The sixth annual Peer2Peer Finance News Power 50 offers a snapshot of progress in the peer-to-peer lending space.
But this year it also reflects the changes which have taken place over a tumultuous era for P2P platforms. The rising influence of the regulator and government is evident in our Top 10, as three of the top spots are populated by Financial Conduct Authority and Treasury executives.
This is the first year that our Power 50 does not contain any names from the former ‘Big Three’ of RateSetter, Zopa and Funding Circle.
Following RateSetter’s exit in 2020, Zopa and Funding Circle both left the P2P sector for good over the past year. In their place, a new ‘Big Three’ has emerged.
Assetz Capital is now the largest lender in this space, with Folk2Folk taking second place. Bosses of property lenders CrowdProperty, Kuflink, CapitalRise, Shojin and Proplend have all earned their spots in the Top 10 thanks to their rapid growth, excellent track records and innovative products.
The Power 50 always shines a spotlight on the most influential people in the P2P sector and this year is no exception.
Read more: The 2021 Peer2Peer Finance News P2P Power 50
We are thrilled to see some of our former Rising Stars move up into the main list as they make their mark on the industry.
At the same time, the continued presence of some industry stalwarts shows the continuity and commitment of the sector, even after weathering tougher regulation, the uncertainty of a pandemic and the ongoing cost-of-living crisis.
The 2022 Power 50 entrants range from relative newcomers, to P2P veterans, to the service providers who keep things ticking along in the background, and the regulators who will shape the future of the industry.
There are no rankings in the Power 50, aside from the special mention given to the Top 10, so the list is compiled in alphabetical order.
Congratulations to everyone who made it onto this year’s list. Your inclusion is a testament to the positive change that you are championing in an already-innovative industry.
The Top 10
Brian Bartaby, Founder and chief executive, Proplend
Former banker Brian Bartaby founded Proplend in 2014 after spotting a gap in the market for commercial property finance. Eight years later, the platform has lent out more than £165m to finance commercial property projects across the UK, while its investors have earned approximately £18m in interest payments. In 2021, Proplend grew its revenues by an impressive 40 per cent, and reduced its losses to just £148. During the same year, the lender saw its new loan volumes rise by 75 per cent despite the challenges of the pandemic. With Bartaby at the helm, the platform is on track to become profitable in 2022, while edging closer to that seminal £200m lending milestone.
Kate Hinchy, Manager – retail investment and distribution policy, The Financial Conduct Authority
Hinchy is the main point of contact for P2P lenders at the FCA, thanks to her role as manager of retail investment and distribution policy. A 17-year veteran of the City watchdog, Hinchy’s current role requires her to set policies that will protect and benefit retail investors. As the regulator sharpens its focus on consumer protection, Hinchy’s department will become even more consequential for P2P lending platforms. At least until the FCA hires a permanent crowdfunding supervisor.
Mike Bristow, Chief executive and co-founder, CrowdProperty
In its most recent financial results, CrowdProperty swung into the black for the first time (posting a £635,617 profit in the 12 months to 31 March 2021), in a testament to the steady leadership of chief executive Mike Bristow. At the time of writing, the residential development lender had distributed more than £255m to fund almost £600m-worth of property across the UK. And then there is the Australian branch of the business, which was launched last year and seems to be going from strength to strength. In June 2022, CrowdProperty opened its new mezzanine finance product – CP Capital – to investors for the first time, marking the next stage in the company’s growth.
Narinder Khattoare, Chief executive, Kuflink
Khattoare has led Kufink on a remarkable growth journey in recent years, expanding the property lender’s product offering and customer base. Kuflink is now one of the biggest P2P platforms in the UK, with a loanbook in excess of £220m, and zero investor losses reported to date. Not content to rest on its laurels, Kuflink is aiming to take its loanbook to £300m by next year as it scales rapidly with new hires and upcoming product launches, namely second charge secured loans and buy-to-let mortgages. Under Khattoare’s guidance, Kuflink is certainly a platform to watch.
