Peer-to-peer financial education funder Lendwise plans to launch an Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) by the end of the year to expand its investor reach.
The lender, which launched in May last year, provides loans for graduates and professionals to cover their course fees or living expenses, and gives investors estimated average returns of up to eight per cent per year.
“Launching an IFISA will expand our investor reach and appeal, offering returns inside a tax wrapper,” said Rishi Zaveri (pictured) co-founder and chief executive of Lendwise.
“Interest rates have been cut and I think the desire for yield is as strong as ever before.
“P2P investment can form a good part of investors’ portfolios, for the right investors of course, and an IFISA is an important tool for us to be able to attract and widen our pool of lenders.
“We’re an impact investment which sets us apart from many other platforms. By investing in our platform, you could be improving someone’s career prospects.”
Lendwise has been growing over the past year and continues to do so, increasing its borrower base by partnering with education providers.
It was recently selected to join the London & Partners Business Growth Programme, which is run by international trade, investment and promotion agency London & Partners.
“We have been growing really fast with our numbers rising month-on-month,” Zaveri said.
“We now have student borrowers at nearly every university in the country.”
Because Lendwise has been on a growth curve, Zaveri is unsure of the impact Covid-19 has had on the platform. Lendwise has been helping borrowers facing difficulties with repayments due to the pandemic, offering payment holidays on a case by case basis.
Zaveri said borrowers have still been graduating with universities using predicted grades and coursework to work out the results of students after their exams were cancelled.
“It’s hard to know if the number of applications would’ve been higher if not for Covid-19 because we’re still growing,” he said.
“Some people may put off studying because of the pandemic but a lot of people might choose this current uncertainty as a good time to study.
“So far we’ve been receiving more applications each month.”
Lendwise is currently focussing on recruiting more borrowers as well as engagement with alumni to encourage them to invest in students attending the university they attended, and plans to eventually join a panel of a self-invested personal pension providers.