The UK Peer to Peer Finance Association (P2PFA) was first established in 2011 (we covered it here). The trade body counted many of the leaders in peer to peer lending as members and served as the leading voice when it came to working with regulators in the UK.
Funding Circle, Zopa and Ratesetter were the founding members. Zopa co-founder Giles Andrews was the original chair of the organization, but Christine Farnish, an ex-regulator, soon took over that position in December 2012 and served until February 2018 when Paul Smee took over.
The P2PFA was a critical part of the of the p2p lending industry and set the standard for other organizations that were eventually created across the globe. The Marketplace Lending Association in the US was set up five years after the P2PFA and leaned on many of their principles. Their proactive engagement with UK regulators led directly to the world’s first set of regulations specifically for the p2p lending industry.
Over the years, the P2PFA set standards and also produced valuable research on the sector. In 2015, LendIt Fintech partnered with the P2PFA, holding the P2PFA Summit @ LendIt to further the conversation around regulation and peer to peer lending. We also partnered with them in subsequent events.
Now, it has been announced that the P2PFA is shutting down due to declining relevance according to The Times. Prior to the announcement, some leading platforms had decided to leave the trade group. It has been reported that some of those working for the P2PFA will be joining Innovate Finance, an organization which represents the wider fintech market. The P2PFA website already appears to be offline.
The UK has been a leader when it comes to regulation and the P2PFA was a big part of that. Many platforms have increasingly focused on institutional investors, reducing or eliminating their offerings for individual investors, which has certainly contributed to the news today. Still, dozens of true peer to peer lenders still operate in the UK serving retails investors. The P2PFA and the contributions from those involved are certainly appreciated by the entire fintech community.