Stuart Law, Chief executive and co-founder, Assetz Capital
Following the exit of Zopa and Funding Circle, Assetz Capital became the largest P2P lender in the UK, with a loanbook of more than £1.5bn. Key to the platform’s success is Law, who has been at the helm since Assetz was founded in 2011. Under his watch, Assetz not only survived during the pandemic but thrived, playing a vital role in supporting the nation’s small businesses and housebuilders by participating in the government’s Covid loan schemes. While institutions give Assetz their stamp of approval with funding lines, the platform also remains loyal to its retail roots and manages to provide solid returns for both groups of investors.
Gwyneth Nurse, Director general of financial services, the Treasury
Nurse was promoted to director general of financial services at the Treasury at the start of this year, having held a number of roles in the department since joining in 2003. Over her tenure, she has overseen the evolution of the P2P industry and the launch of the Innovative Finance ISA. In her new role, she is responsible for leading the delivery of the Treasury’s work to promote stability, fairness, efficiency and competitiveness in financial services, which includes the P2P sector. She also leads the Treasury’s relationship with the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority, and represents the Treasury on the Bank of England’s Financial Policy Committee.
Uma Rajah, Co-founder and chief executive, CapitalRise
2022 was CapitalRise’s year. The prime property lender passed its £200m lending milestone, expanded its remit to include prime properties beyond central London, and secured a new funding line from “a well-known UK investment manager”. Thanks to Uma Rajah’s strong leadership, the platform even managed to return a whopping £36m to investors during the 12 months ending 31 July 2021, while many other lenders opted to pause lending due to the pandemic. Rajah’s understanding of technology and commitment to strong due diligence have laid the foundations for a unique business which is proving its staying power.
Nikhil Rathi, Chief executive, the Financial Conduct Authority
As head of the FCA, Nikhil Rathi holds the fate of P2P in his hands. As well as undertaking a major overhaul of the City regulator, he has introduced a raft of new regulations such as the new Consumer Duty and stricter marketing rules for high-risk investments. He has made consumer protection his top priority, but in a speech made earlier this year he promised that the FCA is not anti-innovation.
Jatin Ondhia, Chief executive and co-founder, Shojin
Shojin has its sights set on global domination, and with Jatin Ondhia at the helm, anything is possible. The property lender has successfully carved out a niche in mezzanine finance and prides itself on its co-invest model. Over the past year, Shojin has embarked upon a series of funding rounds which have valued the business at upwards of £55m. The property lender has entered into a number of new markets, from the UAE to India, whilst growing its loanbook to £45m and returning more than £4m to investors. Shojin plans to launch a Jersey-incorporated fund later this year as part of its plan to expand its core offerings.
Roy Warren, Managing director, Folk2Folk
Roy Warren has been managing director at Folk2Folk since 2019, and oversaw its transition from a rural lender to a UK-wide P2P lending platform which boasts a wide range of expertise, including agricultural lending, property lending and business lending. Warren’s tenure has been defined by consistent annual returns of 6.5 per cent, even during the uncertainty of the pandemic. Over the past year the platform has increased its profits to almost £2m, which Warren has credited to his “excellent” team.
Louis Alexander, Chief executive, SoMo
You may remember SoMo as its former brand, The Bridge Crowd. Thanks to Louis Alexander, the property lender has rebranded and positioned itself for growth, making a series of new hires this year and eyeing a lending target of £75m by the end of 2022. In late 2021, SoMo opened its first London office and Alexander hopes to expand into new parts of the UK within the coming year.
Lee Birkett, Founder and chief executive, JustUs
Lee Birkett is changing the way P2P lending is viewed. One of the most vocal and innovative figures in the sector, he has spent the past year preparing JustUs’ sister company Moneybrain for a US launch, while continuing to grow the JustUs brand. JustUs recently welcomed the state-owned British Business Bank as a minority stakeholder in the company in a deal that valued the P2P lender at £50m. However, Birkett believes that this figure is “quite conservative” and expects a much higher valuation to follow.
Mansour Bouaziz, Co-founder and chief executive, Elfin Market
There has never been a better time to be an alternative credit card provider. As the cost of living rises, Elfin Market’s game-changing credit card continues to offer borrower rates as low as 4.8 per cent, compared with the 26 per cent average for other credit cards. More than £22m has been lent to date, with investors earning returns of between eight and 12 per cent.
David Bradley-Ward, Chief executive, ASMX
As chief executive of Ablrate, David Bradley- Ward is no stranger to the Power 50. But following Ablrate’s closure, it is blockchain-backed secondary market ASMX that is set to receive his expert attention. Since its launch, ASMX has traded more than £16m, demonstrating both its liquidity and popularity.
