Alison Harwood

Varengold Bank

Senior Vice President

Alison is Senior Vice President in the London branch of Varengold Bank, a Hamburg headquartered investment bank. She plays a critical role in developing the bank’s marketplace banking business, providing funding to the marketplace and platform lending industry. Before joining Varengold in 2015 she worked in structured finance at Barclays Capital, executing complex financial transactions. Alison began her career as a lawyer with Linklaters, ​specialising in tax and financial regulation and advising some of the world’s largest financial institutions and asset managers. She holds an LLB in Law with Spanish Law from Nottingham University.

Event Sessions Featuring Alison Harwood


Panel

Mapping the P2P/crowdfunding market

The Alternative Property Forum - 19th June 2018

  • Mark asserted that the talent pool in property lending is now ‘in the alternative space’. He also said of platforms that get pricing and risk wrong: “The speed at which they came is the speed at which they’ll go.”

  • Uma said that alternative property lenders have to adapt their position in the market based on where we are in the property cycle.

  • James said that the interest rate cycle ‘is not going back to the way it was’ and that this opens up opportunities for alternative lenders to attract investment.

  • Marek said that EstateGuru’s main value proposition is that it allows investors to build a property portfolio that is diversified by geography.


Roundtable (Breakout)

Alternative Credit ‐ Round Table Discussion

London Summit 2018 - 26th March 2018

  • The 22-strong roundtable discussed various aspects of opportunities in the non-bank lending space including the opportunities in SME lending, the maturity of the market and the sustainability of some platforms' business models and the need for greater transparency.
  • Christian Gut, manager of the P2P lending Fund, said investors need to fully understand track records of managers/funds and of how loans are performing. He said it is “really hard to understand” like-for-like comparisons when platform are changing underwriting models.  “Every country and platform is doing things in different ways. The industry should decide a certain level of credit and risk that should exist across the aboard,” he said.
  • Maseco’s Matthews added that niches are well suited to alternative credit but  “you can’t throw a lot of money” at them as this would harm yields.
  • RM’s Nicholl’s said that trust in the sector could be improved by third party audits leading to more capital into the sector.
  • AltFi Data’s Fekete added that lenders are showing more and more interest in having their data assessed and compared on a like-for-like basis. That is a vital part of the maturation of the sector, he said.