On Tuesday 25 November the APPG held its first breakfast meeting. In attendance were MP’s from the Parliamentary Group alongside key speakers from the industry. These included Ian Larkin, the CEO of Target Group and former CEO at Virgin Money, and Ryan Weeks, editor of leading alternative finance news site, AltFi.com.
During his speech, Ian Larkin highlighted four opportunities for lenders that have been opened by new technology: the further customising of financial products to support consumer’s needs, the use of new, non-traditional data to better understand those needs; the targeting of underserved customers whose needs are not being met; and the cherry-picking of high-value customers from rivals.
Ryan Weeks of Altfi.com gave an equally fascinating overview of the peer-to-peer lending marketplace. This included a back-to-basics introduction to the world of alternative finance and ‘fintech’, and a run through the diverse range of investors and borrowers who use these services. Ryan explained how the emergence of new models such as peer-to-peer prompts the need for new approaches to regulation and makes transparency more important.
He finished by outlining some of the key challenges facing the peer-to-peer lending sector in the year ahead, as well as a few things to look out for. These included new entrants to the market, the take-off of IFISAs once platforms have gone through authorisation and the Government’s mandated referral scheme for small and medium sized enterprises who have been refused credit by banks.
To close the session our guests fielded questions from the Group’s Members. These covered a range of topics, including how conventional lenders would try to hinder the development of the alternative finance sector and what alternative strategies they might employ to remain competitive