Mike Carter, Head of platform lending, 36H Group (Innovate Finance)
As head of platform lending at Innovate Finance’s 36H Group, Mike Carter represents P2P lending at a policy level. In this role, he works with platforms to collate sector-wide data, promote the benefits of P2P lending, and help platforms navigate the increasingly tricky regulatory landscape.
Bruce Davis, Co-founder and managing director, Abundance, and director, the UK Crowdfunding Association
Bruce Davis was a P2P evangelist before most people knew what P2P even was. He helped to found Zopa in 2005, before setting up the eco-friendly crowd bonds platform Abundance. As director of the UK Crowdfunding Association, he is an advocate for P2P lending and crowdfunding at the highest level, and works closely with lawmakers to help shape the future regulation of the sector.
Lukas Diehl, Executive vice president, marketplace banking, Varengold Bank
During the pandemic, Varengold Bank said that it was its marketplace lending partnerships that helped it to thrive. This included investments in UK-based P2P lending platforms such as Assetz Capital. Following the recent departure of Alison Harwood, Lukas Diehl has become Varengold Bank’s marketplace lending point of contact, and will be responsible for making any new P2P allocations and diversifying into new fintech lending segments.
Neil Faulkner, Chief executive and head of research , 4th Way
4th Way has been a reliable source of P2P platform data for more than eight years now, and it is all thanks to the hard work and due diligence of Neil Faulkner. Faulkner is on a mission to educate retail investors and industry stakeholders alike by publishing regular platform reviews and P2P lending data.
Jason Ferrando, Chief executive, EasyMoney
Jason Ferrando took over from Andrew de Candole as chief executive of EasyMoney earlier this year, just as the platform passed £200m in lending. He was previously head of lending at the P2P platform, where he worked closely with the platform’s retail and professional investors. As chief executive he hopes to grow the loanbook to £300m by 2023.
Rito Halder, Co-founder, Unbolted
Following the exit of Connective Lending, Unbolted is now the only P2P pawnbroking platform on the market. Its staying power is down to Rito Halder’s oversight. Halder insists that all assets are physically held by Unbolted, and this has led to a relatively low default rate and a 100 per cent recovery rate.
Chris Hancock, Founder and chief executive, Crowd2Fund
Chris Hancock led Crowd2Fund through the Covid-19 pandemic, and now he is ready to scale up. Earlier this year, he relaunched the platform’s secondary market with a new name – the small business exchange – and raised its target interest rates to 16 per cent. A modified credit policy and new board structure hints at Hancock’s ambitions to grow the business even further in the months and years ahead.
Janine Hirt Chief, executive, Innovate Finance
As the chief executive of Innovate Finance, Janine Hirt represents the UK’s fintech industry, which includes P2P lending. Hirt represents the interests of P2P at the highest level, and has been a champion for the sector, calling it “inspiring” and “trailblazing” while working with regulators and lawmakers to help grow the sector.
Nicola Horlick, Chief executive, Money & Co
The original City superwoman has proven that she is not afraid of a challenge. During the pandemic, she diversified into different niches including litigation finance, music loans, TV and film rights. Since then, she has applied for a banking licence and openly mulled a move towards managed accounts only, although she remains committed to P2P.
George Huntley, Chief executive, The Money Platform
George Huntley has been involved with P2P consumer lender The Money Platform since 2016, before becoming chief executive in 2020. He is on a mission to bring affordable credit to the masses, while continuing to deliver annual returns of between 5.5 and 6.3 per cent to retail investors. A longer-term lending product is set to launch in the future, and Huntley has hinted at a forthcoming IFISA launch too.
Ron Kalifa, Chair Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology (CFIT)
The Kalifa Review was a game-changer for UK fintech, laying out a number of ways in which the UK government could better support innovation in the sector. One of these suggestions was the creation of a new Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology which would “catalyse and drive progress in financial services innovation”. Who better to run this centre than Kalifa himself.
Filip Karadaghi, Co-founder and chief executive, LandlordInvest
LandlordInvest saw its profits soar in 2021, and chief executive Filip Karadaghi expects even better things for 2022. The property lending platform recently broke new ground by completing its first senior development loan, as part of Karadaghi’s strategy to move into the specialist bespoke finance space. He has also mooted an expansion into Northern Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland when the time is right.
