Funding Circle lists on the London Stock Exchange

We are pleased to announce that we are now a public limited company (plc) and are listed on the London Stock Exchange. This is the next stage in our exciting journey to help thousands more small businesses access the finance they need to grow, and to provide investors with a better deal.

Today’s news is an exciting moment for the company, but we wanted to reiterate that your lending experience will not be affected in any way.

If you have any questions about your experience at Funding Circle, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

News

Update on Funding Circle’s next stage of growth

This is an advertisement and not a prospectus. Potential investors should not apply for or buy any shares in Funding Circle Holdings Limited (to be renamed Funding Circle Holdings plc) (the “Company”) except on the basis of information contained in a prospectus that may be published by the Company and which, if published, will be made available at corporate.fundingcircle.com.

 

Important Funding Circle update

 

Since Funding Circle launched 8 years ago, investors on our platform have lent more than £5 billion to over 50,000 businesses globally, earning attractive returns whilst supporting economic growth and job creation across the UK, US, Germany and the Netherlands.

Today we have announced the next stage of our growth and we’re delighted to confirm that we are considering proceeding with an initial public offering (IPO). This means Funding Circle’s ownership structure would change from a private company to a publicly listed company.

What this means for you

Should we decide to proceed with an IPO, there will be no impact on your existing relationship with Funding Circle. Additionally, we anticipate that you will have the opportunity to apply to participate in the IPO and become a shareholder in Funding Circle via an intermediaries offer.

Further information on this possible offer and the potential intermediaries involved will be available in due course. We anticipate any potential intermediaries offer to open in the coming weeks if the IPO proceeds. Once open there will only be a limited time in which to apply. Before making any investment decision you should speak with your own stockbroker or financial advisor.

We believe these developments highlight an exciting future for Funding Circle. Thank you for your continued support and if you have any questions about your experience at Funding Circle, please get in touch.

The Funding Circle team

This advertisement is issued by and is the sole responsibility of Funding Circle Holdings Limited (shortly to be renamed Funding Circle Holdings plc) (“Funding Circle”) and has been approved solely for the purposes of Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 by Numis Securities Limited (“Numis”), whose registered address is at The London Stock Exchange Building, 10 Paternoster Square, London EC4M 7LT, and who is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Numis is acting exclusively for Funding Circle and no-one else in relation to or in connection with the possible offer of the shares in Funding Circle and will not be responsible to anyone other than Funding Circle for providing protections afforded to clients of Numis and is not providing, and will not provide, advice in relation to the possible offer or any matter referred to in this advertisement. This advertisement does not constitute an offer or recommendation concerning the shares referred to in this advertisement or advice about purchasing shares in the Company and is not a substitute for independent advice about legal, financial, investment or tax matters.

 

Before purchasing any shares, you should make sure that you fully understand and accept the risks which will be set out in any prospectus which may be published by the Company at the time of any share offer and made available at corporate.fundingcircle.com. If you have any concerns about the suitability of shares in the Company, you should consult an independent financial advisor.
 
This advertisement is not for distribution or publication in any jurisdiction outside the UK, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man. In particular, this advertisement is not for release, publication or distribution, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, in or within the United States of America, Australia, Canada, Japan or any other jurisdiction where it would be unlawful to distribute this advertisement.

 

No reliance may be placed for any purpose whatsoever on the information contained in this document or on its accuracy or completeness. Apart from the responsibilities and liabilities, if any, which may be imposed by FSMA or the regulatory regime established thereunder, no liability whatsoever is accepted by Funding Circle, Numis or any of their respective members, directors, officers or employees nor any other person for any loss howsoever arising, directly or indirectly, from any use of such information or opinions otherwise arising in connection therewith.
News

The new ISA season for investors and your spring industry news

The new ISA season from peer-to-peer lenders – The Telegraph

Discussing the emergence of the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA), the Telegraph describes how the industry has been able to offer far higher interest rates than the banks. Launched in 2016, there is now a wide variety of IFISA providers lending to different types of borrowers. “After the financial crisis this new type of lending took off as savers lost faith in banks amid plummeting returns on savings accounts.” With the range of products now available, IFISA numbers are expected to swell rapidly this year.  

50 ways to boost your savings income: peer-to-peer lending – Moneywise

Looking in more detail at how to use lending platforms, Moneywise discuss the benefits of diversification. “P2P platforms operate differently, so check whether you are lending to one individual or business, or your money is being distributed between a number of borrowers.” At Funding Circle, our lending tool will spread your funds across a variety of businesses to help you build a diversified portfolio.

Report shows the dramatic impact Funding Circle has on the economy – The Times

As well as earning for your future, your lending is helping the country to thrive. A recent report by Oxford Economics showed that, thanks to your lending, businesses created and sustained 45,000 UK jobs in 2017 and contributed £2.4 billion to the economy. John Glen, Economic Secretary to the Treasury, said it showed that the rise of “peer-to-peer lending has brought about real benefits, not only for the businesses of Britain but, as this report shows, our economy, too”. Having founded Funding Circle in 2010 to help small businesses, CEO Samir Desai tells Bloomberg how rewarding it is to see the impact it’s having on the UK economy.

A dozen start-ups trying to revolutionise SME banking – Forbes

Another exciting development was the announcement that Funding Circle is on the shortlist for Nesta’s Open Up Challenge. Backed by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), the 12 finalists are looking to create innovative new products to improve financial services for small and medium sized businesses. City A.M. describes how each finalist will receive a grant of £100,000 to work on their ventures, plus early access to open banking data.

The UK is officially the tech unicorn capital of Europe – Evening Standard

As well as leading the way on financial innovations, the UK has been crowned the tech unicorn capital of Europe. A unicorn is any private company with a valuation of £1 billion or more. The news is not only good for growing companies looking to hire the best talent, but also for consumers who have been able to benefit from these exciting new products. From the takeaway app Deliveroo to challenger bank Revolut, consumers are enjoying a wealth of new possibilities thanks to innovative UK companies.

