The first directly authorised Shariah-compliant peer-to-peer lending platform Nester is preparing for a ‘hard’ launch at the end of this quarter, alongside an investor app.
The Islamic finance firm provides buy-to-let, refurbishment and bridge financing for corporates and offers investors returns of up to nine per cent, secured on UK property.
The platform received direct approval from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in February last year and did its first deal as part of a soft launch to in April. It then tested its systems and processes before embarking upon a soft launch to investors in December on a restricted basis with a referral code system.
Founder and chief executive Youness Abidou said he hopes to launch the platform to the public alongside the introduction of an investor app, that will allow lenders to do the same things as using a desktop version, such as investing and viewing their balance, by April.
The Nester team has already closed nearly £4m in finance across six transactions, with another £9m in the pipeline to close over the next six weeks.
Abidou said these deals have been pre-funded by third-party investors and take-up has been “very good” so far.
“We wanted to come to market slowly and introduce the product in a controlled way so we can see people investing and earning a return, ensuring returns are being paid and ironing out any glitches before coming out towards the end of March, April with the hard launch to open the doors to everyone,” said Abidou.
“We’re showing there are innovations in the marketplace and we’re looking to be that innovative change of the Islamic finance sector.”
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