Fawzi Kyriakos-Saad, Chief executive, Leap Lending
Fawzi Kyriakos-Saad runs consumer lending platform Leap Lending with a commitment to improving financial inclusion and offering fair rates to both borrowers and investors. Since the platform launched in 2019, it has survived the pandemic and is now navigating the cost-of-living crisis with aplomb. Due to high demand for its loans, Leap recently increased its investor rates to eight per cent.
Cormac Leech, Chief executive, AxiaFunder
Former Liberum analyst Cormac Leech has taken AxiaFunder from strength to strength. The online litigation crowdfunding platform narrowed its losses last year and Leech has predicted that the company will become profitable next year. In the meantime, investors have earned an average internal rate of return of 48 per cent to date, demonstrating the potential of this niche lending sector.
Catherine Lewis La Torre, Chief executive, British Business Bank
Catherine Lewis La Torre leaves the British Business Bank (BBB) this year after an eventful two years as chief executive. As the administrator of the government-backed lending schemes, the BBB has been a kingmaker of sorts for alternative lenders. The few P2P platforms which were authorised to deliver these schemes saw their loanbook values skyrocket, while their brands became more visible.
Stuart Lunn, Founder and chief executive, LendingCrowd
Born and based in Scotland, LendingCrowd has shown that you don’t have to be based in London to make it in the competitive world of fintech. Stuart Lunn made sure that LendingCrowd was one of the few alternative lenders chosen to deliver both the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme and the Recovery Loan Scheme. A £100m funding deal with Barclays Bank followed soon after.
Charlotte Marsh, Managing director, ArchOver
ArchOver continued to grow its investor base during the Covid-19 crisis, demonstrating the ongoing demand for its business loans. The platform has built up a loanbook worth more than £150m. Since 2019, ArchOver has reported zero annual losses to investors, while delivering interest rates of around 10 per cent.
Rory Mepham, Chief executive, Sancus Lending Group
Rory Mepham took over from Andy Whelan as chief executive of Sancus Lending Group in June 2021, shortly after the property lender rebranded from GLI Finance. Under Mepham’s leadership, Sancus has expanded its team and increased lending volumes by 62 per cent.
Stephen Moss, Managing director, Sourced Capital
Sourced launched in 2017, a brainchild of Stephen Moss. Since its launch, the property lender has written £32.4m of loans and repaid £16.2m of capital, and plans to launch an auto-invest product in the near future. The platform became directly authorised by the FCA this year thanks to the acquisition of Peer Funding, which should further bolster its credentials.
Yann Murciano, Founder and chief executive, Blend Network
Specialist property lender Blend Network has been on a roll this year, expanding into Northern Ireland, launching an invitation-only property network of developers, and building out its team with a series of new hires and boardroom additions. Yann Murciano has been at the helm of this growth, showcasing his ability to innovate in the competitive property lending sector.
Robert Pasco, Chief executive and co-founder, Plend
A new entry in this year’s Power 50 after being named a Rising Star last year, Plend has arrived with a splash as the innovative new consumer lender on the block. Helmed by Robert Pasco, Plend has earned FCA authorisation, secured £700,000 in pre-seed investment, and earned the prestigious B Corp status, all within its first year of business.
Karteek Patel, Co-founder and chief executive, Crowdstacker
Crowdstacker grew its revenue last year, despite “an uncertain economic climate” and Karteek Patel said that he is considering a fundraise in the fourth quarter of the year to help drive future growth. The P2P lending and crowd bond platform has seen huge demand for its property development loans this year with a “healthy pipeline” of new loans planned for the rest of the year.
Atuksha Poonwassie, Co-founder and managing director, Simple Crowdfunding, and director, the UK Crowdfunding Association
Poonwassie steered Simple Crowdfunding through the pandemic before resuming lending earlier this year. As director of the UK Crowdfunding Association, she played a key role in the establishment of the trade body’s 36H Group, which meets once a month to discuss best practices, lobbying activity, horizon scanning, data analysis, and more, with a specific focus on P2P lending.