Is it wrong for banks to launch flanker brands? – Alt Fi

The growth of such innovative tech businesses changing the shape of financial services. In response, several banks such as Natwest, ING and Santander have launched or announced their own digital offshoots. Known as ‘flanker brands’ they have received criticism from some for trying to hide their parent company under a new brand. Samir Desai, however, disagrees, and believes it could actually be a good thing for fintech – “I don’t think [they are] morally dubious. I think banks have in the past had lots of different brands” he said. “In many ways, it’s a good thing. It expands the market and it brings more borrowers online and we’re very comfortable competing for borrowers online.”

Fintech is giving small businesses access to finance – Raconteur

While the banks look to respond, businesses are already reaping the benefits of the new opportunities tech has brought. Pirates Grog Rum describe how they have grown 100% year on year after switching from bank loans to Funding Circle. In contrast to the hassle and paperwork of applying through banks, business owner Beth Jones much preferred our quick, straightforward process “Funding Circle was so much easier and gave us what we needed, all online. In fact, we arranged the latest loan while on holiday in India. It’s a great relief to know it’s there to ease cash flow when we need to restock at busy times.”

Bobbin bicycles show how to keep the export wheels turning – The Times

Looking at more success stories, The Times interviewed Bobbin Bicycles, who have shown the path to success for British exporters in a post-Brexit world. They got support from the Department of Trade, who gave valuable advice and helped fund trips to overseas trade fairs. Combined with extra finance and a lively Instagram account, their business has gone from strength to strength. It’s amazing how people find us from around the world,” said Cofounder Sian. “A lot of it comes through social media. Someone sees a picture online and the next thing you know we are selling bikes in Uruguay.”

Funding Circle hires first female non-executive director – Sky News

Finally, as well as having an external impact, we’ve also made some exciting internal changes. In May we announced our new board member Cath Keers. A former O2 executive, Cath is an experienced executive in the technology, retail and logistics industries. “Funding Circle is changing how the world’s small businesses access finance, and the impact it’s had on the economy and job creation over the past eight years is inspiring. I share the team’s commitment to delivering the best results for customers. The company’s high levels of repeat business demonstrate that both investors and borrowers also recognise this passion.”

Remember, by lending to businesses your investment can go down as well as up and your capital is at risk.

Update to our projected returns

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to a diversified portfolio of creditworthy businesses. As part of this commitment, we regularly review and update our assessment process and the interest rates at which you lend to businesses.

Following our most recent review, we have updated the projected returns we display for each lending option and will now show these returns as a range.

Introducing ranges for projected returns

The projected return is the annual return that a diversified investor could earn, after fees and bad debt but before tax, by lending to businesses through each lending option. To reflect there is an expected level of uncertainty when making predictions about loan performance we are introducing ranges for the projected returns.

What are the new projected returns?

Following our most recent review of our gross interest rates and taking into account the above, the projected returns for our Balanced and Conservative lending options are now:

  • Balanced – 6 – 7%
  • Conservative 5 – 5.5%

You can see more information on how the projected return is calculated here.

What other factors can affect your return?

It’s important to understand that your actual return may be higher or lower than the projected return shown for your chosen lending option. This can be caused by factors such as:

  • Actual performance may be higher or lower than projected – for example, more businesses may be unable to repay their loans if macroeconomic conditions were to change, such as during an economic downturn. In addition, the individual businesses you lend to may perform better or worse than projected.
  • The number of businesses you lend to – it’s important to understand that you are lending to your own individual portfolio of loans and not everyone will earn the same projected return. As your personal projected return depends on the loans your funds are matched with, the more businesses you lend to the better our lending tool will be at matching your funds to achieve the projected returns shown. Lending to more businesses also helps you earn a more stable return by reducing the impact of bad debt.
  • Your actual return is likely to change over time the projected return is the annual return you could earn once all loans have repaid and recoveries have been received from defaulted loans. It’s important to remember that bad debts do not typically occur evenly over the life of a group of loans, and it often takes time for recoveries to be made on defaulted loans. This means your return is likely to change over time. You can read more about this here.

Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

These projected returns only affect new loans made through the platform, and will not affect any loan parts you currently hold. We will review and if necessary, update the projected returns every three months. We display projected returns for the past five years of loans on our statistics page, and update these every three months.

You do not need to do anything and, by having lending switched on, you will continue to lend to businesses automatically. As always, you can change your lending option or pause lending via the lending settings page of your account.

If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Cath Keers joins Funding Circle board

Today we’re pleased to announce the appointment of Cath Keers to the Funding Circle board. Cath brings over three decades of professional and leadership experience across the retail, consumer, digital and technology sectors.

Currently serving as a Non-Executive Director for Sage Group and TalkTalk, Cath is also Chair of ustwo Company. Her previous roles include a main board directorship at O2, and non-executive directorships at Royal Mail, LV= and Home Retail Group.

Commenting on joining the team, Cath said “Funding Circle is changing how the world’s small businesses access finance, and the impact it’s had on the economy and job creation over the past eight years is inspiring. I am impressed by the management team’s depth of insight and experience. I share the team’s commitment to delivering the best results for customers, and the company’s high levels of repeat business demonstrate that both investors and borrowers also recognise this passion.”

At Funding Circle our aim is to allow investors like you to become the leading source of small business finance globally, with today’s news coming as the amount lent by investors through the Funding Circle platform surpasses £4.5 billion. This includes more than £3.4 billion lent by 70,000 investors in the UK alone.

