalled by a ‘Dear CEO’ letter highlighting weaknesses in transparency among some lenders.
Samir Desai, Co-founder & chief executive – Funding Circle
Samir Desai has helped establish Funding Circle as the UK’s largest P2P lender, with a loanbook worth more than £5bn, and a key player in the US and Europe. Where founders at its closest P2P rival Zopa have stepped back, Desai – awarded a CBE in 2015 – remains at the forefront. He has faced challenges in the first year as the chief executive of the only UK-listed P2P lending platform, but he remains a respected and influential figure in the world of P2P.
Christine Farnish, Chair & non-executive director – Zopa
Farnish has been synonymous with the P2P sector from its relatively humble beginnings in 2012, having held the role of chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association for six years before stepping down in 2018. She is now using her knowledge and experience to lead Zopa’s P2P dedicated board. Previous roles include chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, group managing director of public policy at Barclays and consumer affairs director at the City watchdog.
Lisa Jacobs, UK managing director – Funding Circle
Lisa Jacobs replaced Funding Circle co-founder James Meekings as UK managing director in August of this year. These may be big shoes to fill but Jacobs brings plenty of experience. She joined Funding Circle in 2012 and was previously chief strategy officer, helping to develop new products and lead its entry into the US and Europe. She was also part of the core team behind Funding Circle’s admission to the London Stock Exchange in 2018. She was named on Innovate Finance’s 2018 Women in Fintech Powerlist.
Stuart Law, Co-founder & chief executive – Assetz Capital
Stuart Law has helped transform a traditional property investment business into one of the largest players outside of the ‘big three’ of Funding Circle, Zopa and RateSetter. The platform’s loanbook has swelled to more than £800m in the past six years and Assetz Capital is regularly recognised as one of the fastest growing tech firms in the UK. Law remains ambitious and while committed to retail investors, the platform has this year launched its own institutional fund and received backing from high-profile firms such as German private bank Varengold.
Rhydian Lewis, Co-founder and chief executive – RateSetter
Rhydian Lewis set up RateSetter in 2010 with an innovative business model, enabling investors to set their own rates and pioneering the provision fund. This earned him an OBE for his contribution to financial services in 2017. It has been a year of change in 2019 for the ‘big three’ lender with a rebrand and a move to target rates but the accolades for the platform keep coming and it was given the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its “excellence in innovation” in April.
Mario Lupori, Chief investments officer – RateSetter
A new entrant into the top 10, Lupori has become an influential voice in the sector, representing the P2P lending platform in the media, on panels and on lobby group committees such as the Tax Incentivised Savings Association. He oversees the investor side of the RateSetter platform, responsible for product, distribution, marketing and customer management and will be a key player as it looks to grow its £3.5bn loanbook. Lupori has more than a decade of experience working in financial services at NewDay and Barclaycard.
Gwyneth Nurse, Directory of financial services – Treasury
Gwyneth Nurse is the P2P sector’s access point to government, helping guide Treasury policy as director of financial services. She has been ever-present since 2015 among the revolving ministerial doors at the Treasury, witnessing the launch of the Innovative Finance ISA and the expansion of the sector. She previously worked as deputy director of the Treasury’s banking and credit team, after heading up the assets, savings and wealth team. Before joining the Treasury, Nurse worked for HMRC.
Charlie Taylor, Head – Octopus Choice
Octopus Choice is one of the few P2P lenders that has managed to crack the financial adviser space. Leveraging the track record of its parent company and the attractions of property-backed lending, Octopus Choice now has a substantial network of advisers recommending its products to investors. Experienced fintech consultant Charlie Taylor was appointed head of Octopus Choice in February and is continuing to spread the word. Most recently, the platform announced that its investments are SIPP eligible, in response to demand from advisers and investors.
