Commercial peer-to-peer (p2p) lender ThinCats has agreed a wholesale facility of up to £300m (€338m) with asset manager Insight Investment, potentially doubling its lending capital base.
ThinCats provides asset-based and acquisition finance, as well as unsecured working capital lines. It lends to SMEs “across the full risk spectrum” through facilities between £100,000 and £10m.
“Our secured finance strategy continues to seek compelling assets that provide our clients with complexity premium above comparably-rated corporate credit securities,” said Shaheer Guirguis, head of secured finance at Insight Investment. “Our partnership with ThinCats represents our commitment to source the most compelling investment opportunities in specialist lending markets such as SME loans.”
The Leicestershire-based lender was founded in 2011. It has been on a recruitment drive over the past year, bringing in an origination manager from Royal Bank of Scotland’s NatWest, a regional head for the north from Allied Irish Bank, and a head of sales from Aldermore’s invoice finance unit.
ThinCats had already tapped into the institutional investors sector last year, when it brought in some £200m from ESO Capital and NYC-based Waterfall Asset Management. A sister company of ESO, EFS Capital, has held a majority share in ThinCats since 2015.
The flow of investment in p2p platforms by asset managers and private investors has been steadily rising over the last five years, with the investment divisions of major banking groups also throwing their weight behind a number of platforms.
British unsecured lender Funding Circle, one of the oldest p2p platforms globally, is to make a long-rumoured debut on the London Stock Exchange, which could raise as much as £1.8bn. The IPO is seen as a test for the p2p sector’s ability to scale up and maintain bank-like growth while keeping their independence from institutional backers.