You can read more about today’s announcement in our full press release here.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Culture shifts and funding boosts – March industry news

How Funding Circle is keeping the little guys in the loop – City AM

Up until now, finance companies have typically been viewed as dull and corporate, but we’re pleased to see that this perspective is changing. Technology has sparked a culture shift within financial services, bringing enthusiasm, passion and fun back into the workplace. As our co-founder James Meekings says, “When we think about the people we hire, it’s all about energy.” Fostering an empowering culture and staying true to a set of values is key to a successful business, and is something we are firm believers in at Funding Circle.

China could snatch the crown of FinTech capital, Britain is warned – The Times

Talking about the FinTech sector more broadly, the chancellor Philip Hammond recently told an industry conference that the UK was the “global capital of FinTech” and that the emerging industry contributes £7 billion to the economy. Mr Ramsden of the Bank of England added “The UK can’t afford to be complacent even with London’s pre-eminent position, commercial advantage must be constantly worked for and renewed.” As well as boosting the economy, FinTech companies are creating new opportunities for investors, consumers and businesses. Whether you want to transfer money overseas, get a faster loan or a better return on your investment, these platforms are making such services quicker and easier to use.

FT City Network transcript: the outlook for ‘Global Britain’ – Financial Times

As well as changes in technology, trade partnerships play a crucial role in creating opportunities for businesses. Looking ahead to a post-Brexit world, there will be a lot of excitement about new global partnerships we can build in distant lands. In the long-term these could be very beneficial, but for small businesses who depend on exporting, their greatest opportunities in the short term will continue to lie with our European neighbours. Small businesses do not typically have the time or resources to form long-distance trading partnerships. Consequently, access to fast, fair and affordable finance will be critical to taking advantage of the opportunities exporting can bring.

Small firms say no to bank loans – The Times

Another shift we’re seeing across the UK is the number of businesses that are turning away from banks for financial support. Research suggests that only one in three businesses indicated a willingness to borrow finance in 2017, down from almost half in 2015. However, it’s hugely positive to see the increased amount of innovation and choice being brought to the market thanks to the emergence of online lending. These platforms are helping small businesses  seize growth opportunities, hire more staff and go even further.

Innovations to utilise your tax allowance – City AM

Finally, we’re really excited to announce that the Funding Circle ISA is now available to all investors. This will allow investors to make the same attractive returns tax-free, helping them better provide for their future while helping businesses get the funds to thrive. As with the Classic account, there are two investment options to choose from: ‘Balanced’, for a projected return of 7.2 per cent; and the lower-risk ‘Conservative’, for a projected return of 4.8 per cent. For more information on the Innovative Finance ISA (IFISA) check out this article in The Times or visit our ISA page.

News

Small businesses diversify funding. February industry news

Small businesses look to specialist lenders for loans – Financial Times

According to recent research by the British Business Bank, small businesses are diversifying their sources of funding away from the banks and seeking support from other avenues, such as online lending platforms. This shift shows that there is much more choice for available for small businesses today than there was only a few years ago, which is excellent to see. Business can now access fast, affordable finance online in a matter of days, without even leaving their homes. Read more about the report in the Telegraph.

Banks stress-test themselves but don’t say how they’ll support business – The National

Another recently published report, the Scottish Business Report, shows that little information is available on how banks are planning to support their small business customers post-Brexit. The report also looks at how bank net lending (which is total lending minus repayments) has significantly dropped following the referendum. In 2017, 30 of the UK’s largest banks lent £679 million to small businesses on a net basis, whilst investors at Funding Circle alone lent £600 million. This encouraging growth wouldn’t be possible without to your continued support, so thank you!

2017 was a record year for UK fintech investment – City AM

There was record venture capital investment in UK FinTech in 2017 with £1.3 billion invested in companies working in financial technology. This represents a rise of 150 per cent since 2016 which is a bigger increase than either the US or China. Globally, two of the biggest deals were for Transferwise and Oaknorth, both UK firms. Funding Circle, Interactive Investors and Monzo made up the rest of the top five biggest deals in the UK. This is encouraging as it shows the UK shaking is off concerns of a Brexit slowdown.

University of Huddersfield Lends to More Than 2,000 UK Small Businesses – Crowdfund Insider

In 2013, the University of Huddersfield became the first University to lend directly to businesses through a lending platform – and it continues to lead the way in this area today! Since then, the University has gone on to support over 2,000 UK small businesses through Funding Circle, including Ushiwear, a British clothing brand. Launched by husband-and-wife team Neil and Jilly Kapusi, the passionate duo were able to build on their success and go for growth after accessing finance through the platform. Read more on our blog.

The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies – The Times

To finish up, we were delighted to be named 16th in The Sunday Times Best 100 Companies. We’ll leave it to our UK MD and co-founder, James Meekings, to summarise: “Even though we now have 800 employees, we still feel like a small business. We still push for opportunity and for people to be creative.”

A helping hand to small businesses. December industry news.

Peer-to-peer lender shows how it’s done – Evening Standard

Happy new year! To date, you and other investors have helped a network of 40,000 businesses access $5 billion of finance globally, which has created an estimated 100,000 new jobs. This growth also saw Funding Circle become the first lending platform in the world to have facilitated more than $1 billion across two markets. None of this would have been possible without your continued support over the years, so thank you!

Brighton named ‘most enterprising’ UK city – Brighton and Hove Independent

To better understand the mentality of small business owners, we recently launched a survey which found that more people living in Brighton (64%) believe they have the right skills to set up a business than anywhere else in the UK. Christine Johnston, Brighton-based founder of The KiTE, SURF & SUP Co and Funding Circle borrower, said: “These results reveal what those of us who have set up businesses in Brighton have known for years. It’s not just the infrastructure that makes Brighton such an appealing place to start a business, it’s the type of people that gravitate towards the city and the culture that’s been created as a result.”

A helping hand for small businesses – MoneyWeek

Even a decade after the credit crunch, too many British small businesses still feel their potential is being hindered by a lack of access to suitable finance. Raising awareness of other avenues of finance available, such as borrowing directly from investors through lending platforms, is crucial for their development. When small businesses flourish, thrive and go even further, so does our economy. Read more about how the online lending sector is lending a helping hand to small businesses in the Independent.