Daniel Rajkumar, Founder and managing director, Rebuildingsociety
P2P veteran Daniel Rajkumar has led Rebuildingsociety for more than eight years, guiding the business lender through several waves of industry-changing regulations. After a long hiatus, Rebuildingsociety finally reopened to appointed representatives, earlier this year, ramped up its lending activity, and inked an innovative funding deal with Basildon Borough Council. With more council partnerships on the horizon and an ongoing commitment to platform transparency, the platform is continuing to attract new lenders.
Peter Read, Director and founder, Assetz Exchange
Assetz Exchange began life as an offshoot of Assetz Capital, but it has grown to become its own entity under the stewardship of Peter Read. Assetz Exchange invests in property which has a social impact, while also providing a rental income for investors. It has loaned out more than £18m since its launch in 2020, with investors earning almost £1m in interest payments to date.
Gillian Roche-Saunders, Partner, Adempi Associates
Before launching Adempi Associates in 2019, Gillian Roche-Saunders was head of financial regulation consultancy service BWB Compliance. This experience has come in particularly useful over the past year, as she helped a number of P2P platforms navigate a challenging regulatory landscape with minimal disruption.
Nadeem Siam, Co-founder and chief executive, Fund Ourselves
The consumer lending space has changed significantly over the past few years, but Fund Ourselves has remained a steady presence, under the direction of co-founder and chief executive Nadeem Siam. The short-term lender continues to target some of the highest returns on the market at 15 per cent.
Paul Sonabend, Executive chairman, Relendex
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Relendex is one of the few P2P lending platforms that has turned a profit for the past two years in a row, thanks to the steady hand of chairman Paul Sonabend. Earlier this year, the P2P lender passed its £100m lending milestone with zero investor losses to date.
Louis Schwartz, Founder and chief executive, Loanpad
Earlier this year, Loanpad made headlines when it announced plans to gradually increase its lender rates in response to the rising base rate. This is the sort of crowd-pleasing instinct that has helped Louis Schwartz to build one of the most popular property platforms, with almost £150m lent out by the time of writing.
Ben Shaw, Chief executive, HNW Lending
Founded in 2013, HNW Lending is one of the oldest platforms on this list, and under the watchful eye of Ben Shaw it has gone from strength to strength. Earlier this year the platform announced record profits for 2021 and Shaw is now considering a move into open banking in order to support its underwriting services.
Whitni Thomas, Head of corporate finance, Triodos Bank
Triodos Bank has been quietly offering IFISA-eligible crowd bonds since 2018, with returns ranging from four to seven per cent. According to Whitni Thomas, choosing projects which have a social impact is of the utmost importance for the platform. She recently helped to relaunch Triodos’ crowdfunding platform with a new design and more user-friendly experience.
David Turner, Co-founder and chief executive, Invest & Fund
At the time of writing, Invest & Fund was just about to reach its £200m lending milestone, in a true testament to the platform’s growth story. Former banker David Turner founded the P2P lender in 2015, and he continues to take the business from strength to strength, with a lucrative Homes England partnership and a record number of new IFISA openings.
Mark Turner, Managing director, London office, Kroll
Mark Turner is a managing director in Kroll’s financial services compliance and regulation practice, working with platforms on regulatory issues. His years of experience working with P2P lenders has made him an invaluable commentator on industry trends. Earlier this year, he spoke up in support of the principal/appointed representative model, following an FCA crackdown.
Frank Wessely, Managing director, Quantuma
Quantuma has played a key behind-the-scenes role in the P2P space for several years now, and Frank Wessely is the in-house expert. From managing the wind-down of The House Crowd, to advising on restructuring and risk management processes, he is a well-known figure in the P2P sector.
Rob Wilkinson, Co-founder and director, Crowd with Us
Rob Wilkinson runs P2P property lending platform Crowd with Us with his co-director Robert Pasternak, but it is Wilkinson’s property investing experience which has driven Crowd with Us’ success. At the time of writing, it had almost 10,000 individual investors, with more than £17m lent to property developers and £5.1m repaid to investors.
Rishi Zaveri, Chief executive and co-founder, Lendwise
Since the end of lockdown, Rishi Zaveri has been busy travelling the country visiting universities and meeting students who might benefit from Lendwise’s further education loans. This year, it launched the sector’s first education-backed IFISA which is offering average returns of nine per cent.