The Promise and Perils of Alternative Market-Based Finance: The Case of P2P Lending in the UK

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The collapse of the global financial industry in 2008 and the subsequent decay of most Western economies into a period of prolonged economic stagnation have represented a springboard for the progressive growth of alternative channels of financial intermediation. The reluctance and inability of mainstream banks in the post-crisis years to provide credit facilities to the real economy, most critically to start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises, propelled the latest wave of financial innovation, this time under the guise of FinTech. Much has been written on the rise of FinTech in recent years, but there is still insufficient clarity about the benefits that this phenomenon is bringing to the real economy and the potential risks that can arise from its growth.
This paper maps the development of FinTech lending platforms in the UK and reconceptualises the rationale for their growth. In doing that, this study focuses on the structure and operation of the main UK platforms, recognising that while some are effectively banks that adopt a technology-based business model, many platforms operate under the P2P business model. The question then is to assess the policy and regulatory approach that is relevant to UK P2P platforms. Interestingly, the emergence of P2P securitisation raises a number of regulatory and policy questions, because longer intermediation chains typical of securitisation may well defy the social and economic purposes under which the idea of P2P developed. Furthermore, questions of systemic risk inevitably resurface in these types of transactions. Ensuing problems related to the best way to regulate these new channels of financial intermediation lead to critically evaluate the initiatives launched by the UK FCA, initially under the Innovation Hub, and more recently under the consultation for a new regulatory framework.
Only in the financial world is there such an efficient design for concealing what, with the passage of time, will be revealed as self- and general delusion

J. K. GalbraithFootnote1
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395–409
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Banking Regulation
Early online date16 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2019


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