Sancus is an offline, direct lending proposition which allows high net worth individuals to invest directly into local businesses. The Jersey-based business has just made waves by agreeing a £30m facility with GLI Finance – the specialist SME finance provider that is a major investor in a mini-empire of alternative finance providers. Sancus is in fact one of those providers – and now it seems the funding stream has reversed its direction.
GLIF will draw down £10m of the facility immediately – with an option to access the remaining £20m going forward. GLIF intends to use the funds for three core purposes, all of which are exciting news for the alternative finance space:
To capitalize on the current strong growth in demand to build its portfolio of SME loan assets
To further nurture the development of the peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms in which it already has a significant stake
To acquire equity holdings in a number of exciting new platforms
Andrew Whelan, Chief Executive of Sancus, commented:
“This agreement is further evidence of the strong global demand in the peer-to-peer market. Sancus continues to grow with the market and this facility, when fully drawn down, will we believe be the largest peer-to-peer loan to date.”
Certainly the £30m facility dwarfs the £10.8m record property loan made by Wellesley & Co. back in August. But both an online element and the involvement of retail capital are absent from the Sancus model. As such, it’s unclear whether or not we can readily declare this the sector’s largest loan to date. What is clear, however, is that Sancus has evidently developed a very powerful and unique form of direct lending. To be able to provide a facility worth £30m despite launching as recently as January 2014 is a highly impressive accomplishment.
Geoff Miller, Chief Executive of GLI Finance, aptly summarized the significance of the deal:
“This facility enables us to continue our strategy to become the leading alternative provider of SME finance. It makes sense for us to secure this funding from Sancus, in which we have an equity share, because it benefits both businesses – we all eat from the same kitchen as our clients!”