The UK’s ‘alternative finance’ industry is now worth £4.6 billion – Business Insider

In 2017 alone, the UK’s alternative finance industry generated £3.3 billion of funding and grew by 43% from the previous year, according to a report from the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance. Of that funding, a whopping three-quarters went to start-ups and small businesses across the country, which is a 50% increase from 2015. It’s hugely encouraging to see that as the adoption of the sector continues to grow, more and more business owners and investors benefiting as a result.  

A brave new world: will open banking boost the UK FinTech sector? – Forbes

As some of you may know, Open Banking was designed to enable bank customers to authorise third parties, such as challenger FinTech players, to access their account details in order to create more competition and choice in financial services. Not only will this allow individuals to choose where they bank more easily, but it will also incentivise developers to create innovative apps from the new data streams, such as dashboards that list all your financial products in one handy place. Whilst the full potential of Open Banking is still unknown, it’s clear that it has the power to completely transform the way we bank.

Players who swapped the bit parts for starring roles – The Times

And lastly, to finish up the final industry news roundup of 2017, we were pleased to see our CEO and co-founder Samir Desai be named as one of The Times’ Ones to Watch for 2018. At Funding Circle, we’ve never been more excited to see what the future will bring, and we hope that you will continue on this journey with us. Together we’re creating jobs, supporting local communities and driving the economy forward. Here’s to a fantastic 2018!

News

The Funding Circle ISA is on its way!

We’re excited to announce that from Thursday 30th November we will start rolling out the ISA account to all current investors. This means soon you will be able to earn attractive, stable returns tax-free.

How will the ISA account work?

The Funding Circle ISA will work just like your existing Funding Circle account, while also providing you with:

  • A boost to your earning power – the interest you earn with an ISA is tax-free. As an example, if a higher rate taxpayer lends £20,000 through the Funding Circle ISA and earns a one-year return of 7.5* after fees and bad debt, their post-tax earnings after one year could increase from £900 to £1,500.
  • Flexibility the ISA account is a flexi-ISA. This means you can withdraw any available funds without affecting your annual £20,000 ISA subscription limit, providing you transfer them back in by the end of the tax year.

     

  • A simple investment experiencecreating an ISA account takes just a few minutes, and can be opened from your existing Funding Circle account using the same login details. Once opened, choose one of our two lending options and start lending.

     

  • An easy way to build a well-diversified portfoliowe recommend lending £2,000 or more, so you can spread your funds across at least 100 businesses for a more stable return. If you would like to start with less, we are introducing an initial minimum card transfer of £1,000 when opening an ISA account or a new Classic account.   

     

  • No fees to access your money – as with your existing Funding Circle account there are no fees for selling your loans

     

As part of this process we’re also renaming existing Funding Circle accounts as the Classic account. Remember, by lending to businesses your capital is at risk, while tax rules and relief can change depending on your personal circumstances.

Providing every investor with the best possible lending experience

Based on the conversations we have had with investors, we expect the ISA to be popular. To manage this interest in the fairest way, and to ensure there are enough lending opportunities on the platform for all investors to continue earning attractive, stable returns, we will be opening up the ISA Account to all current investors (those who created an account before 23rd November) in the following order:

  • Investors who are actively lending (have lent to a business since 1st May 2017)
  • Investors not actively lending but who have previously transferred in funds
  • Investors who have not previously transferred in funds
  • New investors and those who have opened a Classic account after 23rd November 2017

We will open the ISA to each group of investors in the order their account was created. We will keep you updated on our progress over the next few months.

We’ll email you when your ISA is ready to be opened

Once you’ve received your email confirming you can now open your ISA, you’ll be able to login to your account through our website and create an ISA account in a few easy steps, subject to eligibility criteria:

To help manage demand, initially you won’t be able to transfer any existing ISA subscriptions you hold to your ISA account. You will be able to transfer your Funding Circle ISA to another ISA provider, although it’s important to remember that loan parts that can’t be sold won’t be transferred and will no longer be eligible for tax-free interest.

Once all current investors have had an opportunity to create an account, we will launch the ISA to new investors. Following this, we will start to rollout the ability for you to transfer in existing ISA subscriptions.

Although you can manage both an ISA account and a Classic account using the same login, it’s important to remember they are separate accounts that will lend to a separate portfolio of loans.

Transferring loan parts from your Classic account to your ISA account

Due to regulatory restrictions, you are unable to transfer loan parts directly from your Classic account to your ISA account. However you can sell your loans quickly and easily to other investors, providing they aren’t late or experiencing any credit issues, before withdrawing your funds to a UK bank account and then transferring them to your ISA.

We’re pleased to be able to provide you for the first time with attractive, stable returns tax-free. You can find out more about the ISA account, and register your interest if you are not currently lending through Funding Circle, here. More information can also be found in our FAQs. If you have any questions please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn by lending through the Balanced lending option as of 23rd November, 2017. You can see how the return is calculated here. Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.

Earning for your retirement. October industry news

Peer to peer: Can you really get returns of 10%? – Moneywise

In a world of stagnant interest rates, peer-to-peer or direct lending platforms are offering people the opportunity to lend directly to borrowers so they can benefit from more of the return. By using a platform as a middleman, investors can enjoy more attractive returns, and businesses typically benefit from lower rates. In this piece, Moneywise interviewed a handful of investors to discuss their experiences across various platforms. Funding Circle investor Alison said, “…even if bad debts increased I still think I’d be earning more than going somewhere on the high street. I feel very comfortable with the risk I’m taking.” As you know, when you lend your capital it at risk.

