More peer to peer Isas on the horizon as Lending Works gets FCA authorisation
Lending Works has joined a handful of peer to peer lenders that is fully authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), meaning it will soon start selling innovative finance individual savings accounts (Isas).
Nick Harding, founder of Lending Works says the company has now approached HMRC for approval as an Isa manager, the final hurdle before the company can start offering Isas.
He says: “To have received this stamp of approval from the UK’s chief regulator after an exhaustive review process represents the ultimate validation for us as a platform.
“Given the waiting period associated with obtaining HMRC approval, along with the fact that we have other releases planned in the near future, we anticipate the Isa will be ready towards the end of the year. With the Christmas break in mind, it may well be January before our Isa is launched – although we will confirm the launch date in due course.”
Innovative Finance Isas, which allow tax-free returns from crowdfunding and peer-to-peer investments, have in theory been available since April 2016.
The shortage of options for peer-to-peer investors is due to approval delays at the regulator, which has struggled to turn around applications from 85 different companies. Only once this stage is complete can a firm apply to HMRC for permission to sell Isas.
When will other providers launch their innovative finance Isas?
A spokesperson for Zopa says the company has had “no update” from the regulator, so does not know when it will be offering Isas.
A spokesperson for AssetzCapital says its process is still “in the pipeline”, and it will update at the earliest opportunity.
A spokesperson for RateSetter says "we continue to work closely with the FCA to get full authorisation as early as possible."
Invidivual Savings Accounts were introduced on 6 April 1999 to replace personal equity plans (PEPs) and tax-exempt special savings accounts (TESSAs) with one plan that covered both stockmarket and savings products, the returns from which are tax-exempt. The ISA is not in itself an investment product. Rather, it’s a tax-free “wrapper” in which you place investments and savings up to a specified annual allowance where the returns (capital growth, dividends, interest) are tax-exempt (you don’t have to declare ISAs and their contents on your tax return). However, any dividends are taxed within the investment, and that can’t be reclaimed.