UK Bond Network, a peer-to-peer investment platform for corporate bonds, has received full authorisation from the FCA. In accomplishing the feat, UK Bond Network becomes one of a small number of fully authorised alternative lenders – a group that also features Lending Works and LendingCrowd.
The vast majority of peer-to-peer/marketplace lending platforms continue to await the green light from the regulator, including market leaders such as Funding Circle,Zopa and RateSetter. These platforms cannot apply for ISA manager status until they are fully authorised. As such, the drawn-out authorisation process has also caused significant delays to the launch of the Innovative Finance ISA, with only a few platforms able to offer the wrapper to investors.
UK Bond Network does not operate under 36H regulations, primarily due to the nature of the assets originated by the platform (transferrable debt securities). It is not seen as a “loan-based crowdfunding platform”. Bonds were ushered into the scope of the IFISA on November 1st, after the idea had initially been mooted in last year’s Autumn Statement. Abundance, an investment platform which deals in debentures for green energy projects, launched its first IFISA eligible campaign soon after. UK Bond Network says that it is working towards a potential solution for its own IFISA product, with a view to a launching in the new year.
Up until now, UK Bond Network had operated under a regulatory umbrella, offering services under an appointed representative. Founder and CEO Chris Maule (pictured above) is confident that full authorisation will be a positive step forwards for the platform.
“Stringent standards are at the heart of everything we do,” he said. “We believe this approval will further strengthen the confidence that our investors and corporate clients have in our platform, services and people.”