6 steps you can take in your 20s to help you retire before 60 – Forbes

Retirement might not be on your mind just yet, but it’s never too early to start planning to ensure that you’re in the best financial position possible when the time comes. There are many different ways to start preparing yourself – big and small – depending on what you want to achieve, such as keeping better track of your spending or investing your spare cash. Simon Read, a personal finance expert, took an in-depth look into the topic and outlined some tips and tricks to take into consideration. Have a read on our blog.

How to start a business for next to nothing: Seven steps to getting your idea off the ground – Daily Mail

We all know that getting your business off the ground can be difficult, which is why the satisfaction and reward you feel once it begins to grow is that much sweeter. From managing growing pains and finding the right office space, to knowing when it’s the right time to take out a loan, every business owner is bound to face some hurdles along the way. In this article, learn how to tackle these challenges head-on and get back to doing what you do best: running your thriving business.  

This £4 billion problem stunting small business growth – City AM

When an exciting opportunity presents itself that has the potential to take your business to its next stage of growth, being able to get the right financial support is crucial. Every year, tens of thousands of small businesses struggle to access finance from the banks, according to figures from the British Business Bank. The rise of alternative funding sources, such as direct lending platforms, have given business owners much more choice and control over their development. With access to fast, fair and personalised finance that takes just days, more and more businesses are able to go even further.

London’s most influential entrepreneurs 2017 – Evening Standard

And finally, we’re pleased to see our co-founder Samir listed as one of London’s most influential entrepreneurs in 2017, alongside many other bright and motivated individuals. It remains evident that despite the backdrop of uncertainty caused by Brexit, London continues to be an attractive place to start and grow a business. In a recent case study, we spoke to Tom and Sian, founders of Bobbin Bikes, to learn about how their London-based bicycle business is on the road to success.

News

Read between the lines: How can rising interest rates affect your finances?

We regularly bring you a column from Simon Read, a personal finance expert with extensive experience in helping people make the most of their money. In his last piece, Simon provided some pointers on planning for retirement.

The much-anticipated interest rate rise finally hit at the beginning of November. It was interesting for two main reasons.

First is the fact that it was the first rise in the Base Rate for 10 years. Do you recall what it climbed to then, back in July 2007? The base rate actually went up 0.25% to 5.75%. That seems incredible now, when we’ve experienced almost a decade of record low interest rates.

In fact it’s only been for 18 months that the rate has been at its all-time record low of 0.25%. This month’s rate increase saw it climbing back to 0.5%, where most savers and borrowers have experienced it since the Bank of England lowered it to that level to March 2009.

But the second interesting thing about the rate rise is what it tells you about your money. If you haven’t already got the message that it should be a wake-up call for you to check your finances, then now is the time to get your house in order.

It’s extremely likely that the rate increase is just the first of many over the next 12 months or so. The Bank of England will need to act again to protect Sterling ahead of Brexit and to counter rising inflation. So you should be acting to protect your interests, with interest being at the forefront of your mind.

Think about your savings. While a rise should mean better interest offered at banks and building societies, rates are still likely to remain paltry on deposit accounts. That means thinking carefully about where to stash your nest egg and making the most of alternative options such as peer-to-peer lending or, if you’re prepared for greater risk, stock market-linked investments.

What about your mortgage? If you’ve got a fixed rate loan then you won’t notice the effect of any interest rate rise until the end of your deal. But with further increases ahead, by the time you arrange a new deal, charges may be much higher.

For that reason it’s worth looking at switching sooner.

However you need to check if there are any early repayment penalties on your existing deal and do your sums carefully to ensure that switching will actually be worthwhile in the long-term, especially after taking into account any new charges you may incur.

If you have a variable rate mortgage or tracker then you will be hit by the rate rise much sooner.

By how much? The Nationwide building society reckons a 0.25% rate rise would increase monthly payments by £15 to £665 for the average variable mortgage, or an extra £180 a year. Depending on the size of your mortgage, the rate increase could cost you much more.

However much it is, it’s worth checking out fixed mortgage deals to work out if it’s worth changing. If you have a low variable rate, then you should probably stick with that for the moment. If you’re paying 3% or more, however, then you would be better off finding a lower fixed rate.

And in the months ahead keep an eye on rates.

Some lenders priced in the rate rise to their mortgage rates some weeks ahead. If you see a trend for fixed rates to start to rise, that may be the time to act, before the best low deals disappear altogether.

The views expressed here belong to the author and do not represent those of Funding Circle. Funding Circle is not authorised to, and does not, provide investment, tax, legal or regulatory advice.

The information and views contained here are provided solely for informational purposes and should not be construed as legal, tax, regulatory, accounting or investment advice, or as a recommendation or an offer or invitation by Funding Circle.

To the extent permitted by law, Funding Circle does not accept any liability for any loss or damage which may arise directly or indirectly from the use of, or reliance on, such information contained here.

If you have any questions, please speak to your professional adviser or seek independent specialist advice

FinTech is reaching new heights. September industry news

Business voice has to get better at getting its views across – Financial Times

As the discussions around Brexit continue, an underlying question that remains is how the outcome will affect the growth of British businesses. Whether that’s access to capital or access to talent, we want to ensure that businesses are able to reach their full potential after we leave the European Union. In this piece, our co-founder Samir Desai gives his views, alongside other industry leaders, on how we can achieve the best result for the sector and the importance of making the voice of business heard.

Britain’s leading FinTech firms are banding together to work out a Brexit strategy – Business Insider

With the aim of producing an ambitious post-Brexit vision for the UK’s financial technology (FinTech) sector, leading companies have formed an industry body (the FinTech Delivery Panel) to work with the government. Today, countless firms haven shaken up our financial world, making it possible for individuals to have control of their finances straight from their fingertips. We want to ensure that this continues once we leave the EU and that London remains an attractive place to grow a FinTech business.