Natasha Wear, Chief Executive – Zopa P2P
Another new entrant to the powerlist and straight into the top 10, Wear was parachuted into the chief executive role for Zopa’s P2P business as part of the group’s restructure in February. She brings lots of experience to the role, having previously headed up the platform’s investment products, where she oversaw the launch of its Innovative Finance ISA. Prior to the investment role, she was Zopa’s head of business operations. Wear worked as a consultant before joining Zopa and also had a brief period as a special adviser to the Duke of York.
…and the rest of the best
Co-founder & board member, Zopa
Andrews helped launch Zopa as the world’s first P2P lender in 2005 and has overseen its transformation into one of the largest and bestknown UK platforms. Andrews stepped back from the chief executive role in 2015 but remains on the board and his influence was cemented in 2016 with an OBE for his contribution to financial services.
Chief executive, ThinCats
Attia is a new entrant to the powerlist having recently stepped into the shoes of departing chief executive John Mould. She will be tasked with growing its loanbook from its recent £500m milestone and brings experience as the former boss of mortgage lender and servicer The Northview group which manged more than £10bn of assets.
Founder & chief executive, Proplend
Bartaby has built up his commercial property lending platform into a recognised P2P brand. The platform has successfully combined auto and manual lending where others have struggled and has attracted high-profile hires this year including the appointment of former Morgan Stanley executive Matt Carson as its first chief operating officer.
Co-founder & chief lending officer, RateSetter
Behren’s role puts him at the forefront of dayto-day operations at RateSetter, which this year hit the £3.5bn lending milestone. He oversees the borrower side of the RateSetter platform, responsible for the all-important borrower origination and strategy. He is also a trained lawyer and worked as a banker at RBS.
Chief executive, Ablrate
Ablrate started life financing leasing for aircraft transactions, but Bradley-Ward has turned it into a fully-regulated platform offering asset-backed business loans, eligible within its IFISA wrapper. Meanwhile, his new blockchain-powered secondary market solution ASMX is rapidly being adopted by other platforms.
Co-founder & chief executive, CrowdProperty
It has been a landmark year for CrowdProperty, rejigging its product range, raising £1.1m in a crowdfunding round and securing backing from institutional investors. The property development finance provider’s loanbook is rapidly approaching £50m and Bristow’s expertise and influence has been recognised with a role on the investment committee of proptech venture capital business Pi Labs.
Founder & chief executive, Growth Street
Carter has developed an innovative product with the GrowthLine credit facility, which works similarly to an overdraft, meaning that business customers can draw down funds and make repayments as often as they like, up to their limit. The platform’s model has been boosted by institutional funding this year, raising £17.5m from backers.
Director of supervision – retail and authorisations, Financial Conduct Authority
Davidson is responsible for ensuring authorised firms behave and there are already reports that the regulatory process is getting tougher in the wake of the collapse of Lendy. He will help oversee new rules on marketing restrictions, appropriateness tests and transparency requirements that are set to be introduced in December.
Co-founder & managing director, Abundance
Davis has shown it is possible to make a profit and contribute to society at the same time with the launch of ethical crowd bonds platform Abundance. The platform was one of the first IFISA providers and Davis is a respected lobbyist and representative of the sector, having also helped to launch Zopa and the UK Crowdfunding Association.
Co-founder & chief executive, ArchOver
A former accountant, Dent has developed the unique ‘secured and insured’ and ‘secured and assigned’ business lending models on ArchOver. There has been plenty of expansion under Dent’s watch this year, as the London-based platform opened a second regional office in Hatfield – it already has a hub in Birmingham – to serve the Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire region.
Co-founder & managing director, 4th Way
Faulkner started the first analysis firm dedicated to P2P and its tables on rates and risk ratings, as well as his sometimes-controversial blogs and commentary, have played a key role in educating consumers and providing an independent perspective.
Chief executive, The House Crowd
Fearnhead started his career as a lawyer in the music industry and pioneered one of the first P2P property platforms when he launched The House Crowd in 2012. He is perhaps best known for a tense pitch on Dragon’s Den that saw him get rejected after arguing with judges about the valuation. Fearnhead remains ambitious and has big plans for retail and institutional fundraisings as well as new products.
