Octopus Choice, of Octopus Investments Ltd, has become the first notable peer-to-peer lending platform of 2017 to become fully authorised by the FCA.
Octopus Choice launched in April 2016, and, as of today, the self-professed ‘adviser friendly’ P2P lender has the stamp of regulatory approval; this will provide greater comfort to the adviser client-base of parent company, Octopus Investments, given the lack of uptake from financial advisers since permissions were granted to recommend P2P investments in early 2016. Most major P2P platforms have been met with indifference when approaching IFAs to discuss P2P lending – one of the most common reasons is that peer-to-peer hasn’t withstood an economic downturn. With an established and reputable firm like Octopus Choice now fully authorised, this could be the catalyst needed to get IFAs recommending P2P products.
Richard Wazackz, head of Octopus Choice, had this to say about the announcement:
We’re delighted that the FCA has decided to grant Octopus Choice full authorisation. It’s the culmination of some really positive dialogue with them over the past few months, and a hugely important milestone that will give renewed confidence to our fast-growing base of advisers and investors.
While we’re currently working on an ISA version of the product that will be made available later this year, our primary focus is on giving the best possible service to the thousands of advisers and investors we’ve already attracted.
Octopus Investments manages over £6 billion for 60,000+ customers. Established in the year 2000, the UK investment giant launched its lending arm in 2009 and added to its operations by acquiring property specialist Dragonfly Finance Ltd in 2013.
Octopus Choice total lent to-date: £49.36m
(*Statistics correct at time of publication)
A critical component of Octopus Choice’s lending mandate is that the platform takes a first position loss in each loan made across the platform. The peer-to-peer lender practices a ‘skin in the game’ policy by investing 5% in each and every loan listed on the platform.
With more P2P platforms being granted full FCA authorisation, including P2PFA (Peer-to-Peer Finance Association) members Lending Works and Landbay, Octopus Choice joins a healthy group of lending platforms who, HMRC approval pending, will introduce Innovative Finance ISAs onto the market in 2017. Finally, some “choice” for UK retail investors seeking high-yield, tax-efficient investment P2P investments.