Peer-to-peer lenders pledge to set up base in Belfast

Peer-to-peer lenders Assetz Capital plan to set down roots in Belfast
Gary McDonald Business Editor

PEER-to-peer lending platform Assetz Capital, which to date it has lent more than £300 million to businesses across the UK, is expanding its operations into Northern Ireland.

The company's senior management have been in Belfast outlining plans to set up a base in the city.

They claimed there is "an awful lot of cash out there looking for a good home" and pledged: "Show us the deals and we'll back them".

Founded in 2013, Assetz Capital is one of only two peer-to-peer (P2P) finance platforms in the UK to hold a five-star rating from Defaqto, the independent financial information business' highest rating in the ‘Loan Based Crowdfunding' category.

Peer-to-peer lending is the practice of lending money to individuals or businesses through online services that match lenders with borrowers,and Assetz says its purpose is to "deliver fairer growth together".

The company's chief executive Stuart Law, chief commercial officer Rob Pailin, and its Northern Ireland regional relationship director Andrew Fraser hosted an investor breakfast in the Merchant Hotel at which they outlined the opportunities for small businesses in the north to use P2P finance to grow and expand internationally.

Pailin said: "We've officially started doing business in Northern Ireland and already we've a deals pipeline worth in the region of £120 million.

"This region is important to us, and already we feel we need to have space on the ground in Belfast," he added.

Law outlined the benefits and risks of P2P lending, and insisted the ethos of Assetz was simple: "Lending to the right people and getting our money back."

He added: "Our focus remains to ensure the growth and security of our lenders' investments, as well as the success of our borrowers' businesses.

"Our team has performed fantastically well to deliver such success to all of our stakeholders over the last few years and yet there is also so much more to achieve ahead of this milestone and we are all excited about the continuing journey."

Assetz Capital's visit to Belfast coincided with it receiving full authorisation earlier this week from the UK regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for its secured loan model, which has earned investors in excess of £26 million in its first four years.

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