Co-founder & chief executive, Landbay
Goodall has helped grow the Landbay platform into a viable buy-to-let mortgage provider, recognised and respected among brokers and investors alike. It secured £1bn of institutional investment this year as it plans to become a grow its loanbook and move from a niche to a “meaningful buy-to-let lender.”
Partner & head of crowdfunding, Downing
Groves previously set up British Airways’ online offering and she has propelled the industry forward by helping to set up the UK Crowdfunding Association and contributing to the development of the IFISA.
Implementation trustee, Open Banking
Awarded an OBE in 2017 for his contribution to the financial services sector, Gulamhuseinwala, a former partner for consultancy EY in the financial services team, is responsible for leading the Open Banking Implementation Entity. He has a mandate to ensure the UK’s nine largest banks implement a standard Open Banking API to meet their obligations, which should benefit P2P lenders.
Founder & chief executive, Crowd2Fund
Hancock’s business lending platform was one of the very first IFISA providers and provides a unique platform for firms to raise funds and build a customer base. It gained Enterprise Investment Scheme approval this year, giving it additional investor appeal ahead of upcoming fundraising campaigns.
Founder & chief executive, Lending Works
The former Royal Bank of Scotland banker set up Lending Works in 2012 and it has grown into one of the largest P2P consumer lenders. Recognised as one of the UK’s fastest growing tech companies by research firm Fast Track, the platform has been busy rebranding its product suite this year and is confident of reaching profitability.
Chief executive, Equitivo Advisory
Holgate has extensive experience in the P2P lending industry, having co-founded Assetz Capital. He has now launched his own fintech consultancy to help other firms in the sector launch and expand their own propositions. Equitivo aims to fill a gap in the market by providing specialist advice for new and growing fintechs across strategy, operations and performance.
Group chief executive, Zopa
Janardana has dropped from the top 10 to the top 40, reflecting his broader focus on the whole Zopa group. He brings valuable consumer credit experience, having previously led credit card provider Capital One into profit.
Co-founder & chief executive, LandlordInvest
Karadaghi’s buy-to-let and bridging loan platform LandlordInvest was one of the earliest IFISA providers. It offers some of the highest rates on property-backed P2P loans, with investors earning on average 11.06 per cent.
Chief executive, Kuflink
Khattoare has helped Kuflink transition from a bridging loan provider to a venerable P2P platform. The lender, a sponsor of Ebbsfleet United Football Club, has expanded rapidly with a rebrand and secondary market launch this year. Its loanbook is worth more than £60m.
Chief product officer, Zopa [Editor’s note: It emerged that Lawson had left Zopa after the Power 50 list was compiled]
Lawson may not be the most high-profile figure at Zopa, but he plays an important role in the day-to-day running of the consumer lender with responsibility for products, customer acquisition and experience, first-line credit risk, pricing yield and data science.
Founder & chief executive, LendingCrowd
Lunn has proved that you don’t have to be in London to be a successful P2P lender. Edinburgh-based LendingCrowd was named best P2P business lender at this year’s Growth Finance Awards and has secured institutional funding from the Scottish Investment Bank (SIB) and Dutch entrepreneurial bank NIBC as well as innovative partnerships in the accountancy sector.
Founder & chief executive, Relendex
Chartered accountant Lynn has developed Relendex into a sizeable property lender. It has funded almost £40m of loans and has secured City funding lines, as well as a partnership with online property sales platform Yourkeys.
Founder & chief executive, Blend Network
Blend Network is relatively young in the sector, having only launched in 2017 with grand aims of becoming the “Goldman Sachs of P2P”. It has quickly proved popular under Murciano’s leadership, drawing on his experience as an executive director at Morgan Stanley to provide institutional grade property lending outside London.