Adopting FinTech is saving UK businesses £4.6bn – CityAM

A recent survey conducted by invoice finance platform, MarketInvoice, revealed that nearly two-thirds of UK businesses are adopting FinTech and making savings as a result. Not only is FinTech helping many of these companies drive their user experience and service forward, but they’re also benefiting from the choice available when looking for finance. Christine, founder of KiTE, SURF & SUP CO and windsurfing world-champion, is a great example of a flourishing business who is reaching new heights thanks to online lending.

There are two new types of Isa – should you switch to them? – the Telegraph

Investors are also seeing more choice when it comes to investment options. Over the past year, the number of Isas available has grown to include various different types that can help make your money work harder. From the Help-to-Buy Isa to the Innovative Finance Isa, you can now choose one to suit your unique preferences. At Funding Circle, we’re looking forward to being able to offer you tax-free returns with the Funding Circle ISA which we plan to launch this tax year. But remember, when you lend to businesses, your capital is at risk.

Funding Circle hits £50 million in revenue as CEO restates IPO ambitions – Business Insider

And finally, last year you and other investors lent over £1 billion to 10,000 small businesses across the world, creating an estimated 25,000 new jobs. From helping Jim’s outdoor education company go for growth, to supporting David’s IT business’ expansion plans, your continued investments are allowing booming businesses like these go even further. In this article, Samir discusses the positive growth of Funding Circle over the years and our plans to help thousands more investors and businesses across the world. Read more in the Times.

News

A not so quiet summer. August industry news

Aegon eyes £160m deal for small businesses – the Times

Last month we were pleased to announce a strategic long-term partnership with Aegon to support the growth of UK small businesses. In the first 12 months of a four years program, the initial £160 million investment will help around 2,600 businesses, creating up to 6,400 new jobs. Stephen Barclay, Economic Secretary to the Treasury said, “This partnership with one of the UK’s largest FinTech firms is further proof that the UK remains the global leader in FinTech.” Read more in CityAm. Also, tune in on Bloomberg (skip to 34:00) to hear our CEO and co-founder Samir discuss the news and his vision for the future of small business lending.

London Craft Brewer Rides Out Brexit With Hoppy Ales and Hope – Bloomberg

By the Horns Brewery is an excellent example of a thriving business that has gone for growth thanks to accessing finance through online lending. The trendy brewery’s loan was funded by the European Investment Fund through our platform, which allowed the team to invest in a new bottling line. Samir recently met with the business owner, Alex Bull, who took him on a tour of his site and discussed how Brexit is affecting his business. With the pound at record lows, British goods are cheaper to export overseas. Read the full story in Bloomberg and learn about the importance of retaining access to capital post Brexit.

Debunking the peer-to-peer lending myths – CityAM

As online lending continues to develop, a range of recurring questions have arisen such as: ‘will platforms suffer in an economic downturn?’ and ‘what will happen when interest rates rise?’. Various platforms have conducted stress tests to reveal what could happen to investor returns in times of economic stress, including us. Our results predict that in a deeper and longer-lasting recession than 2008, investor returns are likely to remain attractive. Although as always, capital is at risk. Read more about the potential future growth of the industry in Forbes.

Funding Circle is kicking off a marketing bonanza with a Great British Bake Off TV ad – Business Insider

Shortly after the exciting introduction of our fresh new look, we launched a TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are Made to do More. Premiered during the Great British Bake Off last week, our TV ads will allow us to reach a wider audience and help bring more amazing businesses to the platform that need your continued support. You can see both adverts on our blog. Feel free to like, share and help us spread the word, so we can continue to help businesses and investors across the UK go further.

Funding Circle simplifies its investment protocol – Business Insider

And finally, as we announced on 21 August, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools on 18 September, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to will be withdrawn. This change comes with the aim of creating a level playing field for all investors and making lending simpler, better and fairer for all. We appreciate that this is a significant change so if you have any questions or concerns, please provide us with your thoughts here. For more information, check out our blog or read more in AltFi.

News

Watch our new TV adverts

To bring the Funding Circle mission to a wider audience, we have launched a new TV advertising campaign that celebrates those who are made to do more.

Premiered during the Great British Bake Off yesterday on Channel 4, our first TV ad features Victoria, our made to do more drummer. She’ll be joined on the airways in a few days time by Sebastian, who’s showing how you can go even further in skipping.

You can see both adverts below. Please like, share, and help us spread the word, so we can keep helping businesses and investors across the UK achieve even more.


News

We’re launching an exciting new lending experience

Since we launched Funding Circle in 2010, our aim has been to enable investors to earn attractive, stable returns by lending directly to small businesses.

Recently, we have been reviewing how lending through Funding Circle works, with the aim of making lending simpler, better and fairer for all investors. After careful consideration, we have taken the decision to make some improvements to your lending experience.

On 18th September, we will launch a significantly improved and upgraded version of our existing Autobid and Autosell lending tools, and the option to manually choose which businesses to lend to and which loan parts to sell will be withdrawn.

How will the new lending experience work?

Investors will be able to choose one of two new lending options based on their personal preference. Both options will be available as a Funding Circle ISA, which we intend to launch later this tax year.

  • Balanced: you will automatically lend to the full range of creditworthy businesses (A+ to E), aiming to achieve an attractive, stable return. This will allow you to build a balanced portfolio similar to the makeup of small businesses in the UK today. The projected return is estimated to be 7.5% per year after fees and bad debt.
  • Conservative: you will focus on lending to businesses that have been assessed as lower risk (initially A+/A) but with a lower projected return. The projected return is estimated to be 4.8% per year after fees and bad debt.

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk. You can read more about the improvements we are making, and what they mean for you, on our announcement page.

As part of the improvements we are making we are also updating the interest rates at which you lend to businesses. The projected return of both lending options have taken these changes into account. We’ll be introducing these new rates on 30th August, and you can read more about them here.

As part of this change we will also be updating our Terms and Conditions. You can view a summary of the main changes here.

