FCA authorises Irish SME lender Linked Finance, paving way for UK expansion.
Linked Finance, an Irish peer-to-peer lending platform for small businesses, has been granted full authorisation by the FCA. The news comes as the Department of Finance initiates a public consultation process on the potential introduction of P2P-specific regulation in Ireland. The Irish market currently has no regulatory framework for P2P lenders to keep to.
Linked Finance is Ireland’s largest P2P firm by cumulative lending, having facilitated more than €25m in loans since 2013, according to AltFi Data. With its UK authorisation in hand, Linked Finance may now apply for ISA manager status, which it will ned in order to launch an Innovative Finance ISA offering. The firm has also indicated that its authorisation will spur on its plans for UK expansion.
Peer-to-peer lenders in the UK must hold full authorisation in order to seek ISA manager status. Zopa, the world’s original P2P firm, recently received the green light from the regulator, but the majority of the UK’s biggest platforms continue to labour under interim permissions.
“I am very pleased that we have secured full FCA approval," said Niall Dorrian, CEO of Linked Finance. "It puts us ahead of the curve in terms of preparing for any regulation of the sector in Ireland. It also demonstrates to lenders and borrowers here at home that Linked Finance operates to the highest standards.”
“We are encouraged that the Department of Finance has initiated a public consultation in relation to regulation of crowdfunding here in Ireland. The sector is becoming an increasingly important source of funding for Irish SMEs and any actions that will promote further growth in the sector are to be welcomed.”