Crossbench peer, House of Lords
Myners was a City minister under the Gordon Brown Labour government but he hasn’t stopped worrying about financial services. He regularly uses parliamentary questions to hold the FCA and government to account over issues including the collapse of Lendy and Collateral.
Co-founder & chief executive, Orca
Orca was already a respected P2P analysis firm but it has now expanded into P2P investment management, led by Niblock. The platform launched its IFISA this year and Niblock has also become a regular and respected media commentator on the benefits of P2P lending.
Co-founder & chief executive, Crowdstacker
Crowdstacker was one of the first IFISA providers and has raised almost £60m for UK businesses since launching in 2015. Patel, a former fund manager, has ambitious plans for his company’s growth and this year launched an auto-switching savings service that promised to end the “loyalty penalty” for savers stuck with paltry rates.
Managing director, MoneyThing
Pearce has more than a decade of experience in marketing and business development, with an MBA from Ashridge Business School, which has helped her to grow MoneyThing into a popular P2P business lender offering some of the highest IFISA-eligible investor rates. She has spent much of this year spearheading a shift in lending to lower risk businesses.
Managing director, Simple Crowdfunding
Poonwassie has a busy to-do list, heading up property investment platform Simple Crowdfunding while also holding the role of director of the UK Crowdfunding Association, where she regularly engages with policymakers and government.
Co-founder & chief executive, CapitalRise
Rajah has used her fintech expertise to help develop a popular investment platform focused on prime property, predominantly in London. CapitalRise secured a £30m institutional funding line earlier this year, validating the business model and strategy. It also raised more than £2m in a crowdfunding round.
Co-founder & chairman, LendIt Fintech
A renowned author and expert on P2P, Peter Renton has established a global events brand with LendIt Fintech, regularly bringing alternative lending and fintech professionals together to network and showcase the sector’s talents.
Partner & head of fintech and alternative finance, Fox Williams
A regular on the alternative finance conference circuit, Segal is recognised as a commentator as well as a respected lawyer advising firms across the sector.
Chair, Peer-to-Peer Finance Association
The chair of the sector’s self-regulated trade body brings a CV full of key contacts and experience that could help members – and the wider industry – flourish. Prior to joining the P2PFA, he has held the director general role at the Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of Independent Financial Advisers, and he has said wooing advisers is a priority.
Co-founder and chief executive of MarketInvoice
Stocker has dropped from the top 10, reflecting MarketInvoice’s increasing partnerships with institutional investors and departure from the P2PFA. The platform boasts Barclays as a strategic partner and also has backing from the British Business Bank, Portuguese bank Banco BNI Europa and Germany’s Varengold Bank.
Managing director, Folk2Folk
The former head of risk for the platform replaced Giles Cross as managing director earlier this year. It has been a landmark year for the rural-focused platform which saw its loanbook surpass £300m and overhauled its product range, offering increased investor rates and scrapping its IFISA fee.
Co-founder & chief executive, Wellesley
Wellesley has developed his eponymous property platform into one of the bestknown brands in the sector since launching in 2013. The alternative property lender has now diversified into listed bonds and wound down its P2P business but his experience means he can still provide valuable insight.
Co-founder & chief executive, Sancus Group
Whelan has helped turn around the fortunes of the once-struggling Sancus brand, the alternative finance group owned by Aim-listed GLI Finance. Its loanbook, which includes P2P and other forms of lending, has surpassed £1.1bn and while its supply finance platform closed this year, it has expanded into bridging and development finance.
Founder & chief commercial officer, Goji
Wombwell-Povey is a well-known and respected figure in the P2P industry. As well as providing IFISA administration services, Goji has its own investment management platform, offering IFISA- and SIPP-eligible bonds. Wombwell-Povey is also influential with lobby groups such as the Tax Incentivised Savings Association.
Executive director of strategy & competition, Financial Conduct Authority
Woolard is another important official at the City regulator for the P2P industry. He has been influential in the creation of the new rules for the sector, after a lengthy post-implementation review.