Octopus Choice appoints new boss as founder moves on

By Roger Baird on Thursday 28 February 2019

Alternative Lending

Octopus Choice founder takes development role at parent group.

Peer-to-peer lending platform Octopus Choice has appointed a new head, replacing the man who set up the business line three years ago.

Charlie Taylor (pictured) took the helm at the lender this week, replacing Sam Handfield-Jones who launched the product line in 2016.

Handfield-Jones saw the property-backed platform investments hit £264m, attracting almost 7,000 investors under his leadership.

Octopus Choice is part of the wider Octopus Group, a London-based investment firm founded in 2000, which specialises in smaller companies, renewable energy and healthcare infrastructure. It currently manages £8.5bn for 150,000 investors.

Taylor joins the business after a period as a consultant for a number of multinational companies. He holds a PhD in molecular biophysics from Oxford and an MBA from Insead Business School, in Fontainebleau, France.

He also takes charge of Octopus Cash, Octopus Group’s tech-enabled savings account. Taylor reports to Ruth Handcock, the chief executive of Octopus Investments, the division the two investment products sit in within parent Octopus Group.  

Taylor said: “Using analytics and technology we’ll continue to evolve and develop additional features to make the products even more user-friendly for advisers and direct customers. I’m looking forward to building on the firm foundations for Octopus Cash and Choice built by Sam and the team.”

Handfield-Jones moves to a new role within the Octopus Group as growth and innovation director, where the business said he will focus on “creating completely new financial products and services for financial advisers and their clients”.

He said that it was “an exciting change to hand the reins over to someone new”.

Handfield-Jones added: "Creating Choice and Cash from scratch has definitely been one of the most challenging but also without doubt the most rewarding things I’ve done.”

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