We always want to hear your thoughts, so please fill out the feedback form on our announcement page if you would like to give us your feedback.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Update to Funding Circle rates

At Funding Circle, our aim is to allow you to earn an attractive, stable return by lending directly to a diversified portfolio of creditworthy businesses. To help you achieve this, we regularly update and improve our assessment processes. This also includes regularly reviewing the interest rates at which you lend to businesses.

Following our recent review, we wanted to let you know about some upcoming changes to the interest rates on our platform and our assessment process.

What are the new rates?

From Wednesday 30th August, we will begin to list small business loans in the UK at the gross interest rates below. These rates are shown before fees and bad debt. The projected annual return for the overall Funding Circle loanbook, after fees and bad debt, will be 6.7%*.

We made an important announcement today about some improvements we are making to how lending through Funding Circle will work from the 18th September, including introducing two new lending options. Taking into account these changes, the projected annual return for these lending options, after fees and bad debt, is estimated to be:

  • Balanced – 7.5%
  • Conservative – 4.8%

Your actual return may be higher or lower, and by lending to businesses your capital is at risk.


As some borrowers will have begun their application before the new rates are introduced, you may see loans listed at different rates for the same risk band and term length up until 5th October.

How have the rates changed?

You can see how the new rates compare to our current rates in the table below:

Why are the rates changing?

When reviewing rates we take a number of factors into account, including macroeconomic trends, the expected mix of risk bands of borrowers, expected bad debt rates and wider competition in the market, which continues to be increasingly competitive for lower risk businesses. The new rates will allow you to continue to lend to established, creditworthy small businesses while earning an attractive, stable return.

Will this affect the businesses you lend to?

Over the past seven years, 64,000 investors have lent £2.5 billion to more than 25,000 UK businesses. This has provided us with significant amounts of performance data to help improve our statistical credit models and means we can provide even more accurate pricing decisions to borrowers. With these improvements to our credit models, you can expect to see an adjustment in the mix of risk bands of borrowers in the coming months. This adjustment means the new expected bad debt rate for the overall Funding Circle loanbook will be 2.3% annually.

The improvements also mean we can make updates to our policy criteria. Our policy criteria give direction to business owners and help filter out businesses that have a low likelihood of being approved, so our credit assessment team only spend time on the right type of applications. Our latest policy criteria are:

  • A minimum of two years trading history
  • At least 1 year of filed or formally prepared accounts
  • No County Court Judgments (CCJs) registered in the last 12 months, with no outstanding CCJs larger than £1000

Do you need to do anything?

The new rates will not affect any loan parts you currently hold, and will not apply to property development loans, which are priced individually.  

If you use Autobid to lend to businesses, there is nothing you need to do as Autobid will continue to place bids on new loans at the new rates until 18th September, when the new lending options will be introduced.

As a reminder, these new rates will go live on Wednesday 30th August. If you have any questions about today’s news, please get in touch.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

*The projected return is an estimate of the annual return, after fees and bad debts, that a diversified investor could earn. It is calculated by taking the distribution of loans, across both risk band and loan term, that we expect to be funded on the marketplace.

The return is then calculated by taking the gross interest rate of these loans, then deducting the fees and estimated bad debts that will occur in the future. The average return is weighted by loan amount, compounded and before tax. See the full calculation here.

Update to our Terms and Conditions

At Funding Circle, we want all investors to have a simpler, better and fairer lending experience. To help achieve this, on 18th September we will be making a number of important improvements to how lending through Funding Circle will work. You can read more about these improvements here.

We will also be updating both our Investor and Borrower Terms and Conditions (collectively “Terms”) on 18th September, along with our Privacy Policy. We will also be making some small, related changes to the Loan Conditions. In addition, we’ve created a new Website Terms of Use.

What you need to do

The changes will go into effect for all existing investors and borrowers on 18th September 2017, and will apply to all new lending from that date.

If you are an existing investor, the next time you login to your Funding Circle account you will be prompted to read more about the changes we are making, and we’ll ask you to agree to the new Terms. Also, if you are an investor that currently chooses the individual businesses that you lend to, you will be asked to choose your new preferred lending option.

If you’re an existing borrower, it’s important that you read the new Terms because they will apply to you; however you won’t need to do anything else.

What is changing?

We’re making the following changes to our Investor and Borrower Terms:

We’re making them simpler and easier to understand

  • We’re restructuring the order, layout and sections of the Terms to make them easier to read.
  • We’re simplifying the language used to describe:
    • The process of becoming an investor or borrower.
    • How lending will work through the platform.
    • How you engage with the platform and with us.
    • The services we provide to you.
    • The security provisions for secured loans and our collections and recoveries processes.
  • To make the Terms shorter and clearer:
    • We are moving the definitions to a separate glossary to make them easier to find.
    • We’re removing some of the descriptions of how the platform works, for example how to transfer money into your account. You’ll still be able to find these in the Investor Guide and FAQs from 18th September.

We’re reflecting the new investor lending experience

  • The description of how your funds will be matched to businesses is being updated.
  • The section on how to sell your loan parts will be changing to reflect the improvements we have made, and that it will be a fully automated process.
  • From today we have become the first major lending platform to charge no fees for selling your loans, so we have removed references to sale fees from the Terms.

Your rights and our obligations

  • We are clarifying the process you can follow to cancel your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re simplifying the termination rights that apply in relation to your Funding Circle account.
  • We’re clarifying why we may make future changes to the Terms, and the way in which we’ll communicate them to you.

Changes to our Loan Conditions

  • We’re updating the terminology in the Loan Conditions to reflect the new lending experience and mirror the language of the new Terms (for example, we are removing words like “bids” and “listing”).
  • We’ve simplified the language by adding new definitions (for example, “Event of Default”, “Loan Completion Date” and “Total Amount Payable”)
  • We’re amending the section that describes the legal mechanism through which a loan part is transferred from one investor to another when loan parts are sold and bought.
  • We’ve included new circumstances where a borrower may be defaulted, for example where they are abusive to Funding Circle employees.
  • We’re rewording the fees section so it’s easier to understand.

