An annual industry snapshot of the UK Alternative Finance sector was released this morning. This study – entitled “Understanding Alternative Finance” – has been co-authored by the University of Cambridge and the innovation charity Nesta. It details – among many other things – the rapid growth of the alternative finance sector, the state of public awareness and the extent of the nation’s engagement with the industry.
Many platforms, businesses and supporting entities that are involved in the sector have reacted to the report.
Giles Andrews, CEO Zopa, commented:
“The Nesta report demonstrates that the alternative finance market is a rapidly growing sector by doubling in size in just 12 months. The variety of services is a positive sign of innovation in the UK as the market is expected to contribute over £4bn in 2015 to the UK economy. Zopa is proud to have kick-started the P2P lending industry back in 2005 and this report highlights that P2P lending and other types of alternative finance are fast becoming mainstream activities. Our mission is to always provide great value to our customers by making money simple and fair.”
Christine Farnish, Chair of the Peer-to-Peer Finance Association, said:
“The report is exceptionally comprehensive and shows the impact and growth Peer-to-Peer lending is having on the wider market. Peer-to-Peer business lending is particularly impressive with an average growth of 250%. The paper highlights how many businesses are turning to P2P instead of the banks because of the ease and speediness of our service. Peer-to-Peer consumer lending is set to double by the end of 2014. Given the government has already set out plans to include peer-to-peer lending as part of the ISA regime, the impact could be even greater next year.”
Stuart Law, founder and CEO of Assetz Capital, stated:
“It’s easy to get carried away by big figures but what’s important about this report is the consideration for the future and how the industry needs to continue to adapt to realise its full potential as a serious credit supplier in a new world. Platforms have to continue to listen to their community of investors and borrowers, updating, adapting and innovating to help build trust and knowledge for all to mutually benefit.”
“Assetz Capital has grown significantly in the past 18 months and we see the £50 million invested via our platform as just the beginning. We’re adding products, developing our offering through SIPPs and ISAs, while working on partnerships and other solutions such as provision funds – all of which have been highlighted in today’s report by Nesta. We feel it has captured the nature of the inflexion point that peer to peer finds itself in now and we look forward to years of strong growth and a rebalancing of power away from solely banks in the past to a more inclusive alternative credit supplier mix in the future.”
Rhydian Lewis, Founder and Chief Executive of RateSetter, also weighed in:
“The potential for growth is extremely exciting in what is still, despite its success, a relatively untapped market - with 42% of UK consumers remaining completely unaware of P2P.
“A third of active lenders have only started using the model since the beginning of 2014 and the market has subsequently doubled. As awareness continues to increase, we expect further exponential growth, cementing P2Ps position as a new and respected alternative to traditional financial institutions.
“Inclusion in ISAs will further boost the sector, with over 60% of our lenders saying they will lend more once P2P qualifies for the ISA scheme. With this on the horizon for early 2015, there is a feeling that we are on the brink of a spectacular change in the financial landscape.”
David Turner, CEO of Invest and Fund, stated:
”The Nesta report will only increase the confidence that SMEs and individuals alike have in Peer-to-Business lending, crowdfunding and all other aspects of alternative finance. It is a fantastic marker of the difference that the concept has already made to the way that businesses seek finance in order to grow”.
Finally, Anil Stocker Co-founder and CEO of MarketInvoice, explained:
“Alternative finance is fundamentally reshaping financial services in the same way other industries - from music to publishing - have been permanently altered by technology.
“The significant growth of the industry will be bolstered next year by Government measures to increase investment and borrowing across peer-to-peer platforms.
“With banks battling against the drag of ageing branch networks, extreme public mistrust, and constant regulatory fire-fighting, new providers have capitalised on the opportunity to move in on their territory. Financial services is finally getting the innovation it has sorely lacked over the last 20 years.”
The report is available download in full by following this link.