Irish Linked Finance secures full approval from UK regulator FCA

Linked Finance announced yesterday that it secured full approval from UK regulator:

I’m delighted to announce that we recently gained full authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK. This approval is the culmination of a rigorous 2-year application process and a lot of hard work.

In the absence of any regulatory framework in Ireland, we originally began this process as a way to demonstrate our commitment to operating Linked Finance in line with best practice from the much more developed UK market.

This UK approval also opens several exciting avenues to us in terms of our plans for future expansion. It gives us the opportunity to attract lenders form the UK to support Irish SMEs. It would also allow us to start supporting SMEs north of the border, as well as paving the way for a full UK roll-out.

The P2P industry in the UK is the largest in the world on a per capita basis and platforms there are originating more than €1 billion in lending each quarter. It would be a logical next step in our evolution.

That said, our primary focus remains on Ireland and helping to grow the sector here as market leaders.

This authorisation in the UK won’t have any major impact on how you use Linked Finance but you may see some slight changes and modifications on the site, as we look to implement some of the various requirements, such as warnings and disclaimers, that would be required when operating in the UK.

The fact that we have gained full authorisation from the FCA should simply serve to underline that Linked Finance has developed the type of management processes and controls that are in line with industry best practice.

The timing couldn’t be better too.

This announcement comes as the Irish government have launched a public consultation in relation to regulating the sector here.

It’s a move that we wholeheartedly welcome. We believe that all platforms who want to operate in Ireland should be required to operate to the same high standards as Linked Finance.

Obviously, this approval from the FCA demonstrates that we are well ahead of the curve in the Irish market and we are encouraged that the Department of Finance is now considering a similar set of rules here.

We recognise that the development of P2P lending in the UK owes a lot to the introduction of government initiatives that promote the industry, including tax-free Innovative Finance ISAs and direct government lending to SMEs, via the British Business Bank, on platforms such as Funding Circle and RateSetter.

We would love to see the same type of support here and we will be using the current public consultation as an opportunity to promote similar initiatives in Ireland.

For our Irish lenders, this approval from the FCA in the UK should serve as further evidence of our commitment to developing a strong and stable platform that will continue to deliver healthy returns while providing much need credit to great local businesses.

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