This month marks one year since our platform received FCA authorisation. We are excited to celebrate the anniversary of our achievement, reflect on what we have accomplished, and look forward to what the future holds.

At the end of February 2017, we shared the exciting news that we had been awarded full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority. After operating under interim permission for almost three years and dedicating over two years to the authorisation application process, the news was very well received.

Kylie Greeff, our Compliance Manager, commented: “It was a long, challenging journey to achieve FCA authorisation. I’m so proud of what the company has accomplished in the year since we were authorised, I’m excited about the future of the platform and I’m looking forward to working with the rest of the team to expand our AR network and come up with new ways to innovate in our ever-changing, fast-evolving industry.”

Since we achieved authorisation, we have enjoyed a year of highlights. We promptly announced the introduction of our Appointed Representatives initiative in May last year. “This scheme enables companies not yet authorised by the FCA to operate as authorised firms, by grandfathering the regulatory permissions of a Principal,” explains Managing Director, Daniel Rajkumar. Following the launch of this initiative, we  onboarded our first Appointed Representative, Huddle Capital in just four weeks; as we explain in our case study. The team at Huddle Capital were looking to build their loan book and secure themselves a position in the UK’s P2B lending market. As a new entrant to the market, working with us, rather than embarking on the authorisation process themselves, has enabled them to step into an increasingly competitive market quickly and efficiently.

In May 2017, we received our first visit from the FCA supervision team. This initial meeting was largely exploratory, intended to help explain how we operate in accordance with our policies. It was helpful to understand the regulators’ expectations and to align with them our interpretations of the high standards of customer protection and transparency that we are expected to uphold.

Following our consultation with the FCA, we produced a range of educational articles to help inform lenders. We also added a Key Risks section to the loan profile. It is our intention to link these Key Risks to the overall loan book performance, so that lenders can understand if an identified risk may lead to a higher default rate. Furthermore, we plan to include the Key Risks as a filter in BidPal, our auto lending feature, thereby giving lenders further control.

In August, we launched the IFISA offering, which has received widespread adoption.

In September, we were surprised to learn that a major competitor decided to disclose less information regarding the loans it lists. The extent of information that platforms are required to disclosed is still a grey area.

Looking forward to the future of our platform, we are currently working on several improvements; some short-term advancements, and others that will be incorporated on a more long-term basis. We will soon be implementing an improved loan application process and facilitating the option of using electronic bank statement transaction data to help inform a decision-in-principle. We will also be incorporating mobile usability improvements.

The FCA has yet to announce its post-implementation review, having received responses from the last consultation over 17 months ago. We look forward to this review and to complying with the requirements. Kylie recently commented on the effects of regulation in the industry in this article published online.

We are constantly working hard to improve lender returns, user experience and satisfaction on our platform. With that in mind, we are currently looking for a Compliance Coordinator to join our team, to support Kylie in the various compliance tasks related to the business. We would love to hear from you if you think you are suitable for the role.

If you are a user of our platform, we would really appreciate your feedback. We invite borrowers and brokers to fill in our user feedback survey, and lenders to complete our lender-specific survey, and thank you in advance for your collaboration.

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