Changes to our Privacy Policy

  • We’re simplifying the policy to make it easier to read and navigate.
  • We’re making some minor changes to our Privacy Policy so that it aligns with our Cookies Policy.
  • We’re making it easier for you to contact us to discuss your privacy rights.

New Website Terms of Use

  • We’ve created Website Terms of Use, which apply to everyone who uses our website even if you are not an investor or borrower.
  • The Website Terms of Use are designed as a set of rules and guidelines that govern your use of the website.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

Enjoy lending,

The Funding Circle team

Welcome to our fresh new look

Today we’re really pleased to announce that Funding Circle has a new look.

In just seven years, 32,000 small businesses have financed their growth and 69,000 investors have supported their future through our platform – which is something we’re very proud of. However, the opportunity to keep progressing is huge, and there is so much more that we can do to help thousands more customers turn their dreams into reality.

The heart of our new brand

There’s a common thread that connects small business owners, investors and the people who work at Funding Circle. We share a uniquely driven yet positive attitude to work and life, a restless determination to succeed and the tenacity to get there. We call this Made to do More.

Made to do More is an articulation of the approach we’ve always had at Funding Circle. We want to celebrate the people who’ve turned their passions into livelihoods, supporting their families and local communities. Ordinary people doing extraordinary things, pushing the economy forward.

Our aim is to become the first choice for small businesses and investors globally – helping you to create more jobs and earn more for your future. We’ve come a long way together, but our journey has only just begun and we’re really excited to see what the future will bring.

News

UK small businesses continue going for growth. July industry news

Just Eat puts loans on takeaway menu – The Times

We’re incredibly pleased to announce that we’ve joined forces with another leading UK tech firm, Just Eat, to help fuel the growth of their 30,000 takeaway restaurants. Petra, a trendy Turkish restaurant in North London, was one of the first businesses to benefit from the unique partnership. In need of financial support to progress with an expansion opportunity, owner Yilmaz Guney, was able to move forward in just a matter of days thanks to you and other investors. “Our business is booming.” said Yilmaz. Read more in City AM.

Funding Circle CEO Says Business Boomed After Brexit – Bloomberg

Small businesses like Petra are the driving force behind much needed job creation in the UK, which in turn fuels productivity and the economy. With small businesses accounting for 60% of private sector employment, it’s heartening to see their confidence hasn’t waned since the EU referendum last year with thousands of businesses still looking to invest and grow. Check out our CEO and co-founder Samir on Bloomberg where he talks about how business is thriving.

Fintech lingo explained – Reuters

Ever have trouble deciphering all of that FinTech lingo? As the sector continues to grow and develop, we’re seeing the use of new buzzwords increase at the same speed. This helpful article in Reuters decodes and explains the lingo and terminology that FinTech companies and the wider ecosystem are increasingly using. From cryptocurrency and bitcoin, to insurtech and open banking, this piece is sure to make you an expert on all things FinTech.

Revisiting the first business to borrow through Funding Circle – Blog

And lastly, in 2010 John Henry, founder of Sustainable Direction, an environmental consultancy, was the first business to come to Funding Circle for finance. Six years later, he came back to us and borrowed a further £54,000 to hire two new members of staff and develop the business’s resources. John Henry said, “We found it even easier this time…and it happened so fast, within a day or two the funds were in our account.” Read his full success story on our blog.

News

Smile, direct lending comes of age. June industry news

Peer-to-peer comes of age as alternative asset class for investors – Financial Times

It’s been more than a decade since the first peer-to-peer lending company launched in the UK, opening up a new and innovative asset class to investors for the first time. Since then, we’ve seen the adoption of the industry increase at an encouraging rate. Not only are businesses benefitting from the financial support they need, but ordinary people are investing directly into the UK economy, fueling prosperous growth and job creation across the country.

Beat inflation and boost your savings – The Times

As the 100th month of low interest rates begins, investors are continually looking for better places to put their money. Getting your cash to work harder for you can be a challenge, so you might find this article in The Times useful as it lists a number of options to consider, such as investing in stocks & shares and lending to small businesses. A separate piece in the Telegraph looks at a selection of popular easy-access savings account available for your shorter-term investments. But remember, when you lend to businesses your capital is at risk.

Smile, banking is being forced out into the great wide open – The Times

Thousands of businesses have benefitted from the adoption of FinTech across the country, such as Funding Circle borrower, South East Timber & Damp, run by husband-and-wife team Annabelle and Dean Webster. In need of fast financial support, the couple approached their bank first but soon realised the process could take months. After doing some research online, they discovered direct lending and just 10 days later, they secured a cash injection for their business – all thanks to your lending.

On what kind of business growth should we focus our energies? – Daily Telegraph

In the UK, the resilience of the economy is dependent on the stability of our small businesses – who make up 50% of GDP and 60% of private sector employment. Nesta research shows that it is small and medium-sized enterprises, not larger firms, that are supporting greater job creation in Britain. This piece highlights the importance of balancing the financial support given to high-growth startups that are boosting innovation, with the support small firms and sole traders need as they continue to be the backbone of our economy.

One Year Later: Voices from Brexit’s Front Lines – Bloomberg

And finally, it’s been one year since the UK voted to leave the European Union so Bloomberg is following four CEOs over a two-year period to canvass their ongoing opinions on Brexit. An interesting comment from James Meekings, our co-founder, focuses on the need for the British Business Bank to increase the availability of funding in post-Brexit Britain. The EU has injected billions of pounds into British small businesses over the years, so it’s important that the UK Government introduces the necessary measures to prevent any potential shortfall. More on the topic in the Express.